DVD Preview: The Mind of Evil
The deeper dive
- Due to a policy of “junking” video tapes in the 1960s and 70s, the original colour versions of all episodes of The Mind of Evil were lost, with only black and white copies remaining in the archives. Two types of colour restoration were used on this release:
- Colour recovery was used on episodes 2-6, where the B&W tapes retained the original colour information, hidden in their signal. These were restored by Richard Russell of the Colour Recovery Working Group.
- Manual colourisation was needed for episode 1, where due to the original colour-to-B&W transfer settings, no hidden colour information existed. Stuart Humphryes manually recoloured every fifth frame (out of 36,000!) in Photoshop, and the information in these “key frames” was then extrapolated out over subsequent frames.
- The Doctor is subjected to the Keller Machine several times: the first time it picks up on his fear of fire, from when he saw a “whole world” burn (probably the parallel Earth, seen in previous DVD release Inferno). Later, it resurrects a show of monsters from his past, including a War Machine, a Cyberman and a Silurian, as well as a Dalek screeching “Exterminate!”.
- Michael Sheard appears in the second of his six Doctor Who roles as Dr Summers. He’d already appeared in The Ark, and would go on to be in The Pyramids of Mars, The Invisible Enemy, Castrovalva and Remembrance of the Daleks! He’s perhaps best know as Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back and Mr Bronson in Grange Hill.
In colour, for the first time in forty years:
The “making of” documentary – The Military Mind – is a fascinating, but also poignant affair, featuring as it does, contributions from the now deceased Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) and producer Barry Letts. It tells the tale of a turbulent and unusual production, and is narrated by Blogtor Who’s own Cameron McEwan. A 1970s documentary about 24 hours in BBC TV Centre is also interesting and emotional – focussing on an era of television production that has long since gone. There’s also a Coming Soon trailer for Spearhead from Space – notable as the first classic Doctor Who adventure to be released on Blu-ray.
Back in colour for the first time on home release, The Mind of Evil is a stylish, political beast. Dealing head on with Cold War politics, capital punishment and nuclear weapons, it’s a rather grown-up Doctor Who adventure. Roger Delgado turns in a delicious performance as the Master – one of his best: smoking a fat cigar while listening to UNIT’s bugged phones, threatening to shoot the Doctor in both his hearts, and sneering amusedly at the Doctor’s pet name for his car. Timothy Combe’s legendarily budget-blowing direction is worth every penny of getaway helicopter, Dover Castle storming and genuine missile action. And Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor is at his glimmering, charming and occasionally terse best.
The bottom line
The Mind of Evil returned to colour for the first time in forty years.