The Mind Robber

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is faced with an emergency that forces him to yank the TARDIS out of the dimension of reality. The TARDIS arrives in a seemingly empty space outside of time, but the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are not alone – someone wants them there and intends to force them to stay if necessary. The empty space is filled by the fiction that comes from human imagination – and the very tired human abductee, whose mind is being constantly tapped to keep the Land of Fiction alive, nominates the Doctor as his replacement for a job that can never be vacated.

Order this story on DVDDownload this episodewritten by Peter Ling and Derrick Sherwin
directed by David Mahoney
music not credited

Guest Cast: Emrys Jones (The Master), John Atterbury, Ralph Carrigan, Bill Weisener, Terry Wright (White Robots), Hamish Wilson (Jamie), Philip Ryan (Redcoat), Bernard Horsfall (Gulliver), Barbara Loft, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Timothy Horton, Martin Langley, Christopher Reynolds, David Reynolds (Children), Paul Alexander, Ian Hines, Richard Ireson (Clockwork Soldiers), Christine Pirie (Rapunzel / Book Narrator), Sue Pulford (Medusa), Richard Ireson (Minotaur), Christopher Robbie (Karkus), David Cannon (Cyrano), John Greenwood (D’Artagnan / Lancelot), Gerry Wain (Blackbeard)

Broadcast from September 14 through October 12, 1968

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

This very bizarre five-parter sometimes gets a little silly toward the middle, but the first half-hour episode is probably my favorite single episode of Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor. There’s mystery, danger, and a very abstract sense of the unknown. Some 25 years before the premiere episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was shown, the idea of people wandering around in a shapeless white void was probably quite novel and unsettling. In parts two and three, things become rather silly as the Doctor is surrounded by a herd of sinister schoolchildren, and Jamie’s face is stolen, forcing the Doctor to restore his friend’s appearance. In order to give Frazer Hines a break from Doctor Who’s hectic, almost-year-round production schedule in those days, the story dictated that the Doctor would accidentally give Jamie the wrong face, allowing Hamish Wilson to take over the part for a couple of episodes. It’s a rather strange little twist, although I do understand the real-life necessity behind it.

One often-overlooked scene in part four redresses, at least in a token manner, the accusation of sexism frequently leveled at Doctor Who. It’s rather amusing when Zoe beats up a comic strip villain from her own time. And speaking of villains, “The Master” listed in the credits is not the same character later immortalized by Roger Delgado.

The Mind Robber is a good little adventure, entertaining for all ages in much the same way as the scary fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.