‘We believe what our minds tell us to.’
30th January – 6th March 1971
The 500 Year Diary
6th November 1973 am
Off to a demonstration of the Keller Machine at Stangmoor Prison – a rather unfortunate device which claims to remove evil influences from the brain. It was developed by a Professor Emil Keller, about a year ago but he wasn’t at the demonstration today and neither was his Chinese assistant; instead his place was taken by a Professor Kettering. Unsurprisingly, the demonstration went wrong when one of the ‘subjects’, Barnham, went into a coma. This machine is a menace to mankind.
Later on a young man is found dead near the machine, covered in scratches. From the post mortem, he died of a heart attack, but had no history of heart trouble. It’s like he was killed by rats and the shock killed him, but apparently there are no rats in the prison! Kettering insults me by saying I am not a scientist. I point out that I have been a scientist for several thousand years!
The prisoners start rioting and then Kettering dies, next to the machine. It’s all looking rather suspicious, but no-one seems convinced. Apparently it’s up to the Home Office to decide to decommission the thing! The Governor agrees to suspend its use.
I go to make the machine safe, but it turns itself on and I see fire. I feel burning. The agony…. The pain….
6th November 1973 pm
Jo interrupts the machine. The fear I felt in my mind was very well and could have killed me – I was reminded of the parallel universe where I saw that world destroyed in flames. Jo tells me that Kettering died of drowning… he had a morbid fear of water. The machine is the mind of evil, preying on the fear of those it attacks. Before I get the chance to deal with it, the Brigadier summons me back to London as the world peace conference is going very badly – the Chinese delegate is dead. Get the opportunity to use some Venusian Karate on Captain Yates… perhaps I shouldn’t shoot the messenger!
So off to Cornwall Gardens… been here before with that business with WOTAN. The Brigadier’s having much luck with the new Chinese delegate, Fu Peng. I speak to him in Hokkein and we get on famously, telling him how I accompanied Mao on the Long March.
Try to convince the Brigadier there’s a possible connection between the machine and the unexplained death of the delegate. When he tells me they’ve lost track of a suspicious Chin Lee, I’m convinced of the connection!
They find her eventually heading towards the Chinese delegate’s suite.
7th November 1973
We burst into the American delegate’s suite where we are face to face with a dragon. This turns out to be Chin Lee, wearing a telepathic amplifier which must be connected to the Keller Machine. I calm her down and she tells us that she was at a prison with Professor Keller who I deduce, through his use of hypnosis, is the Master! So he’s been around long before that business with the Nestene consciousness.
Word comes from the prison. There’s been rioting and Jo’s been taken hostage. Back I go and come face to face with the Master who has taken over the prison. He tells me of his plan to capture the missile currently being transported by UNIT (I know, in the middle of a peace conference!) for decommissioning and he’s going to use it to destroy the peace conference and plunge the world into war. Two plans to destroy the Earth at the same time. Perhaps he’s not certain if either will succeed.
I’m handcuffed to the machine. It starts up. I see and feel flames again. Cybermen, a War Machine, Daleks. Exterminate, exterminate….
8th November 1973 am
Despite wanting to kill me, the Master restarts one of my hearts. He thinks he can control the machine, but he can’t. No-one can! I’m taken to a cell with Jo in to recover. She almost kills me by forcing me to take some medicine!
Recovering, we make our escape and hold out in the Governor’s office. We see the Master leave. That’s my chance to sort that machine out once and for all, but it appears to be mobile. It had disappeared from the process room, but then it reappears and starts attacking both Jo and me!
8th November 1973 pm
The machine disappears – probably had more evil minds to feed on elsewhere… well it is a prison after all.
Tried to bargain with Mailer to no avail. Just got locked up again! And then Jo beats me at draughts – well I am more used to three dimensional chess. Make an uneasy alliance with the Master to try and control the machine. Come up with a temporary solution by placing an electric current in a coil alternating on much the same frequency as the beta rhythms of the human brain, but that won’t hold it for long. Indeed, it had another go at me… an image of Koquillion came from my mind from my terrifying encounter on Dido.
