Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
The Mind of Evil


Starring: Jon Pertwee
Distributor: BBC DVD
RRP: £20.42
Certificate: U
Release Date: 03 June 2013

The Doctor and Jo Grant arrive at Stangmoor Prison, where they have developed a new technique to cure criminals by transferring their evil to an electronic container. The Doctor's concerns over the procedure are soon confirmed when a number of deaths occur when the machine is in operation. The reach of the machine is even greater than the Doctor suspects as the Master is using the contained energies to control delegates at a peace conference. When a riot breaks out at the prison the Master sees his chance to use the inmates to steal a powerful missile from UNIT...

The Mind of Evil is a six episode story, staring Jon Pertwee (The Doctor) and Katy Manning (Jo). Originally transmitted between March and April 1971, the season eight story was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, and directed by Michael Ferguson. The story is presented as a two disc DVD set.

This was a particularly dark tale for the Doctor, with discussions about the use of capital punishment and the ethics of experimenting on criminals. The scenes where characters are killed by having their greatest fears manifest remains powerfully disturbing.

Balanced against this heady brew is one of the most convoluted plots ever to grace Doctor Who. The Master's plan to use an alien psychic symbiot - which in turn would give him control over convicts who he plans to use to steal a missile with which he intended to destroy a world peace conference - relies on so many coincidences that it would make Silva proud to number the Master amongst his friends.

You don’t really notice this basic flaw in the Master's plan while watching the program, having suspended all disbelief as a prerequisite of watching the show. Plus we have the wonderfully slick Roger Delgado (The Master) enjoying his back to back run as the nemesis of both UNIT and the Doctor.

Regardless of the stories strengths and weaknesses, the real show here is the fact that all of the episodes are in glorious colour. Combining the best black and white print with the best colour has led to a pretty good match, although some episodes are better than others, with colour bleed evident occasionally. Still the overall effect is pleasing and well worth picking up.

Disc one gets you all the episodes with a commentary track by Katy Manning (Jo), Pik-Sen Lim (Chin Lee) and Fermanda Marlowe (Corporal Bell). Mediated by Toby Hadoke the commentary also features Timothy Combe (director), Barry Letts (producer), Terrance Dicks (script editor) and Derek Ware (stunt arranger). It’s the usual stuff with them recalling both their time on the show and the people they worked with. The disc also contains the production note subtitles, always worth a look for more information about the making of the show.

Disc two is where all the extras are to be found, starting with The Military Mind (22 min, 43 sec) and is a documentary filmed around Dover Castle with, amongst others, Nicholas Courtney and Barry Letts. Originally shot in 2009 the feature does a good job at telling the show's story.

Now and Then (7 min, 06 sec), part of the long running set of extras which revisit Dover Castle, as such it does overlap with the previous extra, although it does take in the other locations.

Behind the Scenes: Television Centre (24 min) was originally shot back in 1971, around the time the story was being made. The tour takes in all of the departments and there is the occasional shot which link it to Doctor Who. There is a self-running photo gallery (4 min, 54 sec), PDF materials and a Coming Soon (1 min, 15 sec) for the Blu-ray addition of Terror of the Autons. Of course the problem here is that it’s difficult to know just how good this will be as the trailer is shown in DVD standard definition.

It’s a decent story and now in glorious colour, so we will forgive the lightness of the extras.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

icon icon