It? a bit of a mind-bender watching cheesy old black-and-white DOCTOR WHO episodes one minute and then turning on the TV and watching the new all-signing, all-dancing super-expensive series starring that bloke off OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH. But we can? deny DOCTOR WHO? history and its heritage and it? nice to see the past being plundered and presented to the public all nice and new and shiny and freshly-scrubbed.
Due to the insane BBC Archive policy of the 1970s there are only a handful of complete Troughton serials still in existence – and most of them are comparative duffers. I mean, ?he Mind Robber?is nice enough but it? totally forgettable and it wouldn? have seen the light of DVD for years if anything better had been sitting in the Archives. But here it is anyway and while it won? change your world it? worth a look if you?e interested in the history of this strange new action show you quite like looking at on Saturday nights.
?he Mind Robber?is one of DOCTOR WHO? more off-the-wall, surreal stories. Budgetary limitations and collapsing scripts elsewhere forced the production team to graft a fifth episode to the front of Peter Ling? fairytale adventure in the Land of Fiction and part one, ironically, is the best of the bunch. Escaping from lava flow at the end of the previous adventure the TARDIS arrives in a white void. Jamie and Zoe are lured out of the TARDIS, menaced by robots from another BBC science-fiction show and, in an episode ending far more memorable than anything else in the serial, the Police Box breaks apart and Jamie and Zoe are left spinning into the void, clinging desperately to the console.
The next episode sees the travellers arriving in a baffling reality where characters from fiction – Gulliver, D?rtagnan, Rapunzel – actually exist. There follows four under-running episodes involving much rushing around, clumsy stuntwork and precious little tension. There? a bit of amusement in episode two when Jamie (Hines) is replaced by actor Hamish Wilson (to cover for Hines? bout of measles) but the denouement is a bit of a let-down and the idea? run itself dry by the time we get to the end.
Troughton is, as ever, a joy, and the Zoe/Jamie partnership is one still fondly-remembered by aficionados of the show. But there? not much going for ?he Mind Robber?apart from the fact that? it? 1960s Archive stuff which is always worth some of your valuable time.
THE DISC: Another stirling restoration job but this one backfires a bit when the clean-up reveals the cheapness of the first episode. A couple of nice features – a ?aking of?featuring surviving cast and crew and a warm look back at the history of Jamie throughout the series -join a tiresome commentary and the usual trivia tracks and photo galleries. The less said about a long Basil Brush sketch featuring an original Yeti costume the better? Hardly an essential release but it passes the time until the next sparkling new episode of DOCTOR WHO. Ooo-eee-oooooooooozp>