Thursday 1 September 2011

283 The Mind of Evil: Episode One

EPISODE: The Mind of Evil: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 30 January 1971
WRITER: Don Houghton
DIRECTOR: Timothy Combe
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - The Mind of Evil [VHS] [1963]
Episode Format: 16mm b&w film recording

The Doctor & Jo go to see a demonstration of the Keller machine process at Strangmoor Prison. Prisoner Barnham is connected to the machine which drains his evil impulses storing them within the machine. Unit is overseeing security at a peace conference where Captain Chin-Lee reports some documents have been stolen their delegate. After leaving Unit she is seen burning them in a local park. Later she phones Unit reporting the Chinese delegate has been murdered. A medical student watching the Keller process demonstration is found dead in the room with the machine looking like he's been killed by rats. Professor Kettering, who is responsible for the machine, is found dead in the same room soon after appearing to have drowned. The Doctor examines the machine and finds himself surrounded by fire.

Ah Mind of Evil. Don Houghton, the writer of Inferno, is back so I've got high hopes for this. My memory of it was good, but it's been a few years since I last saw it. Liz meanwhile doesn't think she's ever seen it. Unfortunately the experience doesn't go well for her as she takes issue with the "draining of evil impulses" concept and then takes offence at Mike Yates referring to Chin-Lee as a "dolly bird". Is this the only time we see Mike take an interest in a woman? He was envisaged as a potential love interest for Jo but ignores her most of the time.

I'm watching this episode on video as a black & white telerecording. This is the only Doctor Who story recorded in colour that no colour episodes exist from in any form (though there is a brief clip from a later episode in colour). This episode is unique amongst the b&w telerecordings of colour episodes, at least of the ones that no longer exist in colour, in that the process to record the episodes was applied correctly. The colour on a TV screen is made up of tiny red, green & blue dots combined together. Just pointing a B&W camera at a TV screen to record an episode captures these dots in the picture which can occasionally cause interference. Here the correct filter to screen out the dots was used. So why am I telling you this? Well incredibly a process has now been invented that can use the dots embedded in the black and white film to restore colour to the black & white pictures! So the absence of the colour dots means that sadly there's no hope of this episode being restored to colour using this particular method. The rest of the story however......

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