From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.
- "Jamie! The Doctor!"
- ―Zoe Heriot
The Mind Robber was the second story of Season 6 of Doctor Who. It was the first story which David Maloney directed.
To escape from the volcanic eruption on Dulkis, the Doctor uses an emergency unit which moves the TARDIS out of normal time and space. The travellers find themselves in an endless void, where they are menaced by White Robots.
Having regained the safety of the TARDIS, they believe they have escaped - until the ship suddenly explodes. They then find themselves in a land of fiction, where they are hunted by life-size clockwork soldiers and encounter characters like Rapunzel and Swift's Lemuel Gulliver.
This domain is presided over by a man known only as the Master - a prolific English writer from 1926 - who in turn is controlled by a Master Brain computer. Now the Master is desperate to escape and wants the Doctor to take his place, while the Master Brain plans to take over the Earth.
The Doctor engages the Master in a battle of wills using a variety of fictional characters. Zoe and Jamie meanwhile succeed in overloading the Master Brain and, in the confusion; the White Robots destroy the computer, finally freeing the Master.
The TARDIS is buried in lava after a volcanic eruption on Dulkis, blowing the fluid link. The Doctor employs an emergency unit which moves the TARDIS out of normal time and space and out of reality itself. They land in an endless White Void and as the Doctor fixes the TARDIS, Jamie and Zoe are lured outside and are confronted by White Robots. The Doctor gets them back inside but, as they try to return to reality, the TARDIS explodes apart and the travellers are scattered into nothingness.
The TARDIS crew find themselves separated in a forest where the trees become letters when seen from above. The Doctor, after facing a series of riddles, finds Jamie as a cardboard cut-out with a blank face. When the Doctor selects facial components to reconstruct the face, he gets it wrong and Jamie returns to normal looking nothing like he did before. The pair are reunited with Zoe and as the group try to figure out what has happened and where they are, they meet the fictional character Lemuel Gulliver, who gives them away to life-sized toy clockwork soldiers which he can't see. They are taken to the edge of the forest, where a unicorn charges at them.
They manage to turn it into a statue by loudly declaring that "it doesn't exist". They continue on and reach a house, where the Doctor is tasked with the Jamie face puzzle again, this time however he gets it right and Jamie is returned to normal. They discover that the house is the entrance to a labyrinth. Here, while leaving Jamie behind, the Doctor and Zoe encounter the Minotaur. Jamie, pursued by a soldier, climbs up a rock face with the help of Rapunzel's hair and enters a citadel through a window and finds a series of computer banks which are giving a readout on the Doctor and Zoe's encounter with Medusa, which is happening simultaneously. Zoe cannot resist the urge to look at Medusa, but to do so will turn her to stone.
As the Doctor and Zoe avoid looking at Medusa, Jamie receives a readout describing how the Doctor slew the monster with a sword. Such a sword appears at the Doctor's side, but he refuses to use it because Medusa does not exist. Instead, he uses a mirror, turning Medusa to stone. The computer gives a failure reading, though Jamie doesn't know what it means. He continues to explore the citadel.
The Doctor and Zoe exit the labyrinth and encounter the Karkus, a cartoon character from the year 2000. The Doctor accidentally manages to dispel the Karkus' anti-molecular ray disintegrator by commenting that no such weapon exists, and the Karkus attacks them. Unfortunately, the Doctor can't get rid of the Karkus, because he has never heard of the character before and cannot say for certain that the Karkus is not real. Zoe, however, beats the Karkus into submission with her martial arts skills, and he allies himself with them. He takes them to the citadel, where they find Jamie. Zoe accidentally sets off an alarm, but the trio do not hide and let the white robots take them to the main control room. Here, they meet the Master, a kidnapped Earth writer who underwent the same tests as them when he first arrived. He explains that he is getting old and needs the Doctor to replace him as creative source for the Land of Fiction. While he is talking, Jamie and Zoe sneak out into a library area where they encounter the white robots again and become trapped in a giant book.
The Doctor refuses the Master's offer and climbs out through a skylight. The Master hypnotises Jamie and Zoe, gets them to trap the Doctor and links him up to the Master Brain. The two do battle, summoning up various fictional characters to fight against one another. The Doctor prevails, releasing Jamie and Zoe who override the Master Brain, causing the White Robots to destroy each other.
The Doctor unplugs the Master from the Brain and they all retreat to a side room. The White Robots destroy the Master Brain, the TARDIS comes back together and normality is restored.
- Zoe Heriot - Wendy Padbury
- The Master of the Land - Emrys Jones
- A Stranger / Lemuel Gulliver - Bernard Horsfall
- Karkus - Christopher Robbie
- The Medusa - Sue Pulford
- Redcoat - Philip Ryan
- Princess Rapunzel - Christine Pirie
- D'Artagnan and Sir Lancelot - John Greenwood
- Cyrano - David Cannon
- Blackbeard - Gerry Wain
- Soldiers - Paul Alexander, Ian Hines, Richard Ireson
- Children - Barbara Loft, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Timothy Horton, Christopher Reynolds, David Reynolds, Martin Langley
- Robots - John Atterbury, Ralph Carrigan, Bill Wiesener, Terry Wright
- The Master of the Land of Fiction was a pulp fiction writer (scripting the Adventures of Captain Jack Harkaway in The Ensign). He was kidnapped from England in the summer of 1926. It is strongly implied that he is the great children's author Frank Richards,
- Working titles for this story included Man Power, Another World and The Fact of Fiction.
- Hamish Wilson played Jamie in Episode 3 due to Frazer Hines' illness.
- 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 19 and 22 minutes in length, and Episode 5 was the shortest Doctor Who episode ever at just over 18 minutes.
- For this to happen the first episode was cobbled together by the production team, much to Peter Ling's unhappiness.
