25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2000
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. The lumbering state of those that have gone through the process offers its own comment on the need for balance in the mind.
On the sci-fi elements it hardly needs to be said that the Keller machine that operates this system is not all that it seems, and Professor Keller is a bearded gentleman familiar to most viewers.
This is a good introduction to Pertwee era Doctor Who. Pertwee is more restrained than some of his eye popping hysterics of his first season, and the UNIT members are an effective team - and in later episodes given a chance to act militarily. Katy Manning is still finding her feet as Jo Grant, but has started to work on the curious mix of vulnerability and resourcefulness that some found appealing. Best of all, though, is Delgado. He is a convincing villain - made to appear all the more malevolent in black and white. He oozes menace.
You may not hide behind the couch, but you will enjoy this story if you accept it for what it is - well written, but cheaply made sci-fi.
Admirers of this will enjoy Inferno, and The Daemons, two other Pertwee era stories.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 1999
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!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2004
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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. If they are not found, the Chinese will withdraw from the peace conference.
What the Brigadier doesn't see afterwards, but we do, is Chin Lee burning the papers herself. But hold on, there's weird pulsing music playing as she does so, and she fingers a button-sized implant behind her ear.
Then the dead technician's autopsy results are available. He was scared of rats, and died of a heart attack with rat scratches on his neck. Next Kettering, alone in the Process Room, is horrified to see the Keller reservoir start pulsing, the music crescendos, and before you can say Jack Sprat, he's dead of drowning in a perfectly dry room. And he had a fear of drowning.
The Doctor is adamant that the machine must be turned off. He's in the Process Room trying to do so when the reservoir starts pulsing again. The Doctor tries to fight it but it's beating down on him. What terror will the Doctor see? What would scare him so bad his heart would stop?
And that's the end of Episode 1. This is quite a long setup - but you'll see that it's worth it. All the different threads comes deliciously together. If the Master should happen to show up - of what would HE be most scared?
I really like "The Mind of Evil". The convoluted plot is a doozy. Not even Jo's irksome chirping can throw me off it. "The Mind of Evil" first aired Jan/March 1971, six episodes of 25 minutes each. This is a review of the 2013 two-disc DVD release, the first time it's been on DVD. It was released on VHS in black & white (the only format BBC had kept). But this DVD will be in fully restored color. If you know about these things, the Chroma Dot color recovery process was used to restore the original color in episodes 2-6. Episode 1, however, had to be manually recolored frame by frame by Stuart Humphryes (AKA YouTube's Babelcolour). [Recommended youtube viewing: "The Making of 'The Ten Doctors Part One' by Babelcolour"] Also, of course, the DVD has digitally remastered picture and sound quality.
Trivia: Some exteriors, primarily for Stangmoor Prison, were filmed in and around Dover Castle. This serial went so excessively over budget that its director, Timothy Combe, was not allowed to be considered for any subsequent Doctor Who work. [See comments in Special Features 1 & 4.]
Extras for the 2013 DVD release:
DISC 1 Special Features
1. Commentary. Toby Hadoke (fan extraordinaire, also has a 1-man Dr. Who show) moderates, with commentators include Barry Letts (producer), Katy Manning (plays Jo), Terrance Dicks (script editor), Pik-Sen Lim (plays Captain Chin Lee), Fernanda Marlowe (plays Corporal Bell), Timothy Combe (director) and Derek Ware (stuntman and HAVOC founder). I thought this was a very interesting commentary.
Dicks: "I'm completely schizophrenic about UNIT. I think it's brilliant. I love Nick... and we both [Dicks and Letts] worked as hard as we could to get away from it and get the Doctor back into space."
Katy mentions that "The Mind of Evil" was one of her very favorite series. It's interesting hearing her talk in her real voice, and not in Jo's an-octave-higher voice.
Letts comments on how a lot of the single-line players and extras were stuntmen, rather than just actors, because "The Mind of Evil" has a lot of fight scenes. "Unfortunately, you had to pay these people as stuntmen, which was quite expensive. And to be honest, using HAVOC was one of the reasons this was one of the most expensive Dr. Who's that I ever did. And the sets, the prison set. Because originally, we intended to shoot the prison scenes on location. But no prison would let us do it. So, to build it in the studio, and to build a two-story set like that, and one that didn't wobble about all the time... it cost the Earth."
