Friday, 28 September 2018

217 The Mind Robber: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 28 September 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

"What are we doing here? What do they want with us?"

The Doctor gets his friends to believe that the unicorn doesn't exist and it vanishes. "The Master" of the land watches them. They find a house, but the human soldier is there guarding it and he shoots Jamie who once again becomes a picture with no face. This time the Doctor solves the jigsaw puzzle correctly and puts the right face back on Jamie. They find themselves in a maze with a ball of twine that Jamie unwinds to mark their tracks. Zoe thinks she has solved the maze using an arithmetic progression but instead takes her and the Doctor to middle of maze, filled with bones. They hear a roaring sound as the Minotaur steps out the shadows. Jamie has run out of twine and lagged behind. He's attacked by one of the toys soldiers which he delays by throwing his jacket over the light on it's head blinding it's camera. The Doctor & Zoe the Minotaur's existence and it, like the Unicorn, vanishes. Jamie has disappeared: Zoe finds his jacket. The Stranger turns up, he hasn't seen him but says he has had audiences with the master. The Doctor recognises him as Lemuel Gulliver: he's been peaking in dialogue the characters uses from the book Gulliver's Travels. Jamie climbs a cliff to escape from the toy soldier. He's thrown a rope to climb up which turns out to by the hair of Rapunzel, who is a little disappointed to find he's not a prince. Jamie climbs in window and finds himself in a room filled with technology: books are displayed on a screen and a reading of a children's book plays. He discovers a device printing out the Doctor & Zoe's story: They encounter Medusa in the caves. The Doctor denies Medusa's existence as her snakes writhe as she approaches them....

3y 3z

Another series of encounters with familiar figures enables the Doctor to get an idea of what's going on here. First they run into a figure from Greek mythology:

ZOE: Doctor, it's moving. It's coming closer! It's going to attack.
DOCTOR: But Zoe, it's a legend. Another mythical beast, like the unicorn.
ZOE: But it's there!
DOCTOR: No! The Minotaur is a mythical beast. Say it.
ZOE: The Minotaur is a mythical beast. It doesn't exist.
3h Doctor Zoe 3g Minotaur

Although the Doctor doesn't know it yet the Minotaur does exist and he'll meet him in the Time Monster in a few years time. The Minotaur has also inspired an entire race of Doctor Who monsters, the Nimon.

Then we meet again the stranger we saw last episode:

DOCTOR: Of course. This, er, this person who controls this place, the Master?
STRANGER: The Master, yes.
DOCTOR: Have you seen him?
STRANGER: Upon occasion he has been pleased to grant me an audience.
DOCTOR: Where might I find him?
STRANGER: The Master's palace is no ordinary edifice, but a citadel, a walled town at the top of a hill or cliff, which is reckoned the highest in the kingdom.
DOCTOR: Yes, now I think I understand. May I ask, sir, where you come from? Would it not be Nottingham?
STRANGER: My father had a small estate in Nottingham, sir. I was the third of five sons. He sent me to Emmanuel College in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I applied myself close to my studies, learning navigation and other parts of the mathematics
DOCTOR: Useful for those who intend to travel
DOCTOR + STRANGER: As I always believed it would someday or other, my fortune to do.
DOCTOR: Now I know who you are, sir. Your name is Lemuel Gulliver.
GULLIVER: Your servant.

3c Doctor Zoe 3d Gulliver

ZOE: Gulliver?
DOCTOR: Yes, yes. Oh, I'm looking forward to a long talk with you one of these days.
GULLIVER: I should like that above all things, but it would not be proper at this juncture to trouble you with the particulars of my adventures.
DOCTOR: Oh, I wouldn't dream of detaining you.
GULLIVER: Having been condemned by nature and fortune to a restless and active life, I must take my leave of you. Farewell.
DOCTOR: Farewell.

ZOE: Why does he talk in such an extraordinary way?
DOCTOR: Well, he can only speak the words that Dean Swift gave him to say.

