‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ (TV)

‘THE TRIAL OF A TIME LORD’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Trial Revisited with the Sixth Doctor

‘Doctor Who’ is on trial for its life…in more ways than one!

I’ve enjoyed the latest Blu-ray box sets of classic ‘Doctor Who’ very much! The classic series means so much to me and it’s nice to have them in these collected Blu-ray box sets and revisit the stories in Blu-ray form. I’m looking forward to when Season 26 of ‘Doctor Who’ on Blu-ray gets released next!

The ‘Back on Trial’ trailer to announce the Season 23 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ with Colin Baker came out on YouTube not too long after the Season 10 Blu-ray box set was announced. Colin Baker promoted the Season 23 Blu-ray box set in court-room style and Nicola Bryant guest starred in the trailer! Exciting!

I was looking forward to seeing the new special features in the Season 23 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ as adverted in the YouTube trailer. This included brand-new ‘Behind the Sofa’ features on the four stories featured in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ and new documentaries that were bound to be fun.

The Blu-ray box set of Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ is a 6-disc set. The first four discs contain the four stories of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season. They include ‘The Mysterious Planet’, ‘Mindwarp’, ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ and ‘The Ultimate Foe’. Discs 5 and 6 contain brand-new bonus material on them. 😀

As well as new special features on Discs 5 and 6, there are also extended versions of the fourteen episodes featured in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. This I’m very pleased about. Though I’m still baffled by why they didn’t have extended versions of the two episodes of ‘Black Orchid’ than just ‘Part One’.

For the sake and purpose of this detailed review of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, I’ll be basing my thoughts on the 14-epic story via the extended version. I like to consider the extended version to be superior, especially as they had scenes originally considered to be put in but were cut out in editing.

But yeah! Season 23! As much as I’m excited by the re-release of Colin Baker’s second season of ‘Doctor Who’ from 1986 on Blu-ray, there’s also an element of sadness and tribulation to be found in the behind-the-scenes making of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. This is especially in how Colin was treated by executives.

In 1985, ‘Doctor Who’ had been put under pressure by the BBC bosses. The original Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ was cancelled and the show was suspended for a hiatus of 18 months. This upset many fans that wanted the show to come back. They didn’t like having to wait 18 months for it to return. 😦

Thankfully, the TV show did triumphantly return in 1986 and the production team decided to give the new season an overall theme to make it feel epic and worthwhile for its return. The script editor Eric Saward spoke with production secretary Jane Judge on an inspired idea! Put the Doctor on trial!

Matching with what was going on in real-life since the TV show was put on trial, Eric Saward came up with a season of a story with the Doctor also being put on trial by the Time Lords. His crimes were for breaking the laws of time and interfering in galactic affairs. This was a season described as ‘risky’.

Colin Baker said so himself in the making-of documentary for ‘The Mysterious Planet’, the first story of the season. ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ is a season that had its own trials and tribulations to coin a phrase. I personally like ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season, but it’s easy to notice the flaws that it had.

‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ became a 14-part epic story with 4 linked segments. I enjoyed watching this epic story when I first saw it on DVD back in September 2008. I was pretty fascinated and agog by how this story was made and what went on behind-the-scenes into the making the epic ‘Trial’ story.

I’ve had the DVD box-set cover of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ signed by Colin Baker at the ‘Timeless Collectors’ sci-fi fair in Fareham, December 2014. I enjoyed Colin’s performances in the story and I do feel sad for him in how he exited the series during ‘Doctor Who’s tumultuous period by this point.

But in spite of the flaws ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ had as a season, is it still worthwhile to watch on Blu-ray? Can something of value come out of this ‘Doctor Who’ season that is essentially the last of the Colin Baker era on TV? Did Colin Baker’s efforts go to waste in the end as the Sixth Doctor? Let’s find out!


PARTS ONE TO FOUR (‘The Mysterious Planet’)

The season begins with the first four episodes of this epic story – ‘The Mysterious Planet’. This was by former ‘Doctor Who’ script-editor and legend Robert Holmes. Holmes had contributed largely to the show’s history during the late 1960s and the whole of the 1970s. He was an instrumental writer!

Script editor Eric Saward loved working with Robert Holmes as a writer. He got stories like ‘The Caves of Androzani’ with Peter Davison and ‘The Two Doctors’ with Colin Baker from him. Eric Saward wanted the best ‘Doctor Who’ writers to help him make this ‘Trial’ season work and be epic.

From the pool of writers, as well as Robert Holmes, Eric considered writers like Philip Martin, Christopher H. Bidmead, David Halliwell, Jack Trevor Story and PJ Hammond. Eric wanted to adopt ‘A Christmas Carol’ style to the ‘Trial’ season and he was convinced Robert Holmes to be suited to that.

Unfortunately, Robert Holmes was not in the best of health when he wrote this segment of the ‘Trial’ season. Though not awful and still being a decent enough story, it wasn’t the most inspired of Robert Holmes’ work for the series. It did not match to the quality of his other ‘Doctor Who’ stories.

It wasn’t helped much when the Head of Series and Serials, Jonathan Powell, criticised Robert Holmes’ scripts for ‘The Mysterious Planet’ before production began. I can’t deny there are problems with ‘The Mysterious Planet’ as a story, but I still enjoyed it and there were neat concepts.

Anyway, let’s talk about the theme tune for Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’. It was decided for the theme tune to be changed at the last minute as the season went into post-production. Dominic Glynn, the composer for the incidental music for ‘The Mysterious Planet’, was asked to update the theme tune.

I like Dominic Glynn’s version of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme music for the Sixth Doctor era. It suits Colin Baker’s Doctor superbly, especially with matching the colourful tones to the Sixth Doctor era title sequence by Sid Sutton. It also has a saturated feel about it that doesn’t feel less exciting as I hear it.

I can easily dance and hum to the Dominic Glynn version of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme music. I recall playing the music videos for the ‘Doctor Who’ theme music by Dominic Glynn over and over again on ‘The Mysterious Planet’ DVD back in 2008. It was very exciting. I still consider it a fine piece of music.

The story opens with an impressive model shot of a cathedral-like space station. For its time, it must have been very expensive to make. I’m amazed by how much effort they put into that model sequence. The incidental music composed by Dominic Glynn with cathedral-like sounds made it epic.

Yes even today, you can say how impressive that model shot is of the cathedral-like space station. This is especially when the TARDIS gets pulled into it via an energy beam. It’s such a shame that the rest of the ‘Trial’ season doesn’t reflect that epic scale of the opening model shot as you’d want it to.

Anyway, after that impressive model shot, we see the Doctor come out of the TARDIS inside the space station. He walks up the steps leading him into a court room. The Doctor finds that he has been plucked out of time by the Time Lords and he’s on trial for his life for breaking the laws of time.

The Doctor must defend himself against Michael Jayston as the Valeyard who is the prosecutor with evidence against him in the court proceedings. The trial is coordinated by Lynda Bellingham as the Inquisitor, who has to referee the Doctor and the Valeyard in the arguing they have with each other.

I found Michael Jayston to be sinister as the Valeyard when we’re first introduced to him in the season. I’ve met Michael Jayston in real life and find him to be a nice gentleman. 🙂 It’s not clear at this point to why the Valeyard wants the Doctor condemned in the trial and why he wants him dead.

I found Lynda Bellingham lovely as the Inquisitor. Although cold-mannered at times in her approach as judge during the Doctor’s trial, there is an element of compassion and reason in her. It’s ironic for me to think that Lynda Bellingham would later play Helen Herriot in ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

For his first segment of evidence during the prosecution, the Valeyard presents it as recorded in the Matrix, the repository of all Time Lord knowledge! The evidence features the Doctor and his companion Peri on an adventure set on the planet Ravalaox where they find some disturbing truths.

I like how Colin Baker’s Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri get re-introduced in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ via ‘The Mysterious Planet’ story. They seem to have settled back into the series after its long hiatus. At this point, the Doctor and Peri seem to have mellowed and aren’t bickering with each other a lot.

Due to the passage of time between seasons, the Doctor and Peri have grown to like each other more and have grown fond of each other. I’m sure they did like each other during Season 22, but in that they did not know each other well and Colin’s Doctor wasn’t very accommodating towards Peri.

I prefer that dynamic now towards Colin’s Doctor and Peri by this point in the series. It would’ve been nice to have seen more of that between Colin’s Doctor and Peri had Nicola Bryant not left halfway through the series, but we’ll get to that later on. Thankfully Big Finish does make up for this.

There are ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures by Big Finish set between Seasons 22 and 23 that enhance the Doctor and Peri’s relationship. They allow us to appreciate that development between them in how they’ve mellowed and they aren’t the bickering couple that they used to be during the TV show.

Anyway, in ‘The Mysterious Planet’, the Doctor and Peri come to Ravalox for a scientific investigation according to the Doctor during the trial. They discover that Ravalox is rather like that of Earth. And as it transpires, when they discover Marble Arch underground station, it is really Earth in the future!

The ideas that Robert Holmes presents to us in this story about Earth ending up being Ravalox in the future are very intriguing indeed, if not disturbing. Robert Holmes has tackled an apocalyptic style of Earth story before in ‘The Ark In Space’. Not certain if the two are connected here, but it’s intriguing.

Peri becomes upset when she and the Doctor find out that Ravalox is actually Earth in the future. The Doctor does his best to sympathise with Peri’s anxieties regarding the situation. But he sees the bigger picture and knows that nothing can be eternal. Earth won’t always be around in the universe.