Other major expenses: 7 1/2 days location shooting, a helicopter added at the last minute, location shooting negative scratched resulting in re-shoot, the set-up and special effects for the teleporting Keller Machine
2. Information Text. Lots of interesting detail. "In the draft scripts, the Keller Machine was called the Malusyphus, implying that the process siphons off malice." (If you mangle the Latin a bit.)
The Chinese dialect the Doctor speaks (aka Pertwee attempts to speak) is spelled Hokkien.
The Doctor and the Master have to make an uneasy alliance in more than one serial. Having the Master stuck on Earth at the same time as the Doctor helps with one problem: "It was implausible to have a succession of alien monsters seemingly queuing up to attack [Earth]. In the 1971 series, all the threats the Earth faces are a direct result of the Master's machinations."
3. Subtitles in English
DISC 2 Special Features:
4. "The Military Mind: Making The Mind of Evil" (23 minutes) Commentators include Pik-Sen Lim, Terrance Dicks, Barry Letts, Fernanda Marlowe, Tim Combe and Nicholas Courtney (plays the Brigadier, d. 2011). This special was filmed before the colorization was complete, so all clips are in B&W.
Many things are covered, but there is quite a bit about the budget problem. Though Letts admits that "Tim's a very good director, indeed.", he isn't glowing about how the show went overbudget. Fernanda says, "In later years, watching it again, I realized how good it was... I'm not sure he [Combe] got the support he should have got."
And I was touched when Combe said, "I felt that perhaps there's been some misunderstandings.... I thought I'd be going on to do more Doctor Who's. But unfortunately, that was the last... I didn't have a sonic screwdriver to fix things up... I find it difficult talking about this right now."
But then, we realize the BBC had to have a budget, and something, perhaps, had to give.
5. "Now and Then: The Locations of The Mind of Evil" (7 minutes) Dover Castle, for one, looks the same. While watching this extra, I remember thinking, "Why didn't I notice that this storming the prison scene had a seriously ruin of a wall standing in the middle of a prison?"
6. "Behind the Scenes: Television Centre" (24 minutes) This is a TV show episode, presented by Norman Tozer. We meet him outside the giant BBC Television Centre, where, he tells us, "over 4,000 people" work on BBC TV shows. Over a 24-hour period, Norman visits different departments of different shows. In the sets department , we see a label indicating that a set is for "DR WHO - PRISON HOSPITAL". And then there's a model sitting on a table with a note: "PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH OR REMOVE THIS MODEL". It's a scruffy miniature of the TARDIS.
7. Photo Gallery (5 minutes)
8. PDF material: Radio Times listings, 1971 Kellogg's Sugar Smacks promotion
9. Subtitles in English
10. Coming Soon Trailer. This is a trailer for:
The First Classic Doctor Who
.....Made in Colour
Becomes the First Classic Doctor Who
In High Definition
A Complete New Remaster of "Spearhead From Space" with Brand New Special Features Exclusive to the Blu-Ray release
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2000
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. The Brigadier is excellent with his Trojan Horse tactic. Benton and Yates were ideal. Yates, heroic and triumphant. Benton getting shot and getting a concussion but perservering. The other characters were also good. Mailor the inmate was sufficiently thug-like and Barnham was well done. This is a great story. If you have never watched a 3rd Doctor story before, or only seen a few, or never seen any Doctor Who at all. This is an excellent video! A must have!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 1999
We all remember Pertwee's era as one where the tall, silver-haired one battled dayglo monsters against cheesy chromakey backgrounds, where female companions wore high heels just to make sure they'd trip over so he could save them. Well, The Mind Of Evil predates all this. Actually benefitting from the fact that it only exists on black-and-white film, this tough, sub-Clockwork Orange thriller includes some strong comments on international relations of the era and contemporary concepts of prison reform. This also shows a pre-Colonel Blimp Brigadier who isn't afraid to send his UNIT troops into battle with real guns firing real bullets that really hurt people. If Pertwee's era had continued along the lines of this story, people's perception of the show might have been altogether different. Brilliant!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2004
This was a very good set of episodes of Doctor Who
entitled "Mind of Evil" which had an interesting
premise the Doctor (Pertwee) and Jo (Katy Manning) investigate a machine that feeds of evil and kills
those who are consumed by it. Very neat. Now throw in
some special effects, and the menacing character
of the Master (Roger Delgado), a murder conspiracy,
the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and there you
have a great story.
If you don't know who "The Master" it was an evil and
rather brilliantly created arch enemy to rival that of
the Doctor. Just like Lex Luthor was the arch enemy to
Superman, "The Master" was the nemesis to "The Doctor". He had special powers such as hypnotism, and the power to change form. Also like "The Doctor" he could also travel through time. Roger Delgado did a great job establishing the role, before he unfortunately he died in a car crash.
