Classic Rewatch: The Mind of Evil

The Mind of Evil

It doesn’t take much to rattle some people. For those poor souls, their fears and concerns weigh so heavily upon them, the slightest provocation send them reeling into fits of worry and despair. Others are made of sterner stuff — but as we’ve learned from so many stories, everyone has their limits. There have been a number of science fiction series who have toyed with the idea of criminal rehabilitation via some form of mental reconditioning (Star Trek, Fringe, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, just to name a few), but as in so many instances across the decades, Doctor Who was among the first to explore the concept.

This week, we consider the many important developments that occur within the Pertwee story, “The Mind of Evil”. UNIT is at the forefront, and we gain a fuller appreciation for Yates and Benton; the Doctor and the Master face off once again, with iconic performance from Delgado, and a deeper understanding of their know-thine-enemy relationship; and Jo Grant establishes herself as a valuable, adaptive, resourceful, and daresay indispensable companion to the Third Doctor. Suffice to say, we consider it encouraged, if not required Classic Who fare.

Bonus: We run down the stellar guest list for the upcoming RegenerationWho 3 convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and the number of discussion panels we’ll be hosting through the weekend. Hope you join us!

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When Dark Eyes are Smiling

GPR Post HeaderIt’s no secret to anyone who has listened to GPR for any length of time that we are tremendous fans of the audio productions that emerge from the Big Finish studios. They bring the classic era to life over and over again in artistic and magical ways, expanding upon the Whovian universe and allowing established televised characters (Doctors and Companions alike) to flourish and grow beyond their time on screen. But where we feel they truly stand out (and this may just be because in our opinions, more time with Paul McGann as the Doctor is an immeasurable gift) is with their Eighth Doctor audio dramas. The dramatic power, warmth, heart and wit behind these stories are astounding — and the productions are something to which any Whovian should invest the time in listening.

This week, we talk at length about the newest expansions to the Eighth Doctor Adventures, the award-winning Dark Eyes series. When the Doctor meets a medical assistance volunteer from World War I who is unknowingly at the center of a plot that could unravel time itself, involving every threat from Daleks, to Sontarans, to the Time Lord Celestial Intervention Agency, to the Master himself, you need four intricate and intertwined series to truly do it justice. (And we needed nearly two hours to discuss it.) So enjoy this super-sized edition of Gallifrey Public Radio…after listening to Dark Eyes, of course…

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A Masterful Villain

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It makes perfect literary sense. How do you create a villain who is legitimately threatening, an engaging and interesting match for the protagonist’s strengths, but is not over-powerful? Simple solution: You take the hero, and make them evil. If someone is so near to your intellectual and capable equal in nearly all counts, the “chess match” is all the more balanced, and victory that much harder to attain. So it makes sense that Doctor Who showrunners would nurture such a perfect foil, and bring them out every now and again to incite a war of wits. Now, if only there were a way to disguise them, to change their face to keep surprising the hero…

From the moment Roger Delgado stepped into frame and began manipulating the human race in Terror of the Autons, it was apparent that we had a villain cut from the same cloth as our hero. As situations quickly arose that saw the Doctor appearing one step behind, confounded by intellect, technology and physical capabilities matching his own, viewers became invested in a counterpart who was a clear danger throughout time. This week, we look at the Master’s first appearance and compare it to the modernizations of the character recently portrayed by John Simm and Michelle Gomez.

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The Era of Ego

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The Sixth Doctor walks into a building, and they have build an extension just to house his ego. If it were a tangible thing, the Sixth’s sense of self-importance could be seen from space. After his regeneration on Androzani Minor, the TARDIS had to increase her internal space by 37% just to fit his hubris. His brashness is a viable replacement for sandpaper. His bravado can infuriate a Vulcan. He’s one of the most infuriating and irascible Time Lords this side of the High Council, and we love him for it.

This week, we revisit everyone’s favorite arrogant time traveler, and fall in love with him all over again. From his clever “chess play” style of strategy, to the occasional bout of clueless ‘leaps of faith’ and luck/coincidence that result in the most unlikely success (which he would claim credit for anyway), he is the Doctor we all hope we wouldn’t want to get stuck on the TARDIS with for any prolonged period. Nonetheless, we admit that we thoroughly enjoy watching him bluster and boast, despite it all.

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