The Mind Robber
14 September 1968
Emrys Jones (The Master of the Land), John Atterbury, Ralph Carrigan, Bill Wiesener, Terry Wright (Robots) [1,4-5], Hamish Wilson (Jamie) [2-3], Bernard Horsfall (A Stranger / Gulliver) [2-5]†, Barbara Loft, Sylvestra Le Tozel, Timothy Horton, Christopher Reynolds, David Reynolds, Martin Langley (Children) [2,5], Paul Alexander, Ian Hines, Richard Ireson (Soldiers) [2-3,5], Philip Ryan (Redcoat) [2-3], Christine Pirie (Princess Rapunzel) [3,5], Sue Pulford (The Medusa) [3-4], Christopher Robbie (Karkus) [4-5], John Greenwood (D’Artagnan and Sir Lancelot) , David Cannon (Cyrano) , Gerry Wain (Blackbeard) .
|Written by||Peter Ling|
|Directed by||David Maloney|
|Produced by||Peter Bryant|
The TARDIS is in the path of molten lava and The Doctor is forced to activate the emergency unit to move it out of the time space dimension and out of reality! When the TARDIS crew land ‘nowhere’ they stumble into a world where fiction appears as reality and where things exist only when men believe in them. It is a world peopled by White Robots and a race of fictional characters and monsters, by Gulliver and Rapunzel, by D’Artagnan and Sir Lancelot, and worse, by the Unicorn, the Minotaur and the Medusa.
As they explore the forest of words and the maze in this Land of Fiction new horrors await The Doctor and his companions round each corner… will Zoe and Jamie be turned into fictional characters? Is The Doctor at the mercy of a higher intelligence or force outside time and space as he knows it?
Can he outwit the brain that is the source of this terrifying creative power?
- Working titles for this story were Man Power (also Manpower), Another World and The Fact of Fiction.
- Radio Times credits Bernard Horsfall as ‘A Stranger’ for Episodes 2 and 3, and as ‘Gulliver’ for Episodes 4 and 5. On-screen credits read ‘A Stranger’ for Episode 2, and ‘Gulliver’ for Episodes 3 to 5.
- Christopher and David Reynolds’ surname is spelt as ‘Reynolds’ for Episode 2, and as ‘Reynalds’ in Episode 5 and for both episodes in Radio Times. (The correct spelling remains uncertain.)
- Philip Ryan (Redcoat) is credited on-screen for Episode 3, but is uncredited in Radio Times.
- Hamish Wilson played Jamie in Episode 2 and 3 when Frazer Hines contracted chicken pox.
Episode 1 is the only episode in the series’ history to have no writer’s credit, either on-screen or in Radio Times.
- This story was planned as a four-part serial, but was increased to five after The Dominators was reduced from six to five episodes. As a result, the first four episodes were only between nineteen and twenty-two minutes in length and Episode 5 was the shortest Doctor Who episode ever at just over eighteen minutes. For this to happen, the first episode was cobbled together by the production team, making Peter Ling very unhappy.
- Before Jamie (as played by Hamish Wilson) gets turned into a cut-out for the second time, he shouts, “Creag an tuirc!” Frazer Hines joked on the DVD commentary that this is Scottish Gaelic for “vodka and tonic”. However, it is actually the motto of the MacLaren Clan of Scotland, meaning “the boar’s rock”. These are also Jamie’s last words in his last regular serial, The War Games, as he charges an English redcoat on the fields of Scotland.
- The White Robots that close in on Jamie and Zoe in the void outside the TARDIS were previously used in an episode of the science-fiction television series Out of the Unknown, “The Prophet”, originally transmitted 1 January 1967.
- The character Gulliver speaks only lines written for him by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels.
Christine Pirie (Princess Rapunzel) also contributed a voice-over reading from an extract from Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel Little Women for the scene in Episode 3 where Jamie climbs through the castle window only to find himself in a hi-tech control room, but was uncredited for this on-screen.
- The Blackbeard and Cyrano de Bergerac shown here are the fictional depictions of real historical figures. (In-universe, the same applies to Medusa and the minotaur.)
- This is one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB’s Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
- The Master of the Land should not be confused with the renegade Time Lord known as the Master, who first appeared in Terror of the Autons, more than two years after this story was first aired.
- There are elements in this story that some fans have interpreted as meaning the events in The Mind Robber are all a dream. For example, the changing of Jamie‘s face may be a manifestation of The Doctor’s regeneration trauma. Zoe also recognises candles, despite not knowing what they are in The Space Pirates. Significantly, despite the Master of the Land being with the TARDIS crew at the end of this story, his absence is not remarked upon at the start of the following story, The Invasion. In fact, none of the events of this story are mentioned or referenced at the start of the following story – indicating that the TARDIS crew may not even remember them properly.