Doctor Who (1963)

Season 6 Episode 6

The Mind Robber, Episode 1

1
Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Sep 14, 1968 on BBC
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
39 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Trying to escape from a volcanic eruption, the Doctor activates the TARDIS's emergency circuits, taking his ship out of real time and space altogether. However, something in the void is trying to draw them out…

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Escaping from the planet Dulkis, the Doctor takes drastic action by removing himself and his companions from normal time and space...

    8.5
    With only the three main characters of The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury), to carry the story this episode works well. Given that nothing actually happens in the 22 minutes of the episode it serves as a good taster of what is to come. The White Robots provide suitable menace and the cliffhanger with Zoe and Jamie clinging to the console as it descends into a swirling cloud is perhaps one of the most surreal images from the whole of Doctor Who's 26 Year original run and leaves you wondering where the story is going to next. Applause too to David Malony's direction, such as the superimposition of the Scottish Highlands onto a close up of Jamie, which may seem basic to todays standards, was a complex and difficult effect to realise in the 1960's as it was filmed 'live'. All in all, a good teaser episode for the main 'story' which was to come. Surreal, but entertaining.moreless
  • Doctor Who goes weird...well, weirder

    8.1
    Note: this review is for all 5 parts of The Mind Robber.



    Basic Plot

    The TARDIS explodes and the Doctor, Jamie and Zoë are transported to a fantasy realm full of fictional characters controlled by a man named the Master.



    Although the first episode, which follows directly on from “The Dominators-Part 5”, is a “tacked-on” addition to the original four part serial, it is (arguably) the most enjoyable, having a sense of strangeness and surrealism. The White Robots that Zoë and Jamie encounter look quite cheap and basic but in a strange way work because it is a complete mystery as to what they are doing in the white void.

    After the TARDIS explodes, a pitiful shot that looks exactly like a wooden box being blown open, the Doctor, Zoë and Jamie arrive in a fantasy land which soon becomes a relatively dull if weird place to be. At first, the fictional characters appearing are good ideas, especially the clockwork soldiers. But as soon as the Doctor discovers that to defeat them, the companions simply have to will the characters away, they lose their sense of menace.

    Some of the fictional characters look okay although the shot of the moving snakes on the Medusa’s head is laughable. The introduction of Hamish Wilson to play Jamie for the time Frazer Hines was away was a great idea however, allowing the character to remain in the story instead of him suddenly disappearing from the episode.

    For the middle few episodes of this serial, the companions and the Doctor basically spend the time meeting familiar fictitious people and ending episodes on cliff-hangers you know they’re going to get out of. When the mastermind behind the land is revealed though, the story picks up again with the Doctor and the Master engaging in a battle of wits using people conjured up with their minds. The end, although adequate enough, is predictable and the equivalent of pressing the reset button. The length of the story as a whole is another point, as the tale drags in places and features too many easily-defeated villains, it could maybe have benefited from being cut back down to its original four episode length, but at the time of making this was not possible.



    Despite having some flaws, this serial boasts plenty of ideas which, had they been worked into a faster, more exciting tale would have been more effective.

    Nevertheless, this story is considered as an experimental serial instead of the more traditional Doctor Who stories which, for five weeks took the viewers on a bizarre journey through a strange land to meet characters created in fiction. This story attempted to do something different with the programme, and for some part at least, it succeeded.

    moreless
Terry Wright

Terry Wright

Robot

Guest Star

Bill Wiesener

Bill Wiesener

Robot

Guest Star

John Atterbury

John Atterbury

Robot

Guest Star

Ralph Carrigan

Ralph Carrigan

Robot

Recurring Role

Emrys Jones

Emrys Jones

The Master

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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