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24 September 2014

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The Mind of Evil

Production Code: FFF

First Transmitted

1 - 30/01/1971 17:15

2 - 06/02/1971 17:15

3 - 13/02/1971 17:15

4 - 20/02/1971 17:15

5 - 27/02/1971 17:15

6 - 06/03/1971 17:15


The Doctor and Jo visit Stangmoor Prison for a demonstration of the Keller Machine - a device claimed to be capable of extracting negative emotions from hardened criminals.

The Doctor's scepticism seems valid when a prisoner called Barnham collapses whilst undergoing the treatment.

The Brigadier is meanwhile in charge of security at a World Peace Conference, where documents go missing and the Chinese delegate dies in mysterious circumstances. Captain Yates is away on another mission, transporting a banned Thunderbolt missile across country to be destroyed. The Doctor joins the Brigadier at the conference and they foil an attempt by the Chinese delegate's aide, Captain Chin Lee, to kill the American delegate. Lee is under the hypnotic control of the Master - otherwise known as Professor Emil Keller.

The Master uses the evil impulses stored within the Keller Machine - actually the container for an alien mind parasite - to cause unrest at Stangmoor. He then enlists the convicts' aid to hijack the Thunderbolt missile, planning to use it to blow up the peace conference and start World War Three.

Shielded by Barnham, now immune to the effects of the parasite, the Doctor transports the Keller Machine to a nearby airfield where the missile is being held.

Using the Machine to keep the Master occupied, he reconnects the missile's auto-destruct circuit and gets clear just before the Brigadier triggers it. The parasite is presumed destroyed in the resulting explosion, but the Master escapes in a van, running Barnham down in the process.

Episode Endings

The Doctor is alone in the process chamber at the prison when the Keller Machine activates. He tries in vain to stop it and reacts in terror as he is engulfed in images of a raging inferno.

The American delegate Senator Alcott calls on the Chinese delegate Fu Peng at the latter's apparent request but finds his suite empty. Chin Lee enters the room behind him and instructs him to sit down. He does so, but jumps to his feet again when she turns out the light and a strange pulsing glow illuminates the room. The Senator is horrified as a shimmering image of a dragon appears to menace him.

In the process chamber, the Master has Mailer handcuff the Doctor to a chair beside the Keller Machine and then follows him out. The Machine activates and the Doctor reacts in terror as he hears the voice of a Dalek and sees images of many of his old foes.

The Keller Machine materialises in the process chamber before the Doctor and Jo. Mailer shoots at it ineffectually and then runs out, leaving the Doctor and Jo to its mercy.

UNIT troops are battling the convicts for control of the prison and Mailer releases the Doctor and Jo from the cell in which they have been held, intending to use them as hostages. As they descend a flight of steps, Jo throws herself back against Mailer in order to give the Doctor a chance to escape. This plan backfires, however, and Mailer aims his gun at the Doctor. A shot rings out.

The Doctor complains to Jo that while the Master now has a fully operational TARDIS he himself is still stuck on Earth - with the Brigadier.


The opening line is 'Looks like Dracula's castle'.

The mental subjugation of convicts as seen in episodes of The Avengers (The Wringer, The Fear Merchants), The Prisoner (A Change of Mind) and Star Trek (Dagger of the Mind)

A Clockwork Orange.

Dialogue Triumphs

Professor Kettering : [Speaking of the Keller Machine] "Science has abolished the hangman's noose and substituted this infallible method."

The Doctor : "People who talk about infallibility are usually on very shaky ground."

The Doctor : "We believe what our minds tell us to, Jo."

The Doctor : [To the Brigadier] "Do you think for once in your life you could manage to arrive before the nick of time!"

Dialogue Disasters

Mike Yates : [Describes Chin Lee as] "Quite a dolly."


The Doctor is a personal friend of Mao-Tse Tung [odd that he counts as a friend the man responsible for the Cultural Revolution] and seems to support capital punishment in episode one. As Swiss scientist Emil Keller, the Master has successfully 'treated' 112 prisoners (Barnham is the 113th). [At least a year has passed since Terror of the Autons.] The Keller process supposedly 'extracts negative impulses from the brain'.

The Doctor describes UNIT as having been set up to 'deal with new and unusual menaces to mankind'. It is providing security for the First World Peace Conference. Despite the attacks on the Chinese and American delegates, it retains the job for the second conference in Day of the Daleks. The Brigadier can (and does) put a D-notice on the press.

