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Reviews for The Mind Robber

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Mad World

By:the Traveller, the end of the world
Date:Monday 24 July 2006
Rating:   7

A longer, more whaffly review than the one i did for the VHS release:

The TARDIS explodes and the Doctor, Jamie and Zoë are transported to a fantasy realm full of fictional characters controlled by a man named the Master (no not that pantomime villain introduced later on).

Although the first episode, which follows directly on from “The Dominators-Part 5”, is a “tacked-on” addition to the original four part serial, it is (arguably) the most enjoyable, having a sense of strangeness and surrealism. The White Robots that Zoë and Jamie encounter look quite cheap and basic but in a strange way work because it is a complete mystery as to what they are doing in the white void.
After the TARDIS explodes, a pitiful shot that looks exactly like a wooden box being blown open, the Doctor, Zoë and Jamie arrive in a fantasy land which soon becomes a relatively dull if weird place to be. At first, the fictional characters appearing are good ideas, especially the clockwork soldiers. But as soon as the Doctor discovers that to defeat them, the companions simply have to will the characters away, they lose their sense of menace.
Some of the fictional characters look okay although the shot of the moving snakes on the Medusa’s head is laughable. The introduction of Hamish Wilson to play Jamie for the time Frazer Hines was away was a great idea however, allowing the character to remain in the story instead of him suddenly disappearing from the episode.
For the middle few episodes of this serial, the companions and the Doctor basically spend the time meeting familiar fictitious people and ending episodes on cliff-hangers you know they’re going to get out of. When the mastermind behind the land is revealed though, the story picks up again with the Doctor and the Master engaging in a battle of wits using people conjured up with their minds. The end, although adequate enough, is predictable and the equivalent of pressing the reset button. The length of the story as a whole is another point, as the tale drags in places and features too many easily-defeated villains, it could have benefited from being its original four episode duration, despite this being impossible at the time.

Despite having some flaws, this serial boasts plenty of ideas which, had they been worked into a faster, more exciting tale would have been more effective.
Nevertheless, this story is considered as an experimental serial instead of the more traditional Doctor Who stories which, for five weeks took the viewers on a bizarre journey through a strange land to meet characters created in fiction. This story attempted to do something different with the programme, and for some part at least, it succeeded.


By:Matthew B, Cardiff, Wales
Date:Monday 2 October 2006
Rating:   4

Much is often made of The Mind Robber’s ‘imagination’ and ‘cleverness’ when in fact there is little evidence of either on display. I would guess that its lofty reputation is at least partly because it exists in a season so formulaic and dull that it benefits by comparison alone. Having said that, there are a few bright moments – the white TARDIS, Jamie and Zoe trapped in a giant book, Rapunzel, etc. But, unusual though these motifs are, they fail to ignite because they’re embedded in a plodding unimaginative non-story that labours every aspect of its script and its poorly constructed plot. The whole thing leaves one feeling patronised by the writer rather than entertained. Troughton gives it a lot of quality as usual, but of the rest of the cast only Bernard Horsfall matches him. Tedious and rather too pleased with itself.

Didn't live up to expectations...

By:Huw Davies, Taunton, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 26 May 2008
Rating:   6

A good idea that didn't come out well on screen. The opening episode is imaginative (and good considering it was done at short notice and made with no money) and the idea of how to make up for Frazer Hines' chickenpox is also good, but otherwise this gets boring after a while, especially with Zoe not ever realising that some things in the Land of Fiction (i.e. Medusa) aren't actually real!
A bit silly, really.

A real treat...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 1 April 2011
Rating:   10

This story has always been a favourite of mine. The first episode is highly effective, a its really quite different in tone from all other Doctor Whos up to this point. The crew are in the middle of a white void, whilst an intelligence tries to get them to leave the TARDIS. And then after the brilliant climax of the TARDIS blowing up is a real shock, and the console disappearing into the void, we come to the brilliantly realised Land of Fiction.

I love the minds behind Frazer going down with chicken pox, and their casting of Hamish Wilson at a minutes notice. A real piece of good thinking, which is exceptable because the story's structure is made for good tweaking. The Toy Soldiers are an incredibly good design, although they must have been hell for the actors to wear with those straight leg sections.
The White robots too are excellent, and their "theme" is really quite chilling.

Benard Horsfall is brilliant as Gulliver, and his charm is great and brings the character to life right from the start. All the children here in this story are also very good indeed, and the acting isnt at all bad! Jamie and Zoe getting stuck in the book is another very strong cliffhanger to part four. The Karkus is brilliantly prtrayed by Chris Robbie. This is a highly imaginative story thats works so well because it has so many elents within it.

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