The Brain Of Morbius: Doctor Who: Season 13
The Brain Of Morbius SYNOPSIS:
Morbius is dead but his brain is very much alive. His former surgeon Dr Solon is making a new body to house the brain of Morbius and the Time Lords have dispatched the Doctor and Sarah on another incognito mission.
When the Tardis lands on storm lashed Karn, the Doctor is annoyed, believing the Time Lords have dispatched him on another mission. He and Sarah trek to a nearby castle where residing is renown galactic surgeon Dr. Solon and his servant Condo. Unbeknown to the travellers in the bowels of the castle is renegade TIme Lord Morbius or rather the brain of morbius suspended in a tank. Unbeknown to both parties they are being observed by the sisterhood of Karn.
Unbeknown to both parties they are being observed by the sisterhood of Karn, the keepers of the exilir of life. Solon is creating a body of many parts to house the brain of his master Morbius, he intends to use the Doctor's head for the brain but the Doctor is spirited away by the sisterhood who believe the Timelords have sent him to steal their elixir.
Though Sarah is near permanently blinded in her successful attempt to save the Doctor being burnt at the stake, the Doctor is now convinced the Brian of Morbius exists and he must stop Solon before he and Condo manage to re-activate Morbius in his new body.
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The Brain Of Morbius SERIAL DETAILS:
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The Brain Of Morbius CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Philip Madoc — Doctor Solon
Colin Fay — Condo
Michael Spice — Voice of Morbius
Stuart Fell — Morbius Monster
Cynthia Grenville — Maren
Gilly Brown — Ohica
Sue Bishop, Janie Kells, Gabrielle Mowbray, Veronica Ridge — Sisters
John Scott Martin — Kriz
Production Staff for Serial 4K:
Writer - "Robin Bland” (Terrance Dicks rewritten by Robert Holmes)
Director - Christopher Barry
Script editor - Robert Holmes
Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe
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The Brain Of Morbius REVIEWS
The Brain Of Morbius or the tagline:-"powerless against the strength of MOOOOORRR-BBBBBBBBBIUUUUUUUUSSSSS!" Always remember that line and how hammy it sounds. But Michael Spice who provides the voice can vary between a good and a OTT hammy actor. Just wait for his next major Who villain only a year after this. Hmmmm, this is interesting, don't think I saw it until years after the rest of the season because it was always 'banned for being too violent' and it does have violence in spades, Insects heads are cut off, gory headless bodies twitch, brains float in tanks, Guts are shot out in huge eruptions of blood, people are nearly burned at the stake or are choked by claws, killed by Arsenic gas..... there may be something in that.
It's gothic horror in full swing, gloomy castle's, flickering candles and storm lashed planets, the atmosphere is there, it's extremely well acted by the leads and the guest players and the interior designs like Solon's laboratory are fantastic as is the lighting. The Frankenstein story gets the Dr who treatment and it's well done. But something's missing. Maybe it's the fact I didn't see this as a kid and so never got scared silly by it. Maybe it's because exteriors of Karn look too much like a studio set, or there's too much focus on the Sisterhood, who are lets face it, a stupid bunch of young biddies, led by an old biddy.
Can tell why these sisters are all uptight when a man's around. But Maran is well played and who wasn't attracted to her right hand man…err woman? Dr. Solon has got to be one of the best bad guys ever in the series, Madoc's great;charming, benevolent one minute, egocentric, scheming and whispering evil the next, or pleading for his life, talking his way out of trouble or bullying Condo. He made the guy a multi-faceted character fascinating to watch….and acting with a glowing rubber brain and making it believable. How did he not crack up laughing? Worth watching for his performance alone and a great double act with Condo…"you chicken brained biological disaster" what a great insult to use on anyone…Once in his new body Morbius is great too, full of arrogance, but easily offended by remarks about his new body "chop suey - the galactic emperor". This one has some of the most quotable Who lines ever!! The mind bending thing apparently created some controversy but we never saw the Hartnell incarnation as a young man so some of those other faces still could have been earlier first Doctor.
Ah well it ends how Frankenstein movies end and we quickly move on but still there was something missing…maybe because it was studio bound, not sure but overly the Brain Of Morbius is not fully satisfying. 7/10
The Brain Of Morbius is killingly funny...God I love a comedy. And a comedy involving a brain that has come adrift from its parent body is even better. But not only that, Holmes, Hinchcliffe and Uncle Tewwence unashamedly rip off every Frankenstein movie ever created. We got castles, we got lightning we got a nutbag scientist (who WAS good, now he's evil. Or misunderstood), we got the deformed assistant with a hump, we got lightning powered generators, we got rocks, we got rain, we got a monster made out of other monsters, we got flaming torches, we got sisterhoods, we got.........we got it all. Its fucking MADNESS!!!!
