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on 17 March 2000
A very good and effective story line - Frankenstein meets Dr Who. The concept of mind control in 1971 was not new, even for Dr Who (the Mind Robber). However, this story line allowed Pertwee to excercise his natural superiority to its full. His flipant dealings with the so called experts at the start, his natural assuming of control at the prison plus his typical condesention of the Master come thru very pertly in this story, as they do in most Pertwee story lines. I think the best part of the story (as I recall even from 30 years ago) was firstly, the creepy idea of a machine (or intelligence) causing one to face up to ones most horrid fears (and lose) and then secondly, to find that the good Doctor himself was subject to the same! I couldn't sleep for days after that!
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on 23 March 2012
1971's The Mind of Evil is not as cared for, or even as acknowledged as much as serials like Terror of the Autons and The Daemons in fandom these days. Mainly I suppose this is because it is the only Jon Pertwee story to exist completely in Black & White. This I find a shame as The Mind of Evil is one of the best realized and strongest stories of the whole Master season. Firstly, the cinematography by director Tim Combe is highly atmospheric and very realistic in terms of what the program's makers had to work with back then. Secondly, the 6 episode length allows for some of those brilliant character moments that get lost in the average pacy 4 parters, such as the Doctor and the Master's bickering and the Brig's comic moments. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the Black & White imagery lends much more realism and atmosphere to the story, the sets look more convincing and the location work sublime. My theory behind this comes from the 5 minutes of surviving colour footage that is included at the end of the tape, its looks terrible in comparison to the B&W scenes, the sets really show up there weaknesses when shown in the cold light of colour and are less impressive than in the current surviving format.

Both Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado put in some extremely strong performances here as the Doctor and the Master. Jon Pertwee, as always, leads the story with no sigh of strain. Roger Delgado simply adds to this by having the Master ponder half the serials running time smoking cigars from the luxury of his chauffeur driven Roller. This only adds to the enjoyment of the character and the stupendous-ness of the story. The plot ain't half bad either, the whole concept of the Master stealing a deadly gas filled missile is something more believable than plastic control, doomsday files and Devils. I would even go so far as to say that this is Doctor Who at its best and most believable, the story very reminiscent of the popular police and crime series that pervaded our screens at the time.

Katy Manning only adds to the effectiveness of the serial, I always had a soft spot for Jo and here, with this being only her second story on Who, is at her emotional and characterful best. Her genuine affection for bad-boy-made-good Barnham is quite touching at times, she imbues Jo with another dimension rarely seen in the program of absolute emotion and care. To this end, Jo has one of her best outings in this adventure. Also on top form is the charismatic Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart as played by long term regular Nicholas Courtney. Nic completes and makes any story his character is in instantly enjoyable for me, the Brig's relationship between both the Doctor and the Master is as equally important as the others vice-versa.

The now outdated BBC Video release of 1998 has seen this story cleaned up and had all its 6 episodes remastered in B&W as near as possible to the original broadcast standard. The exciting part for fans of the story and the Pertwee adventures as a whole comes in 2013, when all 6 episodes will be released on to DVD fully and digitally remastered in COLOUR!!! Even the troublesome episode 1 which could not be colour recovered like episodes 2,3,4,5,6 has been returned to full colour by a new member of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. This will make the story complete in colour for the first time in over 30 years. As I have stated clearly above though, I believe the story will lose alot of its atmosphere when coloured, but hey, its another cracking Pertwee story released as originally broadcast so I have no reason to moan, after all, I can always turn the colour down on my TV, but I can assure you that I am as eager as the next fan to watch this brilliant story in full colour!!!

Many thanks for your time in reading my review, it's greatly appreciated,

M.B.
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on 16 December 2010
The first thing that struck me about this episode is the level of violence; rioting, punch-ups and shoot-outs and a rather high body count. All of which make it rather exciting, but not really suitable for children. The threat in this episode is also rather abstract and more likely to scare adults than kids. If you believe that Doctor Who is just a children's show then I'm sure this story will change your mind.