I like the device of having Gulliver only speak in lines from the book but having only read Gulliver's Travels once, inspired by the Barry Letts/Terrance Dicks classic serial adaptation Gulliver in Lilliput, I can't recall any of it so the hints dropped in the previous episode would have been lost on me!
ZOE: But that's ridiculous. I mean, there never was such a person as Gulliver. He's a fictional character.
DOCTOR: Of course he is. Don't you understand? This world that we've tumbled into is a world of fiction. Unicorns, Minotaur, Gulliver's travels, they're all alive here.
ZOE: Then what are we doing here? What do they want with us?
DOCTOR: I'm not sure I understand that yet.
The episode's backbone is built on having the fictional characters interact with the Tardis crew. We meet two more before the episode is out: Princess Rapunzel, from the children's story that Jamie wouldn't have heard of, played Christine Pirie and another figure from Greek Mythology the Medusa played by Sue Pulford.

3a Rapunzel 3b Medusa

It's obvious this all being played out for the mysterious Master's amusement but Jamie's discovery at the end adds an extra level of weirdness as he finds the Doctor & Zoe's story being written in front of him by a machine!

3i Machine 3j Script

While watching this episode I thought that the rocks Jamie was clambering up looked a little familiar.... So I got out Richard Bignell's Doctor Who on Location and discovered that this sequence was filmed at Harrison's Rocks in Birchden Wood near Groombridge, East Sussex. The same location with it's distinctive rock formation also appears in Castrovalva which I've seen a few more times than Mind Robber and was where I recognised them from.

3e Location 3f Location

Mr Bignell's book also usefully tells me that the only other actor needed on location was Jamie actor Fraser Hines' brother Ian Hines who played the Clockwork soldier. We saw him previously in The Enemy of the World episodes 2 & 3 as a Central European Guard.

3l 3k

One of the other clockwork soldiers is Richard Ireson who'll be back in the Krotons as Axus and can be seen heard in Star Cops:Conversations with the Dead as the voice of Mike. A third soldier is played by Paul Alexander who although he's not popped up in anything I own on DVD has had a long and regular TV career.

There's quite a bit packed into this episode so it's a surprise to discover that it's only 19m29s long, which makes it the shortest episode of Doctor Who so far, beating the previous shortest time of 20:29 held by Fury from the Deep episode 3 and becoming the first sub 20 minute episode of Doctor Who.

Change Episode # Episode Name Time
1 1 An Unearthly Child 1 25:55
2 2 An Unearthly Child 2 23:24
3 12 The Edge of Destruction 1 22:24
4 14 Marco Polo 1 22:11
5 69 The Space Museum 2 22:00
6 191 The Enemy of the World 6 21:41
7 200 Fury from the Deep 3 20:29
8 217 The Mind Robber 3 19:29

The record will change hands 2 more times this story!

This was the last episode for which Telesnaps were produced for, which we used extensively in the last two seasons when a story was missing from the archives. Although there's no documented reason why this was the last episode to be recorded in this manner we know that John Cura died of cancer in April 1969 so we can only assume that his illness prevented him working from this point onwards.

Friday, 21 September 2018

216 The Mind Robber: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 21 September 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

"Where in time and space am I?"

Jamie & Zoe each find themselves in a maze like series of rock columns. Jamie is attacked by a soldier turning into a picture. Zoe finds a large wooden door but falls into pit. They are watched by an observer who searches for the Doctor. The Doctor wakes up and calls out for his friends, but quickly realise there are soldiers searching for him, life size toy soldiers. The Doctor is confronted by a stranger speaking a foreign tongue, but he persuades him to speak English. He says he set sail Bristol on May 4th 1699 and lost his companions on voyage before he leaves the Doctor. Next The Doctor finds a group of children, who ask him riddles. He finds Jamie's picture but the face is missing. He has to re-assemble the face from puzzle pieces but gets it wrong giving Jamie a new face. They find Zoe and answer another riddle freeing her. When Zoe stops for a rest, Jamie climbs a column for a better view and discovers he's standing on a letter, in a forest of words. He reads the words to the Doctor who deduces they are proverbs. The stranger returns but speaks loudly giving them away to the soldiers who find them and the take time travellers away. They find themselves in black void where they are charged by the unicorn from Jamie's dream.