It’s very ironic that Russell T. Davies would address this issue regarding Earth’s future for his episode ‘The End of the World’ where it actually ends up being destroyed. I have my own views on how Earth is going to end up according to the book of Revelation in the Holy Bible. You’ll have to discover that.

As the story progresses, it also transpires that there’s a lot more to this mystery regarding Earth being out of place from its original orbit and ending up as Ravalox than it first appears. This is especially when the Doctor discovers it in his trial but the Valeyard and the Inquisitor are dismissive.

The story’s guest cast are as follows. There’s Tony Selby as Sabalom Glitz and Glen Murphy as Dibber, his sidekick. I’ve seen Tony Selby before in an episode of ‘The Good Life’. It’s ironic to see him in this ‘Doctor Who’ story and I didn’t know it was him from that ‘Good Life’ episode until later on.

I enjoyed the double act between Glitz and Dibber in this story. It echoes the approach by Robert Holmes to do double acts in ‘Doctor Who’, based on Shakespeare. 😀 It’s interesting in terms of why they’ve come to Ravalox and what they’re looking for, but it gets bleeped during the trial itself here.

There is also Joan Sims as Queen Katryca, leader of the Tribe of the Free on Ravalox. Joan Sims is very well known for starring in the ‘Carry On’ films. It’s interesting to see a comedy film star appear in a straight role for a sci-fi series. I thought she did well as a warrior queen, even if she was miscast.

In any case, I’ve seen Joan Sims in more Drama productions over the years, especially ones I’ve reviewed on my blog including a BBC production of ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ and the ‘A Murder Is Announced’ story from the Joan Hickson ‘Miss Marple’ series. Katryca is very suspicious of outsiders.

The story also features people living underground where the Marble Arch tube station is. There’s Tom Chadbon as Merdeen, leader of the Train Guard who serves the Immortal. Tom Chadbon has been in ‘Doctor Who’ before as he played Duggan in ‘City of Death’ with Tom Baker. He’s good here!

There’s also Adam Blackwood as Balazar, the reader of the books when the Doctor meets him within Marble Arch station. I enjoyed Adam Blackwood as Balazar in this and he would later play Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps in Series 1 of ‘Jeeves & Wooster’. I hope he’ll find that Canadian goose somewhere. 😀

And there’s Timothy Walker as Grell, a red train guard who works with Tom Chadbon’s Merdeen in the story. Grell is someone who doesn’t trust Merdeen and wishes to serve their Immortal. He overhears Merdeen talking with Balazar as they betray the Immortal, hoping to kill him in this story.

There are two types of robot featured in this segment of the ‘Trial’ season. There’s the L1 robot that runs on a track and hunts for the Doctor whenever he escapes or is held prisoner by the Tribe of the Free in their encampment. Mike Ellis, the dad of ‘Blue Peter’s Janet Ellis, operates the L1 robot here!

There’s also Drathro, an L3 robot, who is in charge of his domain within the Marble Arch underground station. Drathro is bigger and frightening compared to the L1 robot. He relies on black light energy and considers human work units to be insignificant. He’d rather have them destroyed. 😮

Drathro is voiced by Roger Brierley, who I’ve seen play Sir Roderick Glossop in the ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ series. I was amazed to find that Roger Brierley was doing the voice for Drathro in this adventure. Apparently, Roger Brierley was meant to play Drathro in the robot suit meant for him. 😀

But when the robot suit became claustrophobic and uncomfortable for him to wear, it was decided for visual effects man Paul McGuiness to play Drathro. Roger Brierley still voices Drathro and didn’t have to read from the script since he memorised his lines. He also did ‘Mr. Bean’ didn’t you know? 😀

Drathro gets called ‘the Immortal’ by the Ravalox people including the Tribe of the Free and the Train Guards. He’s also assisted by two computer technicians who are humans. They’re Billy McColl as Humker and Sion Tuder Owen as Tandrell. They’re a double act too and rather peculiar in manner.

They’re blond-haired and are silly at times when they gabble on about technical things and get on Drathro’s nerves. It was amusing to see the Doctor help Drathro, Humker and Tandrell for a bit before he distracts them with getting them electrocuted and getting to escape from Drathro’s castle.

‘The Mysterious Planet’ story concludes with the Doctor and Peri saving Ravalox before leaving the planet. The Doctor is curious about a box of secrets that Glitz and Dibber were interested in. Back in the trial, the Doctor’s life becomes more at stake as the Valeyard’s next evidence will be so damning.

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was ‘The Making of The Mysterious Planet’ documentary; deleted and extended scenes of the story and BBC trailers and continuity announcements for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts One to Four’. There was also a 33mm film sequence of the space station model shot and music videos including three for the clean titles; three for the theme music remix and two for the trial theme. There was a stereo sound audio mix option for the four episodes and there were two DVD audio commentaries. The first one was with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Tony Selby and Adam Blackwood on all four episodes of the story. The second one was with script editor Eric Saward on ‘Part One’. There was also an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was also a ‘Wogan’ interview with Colin Baker and Lynda Bellingham; a ‘Blue Peter’ item with Colin Baker, Bonnie Langford and Nabil Shaban and a ‘Points of View’ item with Anne Robinson before she became the Anne Droid in ‘Bad Wolf’/’The Parting of the Ways’. 😀 There was also a photo gallery of the story.

On Disc 1 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23’ Blu-ray, ‘The Making of The Mysterious Planet’ documentary; the deleted and extended scenes; the 33mm film sequence of the space station model shot; the music videos; the stereo sound audio mix option for the four episodes; the two DVD audio commentaries; the ‘Wogan’ interview; the ‘Blue Peter’ item and the ‘Points of View’ item can be found on there. The BBC trailers and continuity announcements; the info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts One to Four’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts One to Four’ with Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor); Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Bonnie Langford (Mel) as well as Frazer Hines (Jamie); Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and Mark Strickson (Turlough). There’s also ‘The Doctor’s Table’ with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford and Michael Jayston. There’s the ‘Saturday Picture Show’ interview with Bonnie Langford (taken from the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ DVD). There’s also studio and location footage on the story; a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for ‘Parts One to Four’ of the ‘Trial’ story and an isolated music soundtrack option for ‘Parts One to Four’ of the ‘Trial’ story by Dominic Glynn.

On the PDF front, there are production documents for ‘Parts One to Four’ of the story. There are also scripts including a ‘Part One’ rehearsal script and ‘Parts Two to Four’ transmission camera scripts. There are also Ken Trew’s costume designs for the story. You need a special Blu-ray computer drive for the PDF materials.

‘The Mysterious Planet’, although not the best story by Robert Holmes, is an enjoyable adventure and well-directed by the late Nicholas Mallet. It’s a segment of the ‘Trial’ seasons that starts it off very well, setting the wheels in motion. There are also some lovely performances from the cast here.

Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are great as their characters and there were some intriguing ideas to be featured as developed by Robert Holmes, regarding what was going on with Ravalox and its secrets. But as the Valeyard declares, ‘the damning is still yet to come’. Will the Doctor survive this?!

‘Parts One to Four’ (‘The Mysterious Planet’) rating – 6/10


PARTS FIVE TO EIGHT (‘Mindwarp’)

We now move onto where things become more serious in the ‘Trial’ season. The second four episodes are by Philip Martin and they have the working title of ‘Mindwarp’. Here it’s where the Valeyard shows his ‘damning’ evidence to the Doctor where he could be guilty for his crimes in the trial.

Philip Martin wrote the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Vengeance on Varos’ for Colin Baker’s Doctor in the previous season – Season 22. He was meant to write ‘Mission to Magnus’ for the original Season 23. Sadly that season got cancelled but thankfully he was able to contribute to ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’.

‘Vengeance on Varos’ was also the story that featured the first appearance of Nabil Shaban as the villainous Sil, the slug-like creature that handled unethical business trades with other planets. Because of Sil’s success and popularity, the production team wanted to bring him back for the series.

Thus Sil makes his second TV appearance in the ‘Trial’ season. Of course for me, this was the first time I’d seen Sil in ‘Doctor Who’ when I purchased ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ DVD back in September 2008. I would see him in ‘Vengeance on Varos’ at a later date. It was intriguing to see him in this tale.

Like I said, things become more serious during the trial now. The Doctor begins to take things more seriously with his life at risk. This is a contrast to what went on in ‘The Mysterious Planet’ segment where it was light-hearted. Here the story is darker and violent as the Doctor’s faults get addressed.

It’s also interesting how the Valeyard presents his second piece of evidence during the prosecution and the Doctor begins to question its validity. He doesn’t remember things happening as they’re told in the ‘Mindwarp’ segment in the trial. It does make things tense and apprehensive for the audience.

In the second segment of the story during the Valeyard’s prosecution, we have the story set on the planet Thoros Beta which is where the villainous Sil lives. The TARDIS lands there and the Doctor and Peri step out. And the planet happens to have green skies, blue beaches and pinks seas. Pretty eerie!

I found the visual effects work for the planet Thoros Beta in terms of its exterior shots very impressive. It must be dated nowadays, but back then it must’ve been state-of-the-art technology when the production used paint-box effects for the TARDIS landing in a pink sea on this alien planet.

It’s amusing how the Doctor and Peri arrive. Peri says “Oh far out!” I wonder what it would be like to walk in pink sea on an alien world. It probably wouldn’t be pleasant as you would normally walk in a blue sea on water. The water could be toxic. :D. Thankfully the water’s not so acidic when it hits Peri.

