The Mind Robber (TV story)

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The Mind Robber was the second serial of season 6 of Doctor Who. It was the first story which David Maloney directed and the only televised story to feature the Land of Fiction.

As part of the 60th anniversary celebrations in November 2023, the story was re-released as the second episode of Tales of the TARDIS. Each serial within it was edited together to form a single episode. Newly filmed material with the serial's original cast bookends each episode. (TV: The Mind Robber)


To escape from the volcanic eruption on Dulkis, the Second Doctor uses an emergency unit. It moves the TARDIS out of normal time and space. The travellers find themselves in an endless void where they are menaced by white robots.

Having regained the safety of the TARDIS, they believe they have escaped — until the ship explodes. They find themselves in a land of fiction, where they are hunted by life-size clockwork soldiers and encounter characters like Rapunzel, the Karkus, and Swift's Lemuel Gulliver.

This domain is presided over by a man known only as the Master — a prolific English writer from 1926 — who in turn is controlled by a Master Brain computer. The Master is desperate to escape and wants the Doctor to take his place, while the Master Brain plans to take over the Earth.

The Doctor engages the Master in a battle of wills using fictional characters. Zoe and Jamie overload the Master Brain. In the confusion, the White Robots destroy the computer, freeing the Master.


Episode 1[[edit]]

Back inside the TARDIS, Zoe watches the volcanic eruption on the scanner. The Doctor attempts to take off, but the fluid links cannot take the load of the TARDIS and mercury vapour begins to flood into the console room. Jamie watches the lava draw towards them. The Doctor tells him there is nothing to worry about but begins to doubt himself, the TARDIS having never been subjected to lava before. He watches as the readings of the mercury levels rise. The Doctor mentions an emergency unit that moves the TARDIS out of the time and space dimension and out of reality altogether. He is very reluctant. He gets the unit out to look at it, and Jamie literally forces him into employing it. As the TARDIS is engulfed in lava, it dematerialises. The console room flashes and then stops. The Doctor realises that the gauges are reading zero on everything. They have landed, but nothing is displaying anything, not even the scanner. When asked where they are, the Doctor responds with "nowhere" before hurrying off.

Zoe has gone to change into a catsuit and then encounters the Doctor. He is worried but is trying to hide it. Zoe reasons with the Doctor that the TARDIS only lands them in places that are safe, so they must be somewhere safe. The Doctor reasons with Zoe: they are in a dimension about which they know nothing, and they are at the mercy of forces which they don't understand. Zoe still wants to go. The Doctor is forced to put his foot down.

Back in the console room, Jamie is engrossed by the scanner. He can see his home, the Scottish Highlands though it appears as a still image. Zoe enters and he shows her. She can see nothing. When he looks back, he can't see anything either. He puts it down to Scotch mist. As Jamie is distracted, Zoe gets engrossed by the scanner too. She too sees her home city. Just as before, she shows him and it disappears. Zoe wants to go out, but Jamie stops her. He goes to fetch the Doctor. Left alone, Zoe can see her home city on the scanner again. She opens the door and calls for Jamie and the Doctor so they can leave. Impatiently she leaves the TARDIS. As soon as she leaves, the scanner goes blank.

Jamie explains what has happened to the Doctor. He is still convinced he saw the Scottish Highlands. The Doctor rushes in to find Zoe. When he realises she has gone, he reasons that there must be something tempting them out of the TARDIS. A warning light goes off on the TARDIS. They do not have much time before they are forced to take off. Jamie says he will go and find Zoe. Before the Doctor can stop him, he's run off. Another warning light goes off on the TARDIS console. The Doctor then nears a sharp, piercing sound. He staggers around the TARDIS, crying out for whoever is making the noise to identify themselves, where they are and what they want. The Doctor sits on a chair, determined to fight the noise.

Zoe has found herself in a completely blank canvas. She is calling out for the Doctor and Jamie. Jamie finds Zoe. They decide to go back to the TARDIS, but they have become utterly lost. They decide to stand still and call for the Doctor.

Back in the TARDIS , the Doctor can hear them but is still trying to fight against the noise.

