10 Classic Doctor Who Absurdities New Fans Won’t Believe

9. The Land Of Fiction

While much of the second Doctor€™s whimsy would be spent defending bases under siege and dealing with maverick Time Lords, the serial €œThe Mind Robber€ would see him shunting the TARDIS outside of space and time to escape a volcanic eruption. An emergency temporal shift, as it were. What follows is largely a fantasy romp, one that begins with the characters winding their way through a gigantic labyrinth of prose before meeting characters like Rapunzel, Medusa and Gulliver. When William Hartnell was on holiday scripts would be hastily rewritten to accommodate his absence €“ but when Frazer Hines was taken ill, the producers decided to make use of the €œimagination comes to life€ premise instead. The result was a cardboard cut-out of Jamie, minus his face, which the Doctor had to reassemble using Mr. Potato Head-style parts. Unfortunately, he makes such a hash of it that poor Jamie spends the rest of the episode being played by an entirely different actor before the same puzzle is used to restore him. The source of all this public-domain menace is ultimately revealed to be an elderly teacher hooked up to a computer called The Master Brain. Eventually, they€™re able to trick the machine€™s sentinel robots into firing on the computer and destroying it, returning everything to normal as opposed to, say, killing them because no-one€™s imagining any oxygen. In retrospect, what happens in the Land of Fiction is no more or less surreal than a holodeck episode or 2012€™s €œThe God Complex€ €“ in fact, both feature minotaur monsters. Here, though, it€™s the scatter-brained nature of the plot, the idea that you can be metaphorically trapped in a book by physically being crushed to death in its pages, and of course the Draw-A-Face contest that make this such a memorably crazy serial.
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