2y 2z

That's certainly the oddest episode for a long while. In many ways it's similar to the Celestial Toymaker trapping the Tardis crew in a very strange environment with some echoes of childhood thrown in, in the form of the characters The Doctor meets and the large Toy Soldiers.

2 Toy Soldiers 2a

The tests too are similar to the Games in Celestial Toyroom and very similar to the "pass the tests to reach your goal" repeating plot line that shows up in the seventies.

And over all this a mysterious figure is watching the Doctor from a high tech control room: that's he most familiar element to this episode!

2j1 2j2

The stuff with Jamie's face was inserted at the last minute: Frazer Hines went down with the Chicken Pox. The brief scene at the start of the episode with him Hines playing Jamie was filmed later in the story when Hines returned to work. Really the production crew got lucky here: Any other story Jamie would have just had to go missing for a few episodes, it's only the mad nature of this tale that lets them pull something like this and even then it's a bit unclear as to why Jamie's been turned to cardboard and lost his face!

2j3 2j4

The actor that replaces Frazer Hines is Hamish Wilson and is not Frazer's cousin, as is frequently claimed, although Frazer's Hines brother Ian,does appear in this story! You can hear Hamish Wilson interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 51.

2 Hamish Wilson 2 Stranger

The Stranger, identity to be revealed later in the series, is a first Who appearance for Bernard Horsfall. If you want some clues as to who he is, there's some in his dialogue which apparently is completely taken from the work of fiction he appears in:

Sir, my birth was of honest parents in an island called England.

I spoke in as many languages as I have the least smattering of. High and low Dutch, Latin.

I said, beware false traitor, highwayman, robber, pickpocket, murderer.

We set sail from Bristol on May the 4th, 1699.

What became of my companions I cannot tell. They were all lost.

Indeed that date is enough to give away his identity!

Bernard Horsfall will be back later this season for the War Games, then Planet of the Daleks and The Deadly Assassin, all three directed by David Maloney. He'd already been in Out of This World, playing Dr. Arthur Bailey in Divided We Fall, and would feature in the third season of it's successor Out of the Unknown, playing John Stewart in 1+1=1.5. Sadly both episodes are missing. Unseen until recently is his Doomwatch appearance in Sex and Violence, which was unbroadcast! It's available to watch on The Doomwatch DVD set. He's in the George Lazenby James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service as Campbell. In later years he has appeared in Agatha Christie's Poirot as Harrington Pace in The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge.

One of the children in this episode is Sylvestra Le Touzel went on to have an extensive acting career. This is her first TV role but she can be also seen in Look and Read (TV Series): The Boy from Space as Helen along with several other Doctor Who actors and that's now out on DVD! She can be seen in The Professionals as Patricia Buchanan in The Gun.

2SLT 2 Children

Sadly none of the rest of the children, Barbara Loft, Timothy Horton, David Reynolds and Martin Langley have anything like as extensive a career.

The Redcoat who we see briefly at the start of the episode who shoots Jamie is played by Philip Ryan who was a soldier in Web of Fear episode 4 and returns as a Primord in Inferno.

2 w soldier 2 x horse

The Unicorn in this story is, of course, a horse with a horn attached to it's head. It was filmed at night on location at Kenley Aerodrome in Surrey. Unfortunately the wrong colour horse was supplied. So the horse made up using white Blanco!

Friday, 14 September 2018

215 The Mind Robber: Episode One

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 14 September 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

"It moves the Tardis out of the time space dimension. Out of reality!