But yeah, the Doctor and Peri come to Thoros Beta and discover some harrowing and dangerous mind-altering experiments taking place within some cave-like structure. The experiments are being conducted by a sadistic scientist called Crozier. The greedy, opportunistic Sil is working with Crozier.

Sil wants Crozier to fix his superior Lord Kiv and his brain by transferring it into another body. Lord Kiv keeps getting headaches with his brain getting bigger. The impact of Crozier’s experiments could affect the future of all life in the universe. Something the Doctor had never dared dream to imagine.

Unfortunately, the Doctor gets forced to wear a mind-altering device on his head by Sil and Crozier. His mind soon becomes affected and eventually the Doctor turns against Peri. He becomes determined to work for the greedy Sil. He considers Peri to be of little significance and mistreats her.

In the trial room, the Doctor refuses to believe what he sees as evidence for his irresponsible actions by the Valeyard. He makes the implication that the Matrix could be lying when the evidence is being presented. But the Valeyard and the Inquisitor dismiss that accusation, saying the Matrix cannot lie.

It’s interesting how Colin Baker plays out the notion that the Matrix is lying when he as the Doctor is mistreating Peri, especially when interrogating her by chaining her on the beach. He didn’t have much guidance from the director Ron Jones, the script editor Eric Saward or the writer Philip Martin.

I’m not sure what the answer is to all these questions regarding whether what’s presented in ‘Mindwarp’ is faked or true. It’s an ongoing debate today. I’m inclined to agree with the Doctor that ‘the events took place but not quite as we’ve seen them’. Some of it was true and yet some was not.

It’s especially annoying and disappointing when things weren’t fully resolved by the end of the ‘Trial’ season. Had more time been dealt with and had the last two episodes of the story been extended to four, we could have had a proper pay off from all writers concerned that contributed to this season.

Thankfully some answers have been answered regarding what happened during the ‘Trial’ season, especially with ‘Mindwarp’. This is especially featured in the Big Finish audios where it concerns Peri and her fate when she was travelling with the Doctor here, but we’ll get back to that aspect later on.

I found Colin Baker’s performance as the Doctor astoundingly brilliant in this segment of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season. The scenes where the Doctor goes mad and he betrays Peri are truly mesmerising to watch. They’re also gut-wrenching and pretty horrible to watch once he betrays her.

I didn’t like it when the Doctor became cruel to Peri. Throughout the part of this segment where the Doctor had his mind altered, you wonder why he is doing all these things. You wonder why he is working for Sil. I felt anguished about what was going on in this story, just like the Doctor did on trial.

I equally enjoyed Nicola Bryant as Peri who gives a standout performance in this segment of the ‘Trial’ season. This happens to be Peri’s last televised story in the ‘Doctor Who’ series. Nicola wanted to go out with a bang and she got that once she requested it from the producer John Nathan-Turner.

It’s interesting how Nicola compared her departure to Janet Fielding’s departure as Tegan from the series in ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’. In that, Tegan’s departure had been rather fleeting. Nicola didn’t want to have that. To be fair, Peri’s departure is very superior compared to Tegan’s departure.

With that said, I found Peri’s exit from the series pretty gruelling. It’s not one I would’ve chosen even though it’s very dramatic in its execution. It’s also gut-wrenching since she doesn’t have a farewell scene with Colin Baker’s Doctor whom he’d become friends with. But again, I’ll get back to this later.

Nicola Bryant is lovely as Peri, especially for this segment of the ‘Trial’ season. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Nicola Bryant at conventions. The first time I met Nicola was at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014. I was really stumped for words when I first met Nicola.

Thankfully I regained my confidence and got to chat to Nicola, finding her lovely and friendly. I even shared how I felt about Peri’s dramatic exit from the ‘Trial’ season at the ‘Time Warp’ convention. Nicola recommended for me to hear ‘The Widow’s Assassin’ by Big Finish set after the ‘Trial’ story. 🙂

I’m pleased with how Peri’s fate after the ‘Trial’ season has been expanded upon in other mediums, especially with all the confusion on whether Peri died or not. It’s certainly better than what Peri’s actual fate was in the ‘Trial’ story, but I’ll get back to that one too once we come to ‘The Ultimate Foe’.

The guest cast for ‘Mindwarp’ are truly mesmerising. I enjoyed Nabil Shaban as Sil, as he was both funny and mean-spirited to watch. Like I said, this was the first I saw Sil in ‘Trial’ and it was interesting how he happened to be an old enemy of the Doctor and Peri’s once they have seen him in this story.

Sil clearly loves having his marsh-millows, which must be pretty disgusting to eat and has a pretty horrible, yet funny laugh whenever I hear him. Nabil Shaban, who is a disabled actor, is truly into his game playing Sil. He relishes the role and he clearly impressed Colin and Nicola behind-the-scenes. 🙂

There’s also Brian Blessed – “VAROONIK!!!” – Or is it “GORDON’S ALIVE!!!” from ‘Flash Gordon’? – Or is it “FRESH HORSES!!!” from ‘Blackadder’? – as King Yrcanos from the planet Krontep. And goodness me, I’ve never seen such an over-the-top actor as Brian Blessed perform in this adventure!

It was fun to watch Brian Blessed being so loud and being so soft as King Yrcanos, which makes him unpredictable and entertaining to watch. He develops an interesting connection with Peri where it becomes a romance (I think). I mean with Brian Blessed being so boisterous, it’s hard to see the love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Peri and Yrcanos grew to like each other. But in terms of a romance, I only saw it from his point of view. Not hers. Yracnos even assumes to take Peri as his queen in the story. In fact, it’s very amusing when Yrcanos asked Peri ‘what is love’ when in a prison cell together.

(sing-song) “What is love?, Baby don’t hurt me, Don’t hurt me, No more.”

Patrick Ryecart guest stars as Crozier, the scientist working with Sil and doing his mind-altering experiments, especially on Lord Kiv. It’s interesting to see Crozier as a character. He almost seems reluctant at first to do his work and like he doesn’t want to take any risks with saving Lord Kiv’s head.

But as the tale progresses, Crozier turns out to be a pretty bad, evil man like a Nazi would be in seemingly having good intentions but ending up being ugly. This is demonstrated when he chooses Peri to plant the mind of Lord Kiv into her body as he tells his assistant to “Shave her head”. So horrid!

There’s also Christopher Ryan as Lord Kiv, Sil’s superior in the story. Christopher Ryan would later go on to play General Staal the Sontaran in ‘The Sontaran Strategem’/’The Poison Sky’. It was amazing to see Christopher Ryan here in a ‘Doctor Who’ tale after I had seen him first time in the new series.

Lord Kiv struggles to keep his head together when he keeps getting headaches. He gets impatient when Crozier in slow in his work to fix his head and get a new body for him. He does a temporary body which once belonged to the mind of a fisherman. He does get confused during trade meetings.

The story also features Thomas Branch as the Lukoser who once used to be Yrcanos’ equerry Dorf and has now become a werewolf-like being. There is also Gordon Warnecke as Tuza, the leader of the Thoros Alphan rebels who teams up with Yrcanos to defeat Sil and the Mentors on Thoros Beta.

There’s Alibe Parsons as Matrona Kani, who is just as sadistic and cold-hearted as Crozier in being her assistant during the mind-altering experiments. There’s also Trevor Laird, who would later play Martha Jones’ dad Clive in the new series, as Frax and Richard Henry as the funny, senile Mentor. 😀

It was pretty shocking when the Doctor, who has his mind restored to him and about to rescue Peri, gets stopped in his tracks and taken out of time by the Time Lords to attend his trial. The Doctor is outraged by the Time Lords stopping him from rescuing Peri, but they state things have gone too far.

Peri dies pretty horribly at the end of ‘Mindwarp’. She got strapped to a medical bed by Crozier and Kani before having head shaved off. The next time we see Peri, she’s dead with her mind wiped and bald-headed. Very soon, Lord Kiv’s mind gets placed inside Peri’s body by Crozier where he awakens.

It was pretty horrifying to see Peri wake up before realising that it’s not Peri but Lord Kiv since Peri is dead. Nicola Bryant uses a different and horrible voice for Lord Kiv inside Peri’s body. Her bald head is disturbing to see and when Lord Kiv spoke, it shuddered me to think it wasn’t sweet Peri anymore.

For me, Peri’s death in ‘Mindwarp’ has got to be one of the most shocking departures ever to be featured in a ‘Doctor Who’ story. It isn’t like Adric who got killed in ‘Earthshock’. It isn’t like Clara who got killed in ‘Face the Raven’. Peri died off-screen and Lord Kiv is in her body. I was pretty upset.

At the story’s conclusion, King Yrcanos storms in to rescue Peri before Lord Kiv in Peri’s body sits up and declares in a horrid voice “PROTECT ME!!! I AM YOUR LORD AND MASTER!!!” Shocked; horrified, but unable to control himself because of the Time Lords, Yrcanos assassinates Lord Kiv in Peri’s body.

Once he’s seen what’s happened, the Doctor is clearly upset about Peri’s death. He’s also clearly angry that the Time Lords cruelly plucked him out of time to come to his trial before he had the chance to rescue Peri. But the Valeyard tells the Doctor that Peri died because he’d abandoned her.

The Doctor refuses to hear what the Valeyard and Inquisitor say to him. He becomes adamant in the belief that he was plucked out of time by the Time Lords for another reason. He becomes determined to find out what that reason is. Will the Doctor be able to defend himself for next time?

