Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil (Story 56)
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
in this story the Doctor and Jo go to a prison to watch a new peace of technology in action. it is a device that will replace capital punishment. Read morePublished 11 months ago by daryl drumheller
The Collection is growing!!!!! Thank you for having this awesome story!Published 12 months ago by VictorSlim3D
The Master at his most cunning...and that's saying a great deal. What's with him and nasty,hungry aliens anyway?! They always come back and bite the hand that feeds them! Read morePublished 13 months ago by E. Guerrido
A perfect title for this story. The Mind of evil pits' the doctor against a being who lives in a machine that lives off of the evil thoughts of others. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Ralph J. Fitcher