Before we begin the longest story in Doctor Who‘s history, I have a confession to make.

Sue: Is this Colin’s last story or not?
Me: Yes, it is. But…
Sue: But what?
Me: It’s 14 episodes long.

Crash zoom on Sue’s face.

Me: Calm down, calm down. It’s not so bad. The episodes are only 25-minutes long again.
Sue: I don’t care how bloody long they are, how am I supposed to remember what happens over the course of 14 episodes? And how can they possibly sustain a story for that amount of time? That 10-part Patrick Troughton was pushing it and I love Patrick Troughton.
Me: We’ve done a 12-part William Hartnell as well.
Sue: Have we? I must have blocked that out.
Me: Are you ready?
Sue: As ready as I can be for a 14-part Doctor Who. This had better be good.


Part One

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: They’ve changed the theme music again. It’s horrible. The dum-de-dums are alright, I suppose, but the rest of it sounds like it was done on a cheap Casio keyboard.

Her mood soon changes, though:

Sue: 14 episodes of Robert Holmes. Okay, I can live with that.

And then…

Sue: Oh, wow.

The camera sweeps over a space station.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: Are we watching the right version? Isn’t it one of those CGI things where the fans have tarted it up a bit? Am I allowed to watch this?
Me: Yes, this is what it looked like in 1986.
Sue: Wow. This is what Doctor Who looks like now.

The TARDIS is caught by a tractor beam which pulls towards the space station.

Sue: If the first shot is anything to go by, the next 14 episodes are going to be great.

The Doctor finds himself in a darkened courtroom where a mysterious figure in black is sitting with his back to us.

Sue: It’s not, is it?
Me: Don’t be silly. He was eaten by a dinosaur, remember?

It’s the Valeyard.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: Oh, it’s that man from Crossroads again.
Me: It isn’t Ronald Allen. It’s Michael Jayston. Like that’s going to help you.
Sue: He looks familiar.
Me: In the original television version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy he played the same role that Benedict Cumberbatch played in the movie.
Sue: So he’s the 1980s Benedict Cummberbatch. Okay.

A group of Time Lords and an Inquisitor take their seats in the courtroom.

Sue: Oh, it’s her. The OXO lady.
Me: It’s Lynda Bellingham. She played James Herriot’s wife in All Creatures Great and Small.
Sue: That’s right. She took the part when his wife regenerated.
Me: Yes. A cow sat on her.

The Valeyard’s inquiry into the Doctor’s actions begin on the planet Ravalox.

Sue: Peri’s jacket is a bit Hi-Di-Hi, but bold colours and stripes were all the rage back then, so you can’t blame her for that. My hair was exactly the same as hers back then as well, except mine was blonde. I’ve destroyed all the photos.

The Doctor and Peri hike through a damp forest. I pause the DVD.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Me: Do you notice anything different about this?
Sue: Yes, they’re shooting it on video. Is it Betacam SP?
Me: I’ll find out for you. How do you feel about them using video on location?
Sue: It was misty when they shot this, so it’s very forgiving at the moment. It’s always going to look flatter than film, but at least we won’t get that jarring effect when they switch between indoors and outdoors. Besides, I like video. I learnt my trade on it so I can’t really complain about it.

The Doctor’s progress is monitored by two intergalactic wide-boys.

Sue: Oh, it’s him. He’s been in everything. I like his sideburns. You could get away with them today. I could get the clippers if you like, Neil.
Me: No, thanks.

Sabalom Glitz tells his partner, Dibber, that he suffers from a deep-rooted maladjustment, brought on by an infantile inability to come to terms with the more pertinent, concrete aspects of life.

Sue: Good old Robert Holmes. This is what we want.

The Doctor and Peri find an entrance to a hidden passageway.

Sue: I bet you like the music. It sounds like Tangerine Dream techno bollocks to me. But it has an old Radiophonic Workshop feel to it as well.

Yes, she actually said that.

The Doctor and Peri find a strangely familiar staircase.

Sue: I bet this is King’s Cross tube station.

