THE MIND OF EVIL was the last story with
the same tone of the wonderful season 7 before producer Barry Letts changed the series tone to where it would remain for the
rest of the Third Doctor stories. Due to the color tapes being wiped back in
the 1970s after the show was aired, this story was only available to see in black and white (except for four and a half minutes
of one of the episodes from an off-the-air tape recording) until episodes two through six were restored to color using the
revolutionary Colour Recovery Process and having episode one hand colored last year.
I only saw THE MIND OF EVIL once or twice back in the 1990s, and I sadly don’t remember much about it at all. I like the color on the color recovered episodes more than the colorized version
even though sometimes the color in episodes two to six can be uneven at times. The
color in the later episodes seems more natural than the colorized job of episode one (which had no color signal hidden in
the black and white film print to recover).
THE MIND OF EVIL starts with the Doctor
(Jon Pertwee) and Jo Grant (Katy Manning) visiting Stangmoor Prison to examine the Keller Machine which takes out all the
evil from a prisoner’s mind, but something goes wrong and the Doctor stays to investigate further after a series of
people start to die around the machine. Meanwhile, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
(Nicholas Courtney) and UNIT are handling the security for the first World Peace Conference, but tensions rise as Captain
Chin Lee (Pik-Sen Lee) starts to act strangely before and after the death of the leader of the Chinese delegation. The Doctor is convinced by Captain Yates to come back to investigate it while a prison riot breaks
out at Stangmoor. In the middle of this is the Master who is somehow connected
to Dr. Keller and is planning to steal the deadly Thunderbolt missile with plans to aim it at the peace conference.
THE MIND OF EVIL is a great story that
has no wasted space in the story as it is able to weave two seemingly unrelated plots into one. Some of the longer Doctor Who stories can be rightly accused of padding things out while this story has
no padding. Each moment is there to move the plot along and develop it. It is the last holdover from season 7’s direction of taking Doctor Who into
a more adult and realistic direction as it plays out like a sci-fi spy thriller mixed in with a James Bond super villain plot. I know I will have to watch it again, but I have to say it is one of the better stories
of Season Eight. The action and the story are well directed with a great prison
set. Roger Delgado is classy and menacing as the Master. I do think the serial going over budget helped the production values which I think you can place the blame
on the budget equally on producer Barry Letts and Director Timothy Combe. Too
bad they didn’t consider Timothy to direct future Doctor Who stories due to the budget issues because he did a fab job
of directing his last Doctor Who story.
Audio commentary with Katy Manning (Jo
Grant), Pik-Sen Lim (Chin Lee), Fernanda Marlowe (Corporal Bell), stunt arranger Derek Ware, director Timothy Combe, producer
Barry Letts, and script editor Terrance Dicks as moderated by Toby Hadoke.
Production Notes subtitles tell the various
stages of the development of the story along with the usual behind-the-scenes info about the production and the cast.
THE MILITARY MIND- a making-of documentary
shot in 2009 has interviews with Nicholas Courtney, Pik-Sen Lim (wife of writer Don Houghton), Fernanda Marlowe, Timothy Combe,
Barry Letts, and Terrance Dicks at Dover Castle. It is nice to hear the thoughts
from the various cast and crew about this story and all clips from MIND OF EVIL appear in black and white (which means this
documentary was probably made before they even restored the serial to color).
NOW AND THEN compares what the locations
look like now compared to 1971. Many of the locations look the same.
BEHIND THE SCENES: TELEVISION CENTRE- Television
presenter Norman Tozer visits BBC Television Centre (once the center of TV operations for the BBC) for 24 hours back in 1971
as he takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes look of the many departments needed to make TV dramas (including a look at the
special effects for Doctor Who, the filming of Cousin Bette, and prepping the stages for the shooting of an episode of Z Cars
shooting on the next day).
A five minute photo gallery slideshow of
production and behind-the-scenes stills set to music from the serial.
A coming soon trailer for the SPEARHEAD
FROM SPACE Blu-ray and PDF materials (1971 Radio Times listings and a Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks promotion) round out the
FINAL ANALYSIS: THE MIND OF EVIL is one of the better early Pertwee stories that is great to finally see in color.
This DVD review is (c)6-25-2013 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Media on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/enterlinemediaweb and follow on tumblr at http://enterlinemedia.tumblr.com