The Mind Of Evil: Doctor Who: Season 8
The Mind Of Evil SYNOPSIS:
A demonstration of the Keller Machine at Stangmoor prison leaves a hardened criminal with the personality of a child. While at a Chinese/American Peace conference talks go awry when the American senator starts having hallucinations of Chinese dragons. The Doctor deduces the two events are connected.
Captain Chin Lee of the Chinese delegation is in actuality working for Professor Keller and transmitting the Keller Machines impulses to disrupt the conference. Keller arrives at Stangmoor prison following the murder of two people by the very events they fear the most in empty rooms. However Keller is actually the Master and helps the criminals take over the prison.
The Master lures the Doctor and Jo back to the prison and has them captured. The mind parasite inside the machine is now too strong to control and is killing people at random and he needs the Doctor come up with a method of controlling it.
Trapped at the prison they are unable to stop the master from carrying out his original plan to start world war three. Once he has Mailer and his fellow prisoners steal a gas missile from UNIT he plans to aim it at the peace conference and destroy all the delegates unless the Doctor deals with the Keller machine he won't be able to stop him.
Return to top of page
The Mind Of Evil DETAILS:
Return to top of page
The Mind Of Evil CAST & CREW
Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor)
Katy Manning (Jo Grant)
Nicholas Courtney — Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Richard Franklin — Captain Mike Yates
John Levene — Sergeant Benton
Roger Delgado — The Master
Fernanda Marlowe — Corporal Bell
Patrick Godfrey — Major Cosworth
Simon Lack — Kettering
Pik-Sen Lim — Chin Lee
Kristopher Kum — Fu Peng
Tommy Duggan — Senator Alcott
Raymond Westwell — Prison Governor
Michael Sheard — Dr Summers
Roy Purcell — Chief Prison Officer Powers
Eric Mason — Senior Prison Officer Green
Dave Carter, Bill Matthews, Barry Wade, Martin Gordon, Tony Jenkins — Prison Officers
Clive Scott — Linwood
Neil McCarthy — Barnham
William Marlowe — Mailer
Hayden Jones — Vosper
David Calderisi — Charlie
Johnny Barrs — Fuller
Matthew Walters — Main Gates Prisoner
Production Staff for Serial FFF:
Writer - Don Houghton
Director - Timothy Combe
Script editor - Terrance Dicks
Producer - Barry Letts
Return to top of page
The Mind Of Evil REVIEWS
Ok, so now we've heard from the extreme right or the Liberal Party's review now let's have a look at the Mind of Evil from a different perspective - one without bias. Ok The fact that it only exists in B & W is a drawback but thank the beeb for erasing the colour tapes at Grob's request. the Mind of evil is not bad. Actually think the firm family hand of Barry Letts is really not in full force here nor will be for a while.
Yes the Master's back but obviously not much has happened in the intervening six months between stories, You might have wanted a story called "The UNIT Team Do High Tea" But we got this instead. Ok The Master is back and has decided to raise the game playing stakes with the Doctor, plus wants his dematerialisation circuit too which the Doctor nicked of him in Terror of the Autons. Plus we got a good combination in big concept writer Don Houghton of Inferno and 'lets blow ALL the budget in this one' director Timothy Coombe of The Silurians fame. They do make a good combo as we get peace conferences, missile convoys, trucks, helicopters, motorcycles, prison riots and plenty of action set pieces, like the storming of a prison by UNIT and the hi-jack of the aforementioned missile convoy by a bunch of highly trained prisoners (?)
Think the Mind of Evil holds up well basically it's about the Master's attempt to start World War 3 on Earth using a funky brain parasite to first suck the Doctor into a trap and hopefully control his newly acquired foot soldiers if they get too obtuse. But then it goes AWOL and starts killing everyone. The prison sets are fantastically realistic and it has a more somber mood than stories yet to come.
