Log in

No account? Create an account
Pertwee bike

UNIT at the BFI

The BFI Southbank is marking the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who by showing a story a month, moving in order through the Doctors.

This meant, of course, that March was Pertwee Month. Thanks to the lovely mykreeve, who is not only a BFI member, not only remembered my Jon Pertwee infatuation, but spent half an hour pressing refresh on the order screen the morning tickets were released, I was able to attend in his company.

The story was The Mind of Evil, and it was a cracker. Newly restored to colour, in which it hadn't previously been shown for longer than I've been alive, it made the transition from telly to big screen very well.

We join the Doctor and Jo as they arrive at Stangmoor Prison to oversee a demonstration of the Keller Machine, which extracts evil impulses from the minds of criminals to render them harmless. It all goes horribly wrong. Meanwhile, London is hosting a Peace Conference with UNIT providing security. It all goes horribly wrong. Meanwhile again, some other bits of UNIT are escorting a decommissioned nuclear missile with a warhead containing nerve gas. Guess how that goes?

As one of the BFI hosts said, it was a brilliant script and the cast were at the top of their game. The interplay between the Doctor, Jo, the UNIT family and [Spoiler (click to open)]the Master must be among the most delightful of the era.

There was some genuinely scary stuff - if I'd seen this as a child I'd definitely have been freaked out by the [Spoiler (click to open)]teleporting Keller Machine - and some wonderful moments, like [Spoiler (click to open)]the Master's secret fear being an enormous, laughing Doctor. I was surprised by the carnage of Episode Five, which contained several minutes of UNIT troops and prisoners killing each other; was this up against The A Team on the other side or something?

I knew I hadn't seen the story and I was pretty sure I hadn't read the novelisation, but it was vaguely familiar even so. Eventually I realised I was piecing it together from questions in The Third Dr Who Quiz Book. Ahem.

After the first two episodes, a panel of those responsible explained how the recolouring had happened. After episodes 3 & 4 there was a comfort break and a quick quiz with prizes. The real treat, though, came at the end of the screening, when the special guests emerged for their interview and Q&A: director Tim Combe, prolific script and novelisation writer Terrance Dicks, and, representing UNIT, Captain Mike Yates, Sergeant Benton and Jo Grant. These last three were touchingly delighted to see each other, Katy Manning throwing herself into Yates's lap before holding hands with Benton.

Both Myk and I ran into people we knew, unsurprisingly; I was pleased to see parrot_knight but disappointed to discover later that I'd missed kowarth.


Super envious! I think it's coming out on dvd shortly, I shall have to investigate.

The Tom Baker one is Robots of Death, which I don't really feel a need to see on the big screen alas.
Would it help if I told you that Tom Baker is allegedly going to be among the special guests, along with Leela?
Your summary of the plot is lovely.
There was of course more to it than that! I did wonder in the first episode how on earth it was going to be a six-parter, but that was before the Master showed up...
It's a very languid story, with a lot of talking even by the standards of the age. There were moments which I wish had been better-covered, such as the death of the prison governor, but there are limitations to working against the clock in a multicamera studio when the script demands the resources of a feature film, and Tim Combe and his team did very well.
*screeches and passes out* Mind of Evil in color?! And coming out on DVD this year?! That's one of my favorites! (I first saw it in 1985.) I wonder, however, if the DVD will include the B&W version, because B&W (how I've always seen it) gives it a certain grim atmosphere that haunted me. Color might seem too... bright and cheerful.
Heh, I thought of you! And it can be weird to see something in colour after thinking of the black and white version as the norm. I had this experience with programmes that I first watched when my family had a black and white set (I was very small then).
A veteran fan with whom I went was speculating that the black and white version might be on the DVD release as well, given how variable recovered colour can be, but it all depends whether there is room given it would effectively mean two serials' worth on one release.
I have it on good authority that the Black & White version will NOT feature on the DVD.

Partly this is a space issue, mostly its the amount of money used to make it colour again rahter makes it all moot. If You're desperate to experience it in 1972 version, alter the settings on your monitor device to reduce the colour display
I'm not at all desperate to see the 16mm telerecording unenhanced and uncolourised. I remember it as mostly rather murky, so I don't mourn its absence.
Dr Who = :)
Sorry to have missed you, dear heart.

I can't tell you the direct competition on ITV. it was another 2 years before The Tomorrow People SO is supect most regions will still have been chucking ATV adventures against it. Maybe some Anderson?

I do love MoE. The Master's plan makes bugger all sense but it holds up as 6 consecutive episodes, unlike a lot of the era thats a 4 parter with 2 others wedged inside!
Yes - I love Inferno, for instance, but it does feel a bit padded out. Though Myk complained that they used the same cliffhanger for almost every episode (oh look, the Keller Machine is making X character keel over! Again!).
yeah, in some instances teh Clifhanger is the only appearance of the damnned device!

Inferno Special Edition out before the dvds on MoE. not that special an edition though
I already have Inferno Bog Standard Edition so I think I'll give that one a miss!
reading the features, this is a good choice. save up for Mind Of Evil and the Ice Warriors!