As I’m telling Jo about my encounter with Sir Walter Raleigh, we hear gunshots. Next thing, Mailer bursts and threatens to shoot us. Jo attempts to knock him over. He only needs one of us. He points his gun at me. A shot rings out.
8th November 1973 eve
The Brigadier has shot Mailer. I wish for once he would arrive before the nick of time. Grumpily, I point out that the missile and the Master are still out there.
The machine manages to escape and proceeds to cause more havoc around the prison. Once again, it attacks Jo and me, but then Barnham comes in and it stops. He’s the answer… all his evil impulses were removed… as long as he’s around, we’re safe! It seems the only way to destroy the mutation inside the machine is by massively electrocuting it or through an atomic explosion.
The Master calls me – claiming to be an old friend. Bargain with him. The missile for his dematerialisation circuit. That’s all very well and good, but I can’t let him loose on another planet with the whole of time and space at his disposal. I come up with a plan.
I meet with the Master at the hanger where we set the Keller machine on him. This gives me the opportunity to reset the abort mechanism. As we escape to the helicopter, Barnham stops to help the Master thus giving him a chance to escape. He gets run over for his efforts. Poor chap.
Anyway, the missile and machine are destroyed, but unfortunately the Master has the dematerialisation circuit. He calls me up to gloat and more threats to destroy the Earth and me. Have I beaten him? He’s got his TARDIS back. He’s free to come and go where he pleases, while I’m stuck here on Earth…. with the Brigadier!
The Time Space Visualiser
I have not seen this story since transmission so it will be like watching a brand new story for me. After watching, the only scene I remember was the Doctor being shot on the stairs in the prison at the end of episode five. I can remember my Dad reassuring me that everything would be alright as the Doctor had two hearts.
After the colour and jolly humour of Terror of the Autons it is full on horror again here back in the style of season seven as the Doctor is investigates The Keller Machine. A charming devices that offers surgery free lobotomy to remove the evil impulses from the brain. What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile UNIT are busy keeping the peace at the first world peace conference. Incredibly, both these unrelated events are both part of a plan developed by the evil Master.
It emerges that The Keller Machine has a Room 101 effect as Linwood is found dead next to it with what are identified as scratches from rats in his face. They were his greatest fear. There is a lot of talk of an alien creature in the machine. I wonder what type of creature it is. In a six episode story, they are bound to have time to explain that one later! Keller was the Master all the time.
The nature of good and evil are explored. What makes a person good is not the ability to remove there evil impulses but to develop morality so they learn to ignore them. Whilst I am happy to poke fun at the convoluted elements of the plot, as with so many stories in this era, they are entertaining because of the action and the acting. It probably makes it hard to watch more than a couple of episodes I one go, but they were intended to be watched one a week, and watching this way, or one a day resolves the plodding plotting problem. It is great to see Michael Sheard again too.
Subtitles are used when the Doctor speaks with Fu Peng. I am fairly sure they have not been used before.
Sexist Moment of the Week
Mike Yates sees Chin Lee and observes, ‘She’s quite a dolly.’
The Master is back with a plot even more unnecessarily complicated than the last one. He intends to start World War Three. Not really sure why, but it gives him the chance to wear a rubber mask. He takes over a prison and gets all the prisoners to do his work, captures an alien creature and hides it in a machine, hypnotises a delegate to the world peace conference and plans to steal a nuclear bomb. Needless to say the scheme is too unwieldy and eventually the Doctor has to come along to help sort it out. The Doctor nearly manages to kill the master but the Master escapes. Never mind as soon they will get a chance to have another jolly meeting.
Where exactly are UNIT headquarters?
The Doctor has a new laboratory every week and the headquarters of UNIT never seem to be in the same location twice. Spearhead from Space had them in an office block, and the Doctor had a nice lab in Inferno with a stained glass window. Did they have a building in every county?
Episode 2 7:20
Benton: I got this sort of throbbing in my head.
Five Word Lords
Horrific action and espionage romp.