With the release of The
Mind of Evil, all of the Doctor Who adventures featuring Jon
Pertwee as the
long-lived Time Lord are available on home video. Pertwee
is my favorite actor to play the role
during the first run of the show, and the idea of owning all of his
on the show still makes me a bit giddy.
It's a good story also, featuring his arch nemesis, The Master,
machine that removes all of the evil from a person, but at a cost. The restoration of this installment was a long
and difficult process, and while the results aren't spectacular, it's
disc worth owning.
The Doctor and Jo have travelled to Stangmoor Prison, a
converted castle dating back to the Middle Ages, to witness the newest
technological advance in the treatment of violent criminals: the Keller Machine. This
device, successfully tested in Sweden, removes
all of the evil from a convict, and stores it inside the machine is a
container. The Doctor thinks that it's a
horrible idea and that the machine is dangerous, but when a hardened
is turned into a docile and calm person, he (and Jo) are the only ones
Meanwhile back in London,
the Brigadier is in charge of security for the first World Peace
and he has his hands full. Not only are
the logistics a nightmare, but the Chinese delegation claims that some
important papers were stolen from their rooms, even though UNIT troops
posted on the doors around the clock. On
top of that UNIT is to supervise the transportation of a nuclear
(filled with nerve gas) that is going to be decommissioned. When it's revealed that the documents were
taken by the same member of the Chinese staff who lodged the complaint,
clear that something is up, especially when she is taking orders from
Meanwhile back at the prison, people start dying under
mysterious circumstances, and always while in the room with the Keller
Machine. The Doctor wants the machine
dismantled but the warden doesn't have the authority to do that, and
prisoners riot and capture Jo, it may be too late anyway.
To add to their trouble the machine, created
by The Master naturally, isn't getting enough Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½evil' to feed on and
searching for a source of food on its own.
This is a show that has all of the elements that made
Pertwee's run so enjoyable. Jo Grant
(played by Katy Manning) is pretty and perky, and though she does spend
of time being a hostage, she manages to help the Doctor at the right
time. The Master is conniving yet debonair
scheme is so grand that you can't help but admire his audacity. The Doctor himself is in fine form, being
both aggravated by the humans that he's surrounded by but also very
of them. This story also ties into some
of the political realities of the day and Cold War paranoia and fear in
way and avoids overdoing it.
The thing that surprised me the most was that this six-part
story didn't drag or feel padded, as is often the case.
The plot moves along at a good clip with a
new plot twist almost every episode.
There are a few competing storylines, but the episodes never
and the story is never confusing.
Overall it's a solid show that has aged quite well and is sure
This release is a two-disc affair. The seven-episode story is on disc
the second one is reserved for the bulk of the special features.
This show comes with the original mono soundtrack that fits the show
fine. The dynamic range is nothing to write home about, but the
generally crisp and clear and there is no background noise, tape hiss,
distortion or dropouts. There are optional subtitles in English.
I've been a fan of all of the work the Restoration Team has done
Doctor Who and making it look better than it has in decades, but this
first time I've been a bit disappointed.
None of the chapters from this story survive in color. Luckily the BBC does have B&W copies, and
the Team used the chorma dots Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½hidden' in the surviving copies to
color for chapters 2-6 (I'll talk about chapter one in a moment.) The results aren't that impressive. The facial tones are pasty and they don't
look quite authentic. The tones shift
when the camera pans too, and this can be quite distracting when
large background space. In one scene
when UNIT troops are storming a castle the sky has splotches of color
constantly shifting and the same thing happens with the brick walls of
prison. Honestly, I would have preferred
that they restored the B&W image and just forgotten about trying to
The chroma dots had been wiped from the first episode, so
another method had to be utilized. In
this case they colorized it and
results, while not perfect, and very good.
The first episode looks better than the rest by a wide margin.
This two-disc set has some nice extras, as always.
First off is a commentary track with a large
assortment of actors and behind-the-camera crew including Katy Manning,
Lim, Fernanda Marlowe (who played UNIT Corporal Bell in several Season
adventures), Timothy Combe, Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and Derek Ware. The whole thing is moderated by Toby Hadoke. Like the other commentary tracks, this one is
fun and engaging and there are lots of amusing anecdotes revealed about
creation of this adventure and the people who helped make it.
The video bonus items include an excellent 22-minute making-of
featurette, The Military Mind. In
it some of the cast and crew return to the
shooting location of Dover
the story. There's also a short Now and Then feature comparing the
castle now to what it looked like in the story (there's not much
actually). The other video extra is
Behind the Scenes: Television Center,
a 24-minute look at how TV shows are created that was filmed back in
1971. It's a cute piece, obviously aimed
younger audience, but there was some interesting information too, like
that many of the floors on BBC shows, from wood to tile to linoleum,
actually just painted onto concrete.
In addition there is a pop-up informational text option
which is very informative as always. It does give some dry
statistics, like how many people viewed each episode, but there are
interesting notes such as script changes that were made and background
information on the supporting characters. The extras are rounded
storyboard comparison, a trailer for the story, a photo gallery, and
listing from the Radio Times in .pdf format.
This was a very good story that features many of the traits
that made Jon Pertwee's run on the show so enjoyable and fun. There's a cracking mystery, some nice
villains, and a threat to the world.
What more could you want? The
only drawback is the image. Though the
Restoration Team did a lot with what they had to work with, the end
isn't spectacular. Even so, that
shouldn't stop anyone from searching this out.
The disc gets a strong Recommended