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was ‘The Making of Mindwarp’ documentary and deleted and extended scenes of the story. There was the ‘Now and Then – On The Trial of a Time Lord’ locations featurette and the ‘A Fate Worse Than Death’ commentary bonus with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant on Peri’s exit from ‘Doctor Who’ in ‘Part Fourteen’ of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. There were also BBC trailers and continuity announcements for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Five to Eight’. There was a stereo sound audio mix option for the four episodes; a DVD audio commentary with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and writer Philip Martin and there was an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was a ‘Children In Need’ item that was shown in 1985; an amusing ‘Lenny Henry’ comedy sketch featuring Lenny Henry as the Doctor and a photo gallery of the story.

On Disc 2 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23’ Blu-ray, ‘The Making of Mindwarp’ documentary; the deleted and extended scenes; the ‘Now and Then – On The Trial of a Time Lord’ locations featurette; the ‘A Fate Worse Than Death’ commentary bonus; the stereo sound audio mix option for the four episodes and the DVD audio commentary can be found on there. The BBC trailers and continuity announcements; the info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Five to Eight’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Five to Eight’ with Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor); Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Bonnie Langford (Mel) as well as Frazer Hines (Jamie); Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and Mark Strickson (Turlough). There’s the ‘Temps X’ contemporary French TV coverage of the story and an extended ‘Breakfast Time’ item (taken from the ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ DVD) now featuring producer John Nathan-Turner, Janet Fielding and Nicola Bryant. There’s also studio and location footage on the story; a ‘Blessed on Doctor Who’ interview with Brian Blessed and ‘The Sixth Doctor Revisited’ 50th anniversary documentary. There’s also the ’50 Years In The TARDIS’ interview with Colin Baker from 2013; a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for ‘Parts Five to Eight’ of the ‘Trial’ story and a brand-new isolated music soundtrack option for ‘Parts Five to Eight’ of the ‘Trial’ story by Richard Hartley.

On the PDF front, there are production documents for ‘Parts Five to Eight’ of the story. There are also scripts including a ‘Part Five’ rehearsal script and ‘Parts Six to Eight’ transmission camera scripts. The ‘Children In Need’ item from 1985 and the ‘Lenny Henry’ comedy sketch aren’t included for the Season 23 Blu-ray.

‘Mindwarp’ is arguably the darkest story out of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season in ‘Doctor Who’. It’s where things become more serious for the Doctor with his life at stake during the trial and features a shocking adventure where Peri gets killed off. I became upset from watching what happened to Peri.

I wondered what was going to happen next and how the Doctor would be able to prove himself in the next instalment during the defence. At this point, it seems that all the odds are laid against him. But can the Doctor prove to the Valeyard, the Inquisitor and the jury that what he’s doing is for good?

‘Parts Five to Eight’ (‘Mindwarp’) rating – 8/10


PARTS NINE TO TWELVE (‘Terror of the Vervoids’)

Here we are on the third act of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ story. At this point, Eric Saward was dwindling towards his way out being script editor of ‘Doctor Who’. The stories he hoped to have from writers such as David Halliwell, Jack Trevor Story, Christopher H. Bidmead and PJ Hammond did not turn up.

Well actually, PJ Hammond’s did for ‘Paradise 5’ but producer John Nathan-Turner rejected it outright. Whether to budget constraints or JNT not liking the story, I don’t know. But for whatever reason, Eric Saward was running out of people for the ‘Trial’ season and getting to the end of his tether.

In the end, Eric Saward finished with married writing duo Pip and Jane Baker as they contributed the third four episodes of the ‘Trial’ story called ‘Terror of the Vervoids’. These two have contributed to ‘Doctor Who’ before as they wrote ‘The Mark of the Rani’ starring Colin Baker’s Doctor in the series.

Now from what I understand, Eric Saward wasn’t happy with the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ story when he asked Pip and Jane Baker to write it. This is despite them asking if they could do an Agatha Christie-styled whodunit murder mystery on a space liner limited to studio-bound filming in making.

Eric laid his concerns and anxieties to JNT, who told him to fix the problem there and then without giving him professional support. As you can imagine, it must have been frustrating for Eric Saward to bear from his boss. But that was only the tip of that ice berg in terms of their dwindling relationship.

It also seems that after the story was transmitted on TV that some of the ‘Doctor Who’ fans criticised ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ for being too traditional. One of these fans was a young Chris Chibnall on a 1986 edition of ‘Open Air’. This was before he became the series’ showrunner in 2018.

Now speaking personally, I like ‘Terror of the Vervoids’. It’s not anything spectacular, but I do like the Agatha Christie murder mystery style of adventure featured in it. I’ve even written an Agatha Christie murder mystery/‘Fawlty Towers’ hotel in space story called ‘The Space Hotel’ on my blog. 🙂

I suppose the weakness of ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ is in how it supports the Doctor’s defence during the trial scenes it has. It can be argued ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ can be seen without the trial scenes. It’s what the Blu-ray makers have done by making a Special Edition version of the story in the extras.

But yeah, as I’ve stated, this is the segment of the ‘Trial’ story where the Doctor presents his case for the defence. I like how the story opened in the extended version where the Doctor walked back to his seat in the courtroom, still suffering from the loss of his companion Peri who died in ‘Mindwarp’.

The evidence that the Doctor presents here in this segment is taken from the future. Yeah. That’s interesting. As I’ve stated, the ‘Trial’ season presents itself in ‘A Christmas Carol’ style of manner. The first story’s presented from the past; the second from the present and the third from the future.

‘The Mysterious Planet’ was certainly from the Doctor’s past. ‘Mindwarp’ whilst still being from the past leads up to the Doctor in the present. Now we have ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ from the Doctor’s future. It’s surreal to see an adventure where for the Doctor it hasn’t happened to him yet during his trial. 🙂

So many questions can be raised about why is the Doctor presenting his evidence from the future when he shouldn’t know anything about the future? But then again he is a Time Lord, and perhaps Time Lords are more responsible with safeguarding their futures compared to normal human beings.

There’s also the issue of how come the Doctor doesn’t remember what happened in ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ if he’s already seen it during his trial. Maybe he had his mind wiped or perhaps he’s poker-facing it to everyone so that they can’t know what’s going to occur next. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry. 😀

Anyway, ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ takes place on the luxury space liner called Hyperion III. It’s a ship that ferries between the planets Mogar and Earth where expedition teams collect minerals. Aboard the ship, a murder mystery is about to take place as well as the birth of a brand-new alien species. 😮

In the TARDIS, the Doctor and his friend Melanie Bush, also known as Mel, respond to a mayday distress call sent by the Hyperion III. Upon arrival, they don’t know who sent the message before getting involved to investigate the mystery for the Doctor’s old friend, Commodore ‘Tonker’ Travers.

As the Doctor and Mel uncover more about what’s going on, the planet-like Vervoids begin to cause havoc as they plan to rid all of animal-kind when the Hyperion III reaches Earth. Will the Doctor be willing to help stop the Vervoids? Will he place lives of human beings over the lives of the Vervoids?

It was interesting to see ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ as the first TV appearance for Bonnie Langford as Mel, the new ‘Doctor Who’ companion after Peri. Mel doesn’t get an introduction as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion. Nor does she have a first meeting with the Doctor. She’s simply there inside the TARDIS!

It’s interesting how Mel gets already established a ‘Doctor Who’ companion without any introduction considering that she comes from the Doctor’s future. Thankfully BBC Books and Big Finish rectify this by having Mel first meet the Doctor in ‘Business Unusual’ and ‘The Wrong Doctors’.

It’s also amazing that the Sixth Doctor has had a longer life in ‘Doctor Who’ compared to being cut short in the TV series with two seasons. He would have more adventures in books and audios and have companions like Evelyn, Charley, Constance, Flip and Mel. It could be cut short in ‘Trial’ though. 😀

I’ll explain what I mean by that later. But yeah, with Mel, I like her as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion in this story for the ‘Trial’ season. She comes across as enthusiastic, eager for adventure and being good friends with the Doctor. It makes her different compared to the previous companions in the TARDIS.

Eric Saward however had doubts about Bonnie Langford being the ‘Doctor Who’ companion as I’m sure many other people did. For one thing, Bonnie Langford was an already established stage actress and singer. So the chances of her being clichéd as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion were probable.

But as it turned out, Bonnie Langford proved she could play Mel and for me she made an impressive debut despite the reputation she had. Even people like Billie Piper and Catherine Tate have proven they can be good ‘Doctor Who’ companions. Even Jodie Whittaker has proven to be a good Doctor. 😀

The only criticism I have about Mel is that she does tend to scream a lot in the TV series. This got on my nerves, especially when she screamed so loud and so long in certain scenes e.g. the cliff-hanger for the first episode of the ‘Vervoids’ story. I wish she didn’t scream very much during the TV series.

This somewhat reduces her character in being the screamer as she’s supposed to be a computer programmer from Pease Pottage in 1980s Earth. She doesn’t do much computer programming in the series as far as I’m concerned. Thankfully the Big Finish have rectified in developing Mel’s character.

I also enjoyed Colin Baker as the Doctor in the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ story for ‘Trial’. At this point in the Sixth Doctor’s future, we can see he has mellowed and is more likeable compared to being brash and abrasive when she had Peri travelling with him. He clearly gets on very well with Mel in this tale.

There are elements of the Sixth Doctor being charming to other human beings such as Janet the space liner’s stewardess when he offers her a bouquet of flowers when asking for the passenger list. There’s more of Colin’s light-hearted and joyous manner coming through instead of the darker traits.