Dr Tom arrives on Karn in a grumpy mood and off he and Sarah trot to the nearest castle. Dr Solon almost has a triple orgasm after seeing Tom and immediately wants his head. Meanwhile on another part of the planet the Sisterhood want the rest of him. Sarah goes blind and stumbles across a brain in a jar powered by a light bulb. Meanwhile, a monster with a goldfish bowl for a head and doorknobs for eyes goes on the loose cos it has discovered that it hasn't got any groin tackle. The monster and the Doctor have a dance with the mind probe and we discover that the Doctor once used to be members of the Dr Who production team. Things blow up, the monster goes over the cliff and the Doctor and Sarah piss off again. Its just freaking nuts!
What else about this little gem? Tom Baker does a pretty nice job acting drunk before he passes out so obviously he is drawing on some real life adventures there for inspiration. The sisterhood doing the Nutbush dance and waving whatever those ornamental things were. And speaking of which, Maren's second-in-command - aside I'd slip one up her jackseye (bonus point there) can't really act for peanuts. And who wasn't laughing themselves when the brain hit the floor and Solon had to pick it up and caress it back to life? Not only that, but Phillip Madoc played that scene STRAIGHT!!!!!
Now, for the sake of getting my own personal Who history down, I saw Brain Of Morbius when it was screened really late at night on the ABC at about 10.30 or so and it was the edited down to an hour length movie. Brain Of Morbius was also shown over the summer period and I was watching at my parents holiday home in Dromana on a black and white TV that went static every ten seconds. So by the end of it, I really had a grip on what this story was about! Anyway, I'm going an 8 outta 10.
The Brain Of Morbius -This is a tough one to rate from this era, cos we never got to see it in this era… we always went straight from Android Invasion into Seeds of Doom. In a series full of unique, new (and never to be repeated on screen!) and exceptionally well realised monsters, we get Morbius. Well Morbius is certainly new, unique, and is a fantastic character… but unfortunately he's not well realised. I know he's not supposed to be, but still, I'm sorry, but I found the Candyman more menacing than the patchwork quilt that was Morbius. I also wasn't really a big fan of the witches… sorry, the Sisterhood. I found them very wordy, and I remember dozing off a bit watching them for the first time (which I think was during the 1992 4:30am repeats!).
So because of the above, I sometimes think that Brain Of Morbius is a bit over-rated. That said - it's still a bloody good story with some brilliant performances. Neil Barnett is at his very best here as Solon. The "middle man" bad guy can sometimes be hit and miss, but he is perfect as the "boss" when it comes to manipulating Condo, and then equally as good as the "employee" when being bullied by Morbius. As I said, I'm not a big fan of the sisterhood, but I do like their part in the story… the elixir and it's good and evil qualities is really quintessential to the plot, as without it Morbius would never have had his earlier "evil" status… and it all works together well. And even as a big patchwork thing, Morbius does get pretty threatening with his brutality in part 4… but the fishbowl head? I'm still not sure about it.
I don't know what Terrance's original plan for the Sisterhood was, but I was reading last night that the thing that upset him the most was that Holmes had taken out the "robot" that Solon was using to collect the space junk and replaced it with Condo - saying that the robot was the key to the whole story… I think I prefer the elixir being the key, although maybe the original script had Morbius being transplanted into a Robot? Maybe he could have been Dratho? Maybe it was lucky Dicks never finished it! I like the story of the pseudonym though - apparently Dicks called Holmes after a holiday and was very angry about the changes. He gave the go ahead for the story, but said he didn't want his name on the credits. Holmes asked him what name he'd like to have, and Dicks said "I don't know, something bland" (inferring that's what the story had become). He said he cracked up when a few months later he saw in the TV guide "Brain of Morbius by Robyn Bland"… and the situation was totally defused!
The Doctor gives another faultless performance - and while "mind bending" is a bit of an easy way out, he plays the trauma of it all very well. Sarah does a fair job being blind too, although walking along the rocks to get to the monastery was pretty ordinary! So it was a bit hit and miss for me, but I'm feeling generous… 8.6/10
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