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The Mind of Evil:  The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

The Mind of Evil: The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

This adventure features the 3rd Doctor, Jo Grant, the Brigadier and the UNIT family, and the Master.

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Wednesday, April 17, 2019/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Doctor Who – The Mind of Evil, by Terrance Dicks, Target 1985. Number 96 in the Doctor Who Library. 144 pages, paperback. Cover art by Andrew Skilleter. Original script by Don Houghton, BBC 1971.


The Doctor and Jo are at Stangmoor Prison to witness hardened criminal George Barnham undergo the Keller Process, which, according to Professor Kettering, extracts the negative impulses from the mind and leaves a well-balanced person. Things start to go wrong when healthy man is found dead of heart failure and had what looked like tiny claw marks on his face after Barnham’s procedure, which left Barnham with a child-like demeanor. The Doctor and Jo delay reporting this to the Brigadier, who has problems of his own.

UNIT is in charge of security of a Global Peace Conference but is also in charge of transporting a Thunderbolt Missile to the Navy for disposal. The tension grows when Captain Chin Lee of the Chinese People’s Army reports the theft of important papers from the Chinese delegate’s suite. The Brigadier promises to investigate. No one sees Chin Lee drop a sheaf of burning papers into a waste bin or act as if she isn’t aware of what she’s doing. She later calls the Brigadier to report the death of the Chinese delegate. The Brigadier sends Yates to Stangmoor to fetch the Doctor and Jo.

At Stangmoor Prison, Kettering is found dead by drowning in a dry room after trying to repair the Keller Machine. It seems he had a fear of water and the first man had a fear of rats. As the Doctor investigates the Machine, he almost becomes a victim of it when it attacks him but is saved when Jo interrupts. Yates arrives to return the Doctor to London but Jo decides to stay at Stangmoor. When the Doctor arrives at UNIT HQ, he convinces the Brigadier to contact the Home Office about shutting down the Keller Machine and they go to meet the new Chinese delegate.

Unseen by anyone, a telephone repairman places a listening device on a line near UNIT HQ and overhears Yates making plans for the Missile convoy. The repairman removes his uniform and a mask to reveal that he is the Master, who gets into a limousine and is driven away.

At Stangmoor, some inmates, led by gang leader Harry Mailer, take over a wing of the prison. Mailer holds Jo hostage and tries to arrange for safe passage out.

The Doctor and the Brigadier catch Chin Lee trying to kill the American delegate. The Doctor, finding a remote amplifier on Chin Lee, begins to connect the deaths at the prison with that of the Chinese delegate, thinking the Machine cause of them. They discover that Chin Lee assisted Professor Keller in installing the Machine at Stangmoor and was used as a relay for the Machine’s power. The Doctor figures out that Keller is the Master and advises the Brigadier to let Chin Lee go as she was under the Master’s influence. They learn that Jo has been taken hostage.

The Master, overhearing Yates and the Brigadier discussing that the Doctor has connected the attack on the American delegate with the Keller Machine and goes to Stangmoor. Jo gets free and Mailer is imprisoned. The Master arrives at Stangmoor and visits Mailer with plans for escape after taking over the prison, setting a trap for the Doctor.

The Doctor arrives at Stangmoor and is taken to the Master who needs the Doctor’s help controlling the Machine, which the Doctor surmises is actually an alien mind parasite that feeds on its victims’ fear, while the Master plans to steal the Missile UNIT is transporting. The Master wants to fire it at the Peace Conference and start a world war. The Master subjects the Doctor to the Machine then revives the Doctor after he is overcome by it, then imprisons him with Jo. The Doctor goes into a coma to recover. The Master recruits Mailer to steal the Missile with promises of freedom. Mailer and his men hijack the convoy. Yates follows them and finds the location of the Missile only to be captured.

The Brigadier arrives where the Missile was stolen. He takes a helicopter over Stangmoor to look for the Missile and spots the Doctor and Jo and plans to take back the prison. The Doctor and Jo find a dead prisoner and realize the Machine has learned to move. They are nearly captured by Mailer and Vosper but the Machine kills Vosper and goes after Mailer, who runs. The Doctor and Jo are captured again.

Mailer puts a threatening call to the Master who is at the hangar with the Missile. The Master returns to Stangmoor and persuades the Doctor to help control the Machine by threatening Jo. The Doctor makes a device that will temporarily limit the Machine’s movement. The Master returns to the hangar to prepare the Missile for firing and deactivates the remote detonation circuit. 

The Brigadier puts his plan into action and UNIT takes over the prison. Mailer tries to take the Doctor and Jo hostage but the Brigadier shoots him. The Doctor tells the Brigadier that the Missile isn’t at Stangmoor. Yates has gotten free and makes it to mobile HQ to report the Missile’s location. The Brigadier goes to deal with the Master.

The Machine breaks free of the Doctor’s device and goes on a killing spree. It almost traps the Doctor and Jo when Barnham, forgotten until now, comes in and accidentally acts as a barrier. The Master calls the Doctor to gloat but the Doctor holds all the cards. He promises to exchange the Master’s dematerialization circuit for the Missile. The Master agrees. Jo gives the Doctor the idea of destroying the Master and the Machine at the same time. The Doctor meets the Master with his dematerialization circuit while Jo and Barnham, with Barnham carrying the Machine, sneak out of the van. Barnham sets the Machine close to Master. The Doctor reactivates the Missile’s remote detonation circuit, while Jo and Barnham run to the hangar office. A UNIT helicopter comes to rescue the Doctor, Jo, and Barnham but Barnham gets too close to the Machine, dampening its hold on the Master. The Master jumps into the van and runs over Barnham, killing him. Jo and the Doctor escape in the helicopter as the Brigadier detonates the Missile, destroying the Machine.

Later, at UNIT, the Master calls the Doctor to gloat, having repaired his TARDIS and gaining his freedom, while the Doctor has to settle for exile.


This adventure doesn’t sit still very long. It seems like it’s going to start slowly but the slow start doesn’t last long as the story gets moving. It’s a bit of a game of catch and release with the Doctor and Jo, too, with this repetitious theme. It almost comes as no surprise that Keller is the Master and one has to be familiar with previous adventures to know that the Doctor has a part from the Master’s TARDIS. Terrance Dicks writes this one well. It’s a good adventure with nice mix of science fiction, mystery, and espionage to make for good reading. As Doctor Who stories go, this one might count somewhat as base-under-siege, with the prison coming under prisoner control but also being terrorized by the Machine. The Mind of Evil keeps you reading, wondering what’s going to happen next.





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