Granted, there is the fiery energy coming through the Sixth Doctor. But it isn’t so dominant and the Doctor is determined to help and solve the murder mystery whilst he’s aboard the space liner. It’s also interesting how he worked out who the murder suspect is before he gives people his confidence.

During the trial scenes, the Doctor discovers that parts of his evidence for the defence have been tampered with. He becomes more convinced that the Matrix has been tampered, something that the Valeyard and the Inquisitor categorically deny. Can the Doctor prove his arguments for the trial?

It was interesting to see this story as a whodunit style of murder mystery. Like I said, I enjoyed it and as I was watching it, I wondered who it was that committed the murder. Like a good ‘Miss Marple’ should tell it, your attention gets shifted regarding who did the murder from one person to the next.

I also enjoyed the feel of the outer-space luxury liner. It makes this segment of the ‘Trial’ season more exciting and it’s gave me inspiration when I wrote my story ‘The Space Hotel’ in a similar luxury setting with a hotel in space. It provides a false sense of luxury and relaxation when aboard the ship.

Here are the murder suspects featured in this murder mystery drama. There’s Honor Blackman as Professor Lasky. Honor Blackman is well-known for playing Cathy Gale in ‘The Avengers’ TV series. She has also appeared in ‘The Children of Seth’, a Big Finish audio story with Peter Davison’s Doctor.

Professor Lasky is a formidable woman in this tale. She comes across as impatient and bad-tempered at times. She’s a thremmatologist who is partly responsible for creating the Vervoids. Even though she reads Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ on the liner, did she commit any murder?

There’s Michael Craig as Commodore ‘Tonker’ Travers who is the commander of the space liner Hyperion III. Michael Craig is well-known for playing Captain John Anderson in the TV series ‘Triangle’. I enjoyed him in this ‘Doctor Who’ story and how he happens to know the Doctor already.

I like former ‘DWM’ editor Clayton Hickman’s description of Commodore Travers as being a character from a ‘Doctor Who Annual’. It’s intriguing how Travers knows the Doctor already here. He apparently proposed marriage to Evelyn Smythe according to the book ‘Instruments of Darkness’. 😀

There’s also Malcolm Tierney as Doland, one of Professor Lasky’s colleagues aboard the space liner. I’ve seen Malcolm Tierney in the 2002 TV production of ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’. He has also starred in the Big Finish audio ‘1001 Nights’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton.

Doland is an interesting, quiet and reserved character in this story as he informs Lasky about what’s happened when something goes wrong with their experiments. He also informs Lasky when Bruchner is going berserk at some points in this story. But could he possibly be the murderer in this?

The story also features David Allister as Bruchner, another colleague of Professor Lasky who becomes highly-strung when things go wrong with their experiments. He goes mad when he tears up papers that contain their life’s work and he pilots the Hyperion III toward the black hole of Tartarus.

Denys Hawthorne guest stars as security chief Rudge aboard the Hyperion III space liner. Rudge seems to be a standard security chief who is on his way to retirement being an old man and having his last job aboard the liner. But then he makes a deal with the Mogarians and soon leads to a hijack.

There’s Yolande Palfrey as the sweet, lovely stewardess Janet aboard the space liner. It’s interesting that behind-the-scenes the cast and crew were betting Janet was the one who committed the murders aboard the ship. She could’ve if the story dared to do it. I’m quite saddened Yolanda Palfrey died in 2011.

Same for Malcolm Tierney who died recently in 2014. The story also features Arthur Hewlett as the elderly man called Kimber. Arthur Hewlett has been in ‘Doctor Who’ before as he was in the story ‘State of Decay’ with Tom Baker. Kimber’s character unfortunately gets killed off in the story here. 😦

The story also features Tony Scoggo as Grenville, who in actual fact is an investigator called Hallett. He disguises himself aboard the space liner once his identity’s been discovered by Kimber. Hallett disguises as a Mogarian before he drinks something that poisons him in the tale’s second episode. 😮

There’s Simon Slater as communications officer Edwardes. I’ve seen Simon Slater before as Fleming in episodes of ‘Monarch of the Glen’. Sadly he gets killed off at the end of the story’s first episode. It was strange when he said to Mel, “We don’t want you breaking your neck. At least not until…” Huh?

The Mogarians are aliens that wear masks for certain atmospheric conditions and have translator units to speak English to the humans. They are Sam Howard as Atza and Leon Davis as Ortezo. They become impatient when the Hyperion III’s space journey gets delayed. Can they help save the liner?

There’s also Barbara Ward as Ruth Baxter, Doland’s lab assistant who becomes exposed to Vervoid DNA and mutates into a human/plant hybrid. I don’t know what it is but Ruth Baxter’s make-up as a human/plant hybrid put me in mind of the Borg from ‘Star Trek’. It was so surreal seeing that image.

The story’s monsters, the Vervoids, are an interesting race of ‘Doctor Who’ monsters. The inspiration for them as plant-like aliens who intend to kill animal-kind the same that animal-kind kill plant-life was interesting. This of course has been done in ‘Doctor Who’ before with those plant-like Krynoids.

Mind you, I’m not sure that the Vervoids are the most convincing ‘Doctor Who’ monsters to appear in the TV series, especially for this segment of the ‘Trial’ season. They do appear strange in their plant-like costumes and sometimes I can’t take them seriously, especially with their whispery voices.

By the end of story, the Doctor concludes his case for the defence in the trial. The Vervoids have been destroyed. The Valeyard takes his chance to accuse the Doctor for committing a ‘worse’ crime. The Doctor protests, saying had the Vervoids survived, they would have eliminated the human race.

But the Valeyard becomes adamant, saying there are ‘no exceptions’. “The charge…must now be genocide!” I was so shocked by this sudden turn of events. The Valeyard somehow gets to quickly change the trial around on what it’s about. The Time Lord laws of Gallifrey are so wishy-washy here.

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was ‘The Making of Terror of the Vervoids’ documentary and deleted and extended scenes of the story. There were also BBC trailers and continuity announcements for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Nine to Twelve’. There was also ‘The Lost Season’ documentary which looks into the abandoned Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’. There was a stereo sound audio mix option for the four episodes; a DVD audio commentary with Colin Baker, Michael Craig, writers Pip and Jane Baker and director Chris Clough and there was an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was the ‘Now, Get Out of That’ documentary focusing on the cliff-hangers of ‘Doctor Who’; a ‘Saturday Picture Show’ interview with Bonnie Langford and a photo gallery of the story.

On Disc 3 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23’ Blu-ray, ‘The Making of Terror of the Vervoids’ documentary; the deleted and extended scenes; the stereo sound audio mix option for the four episodes and the DVD audio commentary can be found on there. The BBC trailers and continuity announcements; the info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Nine to Twelve’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Nine to Twelve’ with Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor); Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Bonnie Langford (Mel) as well as Frazer Hines (Jamie); Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and Mark Strickson (Turlough). There’s also studio footage on the story and a new Special Edition version of ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ that features updated CGI effects; has no trials scenes featured in it and presents the story in two audio options including a stereo sound audio mix option and a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option. There’s also a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for ‘Parts Nine to Twelve’ of the ‘Trial’ story and an isolated music soundtrack for ‘Parts Nine to Twelve’ of the ‘Trial’ story by Malcolm Clarke.

On the PDF front, there are scripts including the ‘Parts Nine to Twelve’ annotated editing camera scripts. ‘The Lost Season’ documentary is now included on ‘The Ultimate Foe’ disc for the Season 23 Blu-ray; the ‘Now, Get of That’ documentary is now included on Disc 6 of the Season 23 Blu-ray; and the ‘Saturday Picture Show’ interview with Bonnie Langford is now included on ‘The Mysterious Planet’ disc for the Season 23 Blu-ray.

I enjoyed the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ story in the ‘Trial’ season by Pip and Jane Baker. It might not be a highly rated story in the season, but it did have me entertained and gripped all the way through. I enjoyed Colin Baker’s Doctor and how he interacted with Bonnie Langford as Mel to solve a mystery.

It was also funny when Colin Baker’s Doctor struggled to drink carrot juice when given exercise training on an exercise bike by Mel. At this point in the ‘Trial’ season, I wondered how Colin’s Doctor would survive and get out of the scrape he’s in as he’s now accused with ‘genocide’ by the Valeyard.

‘Parts Nine to Twelve’ (‘Terror of the Vervoids’) rating – 9/10


PARTS THIRTEEN TO FOURTEEN (‘The Ultimate Foe’)

And now we come to the final act of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season. This is better known as ‘The Ultimate Foe’. These last two episodes of the epic 14-part story sadly have a troubled history behind them. Originally, Robert Holmes was supposed to write the last two episodes to conclude the ‘Trial’.

But by that point, Robert Holmes was severely ill. He had written the first of the final two episodes of the season and had written the outline for the last one. Ultimately, Robert Holmes died and script editor Eric Saward became bitterly upset. He had enough and resigned as script editor for the series.

He did say ‘yes’ to writing the last episode of the series, based on the outline Robert Holmes had written. But producer John Nathan-Turner wasn’t happy with the final script as it featured an anti-climactic end where the Doctor and the Valeyard fought each other in a void. It was left open-ended.

In the eyes of JNT, he thought Eric’s script based on Holmes’ outline killed the TV show completely. It would’ve given the option for the BBC bosses to cancel it. Eric wanted to protect the honour and memory of his fellow writer Robert Holmes who died. Thus the fallout between him and JNT ensued.

As a result, Eric Saward refused permission of his final episode to be used in the series by JNT. It’s so sad to think this happened between JNT and Eric Saward, as they worked together for five years despite their differences. I wish things could’ve been different between these two making the series.