Out in the nothingness, Jamie feels they are being watched. Zoe concurs. Unseen by them, two robots are indeed watching over them. Zoe is distracted again by a vivid depiction of her city. Jamie brings her to her senses, but she is very hard to convince that she did not see it. In turn, Jamie starts to see his homeland. Zoe has to slap him to bring him to his senses. They decide to find the TARDIS again, but as they turn they encounter two of the robots. They run off but bump into more and soon they are surrounded by them. They turn to see a depiction of themselves beckoning them forward.

The Doctor sees this image of Jamie and Zoe too. He hears a voice imploring him to follow them and to save them. He refuses, but the voice tells him that he will.

The robots produce a hypnotic effect on Zoe and Jamie, causing the former to scream in distress.

The voice is still imploring the Doctor to save his friends. In a daze, the Doctor walks out the TARDIS. Once outside, he comes to his senses again. He calls to Jamie and Zoe and tells them to focus on his voice. He tells them everything else is unreality and that he and the TARDIS are the only things that are real. He tells them to come towards him. They obey. He tells them to go into the TARDIS. The robots begin to use their hypnotic effects on them, and the Doctor pushes them into the TARDIS.

Once inside, Jamie and Zoe come to. The Doctor hurriedly takes off. As they are in flight, the high pitched noise starts again. Jamie leaves the Doctor and Zoe to it and goes for a nap. Zoe apologises to the Doctor, who understands and says if it was anything as tempting as the voice that he heard she was bound to get in. The Doctor realises that he had forgotten about the voice up until then. He notices that the TARDIS is using more power than normal and begins to rectify it. Meanwhile, in the corner of the room, Jamie tosses and turns fretfully in his sleep. He suddenly wakes with a start. The Doctor tells him not to bother him as he cannot get power back to normal. Jamie tells Zoe that he was dreaming about a unicorn. They look up and see that the Doctor is in a trance. He draws their attention to the sound vibrating through the TARDIS and identifies it as alien. Zoe and Jamie start to notice it too and can't focus because of it. The Doctor implores Zoe and Jamie to read aloud the numbers on the dial so that they can focus on something else. The sound heightens. It is too strong for the Doctor, who slumps back against the wall.

Outside, the TARDIS is flying aimlessly through space when suddenly it explodes. The console alone is left flying through space with Zoe and Jamie clinging on to it. Zoe turns and screams as she sees the Doctor, asleep, floating in space. Smoke slowly covers the console as it drifts out of sight...

Episode 2[[edit]]

Jamie is looking for the Doctor and Zoe in what appears to be a very odd forest. He hears Zoe cry out. As he seeks her out, he comes across a Redcoat. Assuming he is back in his own time, he draws a knife and attacks the soldier. The soldier turns and shoots, and Jamie turns into a cardboard cutout of himself.

Zoe is wandering around the forest looking for her friends. She notices she is trapped. All of a sudden she turns to see a door. Slowly the door creaks open, and she walks in before falling through the floor.

An unseen figure watches over this on television screens. He is looking for the Doctor. He orders that they search all areas so that the Doctor can be completely under his control.

The Doctor awakes. He hears Jamie and Zoe and begins to seek them out. He begins to get confused as they are both calling out at the same time. He tells Zoe to stop and follows the sound of Jamie's voice.

The unseen figure turns the lights up so as to find the Doctor quicker.

The Doctor thanks whoever turned on the lights as it is helping him find Jamie. He hears some figures approaching and hides.

The unseen figure orders his soldiers to spread out and cover all areas so the Doctor can be found.

The soldiers move on. The Doctor emerges and continues his search. Soon an armed figure emerges and draws a gun on him. He speaks in a strange language, but the Doctor soon discovers that, not only can he speak English, he comes from England. He questions the Doctor, worried that he may be a highway man. The man tells the Doctor that he left England in 1699 and that he has lost his companions.

The Doctor asks where they are, but the man does not know. The Doctor asks for his help in finding Jamie and Zoe, but the man says that "the Master" will not permit it and that he has a warrant out for the Doctor. The man says he must leave and walks away. The Doctor pursues, but the man is gone. The Doctor puts it down to a hallucination. He begins to search for Jamie again when he is surrounded by schoolchildren. They bombard him with riddles before one draws a sword and points it at his neck, ordering him to answer the riddle, "What can you make of a sword?" The children all shout at him before the Doctor realises the answer is "words". The boy throws the sword in the air, and it turns into a dictionary. The schoolchildren bid the Doctor goodbye, but not before wishing him all the best and hoping that he is "suitable". They too disappear as soon as they run off.

