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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"Would it surprise you to know one of your hearts stopped you completely?"
―The Master
The Mind of Evil
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 8
Story Number: 56
Doctor: Third Doctor
Companions: Jo Grant
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Captain Mike Yates
Sergeant Benton
Enemy: The Master
Keller Machine
Setting: Earth, England, Stangmoor Prison, 1970s
Writer: Don Houghton
Director: Timothy Combe
Broadcast: 30th January - 6th March 1971
Format: 6 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: Terror of the Autons
Following Story: The Claws of Axos



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.



Episode One

The Doctor and Jo arrive at Stangmoor Prison to view a demonstration of the Keller Machine, which is claimed to cure anti-social behavior by extracting evil impulses from the brain, developed by Swiss scientist Emil Keller. Professor Kettering, acting on the absent Keller’s behalf, reports over a hundred successful tests on European prisoners. The Doctor’s open skepticism is apparently justified when the machine appears to overload and the subject, a hardened criminal named Barnham, is rendered comatose.

Meanwhile, UNIT is busy overseeing security at the First World Peace Conference. Things are not going well as the Brigadier attempts to calm Captain Chin Lee, furious at the apparent theft of classified documents from the Chinese delegation. Later, Chin-Lee reports even worse news, the Chinese delegate is dead. Meanwhile Captain Yates is assigned to lead a small UNIT platoon in disposing of the Thunderbolt, an illegal nerve gas missile.

Linwood, a medical student witnessing the Keller demonstration is found dead near the Keller Machine, his face frozen in terror, covered in bites and scratches. His medical history shows a morbid fear of rats. Professor Kettering is examining the Machine when it becomes active on its own. Kettering has a vision of waves of water, and dies of an apparent heart attack. Investigating his death, the prison medic Dr Summers is mystified that his symptoms are consistent with death by drowning. The Machine’s activity also appears to coincide with an increase in hostility in the prison population. The Doctor is worried that the machine has power over people’s minds and is growing more powerful. As suspected, Kettering’s medical files show a morbid fear of water.

Later, the Doctor examines the Machine alone when it activates again. The Doctor is seized by terror as the room appears to erupt in flames…

Episode Two

Jo bursts into the room, and the machine deactivates. The Doctor concludes that the Machine possesses the ability to fill a person’s mind with visions of their greatest fear. He confesses a severe aversion to fire, which is rooted in his witnessing a planet consumed by flames (possibly the parallel Earth from Inferno). Yates arrives to escort the Doctor back to assist the Brigadier with events at the Peace Conference. Jo stays behind to monitor events at Stangmoor.

While the Doctor charms the new Chinese delegate with his fluent Hokkien and his claim to have accompanied Mao on the Long March, Sgt. Benton shadows Chin Lee (who herself has disposed of the documents she earlier claimed to be stolen). When she notices him, she summons a mental power that seizes Benton and makes him collapse. A nearby telephone repairman rigs a control box so that he may monitor transmissions from the Conference. It is the Master, and he listens in on Yates making plans for the disposal of the Thunderbolt.

Jo meets the recovering Barnham, who is now childlike and docile. The Stangmoor prisoners riot, led by Mailer (next in line for processing), taking Jo and Dr Summers hostage.

The Doctor reports in to the Brigadier, and recalling the prison warden’s reference to Keller’s young attractive Chinese assistant, realizes that Chin Lee is the connection between the Keller Machine and the disturbances at the World Peace Conference.

Under directive from the Master, Chin Lee contacts the American delegate, Senator Alcott, and asks him to meet her late that night with some important information. When he arrives, Chin Lee takes the form of an enormous dragon and advances on him…

Episode Three

The Doctor and Brigadier intervene in time and rescue the Senator. They discover a mind-control device attached to Chin Lee’s neck. The Doctor concludes that the Master is posing as Emil Keller, and is also seeking to disrupt the Peace Conference.