- Before Jamie (as played by Hamish Wilson) gets turned into a cut-out for the second time, he shouts, "Creag an tuire!" 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, had been loaned from a previous use in the British science fiction television series Out of the Unknown.
- The character Gulliver speaks only lines written for him by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels.
- It can be argued that the events of episodes 2-5 are a dream by the Doctor. He doesn't know Zoe as well as he will and so thinks she would recognise candles, however in The Space Pirates she doesn't. Jamie's facial transformation could be a reference to his own recent regeneration, the Master of the Land of Fiction could be another reference to the Master who the Doctor has recently met in The Dark Path. This, however, would involve discounting the re-appearances of the Land of Fiction in the Virgin New Adventures and Doctor Who Magazine.
- The Blackbeard and Cyrano de Bergerac shown here are the fictional depictions of real historical figures. (In-universe, the same applies to Medusa.)
- Episode 1 - 6.6 million viewers
- Episode 2 - 6.5 million viewers
- Episode 3 - 7.2 million viewers
- Episode 4 - 7.3 million viewers
- Episode 5 - 6.7 million viewers
- Hamish Wilson, who played Jamie in Episodes 2 and 3, is Frazer Hines's cousin. (not true, but Ian Hines, who played one of the Clockwork Soldiers in this story, is his brother.)
Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors
- Shouldn't 'nowhere' be black (i.e. no photons)? That reasoning is based on the physics of our universe. Yet the whole point here is that they are outside our universe, and therefore, there is no reason to suppose the same principle(s) applies. Also, the Land of Fiction is an Earth-based "nowhere", with Earth gravity, light, and air, to allow the Master to survive there. The Mind Robber Computer presumably provided this environment.
- If Zoe has a photographic memory, why do they need the thread in the maze? She's probably trying to recreate how Theseus went into the labyrinth and slew the Minotaur. And, her photographic memory does let her down sometimes - she got lost on the Moonbase.
- After the TARDIS breaks up, Zoe is clinging to the console. In long shots, she is lying on her right side. In close-ups, she's on her left.
- Revealing Mistakes: The walls of the TARDIS are photographic flats. True, but the designers used photographic flats of the TARDIS walls regularly throughout the late Hartnell and Troughton eras.
- Occasionally, when Zoe and Jamie are in the white void, the line where the wall and floor of the studio meet can be seen. This is much more apparent when watching the crystal-clear restored DVD version than presumably would have been seen on the average late 1960s television set.
- When the Doctor gets Jamie and Zoe into the TARDIS, the end credits can be seen on the scanner.
- The light-maps on the Master's monitors show layouts that are not the same as the actual layouts of the tunnels
- When the Doctor is first asked to assemble Jamie's face, Frasier Hines features are not among those on the board. It's a cruel joke on the part of the Master. The Doctor is not meant to be able to construct Jamie's face first time around.
- In the Forest of Words, when Jamie is standing on top of the giant 'S' it is clear that the proportions of the other letters he is supposedly seeing in the distance are completely different from the ones by where they are standing - i.e. the letters Jamie sees in the distance are far shorter in height than they are in the length and width of their surface, however, the height of the 'S' he is standing on is far greater than its length and width. The letters are not of a uniform font, size or shape. Some are taller than they are wide, others not.
- Jamie's voice changes to that of Hamish Wilson (along with his accent) well before the Doctor reassembles his face incorrectly. That couldn't be helped. The very reason they got Hamish Wilson to play Jamie instead of Frazer Hines for that scene is because Frazer Hines got a severe case of chicken pox (I think it was that) and that scene had to quickly be written to explain the sudden change in Jamie's appearence.
- Why does Zoe need help to break through the paper top of the jar she's trapped in? Perhaps it's stronger on the inside? Or maybe it looked like something a lot stronger than paper on the inside? It's proboably a joke on The Master's part.
- Near the end of this episode, Jamie is reading the ticker tape upside down.
- It's quite obvious that the bookshelves in the library are photographs, not real. A great deal of what is located in the Land of Fiction is not real. Hence, the clever name.
- Zoe, a supposed mathematical genius, bungles a sum. If the Master wrote 5,000 words a week for 25 years, he would have written 6.5 million words, not half a million. No, she says it would be well over half a million.
- When Zoe is fighting the Karkus, the Karkus' actor mistimes a stunt, making it clear she's not flipping him over her shoulder. As with many episodes in the 1960s, it was filmed with little to no opportunity to re-shoot scenes.
- There is also the incredibly poor 'muscle-suit' that the Karkus wears. The Karkus is a fictional futuristic cartoon character. The unconvincing muscle suit is intentional.
DVD, Video and Other Releases
Released as Doctor Who: The Mind Robber.
- PAL - BBC DVD BBCDVD1358
- Commentary by Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, David Maloney and Hamish Wilson.
- The Fact of Fiction - The making of The Mind Robber. The cast and crew look back on a story which had more than its fair share of challenges. With contributions from Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Hamish Wilson, David Maloney, Christopher Robbie, Peter Ling, Derrick Sherwin and Evan Hercules.
- Highlander - The Jamie McCrimmon Story - Frazer Hines takes an informal look back at his time in Doctor Who.
- Basil Brush - A sketch from 1975, featuring the Second Doctor's most fearsome foes, the Yeti.
- Photo Gallery
- Production Subtitles
- Easter Eggs - Continuity links from the 1990s repeat of The Mind Robber. To access this hidden feature, press left at Episode Selection on the main menu.
- Released on video as "The Mind Robber" in Episodic format in May 1990.
- Main article: The Mind Robber (novelisation)
Novelised as The Mind Robber in 1986 by Peter Ling
- BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Mind Robber
- Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Mind Robber
- Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Mind Robber
- The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Mind Robber