The Doctor has to reassemble Jamie's face with card, but gets it all wrong.

Left alone, the Doctor hears Jamie cry out again. He turns to find Jamie, but is disheartened when he discovers it is just a cardboard cutout. He turns to see that a safe and a wishing well has appeared. He throws the dictionary down the well, only for laughter to emerge from it. This causes the Doctor to investigate more closely. He looks around the safe, and out of the mist emerges the letters "M" and "T" with crosses through them. Between the well and the safe emerges the figure of a hand with an "H" crossed out in the middle. The Doctor figures out that this is a riddle too. When looked at, it is the figure of "JAMIE"; mist without the "M" or the "T": "IS"; the "SAFE"; the hand without the "H": "AND"; and the "WELL". "JAMIE IS SAFE AND WELL". Pleased with himself, he turns to see the cardboard cutout is missing its face. He sees a board next to him that has all kinds of faces on it. He begins to piece the faces together, but he does it wrong. Jamie comes alive, but looks completely different. The Doctor tests Jamie to make sure it is not a trick, but he can remember everything that has happened so far and can even tell the Doctor about the destruction of the TARDIS, which even he did not know about.

They hear Zoe cry out and go to look for her. They find a door, but the Doctor realises that it is just a brick wall with a door painted in it. Jamie wants to find a battering ram to knock it down, but the Doctor realises this is another riddle: "When is a door not a door?" "When it's ajar." No sooner is this said then Zoe emerges, trapped in a jar. They free her, and she is glad to be free but then notices Jamie's face. She doubts that it is Jamie, but the Doctor says they are in a place where nothing is impossible.

Later the Doctor and his colleagues are tired from trying to get to the end of the forest. Jamie climbs one of the trees and is astounded to find it is not a tree but a huge "S". He discovers that they are in a forest of letters and words. The Doctor asks him to read out what he can see, and Jamie realises they are in a forest of proverbs: "Slow but sure", "In for a penny, in for a pound", and "Look before you leap". Jamie sees a way out and climbs down so they can head out of the forest. As they do, they come across the man the Doctor encountered earlier.

The Doctor introduces Jamie and Zoe and tells the man they are going to escape. The man warns them against this and says he has never even contemplated escape. Zoe questions the man as to who has created these tests for them. The man, yet again, says it is the doing of the Master. When the Doctor questions him on the army of robot, the man denies any knowledge of such a thing. The Doctor hears them approaching, and he, Jamie and Zoe hide in the letters whilst the man takes guard. Once the robots have approached, the man turns and talks to the Doctor, revealing his whereabouts.

From his control room, the Master orders them to be rounded up and led away.

As they are rounded up, Jamie sarcastically thanks the man, but the Doctor says that he does not think that the man can see the robots. The man bids goodbye and disappears again. Now that the robots are seen in full light, Zoe realises that they are huge deadly toy soldiers. The soldiers lead them out of the letters and into a large blank area.

Seeing this, the Master delightfully announces that his missions is accomplished.

Jamie says that he thinks he has been here before. They hear a galloping horse and look up to see the unicorn that Jamie dreamt of in the TARDIS. The unicorn begins to charge. Despite all common sense, the Doctor gets Jamie and Zoe to stand still in the face of the oncoming beast...

Episode 3[[edit]]

The Doctor forces his companions into shouting that the unicorn doesn't exist. When they all do so at once, the unicorn turns into a cardboard cutout. The Doctor believes that the Master is challenging their beliefs in reality and credits his fantastic mind.

The Master, watching over them, thanks the Doctor and returns the compliment.

The soldiers approach the Doctor and his colleagues.

The Master calls them off, stating that the trap is set for them and that they are walking into it anyway.

