In Doctor Who - The Mind Robber (Patrick Troughton) there is some kind of mind-control happening in episode one. I was wondering if everything that follows is in fact imagined.

There seem to be a few things that point to it all being completely fictional:

  1. We see the TARDIS explode, the Doctor and his companions flying through emptiness holding on to the TARDIS console only to land in a forest, unscathed.
  2. Their willpower being used to cause objects, people not to exist / not exist.
  3. At the end, the TARDIS just suddenly fixes itself and the crew are on their way.
  4. In the next episode, we do not see the writer, who was rescued, being returned to his own time and place.

Can anyone say for sure if this was all imagined by The Doctor and his companions? Or do we know this "really" happened?

  • Patrick Troughton is the best Doctor and while this is not one of his very best stories it's still rather fun. As I recall it's not that things didn't happen it's more that the world they were in was like a giant holo-deck where things that weren't real could still take place or at least seemed to. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 5:22

2 Answers 2


Yes, but most of not in normal time and space

By using the TARDIS's emergency unit, the TARDIS gets trapped in The White Void:

The normal rules of time and space did not apply in the Void. While it was nowhere, it was the "outside" with the Land being on the "inside." A gateway allowed for crossing between the Void and the Land.

The "Land" being The Land of Fiction, a pocket universe which also has its own rules:

The Land of Fiction was a pocket universe inhabited by characters from works of fiction, mythology and folklore. Some sources say that the Gods of Ragnarok created the Land for their own entertainment, but grew tired of its amusements and abandoned it for other things.

While here, seemingly impossible things can occur - like the TARDIS exploding and The Doctor altering reality. After the events of The Mind Robber, the TARDIS reassembles they enter normal space again.

The Land also appears in the audiobook novels and comics. Canonicity in Doctor Who is pretty fuzzy stuff, but the repeated references to these pocket universe means they were real enough to revisit.


I haven't actually seen the episode itself but if it's part of the continuity then it indeed happen. From research according to the wikipedia article it states that the events followed the defeat of the Dominators on Dulkis after The Doctor sets off a volcanic eruption. It states


He leaves the TARDIS, along with his companions, Jamie and Zoe, in the way, though, and it gets buried in lava, blowing a fluid link (The Daleks) in the process. This forces the Doctor to use the emergency unit to take the TARDIS away from danger and indeed out of reality itself.

The part where The TARDIS explodes is when they are trying to come back into reality.

They land in a white void and as the Doctor fixes the TARDIS, Jamie and Zoe are lured outside and are confronted by white robots. The Doctor gets them back inside but, as they try to return to reality, the TARDIS explodes and the travellers are scattered into nothingness.

It is possible to assume that they all landed in some sort of strange universe in which the events actually occurred.

Also according to the wikipedia it states The Land of Fiction (the place where they ended up is a real place, although it's explanation is not 100% canon due to it being in a spin-off media)

The Land of Fiction also features in the Virgin New Adventures spin-off novels Conundrum and Head Games by Steve Lyons. In Conundrum, it is revealed that the Land of Fiction was created by the Gods of Ragnarok. The novels, like all spin-off media, are of uncertain canonicity. It features once more in the Big Finish Productions audio adventures City of Spires, Night's Black Agents, The Wreck of the Titan, and Legend of the Cybermen, this time featuring the Sixth Doctor (though the protagonists do not realise this until the very end of Titan).

  • Lots of info here but @joshbirk's explanation has just that little more to it. Thanks to you both. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 10:45

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