Prison will never seem the same again! A very good and effective story line – Frankenstein meets Dr Who. The concept of mind control in 1971 was not new, even for Dr Who (the Mind Robber). However, this story line allowed Pertwee to excercise his natural superiority to its full. His flipant dealings with the so called experts at the start, his natural assuming of control at the prison plus his typical condesention of the Master come thru very pertly in this story, as they do in most Pertwee story lines. I think the best part of the story (as I recall even from 30 years ago) was firstly, the creepy idea of a machine (or intelligence) causing one to face up to ones most horrid fears (and lose) and then secondly, to find that the good Doctor himself was subject to the same! I couldn’t sleep for days after that!
Brilliantly Realized Piece of Who 1971’s The Mind of Evil is not as cared for, or even as acknowledged as much as serials like Terror of the Autons and The Daemons in fandom these days. Mainly I suppose this is because it is the only Jon Pertwee story to exist completely in Black & White. This I find a shame as The Mind of Evil is one of the best realized and strongest stories of the whole Master season. Firstly, the cinematography by director Tim Combe is highly atmospheric and very realistic in terms of what the program’s makers had to work with back then. Secondly, the 6 episode length allows for some of those brilliant character moments that get lost in the average pacy 4 parters, such as the Doctor and the Master’s bickering and the Brig’s comic moments. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the Black & White imagery lends much more realism and atmosphere to the story, the sets look more convincing and the location work sublime. My theory behind this comes from the 5 minutes of surviving colour footage that is included at the end of the tape, its looks terrible in comparison to the B&W scenes, the sets really show up there weaknesses when shown in the cold light of colour and are less impressive than in the current surviving format.Both Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado put in some extremely strong performances here as the Doctor and the Master. Jon Pertwee, as always, leads the story with no sigh of strain. Roger Delgado simply adds to this by having the Master ponder half the serials running time smoking cigars from the luxury of his chauffeur driven Roller. This only adds to the enjoyment of the character and the stupendous-ness of the story. The plot ain’t half bad either, the whole concept of the Master stealing a deadly gas filled missile is something more believable than plastic control, doomsday files and Devils. I would even go so far as to say that this is Doctor Who at its best and most believable, the story very reminiscent of the popular police and crime series that pervaded our screens at the time.Katy Manning only adds to the effectiveness of the serial, I always had a soft spot for Jo and here, with this being only her second story on Who, is at her emotional and characterful best. Her genuine affection for bad-boy-made-good Barnham is quite touching at times, she imbues Jo with another dimension rarely seen in the program of absolute emotion and care. To this end, Jo has one of her best outings in this adventure. Also on top form is the charismatic Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart as played by long term regular Nicholas Courtney. Nic completes and makes any story his character is in instantly enjoyable for me, the Brig’s relationship between both the Doctor and the Master is as equally important as the others vice-versa.The now outdated BBC Video release of 1998 has seen this story cleaned up and had all its 6 episodes remastered in B&W as near as possible to the original broadcast standard. The exciting part for fans of the story and the Pertwee adventures as a whole comes in 2013, when all 6 episodes will be released on to DVD fully and digitally remastered in COLOUR!!! Even the troublesome episode 1 which could not be colour recovered like episodes 2,3,4,5,6 has been returned to full colour by a new member of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. This will make the story complete in colour for the first time in over 30 years. As I have stated clearly above though, I believe the story will lose alot of its atmosphere when coloured, but hey, its another cracking Pertwee story released as originally broadcast so I have no reason to moan, after all, I can always turn the colour down on my TV, but I can assure you that I am as eager as the next fan to watch this brilliant story in full colour!!!Many thanks for your time in reading my review, it’s greatly appreciated,M.B.
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