The Doctor and his colleagues make their way through a thick web of cobwebs when, all of a sudden, they see a house. As they make their way towards it, Jamie sees the Redcoat he attacked earlier. As he rushes towards him, he is again shot and rendered into a faceless cardboard cutout. The board appears next to him, and the Doctor lets slip it was his fault that Jamie's face was changed. The Doctor, with lots of help from Zoe, returns Jamie's face to normal. When Jamie is back, they head into the house. As they enter, the door closes behind them. The house seems abandoned but there are candles lit. Before them are four tunnels and a reel of twine. The Doctor suggests this is another test set for them and asks Jamie to tie the end of the twine to the door handle; as he does, he realises the door is locked. Zoe is perturbed by the fact that everything is prepared for them which means that the Master can preempt their every move.

From his lair, the Master watches on a map and urges the Doctor and his colleagues to move towards the heart of the maze.

As they make their way through the maze, Zoe reveals she has figured out the pattern, but Jamie raises a problem — they are out of twine. They decide that Jamie is to stay put whilst Zoe and the Doctor continue to explore.

The Master watches in glee as the Doctor and Zoe make their way directly to the heart of the maze.

Once they have reached the middle, the Doctor seems vaguely disappointed that there is nobody or nothing to meet them. They do discover, however, the skeleton of a man and the tracks of animal. No sooner do they see this than they hear the roar of a creature. Putting all the clues together, Zoe reckons the beast must be the mythical Minotaur. The Doctor says that this cannot be possible but sees a shadow of a large horned creature approaching.

Hearing the roars, Jamie drops the twine and heads off to help but is soon hedged off by a soldier. He realises that the soldiers house cameras through which they are being observed. Taking off his jacket, he covers the soldier's camera. By the time the soldier removes the coat, Jamie has disappeared.

The Minotaur approaches. The Doctor encourages Zoe to register it as unreality and, as soon as they do, it disappears. They set off to find Jamie and discover him gone, with only his jacket left behind. They call for him but instead are met by the man they have met previously. They ask if he has seen Jamie; he hasn't. They ask if he knows where the Master lives, and he says he lives in a "walled citadel atop the largest cliff in the kingdom". Recognising the words, the Doctor asks if the man comes from Nottingham. The man answers in the affirmative and begins to recite, word for word, the opening lines of Gulliver's Travels. Gleefully, the Doctor joins in. The man is Lemuel Gulliver. He bids them good day and leaves. The Doctor explains to Zoe that this is a land of fiction where everything that is made up lives. Zoe asks what they are doing there, which the Doctor cannot answer. They set off to find Jamie.

Jamie has managed to exit the maze but has a soldier hot on his heels. He climbs a cliff to escape him. With great difficulty he reaches a ledge, only to find a much steeper cliff facing him. Jamie wishes for a rope, and no sooner have the words left his lips than one is thrown down to him. As he begins to climb, he sees a tower. He climbs to the top where he is met by Rapunzel, whose hair he has been climbing all this time. She is eager to know if he is a prince, or at the very least a woodcutter's son, but when she is told he is the son of a piper, she is very disappointed. With nowhere else to go, he asks if he can climb through the window and leave out the other side. Reluctantly Rapunzel agrees. Once he has climbed in, however, Rapunzel has disappeared, and Jamie is in a stark white modern room. He switches on a screen which has Treasure Island projected upon it; he turns on a recording which reads an extract of Little Women to him; he approaches some drawers that are labelled Vanity Fair, Don Quixote, The Pit and the Pendulum, and Swallows and Amazons. Finally, he approaches a stock tipper machine producing a long ticker tape story. He reads, "The Doctor and Zoe, unable to find their companion, decided to return to the cave in search of him, where a new terror awaited them."

The Doctor and Zoe are indeed back in the centre of the maze where they see a statue. The statue comes to life and snakes begin to grow out of her head. It is Medusa.

In the tower, Jamie is stood by a drawer reading Myths of Ancient Greece and reads from the ticker tape "The Doctor and Zoe were face to face with Medusa. One glance from her eyes would turn them to stone."

The Doctor and Zoe have their backs to Medusa, who is rapidly approaching them. Zoe is finding it hard to deny the existence of a creature that is so palpably real. The Doctor implores that she does as Medusa's hand reaches out to grab them...

Episode 4[[edit]]

Jamie continues to read from the stock ticker machine. The story continues, "But all is not lost. Suddenly the Doctor found a sword at his feet, picked it up and, with one shake, slew the monster."