With Eric Saward refusing permission of his script, JNT sought the emergency help of Pip and Jane Baker to write the fourteenth episode of the season. They had to write the episode within a short space of time along with legal constrictions. That must’ve been very hard for the writing couple here.

Thankfully, and without any plagiarism, Pip and Jane Baker delivered the script JNT wanted and it was used as the season finale. And to Pip and Jane’s credit, it followed up nicely to the first episode by Robert Holmes and Eric Saward, even though complicated aspects were noticed in the resolution.

I wonder whether the ‘Trial’ season could’ve benefited in having the final episode based on the outline provided by Robert Holmes instead of the one delivered by Pip and Jane Baker. I’m sure the show would’ve survived beyond an open-ended cliff-hanger end despite JNT’s fears of it being killed.

In a sense, I can understand why JNT felt like this from his viewpoint. The TV show was fragile at this stage and there was no guarantee the show would come back whatever ending it had. But then again; I sympathise with Eric Saward too as he had a good working relationship with Robert Holmes.

There was a lot of criticism laid against the final episode during the ‘Open Air’ item I mentioned featuring young Chris Chibnall. I can see what the ‘Doctor Who Appreciation Society’ members on that panel were on about, but I think recent episodes are more complicated than what was in ‘Trial’.

Despite the behind-the-scenes drama that went on and what casual viewers as well as ‘DWAS’ members thought of it at the time, I like ‘The Ultimate Foe’ episodes of the ‘Trial’ season. I found it an exciting conclusion to the epic 14-part tale, despite the somewhat baffling aspects that it had in it.

In the final two episodes, all the evidence seems to be piled up against the Doctor. The Doctor is determined to stand by his claim that the Matrix of Gallifrey has been tampered with and that the evidence presented by the Valeyard during the prosecution was deliberately distorted in the telling.

The Inquisitor and the Valeyard of course still reject the Doctor’s claims as well as the Keeper of the Matrix. The Doctor outwardly accuses the Valeyard for tampering with the Matrix. Very soon, the Doctor receives some unexpected help as Melanie Bush and Sabalom Glitz enter as some witnesses.

But who sent them? It turns out it was…Anthony Ainley as the Master…who speaks to everyone in the courtroom from within the Matrix. Everyone is shocked and horrified by this, even up to the point where the Inquisitor and some Time Lord members don’t know who the Master is. Wait, what?

Yes seriously, how come these Time Lords including the Inquisitor don’t know who the Master is? Is there a snobbish thing going on where certain Time Lords ignore rogue members of their society who have become an embarrassment? They know the Doctor. Surely they must know who the Master is!

Anyway more details get revealed about what happened in terms of the circumstances of Earth ending up as Ravalox in ‘The Mysterious Planet’. A little gets revealed about Peri’s fate in ‘Mindwarp’ which I’ll get onto a bit. As I indicated earlier, not everything gets resolved in the final two episodes.

I do like how these two episodes resolve the ‘Trial’ season and how the Doctor receives his verdict. I think it would’ve been better if ‘The Ultimate Foe’ was four episodes instead of two to give us satisfactory payoff. Maybe Pip and Jane Baker made up for it once they novelized ‘The Ultimate Foe’.

A big reveal though is who is the Valeyard in this story? He happens to be…oh…how did the Master put it again? ‘An amalgamation of the darker sides of’ the Doctor’s ‘nature, somewhere between’ his ‘twelfth and final incarnation’. And as the Master says, he did not ‘improve with age’. Yeah, that’s it.

So yeah! The Valeyard is an evil incarnation of the Doctor! 😮 And he happens to be in-between Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctors if we’re to go by the original twelve regeneration cycle of the Doctor here. Check out further thoughts by me on the Valeyard in my review for ‘He Jests At Scars…’

This is where it gets exciting here once the Valeyard’s true colours have been revealed. I think it was funny when the Valeyard was looking up at the Master on the Matrix screen. He has the look of “Shut up! Shut up!” once the Master revealed all about the Valeyard’s identity. It was very tense too.

I like how the Valeyard escapes the trial room by going into the Matrix with the Doctor chasing after him and Sabalom Glitz accompanying him. The last two episodes do contain some clever and mind-boggling ideas. This is especially once the Doctor ventures in the Matrix to hunt down the Valeyard.

There are twists and turns featured throughout this final segment of the ‘Trial’ story. The Doctor could also be facing his own death when he’s in a Dickensian-like version of the Matrix world created by the Valeyard. The Matrix world could easily be seen as a holodeck from ‘Star Trek’ for this season.

It was good to see Tony Selby back as Sabalom Glitz for this finale of the ‘Trial’ season. It provides a nice link in from ‘The Mysterious Planet’. It was also interesting to see how Glitz was sent by the Master, having been a previous associate of his. He also joins the Doctor in the strange Matrix world.

Sometimes Glitz can switch sides from helping the Doctor to helping the Master instead. He’s not a clear-cut rogue as you think he is. There are traces of good in Glitz but he often works for the wrongens like the Master. It was also interesting to see Glitz without his sidekick Dibber in the finale.

Bonnie Langford also returns as Mel in this segment of the ‘Trial’ season. It’s interesting to see the Doctor and Mel interact with each other here. From his viewpoint, the Doctor hasn’t met Mel yet. For Mel, she knows the Doctor already. Somehow though, they act like good friends in this segment.

It’s strange that never gets addressed in terms of the Doctor and Mel’s relationship here in the ‘Trial’ story, but at least it’s not so complicated and we can accept it for now. I like how Mel is fiercely loyal to the Doctor when he is in trouble and she attempts to rescue him by going into the Matrix herself.

I was surprised to see Anthony Ainley return as the Master in this segment of the ‘Trial’ season and delighted as well. Anthony Ainley is my favourite Master in ‘Doctor Who’ and it is fun how he almost does a fourth-wall breaking role early on as he comments on how he’s enjoyed himself ‘enormously’.

The Master has been watching the trial all the through and now decides to intervene ‘for the sake of justice’. In actual fact, he wants the Doctor to destroy the Valeyard completely so that he can destroy the Doctor himself. It’s interesting how the Master knows the Valeyard’s the Doctor already.

The standout performance throughout the ‘Trial’ season is of course Michael Jayston as the Valeyard. Before seeing him in ‘Doctor Who’, I saw Michael in episodes of ‘Emmerdale’. I recall him being pretty menacing in that as well as menacing here. He might have met Clara in ‘Emmerdale’. 😀

As I’ve said before, I’ve met Michael in real-life at two ‘Regenerations’ Swansea conventions in 2013 and 2016. I’ve had montage of Michael Jayston in various roles as well as the Valeyard in ‘Doctor Who’. I’ve had a photo of myself with Colin Baker and Michael Jayston at a Swansea convention too.

Michael Jayston excels as the Valeyard in ‘Doctor Who’. He milks the role superbly in being the ultimate ‘Doctor Who’ villain of this season of a story. It gave me thrills to Michael unleash his evil laughter as the Valeyard and how he revealed his agenda once the Doctor finally confronted him. 😀

I must give special mention to Lynda Bellingham as the Inquisitor in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season. Lynda sadly passed away in 2014. I remember Lynda very fondly for her character in this ‘Doctor Who’ story and in many ways I’m glad to be watching her as Helen in ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

I like Lynda Bellingham’s interpretation of the court judge featured in this TV season of ‘Doctor Who’ and how she conducted the trial in an emotionally detached way. She referees between the Doctor and the Valeyard a lot and it was good Lynda Bellingham did the Inquisitor again in Big Finish audios.

I was immensely pleased to see Geoffrey Hughes guest star as Mr. Popplewick in the last two episodes of the ‘Trial’ season. For me, Geoffrey Hughes played Onslow in the BBC sitcom series, ‘Keeping Up Appearances’. I can’t help but go “Aww nice!” once I see Geoffrey Hughes in something.

The character Geoffrey plays in this ‘Doctor Who’ story is interesting. For one thing there are two versions of Popplewick – a young version and an old version. He also happens to be a Dickensian-like clerk in Bob Cratchit-style. He’s also revealed as Michael Jayston’s Valeyard underneath. WHAT?!! 😀

The story also features James Bree as the Keeper of the Matrix in this TV adventure. James Bree has been in ‘Doctor Who’ before. He was in ‘The War Games’ with Patrick Troughton and ‘Full Circle’ with Tom Baker. I’ve also seen James Bree in a few episodes of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ itself.

The Keeper of the Matrix seems to be a minor character. As I gathered, the Keeper was supposed to have a larger role in the original Robert Holmes/Eric Saward scripts. In the end, he showed up to tell the Inquisitor that nobody can enter the Matrix without the Key of Rassilon. He also tripped up Mel!

Thankfully the story concludes on a happy ending with the Valeyard defeated by the Doctor, even if it’s rather confusing in its execution. The Doctor returns to the courtroom where the Inquisitor tells the Doctor that all charges are dismissed. She also tells the Doctor that Peri is alive and well. Yippee!

But she’s married to King Yrcanos. Um…what?! Peri married King Yrcanos? (Pause) WHY?! WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?! (Pause) Again, I didn’t see a romance going on between Peri and Yracnos during ‘Mindwarp’. So how come this was established as a thing in the actual outcome of the ‘Trial’ story?!!

I know Nicola Bryant wasn’t happy with that resolution at the end of the ‘Trial’ season and rightly so. Like with Clara Oswald, it ruined the dramatic impact of her shocking death at the end of ‘Mindwarp’. I wouldn’t have gone down in this route by having Peri married off to King Yrcanos here.