The time travellers escape the volcanic eruption by retreating to the Tardis but the fluid links fail. As smoke fills the Tardis interior the exterior is buried by lava. The Doctor uses the emergency unit and moves the Tardis out of the time/space dimension taking them to nowhere. Doctor tells Zoë not to leave Tardis. Jamie sees Scotland on scanner then Zoë sees her home city: she opens doors and goes outside.

1c 1d

Jamie finds the Doctor who tells him that she was lured out. An emergency alarm sounds inside the Tardis and Jamie runs outside to find Zoë. A noise fills the Tardis as the Doctor senses a presence and fights against it. Jamie finds Zoë in white void. Both are now lost and call for the Doctor. He hears them but thinks it's illusion. Jamie & Zoë think they are being watched then hallucinate their homes again. They are captured by white robots. The Doctor sees them in a vision and a voice urges him to follow them, causing the Doctor to wander into the void. Once outside the Tardis he finds that it's white instead of it's usual blue and similarly Jamie & Zoë are clad in white versions of their costumes. He gets them back into the Tardis which dematerialises. Jamie falls asleep, dreaming of a Unicorn. The Doctor hears a sound which reveals to him that the presence is in the Tardis. The Tardis flies to pieces in space leaving Jamie & Zoë clinging to the console as the Doctor drifts off into space and thick cloud surrounds them.

1y 1z

Wow, that was something else. A little like Edge of Destruction perhaps, only done right. Loved that. The void with everyone dressed in white imagery is very striking: I can remember seeing something very similar in the Battlestar Galactica episode War of the Gods when I was much younger. But what everyone remembers about this episode is the scene with the companions clinging to the Tardis console as Zoë, dressed in a sparkly catsuit, has her bottom rotated towards the camera.

When we left Derrick Sherwin he had just cut The Dominators from 6 episodes to 5. He had the four part Mind Robber in the bag but needed enough episodes to fill a ten week slot in the schedules between the start of the season and a 2 week break due to the 1968 Mexico Olympics. So needing an episode, but with no money for extra sets, costumes or actors this is what he dreamed up. So the white robots we see here were reused from a sadly missing second season episode of Out of the Unknown called The Prophet.

1 Robots vlcsnap-2018-08-04-17h50m38s-2018-08-04-17h50m38s991

The Tardis sets were in stock, and out comes the foam machine to simulate the lava, job done.

1f 1e

Because he's the script editor he couldn't write for the show due to BBC rules so this episode goes out without a writer's credit on it for the only time in the show's history. These rules would shortly change but not before it's led to the game of musical chairs that we're about to see.

There's a couple of other reused props that are easy to spot. Inside the Tardis is a black version of the wall mounted control panels we've been seeing since Dalek Masterplan and in the power room is the dome shaped piece of equipment, recycled from Curse of the Fly and first seen in Doctor who in The Space Museum.

1a 1b

The first four episodes of this story were found in the possession of BBC Enterprises in 1978. Enterprises had 16mm film prints of all five episodes, but the superior quality 35mm transmission print of episode five had survived in the Film & Video library.

And we would be failing in our duty if we didn't welcome aboard first time Who director David Maloney. He'll be back for two more stories before this season is out. His total of 19 episodes directed in one season (this one!) is easily a record and he goes onto record the second most number of episodes of any Doctor Who director other than Douglas Camfield.

Douglas Camfield
David Maloney
Christopher Barry
Michael Briant
Derek Martinus
Barry Letts
Pennant Roberts
Richard Martin
Michael Ferguson
Peter Moffatt
Ron Jones

Four actors are used as White Robots in this story. Of those Ralph Carrigan has the most extensive Doctor Who CV appearing as an Extra in The Myth Makers, Monoid Two in The Return and a Cheerleader in The Macra Terror. He's back next story as a Cyberman. In fact the White robot head design, with the handle ears, looks oddly like a Cyberman.