As written, the Doctor does find a sword at his feet but rejects it. How can he kill something that doesn't exist? Following in the footsteps of Perseus, he uses a mirror produced from his jacket to turn Medusa into stone.

The stock ticker machine reacts wildly to this reading: "Cancel: The Doctor test report - failure." Jamie begins to explore the room and accidentally triggers an alarm. He tries to escape out the window but bars drop down. Gulliver enters the room and offers no help for Jamie. He soon finds a hatch, in which he hides until the robots have passed. Yet again Gulliver cannot see the robots. Jamie sets about trying to escape. Gulliver states that it is impossible.

The Doctor and Zoe have made their way out of the labyrinth and can see the citadel looming over them. The Doctor urges Zoe to duck as he sees a laser beam approach them. They look up to see the Karkus, a comic book superhero from Zoe's time, looming over them. The Doctor asks what the weapon he holds is. Zoe informs him it is an anti-molecular ray disintegrator. The Doctor says that no such thing exists, which causes it to disappear. The Karkus attacks. Zoe and the Doctor run. They cannot make it disappear as, due to the fact that the Doctor has never seen this character, he cannot say it doesn't exist. The Karkus fights with Zoe, and Zoe eventually forces the superhero into submission. The Karkus becomes Zoe's slave. She orders him to lead them to the citadel.

Once there, the Karkus is dismissed. The Doctor rings the bell and, using his cloak to hide Zoe and as a disguise, claims to be the Karkus. He is allowed in.

Inside the citadel, Jamie is trying to convince Gulliver of the existence of the robots when Zoe and the Doctor appear. He wards them off tripping the alarm and they jump over its beam. The Doctor tells Gulliver and Jamie of his plan to confront the Master. Gulliver wards him off such actions, saying that he should be content to live in peace. The Doctor says he will think about it, but the moment Gulliver leaves, he tells his friends he is going to fight on. Jamie shows the Doctor the ticker tape, and the Doctor begins to realise what is going on. When he refused to follow the predetermined actions produced by the Master, he was not following the path of fiction — he was creating his own history. Zoe doesn't like the idea of this and accidentally triggers the alarm. They hear the robots approach. The Doctor tells his companions not to run and that he craves an audience with the Master. The robots back them up towards a wall, which opens behind them. The Master beckons them in.

They are in a large futuristic room with a complex illuminated orb spinning in front of them. The Master greets them in a friendly way and congratulates them for passing the tests. He explains that he is the writer of the Captain Jack Harkaway stories from The Ensign magazine who, in the summer of 1926, was brought here to be the imagination that powers the whole realm. The Doctor states that this means the Master is merely a prisoner. This causes the orb to throb and spin faster and makes the Master, trance-like, go back to his writing. The Doctor uses this lull to suggest that Jamie and Zoe slip away to explore. As the Master comes to, he states that he works for a much greater power who only lacks one thing: imagination. He explains that the Doctor has been brought here to replace him. The Master is ageing, whereas the Doctor operates outside of time so could do this forever. The Doctor refuses. The orb spins and throbs. The Master's voice becomes robotic and says that it is impossible for the Doctor to refuse.

Jamie and Zoe find themselves in a huge library. They are soon surrounded by robots.

The Doctor still refuses, but the Master says that the decision has already been made for him. He shares with him the last lines of his latest chapter: "Jamie and Zoe attempted to escape but, in making their way through the library, they were soon ambushed by a party of guards and overpowered." The Master states that the only way to save them is to take over writing duties himself.

In the library, Jamie and Zoe are backed up into a large book, which the robots close on them...

Episode 5[[edit]]

Despite the threat to his friends, the Doctor still refuses to take over from the Master. The Master summons the robots to force him. In a bid to escape, the Doctor climbs some bookcases. The Master vows that the Doctor cannot escape, but he will play his game a little longer.

The Doctor finds himself on the rooftop of the fort. He encounters Jamie and Zoe; however, they repeat the same phrases over and over and keep freezing. The Doctor begins to explore. He sees a skylight and looks down through it to see a typewriter typing the words: "They were ambushed by a party of white robots." The Doctor theorises that that is the master tape and that he could alter the story if he can get to it. The window is sealed. The Doctor wishes that he had the strength of the Karkus... and low and behold the superhero appears. He prises open the window, and Rapunzel appears to help the Doctor down. Once down there, he begins to plan what to type.