As stated The Doctor and Jo Grant are investigating
a machine that feeds of evil, although they dont know
it yet. They receive an invitation to a mental prison
where a new machine is being used to try to rehabilitate criminals, the Keller Machine, created by Professor Kettering (Simon Lack). However, the machine does not help the prisoners, but it kills them. At first Professor Kettering does not know what to make of it. When Doctor and others investigate the murder they find the victims are being killed by their own fears , which are in part fed of the evil inspired by the victims.
Meanwhile Unit and Brigadier are hosting a peace
conference that has gone wrong when certain important
delegates are missing. The Brigadier thinks these
mishaps might be due to a sinister female Chinese
Captain named Chin Lee (played by a real life Asian
woman named Pik Sen Lim). I don't know too much about
Miss Sen Lim, but she looked like a great actress
(and she was pretty too). This was a big deal because
Asian actors were practially nonexistent in the
1970's up until now. The only Asian persons that
got speaking acting roles were action stars and celebrities like Bruce Lee. Take into consideration that these episodes were done in 1971, right in the middle of Vietnam, so there
was a considerable amount of hate and racism toward
Asian people and actors in general, but the BBC prooves here that they weren't one of them, so in that regard the BBC deserves alot of respect and credit.
Anyhow, the Doctor himself tries to find out how to stop
the Keller machine and is almost killed himself (in a
rather badly special effected, but otherwise entertaining scene). However, that's the start of the problems for Doctor and Unit as it's revealed that the Master (Roger Delgado, one of the best actors in Doctor Who) has been playing a hand in the machine, the mishaps of the peace conference, and the mysterious Chinese
Overall, this is one of the most interesting Pertwee episodes out there, but it has been somewhat overlook by Who fans. However, you should definitely check it out. It has
a rather great story, the effect ain't bad, and theyre
is much action and the episodes are unpredictable.
You should definitely watch this episode "The Mind Of Evil".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 1999
Put simply, buy "The Mind of Evil." This is a facinating story, punctuated by wonderful acting and interplay between Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado. This story shows where so many Doctor Who episodes could have gone and didn't. IT provides a fast-paced, interesting science fiction adventure, while exploring complex moral and political issues as well. I particularrly enjoyed the subtle poke at the Brigadier's lack Euro-centric attitude toward the Chinese, and the Doctor's reverance and respect for the culture. This one challenges not only the limits of our willing suspension of disbelief, but our interest in world politics as well.
Beyond that, this is another example of how color doesn't mean better. The whole picture has an elegant feel and better-than-usual editing gives the episodes a more cinematic sheen than the good Doctor usually enjoys.
I enjoyed the entire adventure and can't wait to give it another go. Excellent writing and a must buy for anyone who loves Jon Pertwee's Doctor.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Mind of Evil (Story #56) was the second story in the show's eighth season airing after Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons (Story 55) which featured the return of the Nestene Consciousness and the first appearance of The Master. The Doctor and Jo show up at Stangmoor Prison to see a new machine called the Keller Process which can remove any evil impulse from any living being. Meanwhile UNIT has their hands full dealing with the World Peace Conference. This well written six part story features a lot of Cold War drama and is very well done. As far as the picture quality, this was one of the colour stories that was wiped by the BBC back in the seventies. The print that exists in the BBC's vault was a poor quality black and white print. This proved to be one of the Doctor Who Restoration Team's biggest problems in terms of clean up. Thankfully, they've done a pretty magnificent job at restoring the episodes and, along with chroma dot recovery and Stuart Humphryes, the colour is also back. There are a few spots where the colour goes a little wonky but considering the source, it's quite amazing. It's also one of the best stories in the show's 50 year history.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 1999
"The Mind of Evil" has a lot of great things to recommend about it. Pertwee excels with Delgado, fleshing out their relationship. UNIT also has their hands full with a peace conference, a gas-nuclear missle and the recapturing of Stagmoor Prison. Although it is never really explained what or where the "Mind of Evil" came from, except that the Master brought it to earth. Some nice stunts and action, some fun UNIT humor("Chesire cat, Captain Yates, chesire cat"). Katy Manning is much better in this story than her debut(as with Mike Yates). Some interesting views on politics and prison reform. "Mind" stands up very well on its own, showing that Pertwee's second season was in full swing of success!