Sunday, 26 May 2013

BFI Southbank: Jon Pertwee



Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) -
in colour at last. (Courtesy BFI)

BFI Southbank, NFT 1, Sunday 10 March 2013
The BFI plays host to the premiere of the restored 1971 Jon Pertwee story ‘The Mind of Evil’, unseen in colour anywhere in the world for 42 years.

From the moment the Third Doctor’s vintage yellow car Bessie drove up to the forbiddingly grey Stangmoor prison in Episode 1, it was clear that the BBC’s Restoration Team had done a fantastic job. Watching the restored colour version of ‘The Mind of Evil’ was like seeing it for the first time. Many notable visual moments, from the subtlety of the subdued night time lighting in UNIT HQ to the horror of the Doctor being burnt alive, were made apparent for the first time in decades.
The Restoration Team’s Peter Crocker, Stuart Humphries and Mark Ayres, taking some well deserved public credit, informed the audience that restoration work had only been completed recently as it was now possible to recover the colour signal in the b/w picture (apart from epiusode 1 which, amazingly, was coloured frame by frame). Ayres spoke for everyone by saying how impressed he was by ‘a bloomin’ good story… beautifully directed [with] the cast at the top of their game.’
From left to right: director Tim Combe, Script Editor Terrance Dicks,
Captain Mike Yates (Richard Franklin), Sergeant Benton (John Levene),
Jo Grant (Katy Manning) and co-host Justin Johnson. (Courtesy BFI)
There was no better story to choose than ‘The Mind of Evil’ to represent the Third Doctor’s era in the BFI’s Doctor Who at 50 season. In his introduction, The Sarah Jane Adventures writer Phil Ford spoke about ‘the 007 Doctor Who’, but the story revealed other contemporary influences such as The Avengers and the Cold War. The adult tone was very striking, as was seeing the most self confident of Doctors unusually vulnerable. Quite rightly, director Tim Coombe’s family led the applause every time his credit appeared on the screen.

The closing panel included Combe himself, script editor Terrance Dicks, Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), John Levene (Sergeant Benton) and the bubbly Katy Manning (the bubbly Jo Grant). While the guests spoke warmly of Pertwee, Roger Delgado (arch villain the Master) and producer Barry Letts, Dicks was notable for his particularly witty comments. When Levene revealed he had entered the entertainment business because his mother was a ventriloquist, Dicks brought the house down by interjecting, ‘Has she been working you all this time?’
If the BFI’s remaining Doctor Who events are as enjoyable, London’s Southbank is clearly the only place to be during the show’s 50th anniversary.
This review first appeared in issue 234 of SFX magazine. Thanks to Future Publishing for allowing it to be reprinted.
The original and best - Roger Delgado as
The Master. (Courtesy BFI)

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