Doctor Who – The Mind Robber

045I have a half written Tomb of the Cybermen review that I was going to put up but then I remembered this utterly fantastic story and decided to do that instead for my second Doctor post.  As it reinforces my literary love, proof that you don’t need great effects just a wonderful story and imagination…as long as are willing to suspend your disbelief, Shakespeare style that is.

What better to entice us in than a story all about words and the creative imaginations of some of the finest writers and dreamers around.  Often at the BBC innovative crew were needed due to the budgetary requirements placed upon the show, but this serves to demonstrate the inventiveness that the programme has become known for.

After an accident with the TARDIS, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie are transported into a dimension where fiction rules. Here they encounter a range of fictional characters and some ominous White Robots.

The product description on the back of the DVD is admittedly not very rock ‘n’ roll but that belies the sheer fun of the story.   Especially considering all the problems it encountered, like the numerous rewrites, having to add an extra episode into the mix at short notice and one of the regular cast of characters going down with chicken pox during the filming of episode two and the quite ingenious way they remedy that.

Everything about this episode is great, from the varied sets, to the acting chemistry and of course Wendy Padbury – who plays Zoe – having, for me, the classic companion dramatic scream.  Patrick Troughton is the doctor for this one and what a difference he is from the first, a playful, scruffy individual who nevertheless makes the role his own and so begins the versatility of the Doctor character.

The Mind Robber 1
a compelling view of the TARDIS console.

I am loath to talk to much about the story itself, for this is one of those stories that really should be experienced with the minimum of information before hand, with its fast paced nature, clever wordplay and visuals, and a wonderfully fresh romp through myth and literature it is perhaps unsurprising why it is one of my favouritest ever Doctor Who serials.

Whilst resisting the chance to wax lyrical about everything (and you’ll know what I mean once you watch it), a stand out for me is the lack of what would probably be known as the conventional villain, it’s a clever way of changing up the usual formula and is perfectly in keeping with the feel of fun and imaginative atmosphere which crosses boundaries with so many iconic and fascinating characters that we all know and love.

12 Replies to “Doctor Who – The Mind Robber”

  1. Now I have got to get me that one. I do believe I heard somewhere that Matt Smith based his Doctor on Patrick Troughton. Troughton and Hartnell were both together in the 1948 film Escape and a small part with him in the 1948 version of Hamlet. I knew his son or grandson were actors as well, but I found this while looking up his name:

    Something funny, I saw a picture a couple of days ago that made me think of you and another blogger friend that I follow. I will randomly post it in the next week if you don’t mind me tagging you in it


    1. I believe Smith watched The Tomb of the Cybermen and then had a forty minute conversation with Moffatt over bow ties and so forth which is a really great anecdote. I didn’t know Troughton and Hartnell acted together…if only they would have known at the time….That film sounds interesting, it will be great to see the origins of the show and how it came about and how these guys influenced how it would take form…I wonder if it will be shown here when it comes out…I do hope so.

      By all means feel free to tag me, I am hoping to be around more next week, to take in people’s blogs. at the moment I am grabbing my time where I can but shall be more consistent next week. I don’t like to be away from people’s writings for to long, if I can help it.


      1. I’m thinking it will as it is due for TV release in November for the anniversary I expect. I know it was only going to be 13 episodes. What a great way to go though. Would be very good if they could do some way of The Twelve Doctors. That would be very good.

        Thanks. I want to get permission from the other person to tag them as well before I post it and name names LOL


        1. the Twelve Doctors would be mind blowing lol. I am hoping for obscure references aplenty and a bunch of cameos as well though! Any excuse to get all nerdy really. November is going to exciting…I am hoping that they have secretly kept a few of the missing episodes back that will be aired around 23rd so we can all get even more giddy about the forthcoming epic. The hundred year anniversary will be even more epic lol.


            1. That’s a cracking trailer, I do love a good retrospective look, especially educating the fans who have come to it late and have yet to experience the rich history of the show. It’s gearing up to be exciting…It’s going to be a challenge, squeezing in all the posts I had planned before the big day.


              1. You have 34 days 🙂 It is a good trailer. I have watched it back several times and on slow so I can spot the Docs. I liked the way they changed Hartnell to colour.


                1. They have really gone to town on the trailer…for once the Beeb puts money into the best shows. Priorities! I have about 15 or so more planned posts plus other stuff to keep the non Whovians happy, I could well be posting every day when it comes towards the big day lol. I like an challenge though.


                    1. I hope to be on one a day throughout but I am that shabby at planning that I have no idea. I could have done with having started them a fortnight ago but without a TARDIS I will have to make do with the hand I have dealt myself lol.


  2. I read the review….saw the show….and am waiting for my t-shirt…kidding! I do believe with you as my aforementioned “intrepid guide to all things Who” I am on a roll with catching up with all the greatest of Classic Who before the epic 50th (of which I am still so very hopeful to see in the theatre locally!) This episode was epic in each way you described and I am even more intrigued to voraciously learn as much as I can about each Doctor before the 50th…quite a feat I know…but I also know you shall keep me on my toes and insure I complete this mission….deliciously so… xxxxx


    1. A T-shirt would be truly pic hehe. You are a wonderful and willing student and this pleases me no end that you would embrace the awesomely old skool Who and want more. There are plenty more episodes to see as well…and then the books and audios also hehe. xxxxx


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