The second of our Master Monday uploads is Roger Delgado’s second story in the role, The Mind of Evil. This is the final outing for the season seven version of Doctor Who, and it’s a damn shame. I really rate the S7 take on the show and would have been happy for it to carry on in that vein, but instead we get better UNIT uniforms, dippy Jo Grant and the bloody Master every week.
It’s only really due to the restorative jiggery pokery carried out on it that the story has so much attention paid to it, and that work has come a helluva long way from the recolourisation of The Daemons. Since then we’ve had the wonders of Vidfire for all those Hartnell & Troughton eps, the Reverse Standards Conversion of The Claws of Axos and the combined Colour Recovery and colourisation of Planet of the Daleks. But it’s probably this story that is the ultimate expression of the dark arts of the Restoration Team, that SVS lot with their motion estimation & chroma dots and the genius that is Stuart Humphryes.
I first watched the story on my PC and for some reason the colour on all six episodes seemed rather flat and washed out to the extent that it made me wonder what all the fuss had been about. The whole thing was rather underwhelming with very poor contrast and as a result I thought that maybe I would have to do the fan edit in Black & White. But then I thought that perhaps the fault was with my PC and not the DVD itself, although there had never been a problem before with anything else. And so I bunged disc one of TMOE into the DVD player linked up to my telly and lo and behold it looked great, so the problem wasn’t the disc and all that hard work looked as glorious as you’d think it would.
The upshot of all this was that in order to get a decent picture I had to whack the contrast right up. I ripped two short clips, from the end of part one and the start of part two so I could compare the adjustments and get them to match up. And sure enough, the clips that I ripped were just as poor as when I watched them, two different pieces of software both producing the same result. So that you can see just what I was up against, here is a before and after of a frame from near the end of part one, the colourised key frames episode:
In order to get the frame on the left to what you see on the right, I had to adjust the brightness up by 2%, and whack the contrast up by a whopping 65% to get the picture to what I had seen on my telly. I then applied the same level of adjustment to the clip from part two and the result was virtually identical. Here is the same frame from the reprise in part two, the first chroma dot colour recovery episode:
Quite why this should be on this disc alone I have no idea – every other DVD I own, both Who and Non-Who, plays fine, it just seems to affect TMOE. Weird. Anyway, with that finally sorted out I could turn my attention to the story itself, which is really a tale of two halves, or rather two storylines that Don Houghton manages to link together rather cleverly, Stangmoor Prison & the Keller Machine and the Peace Conference & the Master.
But then this is the bloke who gave us the classic that is Inferno, my favourite story of Season Seven and one of the best stories of the entire original run, so that it works as well as it does [with one episode less to fill] is no surprise. And, watching it, I can’t help but wonder what the Parallel Universe version of this story is like, the one where the Keller Machine gets set up at HMP Slade instead of Stangmoor, who wouldn’t enjoy seeing Pertwee’s Doctor alongside Norman Stanley Fletcher! And Jo Grant could add Lennie Godber to her long list of admirers…
Back in the real world, the first thing to do was to put together a compilation edit of all six episodes and then start to make the cuts to get it down to a better length, even though it doesn’t really drag very much. But the emphasis has to be on the Stangmoor material since that’s the one that’s involved in the resolution of the plot, the Peace Conference fades into the background as the story goes on and, unlike Day of the Daleks, doesn’t even get mentioned at the end of the final episode. Keeping the focus on the Prison also meant we could dispense with Puff the Magic Dragon for sure, which I can assure you we would have done anyway!
I ripped all six episodes as one file using DVD Decrypter that lasted just under two and a half hours before taking out the credits and the reprises. I then moved the restoration credits right to the top of the edit – I felt it important that the efforts of all concerned in returning the story to colour should be acknowledged up front.
I then went through the file, making a few cuts that I knew I wanted to make along the way, knowing that I would go back through the material and make the rest of the cuts later. The first cut came with all that bollocks with Three and Jo buggering about on the way in, now they arrive at the prison and we cut straight away to the inside. The next obvious cut was all the stuff with Puff The Magic Dragon and the death of the American delegate – now the Brig says that Chinn Lee has turned up again, we cut back to Jo at Stangmoor [because we have to] and then back to the Brig and the Dr talking to Chin Lee. Those initial cuts brought the running time down to just over two hours and five minutes.
After that it was a case of going back through the material and making specific cuts and, once again, the key to the edit was to start at the end of the story and work my way forward. Most of the cuts were trims, although I did get rid of the padding with Yates getting captured and escaping again and all the Ying Tong Song stuff with the Chinese delegate.
The initial appearance of the Master with his rubber mask [the same one he would use later in Claws of Axos] wasn’t terribly satisfactory so instead I had him make his first appearance when Chinn Lee gets in the car, reusing a shot from the end of the scene at the top to make the connection clear from the start. I also had to split up the scene where Chinn Lee burns the papers to stop Pertwee getting his continuity all wrong by saying that he’s been a scientist for several thousand years when he’s still only a few hundred years old at this point.
The last change was to the very start of the process room scene where the Dr is being a bit of a dick with his constant interruptions. It’s probably meant to be comedic but Pertwee doesn’t have Pat’s disarming charm so where Two could have got away with it, Three just comes off as rude. I never liked it so the answer was simply to keep Kettering chuntering on despite the Dr’s grumbling. All those changes took the running time down to just under one hour forty minutes, and then it was time to get a bit creative with some more music for the attack on the prison.
I managed to find a clean version of Dudley Simpson’s UNIT Theme from the previous year and used that, slightly extended to cover the attack sequence. The theme does get played towards the end of the sequence in the original but going from the “clean” sourced version to the one in the show just didn’t work so that meant cutting the end of the attack sequence as well as the brief scene with the Dr & Jo in the cell mid-sequence.
I also had to keep the TX audio low for when Mailer enters the cell but all those changes produced a much tighter sequence, fitted to the music, and the key to cutting the attack down was to start at the end and work forward, for the simple reason that the most dramatic shots will be towards the climax of the sequence. Therefore the shots you can cut down or do away with completely are the ones where the tension and drama is still building up.
If there’s one non-fan-edit-y thing that I would change about The Mind of Evil it would be to give the mind parasite inhabiting the Keller machine a voice as well as the ability to feed on people’s fears. Silent enemies never work well in Doctor Who as they deny you the opportunity to find out why they’re doing what they’re doing since the Doctor can’t interact with them. Apart from anything else, I’d love to hear what it would have said to the Master if it could talk!