OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 219
STORY NUMBER: 045
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 October 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber
"The enemy had been finally defeated by the Doctor. No, no, I can't say that. If I say that. I nearly fell for it, didn't I. Another two seconds and I should have turned myself into fiction!"
The Master believes he has turned them into fictional characters: if the Doctor took his place he could release them. He refuses and is seized by the robots. The Doctor escapes onto the castle where he meets Jamie & Zoe. Jamie & Zoe keep repeating the same things: The Doctor works out this pair aren't real. He summons the Karkus to open a skylight who then fetches Rapunzel to allow the Doctor to climb into the skylight to interfere with the Master's machines. Gulliver arrives with the children. The Tardis is suddenly there with Jamie and Zoe but it's a trap and the Doctor finds himself trapped in a glass case. The Master adds him to the Computer, wishing to bring Earth under his control. The Doctor realises he has power now and releases Jamie & Zoe from the book, and the fictional versions vanish. They flee from the Toy soldiers with the Karkus coming to their rescue and destroying the soldiers. The Master and the Doctor struggle for control over the fictional characters pitting D'Artagnan against Cyrano de Bergerac and Sir Lancelot against Blackbeard the pirate. The Master Brain is overloading so the Master sends the robots to destroy him. Zoe interferes with the control systems overloading the Master Brain and allowing the Doctor to free the Master. The robots destroy the computer which causes the Time Travellers to be returned to the Tardis and the Master to his home.
This episode is rather Prisoner like in it's telling of the struggle of the Doctor and the Master to control the land of fiction as they summon up various fictional characters to fight on their behalf.
We're faced with first Cyrano De Bergerac, David Cannon, vs D'Artagnan, then Sir Lancelot, also David Cannon, vs Blackbeard, Gerry Wain, who we'll see gain as a Confederate Horseman & Alien Guard in The War Games.
Through the course of the episode the Doctor is both helped and hindered by the various characters they've met elsewhere in the land.
To us later viewers it's a little confusing having another character in Doctor Who referred to as The Master, but The Master of the Land of Fiction is a human author kidnapped to serve there: he's not the villainous Time Lord known as The Master who we meet later. Once freed from the machines in the Land of Fiction he behaves very differently as the Doctor helps him home.
I find this last episode a little confusing in places, it feels a little rushed with lots of things happening very suddenly, mostly for no reason than someone has said they will happen!
I struggle with The Mind Robber, I really do. Episode 1 is great, and I tend to enjoy episodes 3 & 4. Episode 2 is just odd, and jars rather with episode 1, but you can see why when you know that episode 1 was written by a different author as a last minute replacement. As I've said this episode feels confusing and rushed. The Mind Robber is held by many as a cast iron classic bu I'm afraid it doesn't do it for me. Sorry!
At 18 minutes this is the shortest episode of Doctor Who ever, beating the records set the previous two weeks and establishing one that will not be broken. Here's that full list of shortest episodes again with the last two weeks added:
|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|
|9||218||The Mind Robber 4||19:11|
|10||219||The Mind Robber 5||18:00|
This episode survives as a 35mm film, used for transmission. It was kept by the BBC Film & Video library and was the only episode of this series that they retained. The other 4 episodes and a duplicate of this one were found as 16mm prints at BBC Enterprises.
The Mind Robber has been repeated by the BBC when it was the serial chosen to represent Patrick Troughton in the 1992 repeat season and was shown from 31 January - 28 February 1992.
A video was released in May 1990, alongside The Dalek Invasion of Earth, with a DVD following in May 2005.
Following the broadcast of this serial there was a 2 week break before the start of the next: The final episode of the Mind Robber aired 12th October 1968 and the first episode of the Invasion was on 2nd November 1968. This break was to allow coverage of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, whose opening ceremony was later the evening that Mind Robber 5 was broadcast. The closing ceremony was Sunday October 27th and Doctor Who resumed the following Saturday.