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Doctor Who: The Mind Robber (Story 45)
Doctor Who The Mind Robber
Story 45
Actors: Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Emrys Jones
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2005     1hr 39min

A quick escape from the path of molten lava sends the Tardis to "nowhere" where anything that springs to mind may become reality.


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Movie Details

Actors: Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Emrys Jones
Creators: Peter Bryant, Sydney Newman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/06/2005
Original Release Date: 09/29/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 09/29/1975
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

An underrated story that illustrates the resourcefulness of
buckbooks | Hillsboro, Oregon USA | 11/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Mind Robber" was initially derided by Who critics as mere fantasy when, in fact, the story has a solid science fiction foundation: the brain of an unseen alien intelligence must be fed by the musings of a pulp-fiction writer imprisoned in its service. Turn on the commentary text and many of the production problems that contributed to the unique nature of this story are revealed.

First, the original four-episode story was stretched to five because the previous story, "The Dominators," didn't offer enough material to pad out its planned six episodes and was cut back to five. So the added first installment of The Mind Robber had to be improvised on a shoestring budget from existing props and sets. The "great white void" which so distinguishes this story was created specifically because "nothing" was cheap to depict.

Next, actor Frazer Hines contracted chicken pox before shooting on the second episode could begin and had to be temporarily written out of the story. A substitute actor was cast to play Jamie that week with a clever subplot written in to explain his changed appearance.

The story, which may seem an incomprehensible jumble at first, actually follows a very logical set of rules exploring the nature of fiction vs. reality. The storyteller, for example, dictates the action, so the Doctor can change the story by writing it himself, but if he refers to himself in the narrative he will become a fictional character and therefore cease to exist.

The use of literary figures such as Lemuel Gulliver and Cyrano de Bergerac harks back to one of the series' original objectives, to serve as an educational children's program. Gulliver, for instance, speaks in dialogue lifted mostly from Jonathan Swift's novel. So kiddies who think they're watching a low-budget sci-fi serial are actually getting an introductory course in English lit.

This story is a sterling example of the resourcefulness and solid acting that made Doctor Who, particularly the early episodes, such a charming TV series."
We're nowhere, it's as simple as that
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 02/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"One of the most imaginative stories in Doctor Who took place during the notoriously unpreserved Patrick Troughton era. Fortunately, The Mind Robber survived the BBC purges for us to enjoy, and it's bizarrely surreal with a capital biz!The TARDIS leaves the space-time dimension into a place where anything is possible. "We're nowhere, it's as simple as that." Jamie and Zoe enter nowhere, represented by a blank opaquely white background. The TARDIS breaks up, and they find themselves in a strange land full of life-size toy soldiers, a forest of words, unicorns, a Minotaur, Medusa, Rapunzel, and other characters.They constantly encounter a British sailor who speaks in a well spoken but extraordinary manner, and the Doctor deduces his identity later.Riddles and intuition are helpful in this land. And the Third Doctor's explanation to Jo in The Mind Of Evil, "we believe what our minds tell us to," is also apropos here. When Jamie and the Doctor try to rescue Zoe, they hear her voice behind a door without a handle. "When is a door not a door? When it's ajar." The door vanishes, and guess what they find Zoe trapped inside?Wendy Padbury stands out as Zoe. She is cute as a button, in a glittering black catsuit, hanging for dear life on the disembodied TARDIS console like an exotic ornament. Another time, she has her turn as Emma Peel, using martial arts to overcome the Karkus, a Teutonic comic book superhero. Christopher Robbie (the Karkus), would return in Revenge Of The Cybermen as the Cyberleader. Zoe's inquisitive as the Doctor, while Jamie, protective of her as he was with Victoria, is more cautious. Keirsey would see it as a classic example of a Rational paired with a Guardian. Her analytical mind and memory comes in useful, as she detects an arithmetic progression in the labryinth.Bernard Horsfall (the British sailor) would appear in two other Who stories (Planet Of The Daleks, The Deadly Assassin).Debits: the Medusa could have been more convincing, i.e. more frightening (q.v. Clash Of The Titans) and the villain isn't exactly effective. Still, one of the series' greatest moments."
Very Good And Nostalgic Doctor Who Adventure!!!!!
David S. Burt | Memphis, TN USA | 02/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the best Dr. Who episode I've seen with the 2nd Doctor. It's also was the first black & white Dr. Who episode I've seen. I rented this video a few months ago and I really enjoyed it. The episode was somewhat in the realm of the Twilight Zone and Outer Limits in a way, but of course it's Dr. Who, in my opinion is the most creative (and intelligent) science fiction series in television history. I liked both Jamie and Zoe in this one when they get lost in this strange dimension where time and space doesn't exist and fantasies and storybook characters come to life. Doctor #2 was an interesting character, but not as much wit and charm as the Doctors I'm used to seeing like Tom Baker (#4). In all, Mind Robber is so fun to watch, very nostalgic. I recommend this video to fans of both Dr. Who and classic science fiction fans."
"Who says wishes don't come true?"
Brian May | Australia | 01/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 5 part story is a delight to watch. We must be thankful that this is one of the few Patrick Troughton adventures to exist in its entirety. Set in the Land of Fiction, "The Mind Robber" is wonderful, whimsical and fantastic (quite literally!). The opening episode is eerie and suspenseful as the plot slowly unfolds. There's a real sense of siege as the TARDIS comes under attack and the scenes in the white void are both surreal and tense. Once the crew reach the Land of Fiction, the story just gets better. Fictional characters such as Gulliver and Rapunzel are full of life and personality (unfortunately so much more than many "real" Dr Who characters!) and there are genuinely frightening moments (such as the confrontation with Medusa). The white robots and clockwork soldiers, although they look very simplistic and obviously BBC models/costumes, both exude an air of menace. A story such as this, set in a realm of fiction, could easily have overstepped the mark between fantasy and just plain preposterous - fortunately it doesn't. Great performances and a great story combined!"