He is a superb marksman, managing to shoot Mailer in episode six even though he's using Jo as a shield. The Brigadier and Yates use call signs 'Jupiter' and 'Venus'. The Brigadier's helicopter has the call sign 'Windmill 347'. Two new members of UNIT appear: Corporal Bell, the Brigadier's female adjutant (who is also in The Claws of Axos), and the [rather annoying] Major Cosworth.

The Keller machine picks up on the Master's inferiority complex about the Doctor [explaining many of the Master's subsequent actions]. The Mind Parasite feeds on 'the evil in the mind'. As a telephone engineer, the Master wears a black (or dark blue) and white football scarf [he's a fan of Fulham, Newcastle United, Notts County or possibly Tottenham Hotspur].

When Jo beats the Doctor at draughts, he says that the game is 'too simple'. He prefers three dimensional chess.


The Doctor's Doctorate

Dating the UNIT Stories

UNIT Call-Signs

The Doctor's Age



Stangmoor Prison.

The first world peace conference.

The London Chinese Embassy.

An aircraft hanger.

All in Autumn 1970.



The Doctor says he once shared a cell in the tower of London with Sir Walter Raleigh ('a very strange chap... Kept going on about this new vegetable he'd discovered').


The Master smokes a fat cigar.

There is an excellent performance as Captain Chin Lee by Pik Sen-Lim, who was the wife of writer Don Houghton.

This story contains the first use of on-screen subtitles in Doctor Who (not counting the silent film style caption cards displayed in The Daleks' Master Plan: The Feast of Steven) as the Doctor converses with the Chinese delegate Fu Peng in Hokkien.

The dragon that attacks Senator Alcott was referred to as 'Puff the Magic Dragon' by the production crew during the making of the story.

BBC publicity photographs were used to represent the Doctor's mental images of past 'adversaries' in the cliffhanger to Episode Three. These depicted, respectively, a Dalek, a Cyberman, a Sensorite, Koquillion, a War Machine, a Zarbi, Slaar and a Silurian.

Short-lived UNIT regular Corporal Bell was named Corporal Bates in early drafts of the scripts of this story.

William Marlowe, who played Mailer in this story, was at the time married to Fernanda Marlowe, who played Corporal Bell. He later married, as his second wife, Roger Delgado's widow Kismet.


The Doctor makes a comment in episode one that suggests he supports capital punishment. (His comment is ironic and suggests precisely the opposite.)


How does the water get into the drowned man's lungs if he's only killed by his fear of drowning?

During a fight sequence in which water is spilled, the Master twice slips in the puddle.

In the office scene in episode four a female sneeze from the studio is heard.

Cast & Crew


The Doctor - Jon Pertwee

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney

Captain Mike Yates - Richard Franklin

Jo Grant - Katy Manning

Sergeant Benton - John Levene

Barnham - Neil McCarthy

Captain Chin Lee - Pik-Sen Lim

Charlie - David Calderisi

Chief Prison Officer Powers - Roy Purcell

Corporal Bell - Fernanda Marlowe

Dr. Summers - Michael Sheard

Fuller - Johnny Barrs

Fu Peng - Kristopher Kum

Linwood - Clive Scott

Mailer - William Marlowe

Main Gate Guard - Matthew Walters

Major Cosworth - Patrick Godfrey

Prison Governor - Raymond Westwell

Prison Officer - Bill Matthews

Prison Officer - Barry Wade

Prison Officer - Dave Carter

Prison Officer - Martin Gordon

Professor Kettering - Simon Lack

Senator Alcott - Tommy Duggan

Senior Prison Officer Green - Eric Mason

The Master - Roger Delgado

Vosper - Haydn Jones


Director - Timothy Combe

Action/Stunts - HAVOC stunt group

Assistant Floor Manager - Sue Hedden

Costumes - Bobi Bartlett

Designer - Raymond London

Film Cameraman - Fred Hamilton

Film Cameraman - Max Samett

Film Editor - Howard Billingham

Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson

Make-Up - Jan Harrison

Producer - Barry Letts

Production Assistant - John Griffiths

Script Editor - Terrance Dicks

Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson

Studio Lighting - Eric Monk

Studio Sound - Chick Anthony

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Delia Derbyshire

Visual Effects - Jim Ward

Writer - Don Houghton

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

'We believe what our minds tell us to, Jo.' A hugely expensive James Bond style political thriller, with a high action content, lots of motorcycle chases, and some interesting things to say about international relations.

