‘THE MIND ROBBER’
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The Fact of Fiction
This is one of my favourite Patrick Troughton stories!
It also happens to be Wendy Padbury’s favourite story in ‘Doctor Who’ too. ‘The Mind Robber’ is an imaginative and clever story with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s well written by Peter Ling; script edited by Derrick Sherwin and it’s well directed by David Maloney.
I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘The Mind Robber’ signed by Wendy Padbury, who plays Zoe, and Frazer Hines, who plays Jamie at the ‘Regenerations 2011’ convention in Swansea, September 2011. ‘The Mind Robber’ and ‘The Invasion’ are two of my favourite stories from the Second Doctor era and I highly recommend them.
I first saw this story after I purchased the DVD on a trip to London in 2008. Back home, builders were redecorating the house, so my family and I watched this story upstairs where a TV was available. I got into this story very easily as I enjoyed seeing it with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in ‘Doctor Who’.
Following on from ‘The Dominators’, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe try to escape Dulkis with the TARDIS buried in boiling lava. The Doctor uses an emergency switch and the TARDIS ends up in a white void. Very soon the Doctor; Jamie and Zoe find themselves in the Land of Fiction where anything that is fictional can become a reality.
This story is unusual, as the TARDIS is outside time and space and the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are in a surreal world. This is a place where fictional characters and stories come to life. Your favourite characters from any book; comic; TV show or film can come to life for you, such as Gulliver and Rapunzel.
I found this an exciting idea and it’s the sort of place I would like to live in. But there is a cost to this place as fiction can take you over and get you turned into fiction. You can be controlled as part of a story which is unsettling. I enjoyed every moment that goes on for the Doctor; Jamie and Zoe in this story.
‘The Mind Robber’ is a five-part story. It was originally a four-part story. But due to production problems on ‘The Dominators’, an episode was lost and an episode had to be written to set up ‘The Mind Robber’. So the first episode of ‘The Mind Robber’ is by Derrick Sherwin and not by Peter Ling.
The first episode is very well-done as Patrick Troughton; Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury give great performances. The scenes that are set in the white void are very tense and the episode ends on a really spell-binding; unnerving cliff-hanger that is a story-turner in what ‘The Mind Robber’ is about.
I had a great time seeing Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines first time at the ‘Regenerations’ Swansea convention in 2011. Jamie and Zoe are my favourite companions from the Patrick Troughton era. I really like those first scenes set in the TARDIS and where Jamie and Zoe see their different homes.
Wendy Padbury was lovely when I first met her in Swansea. I’ve now met her at more than one convention. I can see why ‘The Mind Robber’ is her favourite ‘Doctor Who’ story as it’s clever and Zoe has plenty to do. Zoe gets to wear her sparkly cat suit and is witty and resourceful in this story.
Zoe shares more scenes with the Doctor as they go into the heart of the labyrinth and face the Minotaur and Medusa. That ‘Episode 3’ cliff-hanger is pretty frightening. Zoe also gets to meet one of her comic book heroes called Ze Karkus and gets to have a fight with him which was very exciting.
Frazer Hines is great as Jamie too. Jamie is heroic as ever, as he braves through any danger and is fiercely loyal to the Doctor. He shows how strong he is and gets to be protective around Zoe. I like the comedy business with Jamie, Zoe and the Doctor in the TARDIS when they’re escaping from Dulkis.
Jamie and Zoe being in the void together are great scenes to watch as they’re lost and surrounded by White Robots. Jamie outwits a Toy Soldier with its ‘wee lighthouse’ on its head and climbs some rocks to reach a tower with Rapunzel waiting. I liked it when Jamie meets Christine Pine as Rapunzel.
Frazer suffered a bout of chickenpox when making this story. So Jamie gets a new face. Due to ‘The Mind Robber’ being a surreal story, the Doctor has to solve a puzzle where Jamie’s frozen; his face collapses and the Doctor has to fix it. But the Doctor gets it wrong and Jamie is now Hamish Wilson.
Hamish does a remarkable job playing Jamie at short-notice. I found it funny when Jamie goes, “That’s not my face!” The Doctor has another chance to put Jamie’s face back together again and Zoe chides at him. Frazer returns as Jamie in ‘Episode 3’ and it’s such a great relief to see him back.
Patrick Troughton as the Doctor is terrific. I found him funny and a joy to watch. I liked those scenes in ‘Episode 2’ where the Doctor calls out to Jamie and Zoe and they call back to him at the same time. I also liked those scenes where he’s with the children and they give him puzzles and riddles to solve.
The Doctor shares scenes with Jamie and Zoe and I like the camaraderie shared between them. I liked how he works things out and quickly adjusts to this Land of Fiction he and his friends are in. I also liked the scenes where Patrick’s Doctor confronts the Master in the climax to this amazing story.
I liked the characters from fiction that appear in the story. There are the Toy Soldiers that are human-sized and wear red uniforms. There’s also the White Robots that appear when Jamie and Zoe come across them in the void. All these soldiers and robots work for the Master. Who’s he I wonder?
Bernard Horsfall guest stars as Lemuel Gulliver. I like Bernard’s noble performance as Gulliver. We don’t know who he is until ‘Episode 3’. I really liked it when the Doctor works out who Gulliver is and they shake hands as if they were old friends and Zoe is completely astonished to see Gulliver is real.
Christopher Robbie guest stars as Ze Karkus. He’s a comic book character that is very 1960s and is an action-packed superhero. Zoe read him in the comics of the 21st century. He’s got this funny voice with a German accent which I can’t take seriously really and has an anti-molecular ray disintegrator.
Emrys Jones guest stars as the Master. No, not that Master! He’s the Master of the Land of Fiction. The Master is a writer who was taken out of the 1920s and is now running everything in this strange surreal world. He wants the Doctor to take his place since he’s getting on and becoming an old man.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a ‘Basil Brush Show Segment’ with a Yeti; a commentary with Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, director David Maloney and Hamish Wilson; and a making-of documentary called ‘The Fact of Fiction’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews.
There’s also ‘Highlander – The Jamie McCrimmon Story’, an interview with Frazer Hines; a photo gallery of the story and an info-text commentary option to enoy. There’s also an ‘Easter Egg’ to look out for on the DVD.
‘The Mind Robber’ is such a great story and a classic from the Patrick Troughton era. It’s one of my favourites as well as Wendy Padbury’s. It’s cleverly written by Peter Ling as well as well-directed by David Maloney who would go on to direct more ‘Doctor Who’ stories. You’ll enjoy this! It’s great! I’m not joking!
‘The Mind Robber’ rating – 10/10
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