Overseeing all of this, the Master urges him on.

The Doctor has planned what he is about to type: "The enemy had been finally defeated by the Doctor's plans." He stops himself just beforehand, realising that in so doing he would be fictionalising himself. He turns to see a soldier observing him and escapes up Rapunzel's hair.

The Master now vows that there will be no more games.

When the Doctor emerges on the rooftop, Jamie and Zoe are gone. Gulliver and the schoolchildren reappear and pester the Doctor with so many questions he can't think.

The Master adds the next section to his story: "Jamie and Zoe realise at last that the Doctor was actually the most monstrous and cunning villain. There was no punishment too severe for the crimes he had committed." Entranced, Jamie and Zoe are ushered into the Master's presence by the white robots. They believe the Master's story and want to know what they are to do.

As the Doctor thinks about his next step, the schoolchildren draw his attention to the TARDIS that has just appeared. Jamie and Zoe emerge from inside and beckon him in. As soon as he is in they lock the door. The facade of the TARDIS falls away, and the Doctor has been imprisoned within a glass case. As everyone laughs at him the case disappears.

The Master adds to his story: "The children obeyed perfectly. Their mission is completed." The Doctor appears, and the Master informs him he is now part of the computer system and that the plan has now been altered. All of Earth's citizens are to be fictionalised, leaving them to take over Earth. The Doctor realises he is part of the computer and can begin thinking things into existence. The Doctor urges Jamie and Zoe to free themselves from the control of the Master. The Master deploys his soldiers.

Jamie and Zoe force themselves from within the book and find themselves on the rooftop with the soldiers approaching. Zoe implores Gulliver to help them, but he says he cannot as it is not the will of his master.

Overseeing this, the Doctor and the Master battle for control of the story. The Doctor thinks: "Suddenly, the Karkus came to their rescue. He fires his anti-molecular disintegration gun and destroyed the soldiers." However, the Master writes: "But the Karkus realises his mistake and turns back to face his real enemy: Jamie and Zoe."

The Karkus does so. Jamie and Zoe duck.

The Master adds: "With Jamie and Zoe fixed firmly in his sights, the Karkus pressed the trigger of his gun", whilst the Doctor adds: "But all the power had been used up on the soldiers and it was useless." Having to change tact the Master writes, "Suddenly, a swashbuckling figure appeared. Poet and swordsman, the famous Cyrano de Bergerac. Remorselessly, Cyrano advanced on those who had dared to poke fun at his nose." So as to fight fire with fire, the Doctor draws on his own fictional celebrity: "But wait! He found himself face to face with the fearless musketeer and swordsman D'Artagnan." The two characters fight. The Doctor implores Jamie and Zoe to escape.

Using the sword fight as a decoy, Jamie and Zoe use Rapunzel's hair to escape down into the fort again. They set off to find the Doctor.

The Master substitutes Cyrano for Blackbeard. The Doctor retorts: "And so D'Artagnan is substituted for Sir Lancelot in full armour." Lancelot immediately disarms Blackbeard. The computer has decided this is the final straw and that the Doctor is to be destroyed. The Master begs that he is the only candidate to replace him, but the computer overrules him. The robots free the Doctor and turn their beams onto destruction mode. Jamie and Zoe sneak up. The Doctor tries to rewrite the story but cannot, otherwise it will fictionalise him. Zoe realises that they can overload the computer. Just as the Master orders the disintegration, Jamie and Zoe begin turning switches and mashing all the buttons. The Master orders it to stop, but the computer begins to explode and the destruction of the robots causes devastation. The Doctor rushes over and unplugs the Master from the computer. Jamie and Zoe reach the Doctor and the Master and rescue them.

The Master has now returned to his normal self. He is confused and disorientated and wanting to get back to the running of his magazine. Zoe is worried about the destruction of all the people they met, but the Doctor points out that they were never real. As they begin to fade, the Doctor says they have two possible outcomes: returning to reality or obliteration. They all disappear...

In mid-space, the TARDIS reassembles itself.


