The Mind RobberBookmark and Share

Thursday, 4 September 2003 - Reviewed by Jake Tucker

The Mind Robber is one of the most unique serials in the history of Doctor Who. It’s a strange mix of 60’s psychedelia, fairy tales, pop culture, and literature. The story is the square peg of season six. Season six is mostly composed of standard science fiction fare such as The Krotons, The Invasion, and The Seeds of Doom. The Mind Robber is a nice alternative to the alien invasion story.

One of the most beloved aspects of this story is the wide array of characters that the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe encounter. Giant toy soldiers and Medusa, the gorgon, menace the TARDIS crew. The Doctor and co. also meet the famed traveller Gulliver, the futuristic superhero Karkus, and the great romantic Cyranno de Bergerac. This story features one of the show’s most interesting concepts. Writer Peter Ling created a world of pure concept where the Doctor’s will and cunning are put to the ultimate test.

Patrick Troughton is of course amazing as the Doctor. Frazier Hines and Wendy Padbury are entertaining as always. Emrys Jones plays the controller of the fantasy world, bringing to life one of Doctor Who’s most unusual villains. Doctor Who guest star extraordinaire Bernard Horsfall is delightful as Gulliver. Horsfall would also guest star in the epic The War Games and the landmark serial The Deadly Assassin.

While the cast and script of The Mind Robber are both excellent, I do have two small reservations about the story. I felt that the story was a little too slow moving towards the beginning. The white void of episode 1 was an interesting visual concept, but not for long. The story is also “padded,” a familiar affliction of Doctor Who which affects many classic stories, i.e. Genesis of the Daleks and the previously mentioned The War Games. There are too many scenes of the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe wandering around the dark, drab set. Those problems are small and do not diminish The Mind Robber’s status as one of Doctor Who’s most creative stories. 

After viewing our favourite Time Lord vanquishing alien after alien and robot after robot, it is nice to find him meeting Rapunzel and Cyranno De Bergerac. The story also has a very trippy late 60’s vibe which I found very enjoyable. All in all, The Mind Robber is required viewing for those Doctor Who fans that wish to see something different.