1g 1h
Of the rest of the robots Terry Wright was also in The Macra Terror as a Cheerleader and John Atterbury returns in The War Games as an Alien Guard leaving just Bill Wiesener without a Doctor Who appearance in a different story.

We will come on to the owner of the disembodied voice when the character it belongs to is revealed later in the story .......

Friday, 7 September 2018

214 The Dominators: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Dominators: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 07 September 1968
WRITER: "Norman Ashby" (aka Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln)
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 5.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Dominators

"Nowhere on the island is safe. Nowhere on the entire planet, come to that!"

Rago returns and is angry at Toba's progress and waste of Quark energy. He decides to leave the Dulcians behind on the planet when it is destroyed as they are useless slaves, but in the process the Doctor overhears the Dominators plans to turn the planet into radioactive magma to fuel their ships. Jamie & cully immobilise a Quark and rescue the Doctor & Zoë. Toba interrupts drilling again to aid the Quark. Rago reprimands him again, but Toba is pleased to learn the drilling will lead to the Dulcians death. Jamie comes up with a plan to catch the explosive device when it's dropped down the bore hole. They dig a tunnel from the shelter to the bore hole using the Doctor's sonic screwdriver to cut through the wall. Using the shelter's medical kit the Doctor makes bombs for Jamie & Cully to attack the Quarks, but for once Toba concentrates on his task. Jamie & Cully attack the drilling site. Rago pursues them and they hide in the shelter. The seed device is dropped into the shaft and the Doctor catches it. He is unable to open it. Realising they will be killed and there's a risk of the planet being destroyed, the Doctor hide the bomb on the Dominator's ship. The Dulcians leave in the travel capsule while the Doctor and co retreat to the safety of the Tardis as the rockets fire into the crust creating an eruption on the island as the bomb destroys the Dominators ship.

JAMIE: Doctor, come on, will ye? The whole place is going to blow up.
DOCTOR: Oh, it's quite all right, Jamie. The planet is quite safe. There's just going to be a localised volcanic eruption. It'll only affect the island.
JAMIE: Maybe so, but we happen to be on the island.
DOCTOR: Oh, my word!
5y 5z

Well.... most of the cast spends the episode stuck in the shelter but the brief action scenes are OK. There's a lot of Quark destruction in this episode.

5 Quark 1 5 Quark 2

If you've been paying close attention you'll have seen the little pictures of Quarks beside the door in the ships. The lights have been going out on the pictures as more and more Quarks are destroyed. You can see 8 lit Quark lights in an earlier episode and several have gone out here. Rago says there's 8 Quarks remaining after several have been destroyed so I'm guessing their full complement is 16 and there's a second display somewhere.

3 Display 8 5 Display 2

Ha! I've got all the way to episode 5 and not mentioned the Dominators catch phrase: Command Accepted. Trotted out by Toba every time he's given an order it starts to grate after a while. They'll be more catch phrases to come later especially when Bob Baker & Dave Martin show up.

KANDO: Surely they don't mean to destroy Dulkis completely?
DOCTOR: I'm afraid they do.
TEEL: But why? What do they want?
DOCTOR: A large amount of fuel for their invasion fleet.
ZOE: But we know that there are no minerals worth having. At least not on this side of the island.
DOCTOR: They're not mining for minerals, or any natural fuel source.
ZOE: But their spaceships use atomic power. We've established that.
DOCTOR: But there was no reactor in their ship of theirs, only a radiation storage unit. You remember how, when they landed, it sucked up all the radioactive dust from the island?
ZOE: Yes. So you're saying that they store radioactive particles and then convert that energy into power.
DOCTOR: Exactly.
ZOE: But then why are they drilling?
DOCTOR: Look, I'll show you.