Uncredited cast[[edit]]


Uncredited crew[[edit]]





Story notes[[edit]]

  • Working titles for this story were The Fact of Fiction and Man Power (also sometimes referred to as Manpower). The existing scripts for episodes one, two and three are titled Manpower, Another World and The Fact of Fiction respectively, even though individual episode titles were by this time no longer being used; Season 3's four-part story The Gunfighters being the last to feature them.
  • Radio Times credits Bernard Horsfall as "A Stranger" for episodes two and three, and as "Gulliver" for episodes four and five. On-screen credits read "A Stranger" for episode two, and "Gulliver" for episodes three to five.
  • Christopher and David Reynolds' surname is spelt as "Reynolds" for episode two, and as "Reynalds" in episode five and for both episodes in Radio Times. (The correct spelling remains uncertain.)
  • Philip Ryan (Redcoat) is credited on-screen for episode three, but is uncredited in Radio Times.
  • Hamish Wilson played Jamie in episodes two and three when Frazer Hines contracted chicken pox from his nephews.
  • Episode one is the only episode in the series' history to have no writer's credit, either on-screen or in Radio Times.
  • This story was planned as a four-part serial, but was increased to five after the previous adventure, The Dominators, was reduced from six to five episodes. As a result, the first four episodes were only between nineteen and twenty-two minutes in length and episode five was the shortest Doctor Who episode ever at just over eighteen minutes. For this to happen, the first episode was cobbled together by the production team, making Peter Ling very unhappy.
  • Before Jamie, as played by Hamish Wilson, gets turned into a cut-out for the second time, he shouts, "Creag an tuirc!" Frazer Hines joked on the DVD commentary that this is Scottish Gaelic for "vodka and tonic". However, it is actually the motto of the MacLaren Clan of Scotland, meaning "the boar's rock". These are also Jamie's last words in his last regular serial, The War Games, as he charges an English redcoat on the fields of Scotland.
  • The White Robots that close in on Jamie and Zoe in the void outside the TARDIS were previously used in an episode of the science-fiction television series Out of the Unknown, "The Prophet", originally transmitted on BBC2 on 1 January 1967, and which no longer exists in the BBC archives. They were also used in the BBC2 Thirty-Minute Theatre production "The Metal Martyr", which aired on 27 December 1967 and was repeated on 28 August 1968, the second broadcast being just 17 days before the first episode of The Mind Robber aired. As with "The Prophet", this programme no longer exists in the BBC archives either.
  • The character Gulliver speaks only lines written for him by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels. This was Derrick Sherwin's idea.
  • Christine Pirie (Princess Rapunzel) also contributed a voice-over reading from an extract from Little Women for the scene in episode three where Jamie climbs through the castle window only to find himself in a hi-tech control room, but she was uncredited for this on-screen.
  • The Blackbeard and Cyrano de Bergerac shown here are the fictional depictions of real historical figures. (In-universe, the same applies to Medusa and the minotaur.)
  • This is one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • The Master of the Land should not be confused with the renegade Time Lord known as the Master, who first appeared in Terror of the Autons, more than two years after this story was first aired.
  • When Peter Ling originally wrote the serial, Victoria's replacement hadn't been created, so he wrote for a generic female companion called Zoe. Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin liked the name, and it stuck.
  • Hamish Wilson was familiar with the show and had watched previous episodes with Jamie, which came in very useful when he was called in to play the part at ridiculously short notice.
  • In Peter Ling's original version of episode one, the TARDIS broke up after passing through a magnetic storm.
  • The Master's footsoldiers were originally monstrous, faceless entities, and it was they who posed puzzles to the Doctor. Derrick Sherwin suggested that these creatures should in fact look like life-sized toy soldiers, but wanted to hold off their on-screen appearance until the end of the episode. Instead, he posited that children could ask the Doctor the riddles.
  • Peter Ling wanted Zorro to appear, but copyright reasons prevented this. A quotation from Walter de la Mare's 1912 poem The Listeners seems to have been excised due to similar concerns.
  • Patrick Troughton and Wendy Padbury named this as their favourite serial.
  • On the DVD extras, Wendy Padbury states her dissatisfaction with the Zoe-Karkus fight — which, as usual for this era of the show, was shot on video with no possibility of editing or retakes but notes that nethertheless she found it easy to move and fight due to her wearing a catsuit which was originally made for gymnastics, sportswear and fun.
  • This was the last story to have tele-snaps before John Cura's death in 1969. Because of this, no tele-snaps for the missing episodes of The Invasion or The Space Pirates exist.
  • Peter Ling felt like an impostor because he wasn't a science-fiction writer. Derrick Sherwin reassured him in a letter dated July 15th 1968, saying - "Leave the pure SF and monster bits to those with unoriginal minds! I shall still be around to discuss ideas if you feel you want to confer with an almost permanently stoned associate!"
  • In the documentary Adventures in Space and Time, David Maloney recalled that he was assured that the pony playing the unicorn was white. It turned out to be brown, so he smeared white makeup all over the animal.
  • Peter Ling was the co-creator of Crossroads. While on a train journey with Derrick Sherwin and his assistant Terrance Dicks, Ling remarked that soap opera characters could be treated like real people by some fans.
  • Derrick Sherwin asked Peter Ling to include scenes of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe coming under mental assault prior to the TARDIS malfunctioning.
  • Peter Ling based the Master of the Land of Fiction on Charles Hamilton, the creator of Billy Bunter.
  • Frazer Hines's cousin Ian Hines played one of the toy soldiers.
  • Barbara Loft's mother had previously written to the BBC to complain that Doctor Who had become too frightening.
  • When the Doctor tries to restore Jamie's face, the faces of David Maloney and Douglas Camfield can be seen.


