London, 1966. The TARDIS materialises in the shadow of the newly-completed Post Office Tower, and the Doctor senses a strange energy in the air. He instinctively knows that evil is at work nearby. Posing as a scientist, the Doctor and his 'secretary' Dodo gain access to a suite at the top of the tower and meet the driven Professor Brett. His life's work, the thinking computer WOTAN, is about to be linked up in a problem-solving network with many other machines around the world. But the Doctor is concerned. How can WOTAN possibly know the meaning of the word 'TARDIS' and about the Doctor's travels through time and space? What is the strange control that WOTAN can exert over humans via a mere telephone call? Andwhat is the computer's link with the deadly robots being assembled in Covent Garden warehouse?]]>
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Doctor Who: The War Machines (Story 27)
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Top Customer Reviews
As Professor Brett states, WOTAN is ten years ahead of its time. Well, maybe not ten. Perhaps only five years, which would put it smack down in the beginning of the Pertwee Years, right next to a simlar story, Mind of Evil, about a machine taking over people's minds. If anything, The War Machines foreshadows the Third Doctor's era. Hartnell dabbles with electronic gadgets, works with the military (not UNIT yet, but very UNIT-like), and endures incompetent politicians to prevent a menace from taking over the world. Sound familiar? The Pertwee Years four years early. In fact, if you re-hash this script and use it toward another popular 60s TV program, The Avengers, it would feel right at home. I anticipated John Steed and Emma Peel to show up on my TV screen at any minute.
Incidentally, the notion expressed that Doctor Who finally has taken its intended form with The War Machines is about as bogus the Doctor's background being changed during the McCoy years to be something more than a timelord. The intended course in any series is how it originates, not how it becomes. The originators of any series always deserve the "intended course" label.Read more ›
The story seems rather dated to modern sensibilities. The war machines themselves are especially laughable in today's world of microchips, and mini computers. These huge machines are portable computers, complete with 1960s era computer tape reels, and rather pointless weapons. However, to 1960s youth (and we must remember that Doctor Who was a children's show) these machines must have appeared quite frightening. If you're familiar with later era Doctor Who shows, the war machines look a lot like the cleaners from Paradise Towers in the Sylvester McCoy era.
This story was missing entirely from the BBC archives by the mid 1970s, but through the diligence of fans it has been restored. There is a short documentary narrated by Anneke Wills that explains how the story was pieced back together.Read more ›
The premise of the story was excellent however, a computer that becomes self-aware and tries to take over the world. The issue was that it was “present day” (1966) and that just didn’t mesh well with reality. Put it 10 years in the future and it would have been a bit more believable even looking back from today. That is a big problem any writer has with present day scenarios as it takes more suspension of disbelief of the audience than a future or past story would.
My least favorite companion of all the Doctors, Dodo, left the show halfway through the story. Polly and Ben joined up in this story although they were more or less “unofficial” until the very end when they entered the TARDIS.
There are a few good extras on the DVD . One is a history of the Post Office Tower which is quite interesting. Another dealt with the restoration of this story. There is also a Then and Now featurette as well as a Blue Peter segment on this story.
But The War Machines is superb Doctor Who at it's best and I heartily agree with a reviewer who said it's almost like the 1st Doctor materializes the TARDIS during the middle of the 3rd Doctor's run of the show.
In fact it gives great credence to the fact that this is indeed the same man/character through the entire 50 year run of the show. If you watch say a Doctor Who themed marathon like they do with Law & Order and you played the best of each Doctor teamed with a military branch or of course UNIT you would get something like this:
The War Machines (1st Doctor), Abominable Snowmen (2nd Doctor), The Mind of Evil (3rd Doctor), Robot (4th Doctor), Resurrection of the Daleks (5th Doctor), Remembrance of the Daleks (7th Doctor), Planet of the Dead (10th Doctor) and The Day of the Doctor (10th/11th Doctors) would all make for a great Doctor/Military Marathon.
And of course the possibilities are endless for Doctor Who Marathons. Companion Marathons, Master Marathons, Deep Space Story Marathons, Mystery Marathons, History Marathons, so forth and so on....
The War Machines is the Doctor's first real venture in teaming up with a military Earth based branch, it also has some very cool 60's era scenes in a nightclub called Inferno which is very appropriate 'cause there is a later 3rd Doctor episode by the same name.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this one soon after US release.for 15-16 bucks. Could have been a pre-available sale too, I just don't remember. The usual quality BBC DVD. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Harold Hamilton
The Collection is growing!!!!! Thank you for having this awesome story!Published 13 months ago by VictorSlim3D
An enjoyable but not the best of the Classic Dr. Who Stories. I found the Wotan mind control a little difficult to believe. I wanted this story for my Dr. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mike Volpe
This is one of my favorite Hartnell stories. The restoration of the missing parts of the episodes is great.Published 18 months ago by PJ Appleton
this story may have been the farewell of Dodo and the hello to Polly and Ben. but I see it a reminder not put all your trust in computers and other machines, they may find humans... Read morePublished 23 months ago by daryl drumheller