5 Drill 1 5 Drill 2

DOCTOR: There are four drill holes, here, here, here and here. And one drill hole in the centre. Now then, they have rockets mounted in each of these drill holes, and the centre hole is probably for that atomic seed device.
DOCTOR: Well don't you see? They've chosen this spot because the crust of the planet is thin. They're going to fire the rockets through the crust into the magma, the molten core.
ZOE: And that will almost certainly fracture the crust of the planet.
DOCTOR: Exactly.
ZOE: But that will create a volcano. And if they explode the atomic seed device in the middle of that
DOCTOR: Yes, that's right, Zoe. The whole planet will become one vast molten mass of radioactive material. The fuel store for their fleet.
JAMIE: Well, we'll just have to stop them, then.

The Doctor who team did Volcanic eruptions in Enemy of the World last year and I could swear they used the same footage there. They'll do drilling and eruptions again next year in Inferno and the shots show up again there, this time in colour!
JAMIE: Will you listen to me. Now there's a dead easy way to get that device thing.
ZOE: Really?
JAMIE: Yes, now listen. You said they were going to drop it down the centre hole, the one they're drilling outside here.
JAMIE: Well it's simple isn't it? All we've got to do is dig a tunnel through from here to the borehole and catch the seed device thing on it's way down. Well, it was just an idea.
DOCTOR: But Jamie, it's a brilliant idea! It's so simple only you could have thought of it.
JAMIE: Oh. Eh?
ZOE: We can get the direction from the periscope. Just line it up with the drilling site.
DOCTOR: Yes, there's only one snag though. Could we complete the tunnel in time? It'd have to be twelve feet long or more.
12 feet of soil at that depth is going to take a while to dig through even given what happens next!
JAMIE: Well Cully and I could delay the Dominators' work up there.
ZOE: How?
JAMIE: Oh, we're getting very good at destroying Quarks, aren't we?
CULLY: Yes, certainly seems to stop them working.
DOCTOR: Yes, that's true, but you've been lucky so far. If only I could devise some sort of weapon for you. Is anything down here, Cully?
CULLY: I doubt it. Nothing but survival rations and medical kits.
DOCTOR: Medical kit, oh. It's surprising what you can do with a few simple chemicals and a little ingenuity. Now come on, we must dig this tunnel. Zoe, give us a direction will you?
ZOE: Right. Er, on a line from here.
DOCTOR: Right! We start there tunnel there. Get that bunk away. Come on.
JAMIE: That's it, Cully. I'll start it off with a knife, now. This line here.
DOCTOR: I think you'd better let me start it, Jamie.
JAMIE: How are you going to dig through there with your sonic screwdriver?
DOCTOR: It's a little more than a screwdriver. Just watch this.
TEEL: Where'd he get the technology to do that?
KANDO: It's burning straight through.
JAMIE: Aye, the Doctor's very good.
This is the second time we see the Sonic Screwdriver, and the first since it was introduced in Fury From The Deep. It also reveals the first in a long line of extra functions it has setting it on the road to it's eventual abolition as a far to convenient plot device in The Visitation.

5 Sonic 1 5 Sonic 2

Last time The Dominators went a lot, lot better than I was expecting it to. This time it was dreadful again, which matches my previous viewings of it.

The Dominators was one of the last (actually was *the* last, until the return of Enemy of the World) complete Doctor Who story that I hadn't seen. I polished it off, along with Keys of Marinus, Reign of Terror and the Romans, when I gave up work in late 2005. I didn't enjoy it then, and I didn't enjoy it again on DVD release. Yet watching it now it was OK. Nothing special, but OK.

The Dominators was one of the first Troughton stories to be novelised, adapted by Ian Marter, when Target started looking at doing more older Doctor Who stories in 1984. The Dominators was the very first Doctor Who novel I owned in hardback: bought in a sale from the Bentalls book department in the old store in Kingston. I obtained several other new ones, mostly from a sale in Kingston's Volume 1 book store. A few years ago OCD struck and I realised I needed my Doctor Who book collection to all be in the same format. So I replaced the hardbacks with paperbacks and put the Hardbacks on eBay.... and walked away about £500 richer from 10 hardbacks!

A video release of the Dominators was made in 1990 and a DVD release in 2010.