  • Episode 1 - 6.6 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 6.5 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.2 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.3 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 6.7 million viewers


  • Hamish Wilson, who played Jamie in episodes two and three, is Frazer Hines' cousin. (Hamish Wilson is no relation at all to Frazer Hines. However, Ian Hines, who played one of the Clockwork Soldiers in this story, is his brother.)
  • Zoe recognises the Karkus as a character from a "strip cartoon of the year 2000". This is not actually a reference to the real life 2000 A.D. British comic strip anthology (which is best known for introducing the character of Judge Dredd), as this episode predates the beginning of that strip by about ten years.
  • A scene in the white void when Jamie and Zoe get mind controlled was originally shot with both characters naked. (No evidence of that exists.)
  • The Master is an earlier incarnation of the renegade Time Lord of the same name. (This is false information as this story states that the Master is a human writer from Earth.)
  • Dave Prowse played the Minotaur in this story. (This stems from fan confusion with the later story, The Time Monster, in which Prowse played a version of the Minotaur. Richard Ireson played the Minotaur in this story.)
  • Lemuel Gulliver was Goth in disguise the whole time. (A theory fueled by both characters being played by Bernard Horsfall, and retroactively made plausible in PROSE: Future Imperfect. However, Gulliver, unlike Zoe, is able to pass a photoelectric cell unnoticed, which the Doctor attributes to him being fictional and Zoe not.)

Filming locations[[edit]]

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • As the camera pans across what Jamie has been made to believe is the Scottish landscape, a seam is clearly visible, revealing the "landscape" as multiple paintings bound together.
  • After the TARDIS breaks up, Zoe is clinging to the console. In long model shots, she is lying on her right side. In close-ups, she's on her left. Said model shots also have Zoe's arms as disproportionately long and bandy.
  • Occasionally, when Zoe and Jamie are in the white void, the line where the wall and floor of the studio meet can be seen.
  • When the Doctor gets Jamie and Zoe into the TARDIS, the end credit "PRODUCER - PETER BRYANT" is visible on the scanner.
  • Near the end of this episode, Jamie is reading the ticker-tape upside down.
  • When Zoe is fighting the Karkus, Christopher Robbie mistimes a stunt, making it clear she's not flipping him over her shoulder.
  • The lens of another camera can be clearly seen in shot in episode one.


Home video and audio releases[[edit]]

DVD releases[[edit]]

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Mind Robber.





Digital releases[[edit]]

This story is available:

VHS releases[[edit]]

  • This story was released on video as The Mind Robber in episodic format in May 1990 in the UK, September 1990 in Australia, and February 1994 in the US. The caption at the end of episode five reading "NEXT WEEK: THE INVASION" is omitted.

External links[[edit]]