The Mind of Evil

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Jo pay a visit to Stangmoor Prison to witness a test of a revolutionary new device that promises to reform criminals permanently by entirely extracting the evil impulses from their brains. But in this case, the test subject – a hardened convict named Barnham – is not only relieved of the darkness in his mind, but most of his mind’s contents as well, rendering him mentally childlike. Not long afterward, Professor Kettering, checking the machine to find out why it overreacted so harshly, dies mysteriously. The Doctor becomes increasingly suspicious and decides to close off the room and check the Keller device himself…only to realize – too late – that it’s an alien life form that feeds on fear, that his arch enemy is behind its presence on Earth, and that the device is only a small part of a much larger plan to plunge the world into chaos.

written by Don Houghton
directed by Timothy Combe
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), Eric Mason (Green), Roy Purcell (Powers), Raymond Westwell (Governor), Simon Lack (Professor Kettering), Michael Sheard (Dr. Summers), Bill Matthews, Barry Wade, Dave Carter, Martin Gordon, Leslie Weekes, Tony Jenkins, Les Conrad, Les Clark, Gordon Stothard, Richard Atherton (Officers), Neil McCarthy (Barnham), Clive Scott (Linwood), Fernanda Marlowe (Corporal Bell), Pik-Sen Lim (Chin Lee), Kristopher Kum (Fu Peng), Haydn Jones (Vosper), William Marlowe (Mailer), Tommy Duggan (Alcott), David Calderisi (Charlie), Patrick Godfrey (Cosworth), Johnny Barrs (Fuller), Matthew Walters (Prisoner), Paul Blomley (Police Superintendent), Maureen Race (Student), Nick Hobbs (American aide), Billy Horrigan (UNIT corporal), Peter Roy (Policeman), Michael Ely (UNIT chauffeur), Francise Williams (African delegate/Master’s chauffeur), Laurence Harrington (Voices), Paul Tann (Chinese aide), Jim Delaney (Passer-by), Charles Saynor (Commissionaire), Basil Tang (Chinese chauffeur), Richard Atherton (Police Inspector)

Broadcast from January 30 through March 6, 1971

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: I remember as a kid, the cliffhanger in part one had quite an effect on me. The Doctor being almost literally scared to death of something? Even after the “more fallible” fifth Doctor in the person of Peter Davison, I found that revelation very shocking. It went a long way toward wiping out the implausible near-deification of the Doctor that took place during the Tom Baker era (usually at Mr. Baker’s behest).

As with many six-parters of its era, The Mind Of Evil, or MOE as I like to call it, suffers from a certain amount of padding in the form of characters being captured, escaping, being recaptured, and so on. That said, MOE also contains the largest-scale demonstration of UNIT in action that the series mustered up until Battlefield in 1989, with some excellent action sequences, stunts and directing.

The Master continues to establish that he’s a Really Evil Guy here, what with the oddity of him sitting around and smoking cigars in an evil way – a trait which was done away with just as quickly. Smoking’s bad, whether you’re evil or not, and at this point Doctor Who was still considered a children’s series.

Mind Of Evil is also one of the only instances of a 1970s Doctor Who story whose music was preserved, albeit in a small way – Dudley Simpson arranged a suite of music, including the Master’s theme, the Keller Machine theme, and some of the hijacking scene music, called “The World Of Doctor Who” which was first released as a B-side on 45s of the series theme in the early 1970s. That music lives on today on such compilations as Earthshock: Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

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