Once the Master learns that his role has been discovered, he returns to Stangmoor to formulate a new plan. The prison guards have managed to subdue the rioters, but the Master provides Mailer with gas bombs and the inmates overpower the guards and take over the prison.

Having learned of the trouble there, the Doctor arrives at Stangmoor but is apprehended. He is brought before the Master, who coolly informs him of his plot to steal the Thunderbolt with the help of the prisoners, destroy the Peace Conference with it, and thereby plunge the world into war. He is handcuffed to a chair beside the Keller Machine, which activates and fills the Doctor’s mind with visions of his old adversaries…

Episode Four

The Machine’s activity affects the entire prison, and the Master is barely able to shut it off and revive the Doctor. The groggy Doctor warns the Master that the machine will soon be too powerful to control.

While Jo nurses the Doctor back to health, the Master himself is attacked by the Machine, assaulted by an enormous vision of the Doctor looming over him laughing maniacally. The Master blocks the doors to the lecture hall, intending to starve the Machine into submission.

The Master persuades Mailer and his fellow inmates to help him obtain the Thunderbolt in exchange for freedom, the missile convoy passing within a few miles of Stangmoor. They manage to overpower Yates’ escort and succeed in stealing the missile. Yates pursues the thieves to a remote air hangar, but he is captured.

The Machine, or rather the alien entity inside it, is desperate enough for minds to feed upon that it develops the ability to teleport itself around the prison, and it closes upon Jo and the recovered Doctor…

Episode Five

The Machine teleports away, the Doctor theorizing that there were more evil minds to feed upon elsewhere in the prison. Mailer blackmails the Master into returning to Stangmoor to deal with the menace. The Master and the Doctor form an uneasy alliance to subdue the Machine with a device that immobilizes it for the time being.

The Brigadier meanwhile figures out that the Stangmoor inmates are involved in the abduction of Thunderbolt. He leads a two-pronged UNIT assault, a “Trojan Horse” team in a supply van and a second team via an underground passage into the prison courtyard. In the midst of the assault, Mailer aims his gun at the Doctor. A shot rings out…

Episode Six

Mailer falls over dead, the shot having come from the Brigadier. Stangmoor is back under control, but the Master escapes and prepares Thunderbolt for launch. Yates escapes and relays the location to the Brigadier.

The Machine overcomes the Doctor’s device and is once again on the move. It corners the Doctor and Jo, but Barnham’s arrival subdues it. The Doctor realizes that Barnham, having already been processed, acts as a neutralizing influence on the Machine, and thus they can use the Machine against the Master to take back the Thunderbolt. Meanwhile they lift the lid of the Machine to examine the pulsating organism inside.

The Doctor bargains with the Master, offering the dematerialization circuit he stole earlier, but it’s a ruse. He brings the Machine and Barnham, and as Barnham steps back the Machine attacks the Master. Barnham attempts to help him, but in the confusion the Master escapes and runs down Barnham in a van. UNIT blows up the Thunderbolt, taking the Machine with it.

The Master, however, has recovered his dematerialization circuit in the melee leaving him free to travel Time and Space, and can't resist calling the Doctor to gloat. The Doctor fumes.




  • When the Doctor is attacked by the Keller Machine he sees a War Machine, a Cyberman, a Dalek, Zarbi, a Sensorite, Koquillion, Slaar and a Silurian.
  • The Doctor can speak Mandarin and went on the Long March with Mao Tse-Tung, with whom he implies he had a friendly relationship.
  • He relives some of the fear that he felt when facing his many adversaries and his experience of seeing a world destroyed by flames.
  • The Master's innermost fear appears as a giant, malignant version of the Doctor, filled with mocking laughter.
  • 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, en route to Stangmoor Prison during Episode Three, listens to an excerpt from "The Devil's Triangle" by British prog rock band King Crimson, a track from their 1970 album In The Wake Of Poseidon.
  • The Doctor uses his Venusian karate skills for the first time.