The main enemy is the Keller Machine, a intelligent mind-controlling machine, created by the Master, which develops a life of its own. The action takes place in a prison, where the machine is being used to remove criminal impulses from the inmates, but ends up resulting in a violent uprising. Some viewers don't like the Keller machine because it is too passive an enemy, but for me that is the very quality that makes it, and the whole concept of mind control, so unnerving. You can't fight it, nor can you hide from it. The subject of brainwashing was acute back in the days of the Cold War but is still relevant today, in the context of fundamentalism for example. The wider story revolves around a peace conference and negotiations with the Chinese, (which the Master hopes to disrupt). These are all strangely contemporary themes, so the story doesn't feel like it's based on old concepts.

The story is a good example of Doctor Who working at it's best, i.e within its limits. A great script from Don Houghton. No dodgy sets or monster costumes. The use of real props and locations.

The performances are great, though I will give special mention to Jon Pertwee, I can't help it. His distress during the Keller Machine attack and after as he come to terms with a very near death experience is a great piece of acting. Jo is manhandled in the most unchivalrous manner during the prison riot, spending much of the time with a gun pointed three inches from her face, but eventually gets her own back by shooting one of her assailants in the backside.

The machine scares its victims to death by confronting them with their greatest fear. The best moment for me is when the machine attacks the Master and we find out what he fears most in the universe, its quite a revelation.
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on 7 September 2007
While a machine that sucks out all of the criminal intentions from the human brain may sound beneficial; it presents a unique problem for The Doctor, his companion Jo Grant, and the world in general, in this memorable six-part serial from the early 70s period of the long-running show.

The insidious Master has, using an alter-ego, created a machine that supposedly cures violent criminals and makes them fit for re-integration into society. The Brigadier despatches The Doctor and Jo Grant to witness the first demonstration of the machine in action, and what they see is hard-core thug Barnham (Neil McCarthy) seemingly transformed into a sweet and gentle man, thanks to the revolutionary machine.
Of course, The Doctor is rightly suspicious, and when people who have been near the machine begin dying unnaturally, he unearths The Master's diabolical plan...

I have heard bad things about this serial and until recently I only knew the story through the 1985 Target novelisation. Finally getting to see it on the small screen, I was pleasantly surprised; despite the era's relatively weak special effects and film quality, the serial went some way to matching the novelisation for charm, imagination and yet another showdown between The Doctor and his arch-enemy The Master. Whilst the action is spread somewhat thinly over the now unimaginable six half-hour episodes, there is plenty going-on and it actually gives space for the burgeoning relationship between The Doctor and his assistant to flourish. All six parts are in black and white; although the few colour scenes that remain are included on this VHS, after the serial has been shown in its entirety.

I believe that 2Entertain have a DVD version, complete with colour restoration, in the pipeline; in the meantime this is a watchable version and highly recommended as a fine example of early 1970s Doctor Who.
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on 2 July 2001
The Master returns for his second outing, which contains plenty of enjoyable moments.The eerie and effective noise that The Keller Machine emitts, is the most brilliant thing about it. There are superb performances from all the cast, and some excellent characters portryed. If you haven't seen this yet, then I advise you buy it!
Simon Bannister
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on 27 September 2003
Hmmm. This one was a bit of a disappointment, I'm afraid. I was expecting this to be just as good as Pertwee's other opening episodes, but it failed to do so. It has its plus points, of course, earning it the 3 stars. UNIT get to run about in proper military fashion and raid a prison, which is cool, Roger Delgado is The Master, a role which can't go awry no matter what you do, and Jon Pertwee is the Doctor, again, flawless performance. But the problem is nothing happens for a long period of time. The first four episodes seem to drag for ages, and only when the Krendler Machine starts to operate properly and the plot shifts up a gear in the final two parts that this story shows the potential it had. Not really bad, just not as good as it should have been.
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