Thankfully Big Finish have rectified this somewhat by having it established that there are now five Peris in ‘Peri and the Piscon Paradox’. I also applaud Frazer Hines, Matthew Waterhouse and Mark Strickson in mocking the ludicrousness of it all with Peri married to Yrcanos in ‘Behind the Sofa’. 😀

The story ends with the Doctor and Peri going off in the TARDIS and leaving the trial space station behind them. The Doctor’s final lines as he goes are “Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice!” Sadly, the ‘Trial’ season didn’t have a happy ending behind-the-scenes especially with Colin Baker’s Doctor.

For me, Colin Baker is the star of the show. He has excelled beyond measure in his performances as the Doctor throughout the TV series. Yes his Doctor was pretty brash, abrasive and inconsistent in times. But for what it’s worth, I enjoyed his TV era and how he did his interpretation of the Doctor. 🙂

I was very surprised when I found out the ‘Trial’ season happened to be his last story for the TV series in ‘Doctor Who’ as well as his final season of the show. I was equally saddened and disappointed that Colin was ill-treated by the BBC and was sacked on the spot during the TV series’ tumultuous period.

Colin Baker didn’t deserve the treatment he got from the BBC bosses, who seemed determined to get rid of the show in every way possible. It’s a shame producer JNT wasn’t able to support Colin Baker as he was trying hard to keep the show going, even when he wanted to bow out at the TV series’ end.

Thankfully, Colin has done plenty of Big Finish audios to make up for his time as the Doctor in the series. This includes ‘The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure’ where he actually regenerated into Sylvester McCoy. Colin Baker’s Doctor has had an interesting life in audio compared to the TV series.

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was ‘The Making of The Ultimate Foe’ documentary and deleted and extended scenes of the story. There were also BBC trailers and continuity announcements for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Thirteen and Fourteen’. There was also ‘Trials and Tribulations’, an informative and detailed one-hour documentary looking into the Colin Baker era of ‘Doctor Who’. There was the ‘1985 Hiatus’ media item; the ‘Doctor In Distress’ music video and the ‘Open Air’ item I mentioned. There was a stereo sound audio mix option for the two episodes and there were two DVD audio commentaries. The first one was Colin Baker, Tony Selby and director Chris Clough who are joined by writers Pip and Jane Baker for ‘Part Fourteen’. The second one is with script editor Eric Saward on ‘Part Thirteen’. There was also an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was also a ‘Saturday Superstore’ interview with Colin Baker; a photo gallery of the story; PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ for all fourteen episodes of the story; a ‘BBC Press Office Release’ on the series and a ‘Zig-Zag’ children’s magazine behind-the-scenes feature. There was also a ‘coming soon’ DVD trailer for ‘Four To Doomsday’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse (now included on the ‘Castrovalva’ disc for the Season 19 Blu-ray box set).

On Disc 4 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23’ Blu-ray, ‘The Making of The Ultimate Foe’ documentary; the deleted and extended scenes; the ‘Trials and Tribulations’ documentary; the ‘Open Air’ item; the stereo sound audio mix option for the two episodes; the two DVD audio commentaries and the ‘Saturday Superstore’ interview with Colin Baker can be found on there. The BBC trailers and continuity announcements; the info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Thirteen to Fourteen’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts Thirteen to Fourteen’ with Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor); Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Bonnie Langford (Mel) as well as Frazer Hines (Jamie); Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and Mark Strickson (Turlough). There’s also the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ Christmas Quiz featuring Colin Baker and an amusing ‘French and Saunders’ comedy sketch (taken from the ‘Vengeance on Varos’ DVD). There’s also location material on the story and the ‘Bonnie Langford: In Conversation’ interview conducted by Matthew Sweet. There’s ‘The Lost Season’ documentary (taken from the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ DVD) and there’s ‘The Writers’ Room: The Missing Season 23′ with Eric Saward, Wally K Daly; Philip Martin and Christopher H. Bidmead. There’s ‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Sixth Doctor’ presented by Sarah Sutton (taken from the ‘Vengeance on Varos’ DVD) and the ‘Stripped For Action – The Sixth Doctor’ documentary that looks into the comic book adventures of the Sixth Doctor era (taken from ‘The Twin Dilemma’ DVD). There’s also a ‘coming soon’ DVD trailer for ‘Time and the Rani’ with Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford (taken from the ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ and ‘Silver Nemesis’ DVDs). There’s also a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for ‘Parts Thirteen to Fourteen’ of the ‘Trial’ story and an isolated music soundtrack for ‘Parts Thirteen to Fourteen’ of the ‘Trial’ story by Dominic Glynn.

On the PDF front, there are production documents for ‘Parts Nine to Fourteen’ of the story. There are also scripts including a ‘Part Thirteen’ rehearsal script; a ‘Part Thirteen’ annotated editing camera script; Robert Holmes’ original script for ‘Part Thirteen – The Fantasy Factory’; a ‘Part Fourteen’ rehearsal script; a ‘Part Fourteen’ annotated editing camera script and Eric Saward’s original script for ‘Part Fourteen’. The ‘1985 Hiatus’ media item and the ‘Doctor In Distress’ music video aren’t included for the Season 23 Blu-ray.

On Disc 5 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23’ Blu-ray, there are the extended versions of ‘Parts One to Eight’ of the ‘Trial’ story to enjoy. There’s a stereo sound audio mix option and a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for the extended versions of ‘Parts One to Eight’ of the ‘Trial’ story.

On Disc 6 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23’ Blu-ray, there are the extended versions of ‘Parts Nine to Fourteen’ of the ‘Trial’ story to enjoy. There’s a stereo sound audio mix option and a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for the extended versions of ‘Parts Nine to Fourteen’ of the ‘Trial’ story. There’s ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ featuring Toby Hadoke with commentary by India Fisher and special guests Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Terry Molloy. There are also three bonus recipes from ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ to enjoy including ‘Kipper of Traken’; ‘Dalek Soup’ and ‘Lasagne’. 😀 There’s the ‘Back on Trial’ Season 23 Blu-ray trailer; the ‘Now, Get Out of That’ documentary (taken from the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ DVD); ‘The Panopticon Archive’ panel interview with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant and the studio clocks compilation for Season 23.

There’s more PDF written archive. As well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ for all fourteen episodes of the ‘Trial’ story; the ‘BBC Press Office Release’ and the ‘Zig-Zag’ children’s magazine behind-the-scenes feature, there’s also the 1986-87 Golden Wonder ‘Doctor Who’ promotion and a BBC Enterprises sales sheet.

The final segment of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season was greatly enjoyable for me. I felt pretty excited from watching the epic 14-part story’s final segment. I wondered how the ‘Trial’ season would culminate into its conclusion and how Colin Baker’s Doctor would survive the trial and verdict.

Colin Baker’s Doctor is pretty brilliant throughout this 14-part epic adventure and Michael Jayston delivered a tremendous and villainous performance as the Valeyard. By the time the story comes to a close, it seems like there’s nothing to worry about with the Valeyard ever coming back. Or is there? 😉

As for Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ overall, I enjoyed ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ very much. I enjoyed the season the first time I saw it on DVD back in 2008 and I enjoyed it again on Blu-ray in 2019. I’m saddened though about the outcome of Colin Baker’s Doctor following that pretty turbulent period.

It’s a shame Colin Baker never got the chance to live out his Doctor as he wanted to and possibly beat Tom Baker’s record as the longest-running serving Doctor. Thankfully the Big Finish audios make up for that in what could’ve been Colin Baker’s 10-year-stint in the TV series which is superb.

I was inspired to write for Colin Baker’s Doctor in one of my own stories called ‘Fred and the Doctor’. I’m glad I did that as it proves Colin Baker’s Doctor did have an impact on me. Despite the turbulent time he had making the TV series, he’s come out of it very well playing the Doctor for years in audio.

I enjoyed watching the DVD and Blu-ray extras for Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’. Some of them detail the tumultuous period the TV show endured and how it survived in the mid 1980s, despite the increasing pressure made by the BBC. Other extras are pretty enjoyable and pretty relaxing to watch indeed.

With the sad end of Colin Baker’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ being cut short, producer John Nathan-Turner had to find ways to keep the show going for as long as it could. With the casting of a new Doctor and the appointment of a new script editor, it was a matter of time before the TV show’s fate was decided…

‘Parts Thirteen to Fourteen’ (‘The Ultimate Foe’) rating – 9/10

‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ rating – 9/10


‘TOMORROW’S TIMES – THE SIXTH DOCTOR’

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‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Sixth Doctor’ was available on the ‘Vengeance on Varos’ Special Edition DVD. Now it’s available on ‘The Ultimate Foe’ disc of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ for the Season 23 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’.

‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Sixth Doctor’ is presented by Sarah Sutton, who played Nyssa in ‘Doctor Who’ with Tom Baker and Peter Davison. Originally, this was the highlight of the ‘Vengeance on Varos’ Special Edition DVD for me. I’m pleased that it’s now on the Season 23 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’.

I was so happy to hear the news that Sarah would be telling the story of the Sixth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ in the newspapers. I felt extra-special back in 2012. I was so pleased to see Sarah on screen again. Watching Sarah as a newsreader was a real treat for me indeed and she’s exceptionally brilliant.

I enjoyed how Sarah began telling the story of Colin Baker’s era as the Doctor via the newspapers. It was amusing to hear the press reactions to Colin’s garish outfit as the Doctor as well as the speculation of the TARDIS losing its blue police box exterior. Nicola Bryant’s revealing outfits also get covered here.