Story Notes

  • This story had the working titles of The Pandora Machine, Man Hours, The Pandora Box, The Pandora's Box.
  • This is the first occurrence of subtitles on screen in Doctor Who, the only other time is in DW: The Curse of Fenric.
  • Lenny Vosper was named after writer Don Noughton's agent, Margary Vosper.


  • Episode One - 6.1 million viewers
  • Episode Two - 8.8 million viewers
  • Episode Three - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode Four - 7.4 million viewers
  • Episode Five - 7.6 million viewers
  • Episode Six - 7.3 million viewers


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

Filming Locations

  • Location filming took place in Dover Castle, Dover, Kent.
  • Alland Grange, Manston, Kent
  • Pineham Road, Pineham, Kent
  • Cornwall Gardens Walk, London
  • Cornwall Gardens, London
  • Archer's Court Road, Whitfield, Kent
  • RAF Swingate, Dover, Kent
  • Commonwealth Institute, Kensington, London
  • BBC Television Centre (Studio 3 & 6), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • The Doctor fears Koquillion and War Machines yet in their featured episodes, he had no or little fear of them. There is a difference between not showing fear, and not feeling it on some level.
  • The destruction of the 'deadly' Thunderbolt missile at the climax of this story seems to do surprisingly little damage to the surrounding area. Destruction of the missile itself doesn't automatically mean detonation of the payload, especially with nuclear missiles. At any rate, Thunderbolt has a poison gas warhead, and a nuclear-powered rocket engine. The explosive contents of the actual warhead / detonator are not mentioned, but presumably they are only sufficient to ensure widespread distribution of the poison gas and not massive ground-level destruction (Indeed, it sounds like a weapon designed to kill people and leave buildings and property mainly unharmed).
  • How does the water get into the drowned man's lungs if he's only killed by his fear of drowning. The fears are physically manifested as well, as explained in the story.
  • During a fight sequence in which water is spilled, the Master twice slips in the puddle. This may have been intentional on the actor's part.
  • In the office scene in episode four a female sneeze from the studio is heard. Easily explainable as someone off-screen sneezing.
  • The hallway leading up to cell 7 (the cell where the Doctor and Jo are stashed at various points) has a different appearance when viewed from outside and inside the cell.
  • When the Master's thugs throw the Doctor into the cell, the wall shakes.


  • The Doctor alludes to DW: Inferno, "I saw an entire world consumed by fire." (both stories were written by Don Houghton)
  • The Master's greatest fear (of the Doctor looming over him) becomes real in DW: Last of the Time Lords. However, the Doctor does not become large and laugh menacingly at him at that time. He is pointedly forgiving of him, in fact.
  • UNIT provides security for the second World Peace Conference in DW: Day of the Daleks. The 1990s book Who Killed Kennedy has that conference as the direct result of the failure of the first.
  • DWU: Sympathy for the Devil features an alternate universe and an adventure that features the Keller Machine (in a different guise). In that story, the Master raises that Mao "spoke ever so highly of [the Doctor]", though here the Doctor claims he only knew Mao as a librarian rather than during the Long March.

DVD, Video and Other Releases

Released as a double-cassette pack on VHS in black and white, the only format in which the story is currently known to exist. The only surviving colour footage from the story, approximately five minutes from the beginning of Episode Six, is included as a separate sequence at the end of the second tape. It is rumoured that this serial is currently being recolourised for DVD; while a colour snapshot has been released by Steve Roberts (which could just be for testing/demonstration purposes), no such release has yet been confirmed by 2|entertain.

According to the Restoration Team, episodes 2 through 6 have very strong color signals embedded in the black and white film recordings, making it a good candidate for the color recovery process developed from 2007-2009 and used on episode 3 of Planet of the Daleks. However, episode 1 was recorded with a notch filter, creating a cleaner black-and-white recording, but rendering the color signal lost forever.


Main article: The Mind of Evil (novelisation)

External Links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for The Mind of Evil
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - The Mind of Evil
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) Guide to The Mind of Evil
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - The Mind of Evil
Season 8
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons
The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time

This article uses material from the "The Mind of Evil" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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