Pertwee gives an understated performance in the Mind of Evil but he's become the fatherly figure and thrown his rebellious traits out the window but is still solid. (Tennant's sometime OTT scenery chewing would've grated in this one as it often does) Jo is more likable and less helpless in this one and her chemistry with the Doctor is solidified here. The Brig has yet to become the buffoon of later stories and still carries presence and Benton & Yates are used well and of the supporting players - Dr Summers, Barnum and Mailer are all wortha mention. Nice try at doing things on a grand scale and yes funny how Houghton and Ferguson were given the heave -ho from the production team by Uncle Barry for trying to turn Dr who into a James Bond type production 8/10.
p.s. in the story Chin Lee ( the Chinese gal) had gone off to convalesce, in reality Grob she had to take off to film Mind Your Language)
Terry: "Okay Ba-wee, the Master comes into the woom...." Barry: "Sorry Terrence, thats to violent. Think of something else." Terry: "Okaaaaaaaaaaayyy..... the Master comes into the woom with some flowers in his hands." Barry: "Good! What next?" Terry: "He walks over to a table." Barry: "Nope. Too scary. Soften it down." Terry: "Hmmmmmmmmm......he walks over to a basket of fluffy grey kittens." Barry: "Excellent!"
This pretty much sums up the Barry Letts era of the show doesn't it? However, its on with the show and its now six months since that nasty incident with the Master and the plastic flowers. Its now the master and the keller machine. Get used to the Master kids; he's gonna be coming back for more week after week. Same ludicrous plots, same fucked up plan with some brainless aliens and the same old "oops; I'm over my head on this one!" ending where the Doctor has to rescue him to get him out of it. Tragic and predictable. Oh; and he gets away. AGAIN!! Like almost all Pertwee six parters the Mind Of Evil has enough padding to open another Franco Cozzo furniture shop. If it were told in four parts it would have been great. Six; well its got tonnes of the capture, escape, recapture things again.
Not only that but we have the ludicrous subplot of a nerve gas missile being trundled around the countryside like Tim's aunt on a Sunday drive while a Peace Conference is going on. Then there is the Keller machine that freaks people out by showing them their worst fears. For Tim it would be Carlton merging with Collingwood. For Grob it would be seeing the Colin Baker era of Doctor Who. For Goldby; well............ probably seeing his GI Joe man melt or something. Anyway, none of these plot elements has anything to do with any other plot element and thats probably the main fault of the Mind of Evil. Its just a bunch of loose plot threads that try to do something and fail so they get tossed aside. Example; you know the hot Chinese captain with the cute ass and perky boobies? What happened to her? She just disappears. Pertwee phoned his performance in for this one and I'd like to give him a whack for doing so.
It just goes to prove that David Tennant - twenty years Pertwee's junior knows how to work any scene he is in. Pertwee here doesn't give a fuck. And therefore, why should I? The Brig has now been softened so much by Barry Letts that he is a buffoon. And Benton is now an idiot soldier with comic relief. And Jo? She does a little better here; she has a go at overpowering a villain and gives the Doctor a chance to escape (but he decides to hang around and do nothing - again, that's acting!) Oh and we can't forget Mike Yates. Yes we can. He's a personality-free zone if ever there was. As a side note, I remember being scared of the Keller machine when I was a kid with it appearing and disappearing all the time. Now; I'm doing a Pertwee. And I couldn't give a fuck.
BTW - Did you know that the Chinese girl from Mind your language was also Don Haughton's wife?
I've only seen the Mind of Evil 1 and a half times, so I don't think I can give it as detailed a review as you guys... but I certainly don't think it's terrible... on the other hand, I don't think it's brilliant... it's a bit confusing, and I wonder if some of that's because of the padding? OK, so the Master is using this machine to control people to try and capture a missile and start world war 3... or something like that... why does he need the machine when he can hypnotise them all anyway?
Maybe it's the machine itself that makes The Mind of Evil a bit confusing and muddled? The Master's plan is kind of logical and well in character - it's just the whole Keller machine thing that doesn't seem right. It's probably a more plausible World War 3 plot than, maybe, some over sized flatulent babies who dress up as the English Government and wage a war to destroy the planet and sell it off as space junk... or something!
Anyway, I like what's starting to form here with the UNIT family, and you can see the chemistry there already between the Doc and Jo...