The cheerful aspects of the Sixth Doctor era soon dwindle into unhappiness once the show’s postponement of 18 months from TV screens gets announced. I did like how Sarah put some emotion in telling the story of Colin’s unfair treatment by the BBC which led to his departure from the TV show.

It was amusing when Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton were considered to come back to play the Doctor, but Peter Davison wasn’t so keen. As well as Colin Baker’s sacking, there was also the death of Patrick Troughton. It was also sad to hear Colin’s young son died during the show’s turbulent period.


‘THE DOCTOR WHO COOKBOOK REVISITED: BONUS RECIPE – KIPPER OF TRAKEN’

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I love the three bonus recipes from ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ documentary, all with commentary by India Fisher. They’re better than the actual documentary. 😀 The first bonus recipe has Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding with Toby Hadoke cooking the Kipper of Traken, which is a recipe provided by writer Johnny Byrne. 🙂

I concur with Sarah, Janet and Toby. I don’t think having the Kipper of Traken is a good idea since it didn’t look appetising in the final result, despite not having left it in the fridge for four days. I’m surprised they didn’t have a ‘this is what I made earlier’ version of the recipe from four days before.

Johnny Byrne is of course the writer of ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and the creator of Nyssa. I like how Toby points that out to Sarah and Janet when talking to them in the kitchen. It was interesting and amusing how Nyssa took the recipe with her before escaping Traken according to the author’s note.

It was amusing to see Sarah tell Janet off to be careful whilst preparing the Kipper of Traken dish in the kitchen. That’s just so Sarah isn’t it? 😀 She even tells Toby off for making sure the ‘salad dressing’ jar is tight shut. Janet tells Sarah “Ah, you English! You’re such wimps!” Steady on, Janet! 😀

I agree that Johnny Byrne must have done the Kipper of Traken recipe for the pun-making. You know, ‘Kipper’; ‘Keeper’ and such. 😀 It was intriguing how Toby encouraged the viewers to try the recipe out; despite saying it’s not ‘the best of the bunch’. Janet advises kids not to try it at home.


‘THE DOCTOR WHO COOKBOOK REVISITED: BONUS RECIPE – DALEK SOUP’

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The second bonus recipe from ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ has Frazer Hines with Toby Hadoke cooking some Dalek soup. Well actually, it’s ‘vegetable soup with Dalek Krotons’. Get it? Dalek Krotons – garlic crotons 😀 . It’s a recipe provided by Second Doctor actor Patrick Troughton. 🙂

I enjoyed the banter shared between Frazer and Toby in this item. Frazer makes Toby cook the soup whilst he reads from the instructions in the cookbook, which wasn’t what Toby planned. 😀 I enjoyed the jokes they made whilst cooking. The ‘dice’ joke made by Frazer to Toby is my favourite in this. 😀

It was intriguing to hear the anecdotes shared by Frazer to Toby about Patrick being a war hero, though Patrick never ‘talked about the war’. It wasn’t a done thing. It was also intriguing that Patrick may have cooked a meal for Frazer once – or rather it was his lady Bunny in a house in Richmond. 😀

During the cooking of the broth, Toby and Frazer are shocked about adding a floury paste to the soup. They’re not happy about this and it does seem like an odd thing to add to the soup. But it does look nice in the finished result when they pour the soup into a bowl and add the Dalek Krotons to it.

I liked it when Toby and Frazer tested the vegetable soup with Dalek Krotons themselves in the kitchen. They seemed to really like it. Thank goodness for that! I thought they wouldn’t like it for a minute. It does look like a really good dish served in the winter. I must try and make it myself soon. 🙂


‘THE DOCTOR WHO COOKBOOK REVISITED: BONUS RECIPE – LASAGNE’

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The third bonus recipe from ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ is my favourite of the lot and in my opinion the best! 😀 It has Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding with Toby Hadoke cooking lasagne. This is a recipe provided by Sarah Sutton herself. I was very excited it when I saw this special feature.

As already established, Sarah is my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion and best friend at conventions. So it was lovely to see that Sarah added a recipe to the cookbook herself. She could’ve easily called it ‘Nyssa’s Lasagne’ rather than ‘Luvic’s Lasagne’ or ‘Lazar’s Lasagne’ as Toby suggested.

Seeing Sarah cooking the lasagne with Janet and Toby’s help was inspirational. After seeing this special feature, I cooked my own recipe ‘Billy Walker’s Spaghetti Bolognese’, which I cooked a while back. I enjoyed cooking again and it’s thanks to Sarah’s lasagne recipe that gave me that inspiration.

I’ve taken down Sarah Sutton’s recipe for lasagne myself in a notepad from the special feature and hope to have a go at cooking it myself. 😀 I enjoyed it when Sarah shared what her life was like commuting in London and sharing a flat in Chiswick. Janet regarded Sarah on her cake-baking highly.

It was amusing when Sarah was onto Janet again with her cheese grating. 😀 Janet even threatened Toby with cheddar cheese in Sarah’s kitchen. 😀 The final result in the lasagne dish looks delicious. Seeing the lasagne makes me want to eat it myself. I must get around to cooking lasagne sometime.


‘BACK ON TRIAL’ SEASON 23 BLU-RAY TRAILER

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The announcement trailer for the Season 23 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ is very funny and amazing to watch! Once again, I was excited to see this on the ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel back in June 2019. The trailer stars Colin Baker back on trail again as well as Nicola Bryant at the very end.

Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ is of course ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. It was amusing to see Colin Baker in a court room to reflect that whilst advertising the Blu-ray box set. Colin has been charged with an unpaid parking fine of all things because he was busy making the special features for the Blu-ray set.

I enjoyed it when the magistrate and the prosecutor were unimpressed and bemused by Colin Baker’s claims that his being involved in the making of the Season 23 Blu-ray box set was far more important than his paying the unpaid parking fine. Colin is so into that Doctor-mode by this stage. 😀

In the end, Colin is put in a prison cell. There he finds Nicola Bryant. He asks her, “What are you in here for?” She answers, “Marrying Brian Blessed.” I love the reaction Colin gives before he says, “Fair enough.” Is it a crime to marry Brian Blessed then? I had no idea. I must keep this in mind next time. 😀

The extras being advertised in the trailer were exciting to see, including the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items; the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ Special Edition and ‘The Doctor’s Table’ feature. I had no idea that Sarah Sutton would be in ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ after watching the Season 23 Blu-ray box set.


The previous story

For the Sixth Doctor was

  • ‘Blood on Santa’s Claw and Other Stories’ (Audio)

For Peri

  • ‘Blood on Santa’s Claw and Other Stories’ (Audio)

For Mel

  • ‘Millennial Rites’ (Book)

For the Valeyard

The next story

For the Sixth Doctor is

  • ‘Interstitial Insecurity’ (TS)

For Peri is

For Mel is

For the Valeyard is

Return to The Sixth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Peri’s Timeline
Return to Mel’s Timeline
Return to The Valeyard’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

2 thoughts on “‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ (TV)

  1. Epic review Tim, so in depth & well written with a spot on summary of each story, i remember watching this aged 11 yrs old with my nan & loving it, i liked the mystery of why is the Doctor on trial & thought the Valeyard was a new incarnation of The Master, when it was revealed he is a evil version of the Doctor i nearly choked on my chips as i didn’t see that coming.

    I liked the conclusion as well, if they’d gone with Bob Holmes idea of the Doctor fightong the Valeyard it would’ve been anticlimactic & i remember rumblings at the time the show was being axed so I’m pleased how it ended.

    Colin Bakers a awesome Doctor, i loved both his seasons on tv because it became darker & edgier, his axing from the role was in poor taste by the BBC & remember the shitstorm this caused & left Colin heartbroken & to this day hasn’t fully forgiven the BBC & i don’t blame him, J-N-T should’ve gone into bat for him & stood firm but he rolled over to protect his job instead of saying Colin goes i go.

    I really enjoyed reading this epic review Tim, this is a clear informative helpful review for new fans wanting to discover more about the classic eras, nice one Bradders.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Timelord Simon.

    Very pleased you enjoyed my epic review on this 14-part story. I’m amazed I managed to get everything about this story in one review on this page. I’m wondering how I’m going to review the Target novelizations/audiobooks of these four segments of the story.

    Thanks for sharing your memories of watching this story and season at 11 years old. I’m sure it must have been an exciting time for you to watch this story, especially with the Doctor on trial and the Valeyard’s true identity revealed. I’m sure that must have shocked you when you saw it.

    Yeah I’m pleased with the way this story ended too. I appreciate Eric Saward’s concerns about dishonouring the memory of Robert Holmes as he died after this, but I don’t think it would have been right to end this story on the anti-climax it was going to be. It would have been interesting had they ended with the Doctor and the Valeyard fighting in the void, but it probably would have killed ‘Doctor Who’ had the BBC decided to cancel it altogether.

    I really like Colin Baker as the Doctor in both the Big Finish audios and the TV episodes he did. It’s a shame his Doctor suffered from the hiatus of 1985 as well as him being sacked by the BBC, which is unfair. Had the classic series ended with ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, Colin would never have got sacked and he would still be the Doctor by then.

    I think JNT felt pressure from the BBC as much as Colin Baker did, since he intended to leave after Colin was sacked. But the BBC forced him to stay on, which is unfair in my opinion.

    Very pleased you find my review on ‘Trial’ will appeal to new series fans as well as classic series fans of ‘Doctor Who’.

    Thanks Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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