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

The Mind of Evil suffers from the same problem as The Wheel in Space in season five: the scheme cooked up by the Doctor's adversary is so convoluted that it seriously lacks credibility. The Master has apparently been posing as Emil Keller for some six months (which - given that his TARDIS is out of action, and assuming that he didn't anticipate the failure of the Nestene Consciousness's invasion attempt - means that at least that amount of time must have elapsed since Terror of the Autons ended). In the end, though, the success of his carefully-laid plans relies on the very unlikely coincidence of him being able to get his hands on the Thunderbolt missile at exactly the same time that the World Peace Conference is taking place.

What would have happened if the transportation of the missile had been delayed by a couple of weeks? Surely not out of the question, given the apparent tactlessness of it being trundled about the country while the Conference is in progress.

Perhaps the Master's original intention was to do nothing more than cause havoc with the Keller Machine, and his adoption of the aim of precipitating a Third World War by using the missile to destroy the Conference was simply a piece of opportunism on his part. The story suggests otherwise, however, and he does not even seem to be fully aware of the dangers posed by the creature within the Machine.

The creature's origins are never adequately explained, either, and it gives the impression of having been added to the story merely to provide a token 'monster'. If the Master really had to be seen to recruit a group of convicts as a sort of private army, it would have been just as easy in plot terms to have had him infiltrating the prison and using his hypnotic powers to gain control.

His apparent inability to hypnotise the convicts' leader, Mailer, smacks of near desperation on writer Don Houghton's part to explain the need for the Machine's inclusion. 'The alien parasite appeared as a rather inauspicious little thing (something of a cross between Cyclops and the Blob...),' wrote Philip Ince in Oracle Volume 3 Number 1, dated October 1979, 'but, as with the Nestenes, one got the impression that the Master had bitten off more than he could readily chew... As far as I could make out, it could lock onto people's thoughts [and] pluck out their greatest fears, which it then turned against them [so that it could] subsequently [feed] on the fear that was generated in the brain.'

What makes all these plot problems seem almost excusable, and in a sense almost irrelevant, is that the action is brought to the screen with such style and panache that the viewer hardly notices them. Director Timothy Combe must therefore take much of the credit for the story's undoubted success. The prison scenes are very well realised, the quite extensive location work is impressive and the cast - regular and guest alike - give excellent performances throughout. In the one instance where the design work falls significantly below par, specifically in the realisation of the illusory dragon that attacks the American delegate, Combe manages largely to disguise the inadequacies of the awful costume through clever camerawork and editing. He is even able to make the Keller Machine an effective menace, despite its uninspiring appearance.

The concept underlying the alien parasite is undeniably a frightening one, and the fact that it develops the ability to teleport, so that no-one knows exactly when or where it is going to appear next, adds greatly to the tension. Also significant factors are the excellent theme and sound effects created for the Machine by, respectively, incidental music composer Dudley Simpson and special sounds maestro Brian Hodgson. These considerably enhance the sense of horrific relentlessness about the Machine's attacks, even though the cliffhanger episode endings tend to be rather samey - repetition being another failing of Houghton's scripts.

Ince considered that all the incidental music and the special sound effects featured in the story were 'outstanding' and attributed this in part to the realisation of Simpson's score on the Radiophonic Workshop's new Delaware synthesiser: 'Dudley Simpson... by skilful use of a synthesiser... formed a classic piece that [was] very evidently [amongst] the first of its kind - on television at least... Perhaps the effectiveness of these pieces can also be attributed to their being constantly repeated and linked with horrible death, so that, when [they were] heard, the adrenaline [started] to flow in expectation.'

Ince also had some positive comments to make about the Doctor's new companion: 'Jo Grant's character [had] greatly advanced [by this story], more than Liz's ever did as she had exhausted the possibilities of her portrayal in the first couple of stories and showed no more than a professional interest for the Doctor's welfare. In Terror of the Autons, Jo was shown as a rather weak and naäve companion but suddenly she became a warm, caring person.'

There are indeed a lot of good elements in this story, but the viewer is left with the nagging suspicion that, with the extraneous plot elements and repetition removed, it might have worked even better in only four episodes.

< Terror of the AutonsThird DoctorThe Claws of Axos >

This episode guide is made up of the text of The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping, and Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker.

The Discontinuity Guide © Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping 1995.
Doctor Who: The Television Companion © David J Howe and Stephen James Walker 1998, 2003.

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