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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let's do the Mindbend again!", 27 May 2008
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Brain of Morbius [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
No mystery about the roots of this one, it never pretends to be anything other than Frankenstein. An almost operatic horror tale with ideas possibly nicked from House of Frankenstein, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, They Saved Hitler's Brain and many more.

Morbius is of course our monster and superbly played by Michael Spice (Magnus Greel later) in a voice only turn. When he talks of envying the life of a sponge it's sad and funny at the same time.

Uncle Tom is always at his best against a strong actor and Philip Madoc does a great turn as a Solon, scientist so completely mad that if he was real Channel 4 would do a documentary about him!

Elisabeth Sladen has been very self critical of her performance as a temporarily blinded Sarah. True she doesn't act like a blind person normally would but as she's only just been blinded, stumbling makes sense, and she barely moves her eyes. The moment when she regains her sight is wonderful.

Colin Fay is good as the obligatory deformed assistant engaging our sympathies although some over the top music mars him being shot at.

A good design for the monster which looks like spare parts and the sisterhood of Karn work well.

A great romp of a script where a confident team go all out for entertainment with humour stopping it being too grim. Uncle Tom describes his predesssor Great Uncle Jon as the "Old Grey Model" and Solon dips into the Bob Holmes bumper book of expletives you can use in a family show to describe the sisterhood.

The major lapse of logic is trusting Solon to dissect the monster, never mind. Like the multi doctors in the mindbend sequence, best not to think about it. Recommended for everyone.

There is a making of entitled "Getting a Head on Karn" which is great stuff. Terrance Dicks gives the low down on the original script and is funny recounting his feelings on the Bob Holmes version. Cynthia Grenville must have been a very young Maren as she only looks middle aged here and for my money she's the star of the documentary with a witty recounting of how she was cast and how she saved Uncle Tom from burning. Philip Madoc and Colin Fay are present with Dudley Simpson, director Chris Barry and a very youthful Gilly Brown, but sadly no Tom or Lis. Watch out for who thinks Morbius went too far!

"Designs on Karn" is not as good as the previous Barry Newberry featurette "Designing the Aztecs" featurette and probably should have been edited into "Getting a Head"

Great easter egg in the usual sort of place "A Letter to Robert Holmes" is "Points of View" style reading of a letter of complaint and Mr. Holmes reply.

The commentary is a good one with Uncle Tom, Lis, Philip Madoc, Chris Barry & Phlip Hinchcliffe. Tom is a little subdued at first but before long he's discussing "panting crumpet", never feeling cold next to Lis Sladen and laughing at his title sequence image and the "old Grey Model" line. They all clearly still love this story and so they should! A great package.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 May 2008 11:47:54 BDT
Being a Who fan of old, I always look forward ot reading your reviews; they always make me smile, and although I don't always agree totally with them, they are fun to read. Well done!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2008 12:05:08 BDT
Bob Marlowe says:
Thanks very much for your kind words, glad you enjoy them.

Posted on 2 Jun 2008 14:31:27 BDT
I absolutely agree - this is one of the series all-time classics. It would have been a great idea to release season 13 as a box set (TERROR OF THE ZYGONS, PLANET OF EVIL, PYRAMIDS OF MARS, THE ANDROID INVASION, THE BRAIN OF MORBIUS AND THE SEEDS OF DOOM) like they did with The Key to Time. Season 13 is, arguably, the greatest season in the show's history and a box set would have been *****, but they have already released half the season already so unlikely.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2008 15:35:21 BDT
Bob Marlowe says:
You never know, there may be a season boxset release in the future. A note in TV Zone about upcoming releases some time ago said there is some sort of plan for this.

Posted on 2 Jun 2008 19:54:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2008 20:58:23 BDT
Richard says:
A really great review for this classic gothic sci-fi horror tale. Very impressed.

Posted on 24 Jun 2008 22:39:31 BDT
I agree! More Tommentaries! Great reviews my friend.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2008 12:44:52 BDT
Bob Marlowe says:
Thanks the compliments, yours is a good review too cos it would give someone who hasn't seen it a sense of what the story's like.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jul 2008 09:55:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jul 2008 16:04:25 BDT
G. Young says:
A season 13 boxset would be amazing; (seasons 12 - 14 are the definative Doctor Who era in my opinion) I cannot wait for the future release of Terror of the Zygons and The Deadly Assassin. The Brain of Morbius is even better than I remember it, (I was six years old when I first saw it!) my question is, I have no real memory of The Android Invasion or The Seeds of Doom, would you regard these stories as classics? I love the 'alien planet' Dr. Who stories the most; Planet of Evil and Genesis of the Daleks being personal favourites. Anyway, if you have the time, I would love to hear what you think of the two (as yet unreleased) shows I have mentioned, if you remember them of course!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Aug 2008 12:47:07 BDT
Bob Marlowe says:
Android Invasion is bonkers but fun. Some rather fat slightly rhinolike creatures called the Kraals make a fake English village to train sleeper agent android copies. Strangely they have bothered to stock it with ginger pop (just in case a real humanoid turns up?).
It starts off quite mysterious and Uncle Tom, has fun as his robot double with an odd note creeping into his voice, and flinging aside the robot Sarah. As in all classic robot double stories the moment they are flung aside thei masks fall off!
There's a good cliff hanger as uncle Tom realises that they will be compressed to death as they return to Earth atmosphere but they don't really get out of it convincingly. Tom refers to Sarah's observation they are going to die as the one "flaw" in his plan.
Great fun but as the last Unit story for many years, we should have had the Brig. No classic and definitely Terry Nation's oddest script.

Seeds of Doom is a classic. Very gripping at the start with 2 eerie episodes in an Antartic base and the transformations as a man turns into a Krynoid. Strong stuff at the time and I'm sure it caused some wet Whitehouse knickers!
Tom and Lis are an Avengers combination just like in the other Banks Stewart script (Terror of the Zygons) and there are lots of lovely characters with Tony Beckley's "delinquent posh cockney" (Uncle Tom's description) the plant loving Harrison Chase and a pre-Boycie John Challis. Macabre humour when a butler brings the infected man lunch consisting of rotten leaves on a platter & unintentional humour with the odd line like "I could play all day in my green cathedral!"

Thanks for your kind comments and I hope you find my meomeries useful.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2009 20:10:58 GMT
G. Young says:
Thank you!
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