Number : Season 6, serial 2 of 7.

Which One : The [alien] mind robber!

Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Zoe : Wendy Padbury
The Master : Emrys Jones
Gulliver : Bernard Horsfall
Karkus : Christopher Robbie
Medusa : Sue Pulford
Redcoat : Philip Ryan
Princess Rapunzel : Christine Pirie
D’Artagnan / Sir Lancelot : John Greenwood
Cyrano : David Cannon
Blackbeard : Gerry Wain

Written By : Derrick Sherwin & Peter Ling

Produced By : Peter Bryant

First UK Broadcast : 14 September – 12 October 1968.

Length : 5 x 20 minute episodes.

Plot : After escaping events in The Dominators, the Second Doctor, Jamie – and Zoe are drawn into a deadly land of fiction. Where the Tardis has been destroyed and fictional Earth characters; seem to come alive – at every turn.

Whats good : Mixing classic and sci-fi concepts – into one story. A more satisfying reworking of Celestial Toymaker. Lots of neat touches and good ideas. Jamie with a new face to cover the fact that the actor was unavailable. Gulliver. The clockwork soldiers and robots.

Whats bad : Krakus is a bit lame. The later parts are a bit too pantomime. The famous Tardis interior circles are (on the restored picture), an obvious looking 2D backdrop.

Review With Spoilers : The Mind Robber, is a much better realised retread of The Celestial Toymaker, for taking Earth popular culture – and melding it with an alien influence.

It’s plausible as to why Earth influence, can be found outside of known reality. As it’s the humans themselves, whose minds are plundered for the material – to create these bizarre realities; by the alien – Mind Robber.

The Mind Robber, turns out to be an artificial intelligence; within a computer; who kidnapped a Victorian human writer, called ‘The Master’ (no relation to the Timelord) – to power it’s imagination.

Of course, The Master is getting old – and after a millennia, he wants the Doctor to replace him (much to the Doctor’s obvious reluctance to agree willingly!).

The Mind Robber, has a multitude of good ideas and neat touches in it. Jamie’s face changing (played by a different actor for a time), due to the Doctor failing an identi-kit challenge (this was done due to Frazer Hines being unavailable).

Other nice thouches include; the ‘forest’ of words, the creepy clockwork soldiers and the ‘white void’. Unlike, The Celestial Toymaker which unwisely settled for a boring gameshow-task setup; which wasn’t inventive enough – to callenge the First Doctor, Steven and Dodo.

Who regular – character actor; Bernard Horsfall – impresses (as usual), playing a very unfazed and laidback Gulliver. A fictional character created – from the mind of The Master, who pops up throughout The Mind Robber.

“No, Jamie. Don’t you see? Those pictures that you and Zoe saw on the scanner were put there. Obviously put there to tempt you to go outside!” The Doctor

Other fictional characters turn up; the Medusa, The Minotaur, Rapunzel, Dartangan, Blackbeard The Pirate – and even a Unicorn.

The stupidest element here, though – is definately ‘Krakus’ who is invented for this show (Krakus is supposed to be a fictional character from a newpaper comic strip (popular with the children of Zoe’s time). In reality, he’s a tall, thin looking man, in a muscle top; pretending to be the intergalactic equivilent of WWE’s – the Ultimate Warrior.

The early episodes – are much better, when the Tardis impressively explodes – leaving the trio clinging to the Tardis console, floating in space. It’s an illusion though, intended to confuse the trio.

The white void environment, which the Tardis first lands in; which tempts the companions to leave the safety of the Tardis, with eerie “pleasing” hallucinations.

The trio then attempt to negotiate the forest of words, whilst the creepy ticking of the clockwork soldiers; gets nearer.

The later episodes – aren’t as sharp though, as the serial veers into sheer pantomine; with all of the larger-than-life fictional characters on screen; interacting together.

The Mind Robber is a clever pastiche of Earth literature and alien concepts; that is limitless – in its possibilities and good ideas. Some of the set pieces and characters, don’t deliver but for the most part; it is much better – than The Celestial Toymaker.

????⚪ (3.5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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