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Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil (Story 56)

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

New to DVD! Digitally remastered Doctor Who classic The Mind of Evil! Professor Keller has created a machine that can pacify even the most dangerous of criminals. But when the Doctor and Jo arrive at Stangmoor Prison for a demonstration, things start to go horribly wrong – especially when they discover that the Doctor’s old enemy Master is responsible for the machine.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Roger Delgado
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Color
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C6ACT3I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,887 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "scottish_lawyer" on October 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I came to Doctor Who through a series of novelisations published by Target in the 1970s and 1980s. These novelisations were fast moving, and exciting. When I finally saw the television programme I was distraught. William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee had long since disappeared. The release of a number of these early stories on video has eased some of that childhood trauma.
Mind of Evil is compelling second season Pertwee. To Who afficionados, the second season means three things: The Doctor is earth-bound (which means the Brigadier and UNIT are involved); Jo Grant has joined the Doctor; and every story features a common villain, Roger Delgado's portrayal of the Master.
While all Pertwee stories were recorded in colour, this story is available only in black and white. Do not be put off by this. This actually heightens the atmosphere, and means that many of the worst excesses of CSO (or chromakey) are avoided. With no irritating visual distractions (aside from the operation of the mind and its impact on various cast members) the viewer is left to concentrate on the story - and while perhaps one or two episodes too long, this is superior Who.
The script is by Don Houghton, responsible for the classic Inferno (the first Pertwee season close), and there are a number of links between the two stories. Houghton's scripts tended towards social commentary more than his fellow scriptwriters, and here the effective storyline revolves around a prison, where prisoners are having their negative emotions drained from them (effectively lobotomising them). Houghton's observations on prisons, and recidivism are not the stuff of high criminology, but they are an effective attempt through what was thought of at the time as children's television to address larger issues.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Murphy on December 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
An extremely ambitious production for Doctor Who, The Mind of Evil boasts an excellent script, some fantastic acting, and Roger Delgado's definitive version of the Master. Some great stunts and action sequences help bring this Doctor Who to life, making it one of Pertwee's best stories. If there is one drawback, it's that the storyline gets a bit muddled, and maybe overreaches, with espionage, the Master, a nerve gas missle, and an alien brain parasite all crammed into six episodes. Still, a very entertaining romp, with one of Nick Courtney's best turns as the Brigadier. You'll enjoy it!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Massi on June 18, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This is my all-time favorite Dr. Who story. The evil of the prisoners is quickly dwarfed by the rapacious evil of the hungry creature inside the Keller Machine. Given that it soon learns to move right through walls, the suspense factor increases, as you never know where it will show up next to gobble up the minds/life forces of a few victims.
This classic Pertwee story includes a good moral look at what evil is and what it fears the most. And the fact that it is all in black and white keeps the story gritty, displayed in muted tones against sufficiently dull backgrounds to keep the look and feel of the prison real. In this one instance, I can forgive the BBC for having trashed the color copy. I think B&W improves this one.
Add to this mix the current (at the time) tension with communism, the fear of nuclear war, and you've got an interesting, thought provoking Doctor Who classic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Happy Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 15, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Doctor and Jo arrive at Stangmoor prison for a well-attended exhibition of the Keller Machine in the prison's Process Room. Professor Kettering presents: "We no longer execute our hardened criminals and killers.... Science has abolished the hangman's noose and substituted this infallible method."
The Doctor can't resist commenting, "People who go on about infallibility are usually on very shaky ground."
Kettering frowns, but continues, explaining discoveries that "anti-social behavior was governed by certain negative or evil impulses. Now this machine, the Keller Machine, extracts these impulses and leaves a rational, well-balanced individual.... The negative impulses are stored in that reservoir box there."
The Doctor: "Where do they go after that?"
Kettering: "No where, sir. I repeat, they are stored in that box."

The Doctor is more than skeptical and we are too. George Patrick Barnham, a violent offender, is brought in to receive his sentence of reconditioning in the Keller Machine. But something goes wrong. Barnham gives a howl of pain and has to be taken from the room unconscious.

The Doctor is disgusted, but he has hardly begun to worry about that when a technician, alone in the Process Room, dies a painful death. Before the results of his postmortem are available, we find out that more is afoot. The first ever World Peace Conference is being held in England, and UNIT is handling security. In addition, UNIT has to guard a nuclear missile with a nerve gas payload that is being transported through the countryside.

With all that on his plate, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart gets another headache. Captain Chin Lee, of the Chinese delegation to the peace conference, complains that important papers have been stolen from their rooms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Livingston on April 27, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This may be my favorite Pertwee (3rd Doctor) story. The era of the 3rd Doctor is typified in this story. The typical 3rd Doc story involves the Doctor, Jo, UNIT (the Brigadier etc) and situations that quickly get out of control. The Doctor and Jo go to Stangmore prison to observe the use of the Keller Machine that supposedly removes the evil impulses from the brains of convicts and makes them useful members of society again. The Doctor doubts the machines abilities and thinks the machine should be destroyed. He is correct but destroying the machine is easier said then done. While the Doctor investigates the Keller machine, the Brig has to manage the security for a world peace conference which quickly becomes very complicated. And transport an illegal missile. The Keller Machine runs amucks at Stangmore Prison and riots ensue, a diplomat is murdered during the peace conference and the missile is stolen. The Master is involved in all of this. The Doctor is great as usual. The Master is as devious and dangerous as ever. And scenes where the Master and the Doctor are forced to work together are amazing. The Master even saying something like "What can I do to help?" This was such a un-Master like thing to say and mean that it was a shock. But it was perfectly plausible because of the circumstances. Jo who has been considered a bit of a ditz and a bit wimpy by some is excellent here, helping to quell a prison riot. The story was filmed on location somewhere in England and it is absolutely wonderful. UNIT was excellent in this story, perhaps one of the stories that show them off best. They appeared to be a well-oiled, professional group and not the stooges they are accused by some of being in later stories.Read more ›
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Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil (Story 56)
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