And then the Doctor almost reveals his full name:

The Doctor: I might stay here for a year or so and write a thesis. Ancient Life on Ravalox by Doctor –

I sigh.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: He was going to say “Who”. We’ve been through this before, Neil.

Our heroes haven’t stumbled into King’s Cross station, but Marble Arch is pretty close (as long as the Victoria line is still working).

Sue: It’s good, this. Very Planet of the Apes. I definitely want to know more.

Peri is very upset when she realises this post-apocalyptic Earth.

Sue: This is a lovely performance from Nicola. Very believable.

And then, back in the courtroom, our first objection.

Sue: I like this. I like this a lot. Is it going to be like this all the way through?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Excellent.
The Doctor: Can’t we just have the edited highlights?
Sue: Yes, please! Not really. I’m enjoying this one, but I can never resist a cheap gag.

The Doctor puts things into perspective for his companion.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4The Doctor: Look at it this way. Planets come and go, stars perish. Matter disperses, coalesces, reforms into other patterns, other worlds. Nothing can be eternal.
Sue: That was a lovely scene. More of that, please.
Me: Have you noticed anything different about their relationship?
Sue: Yes, he’s listening to her for a change. He actually seems to care about her. It took him long enough. It should have been like that from day two!

The surface of Earth/Ravalox is ruled by Katryca, Queen of the Wild Boys.

Sue: It’s one of the Carry On women. Don’t ask me which one. The one who isn’t Barbara Windsor.
Me: It’s Joan Sims.
Sue: I hope she doesn’t send it up too much.

Down in Marb Station, the guards are led by a man name Merdeen.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: Oh it’s him. You know, he was in the French one. He kept hitting things.
Me: Duggan.
Sue: That’s the one. I love Duggan. The guest cast are very good this week.

The Doctor enters Marb Station, but when he innocently inspects a flask of water, he is suddenly set upon by group of angry men.

Sue: Were they working as a Formula One pit crew before the fireball hit?

When the Doctor wakes a short time later, he’s been chained to a pole. Water is so scarce in Marb Station, the penalty for stealing it is death.

Sue: I bet it must stink down there.

The Doctor is taunted by Balazar, the reader of the sacred books. These books include Moby Dick, The Water Babies, and, most mysterious of all:

Balazar: UK Habitats of the Canadian Goose by HM Stationery Office.
Sue: Brilliant. Why do people think Revelation of the Daleks is better than this? It’s beyond me.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4The Doctor will be stoned to death for his crime.

Sue: Run away! There’s a corridor right behind you!

The Doctor uses his umbrella to deflect the missiles, but it’s not enough to save him.

Sue: Ouch! That must have hurt.

We cut back to the courtroom.

The Doctor: Clever, eh? That trick with the umbrella.
Sue: I don’t know what he’s bragging about. He got a rock in the face! He should spend the next 13 episodes with a black eye.

The Valeyard wants to change the rules of the game.

Valeyard: These proceedings started as a mere inquiry into the Doctor’s activities. I’m suggesting now that it becomes a trial.

Sue: Because The Inquiry of a Time Lord would be a rubbish title.

The camera zooms in on the Doctor’s face.

Sue: What a silly cliffhanger. They should have finished on the stoning. Aside from that, not a bad start.


Part Two

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: The theme music isn’t growing on me. It isn’t meaty enough.

Marb Station is ruled by a robot known as the Immortal One.

Sue: I’m guessing that his head doubles up as a radar dish, yes?

Merdeen’s men arrive to break up the stoning.

Sue: They are taking time out from their busy paintballing schedule to do this.

Peri is captured and brought before Queen Katryca.

Katryca: I shall provide some excellent husbands for you.
Sue: That sounds like my kind of village. Although, knowing Peri’s luck, all the husbands will turn out to be sex pests.

The only people who enter the Immortal’s castle are the young men who have passed the selection process.

Sue: Young men? That’s very specific. A bit too specific if you ask me.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4The L1 robot is released into the Station.

Sue: Another Dalek knock-off. We haven’t had one of those for a while. It’s rubbish.

Peri is locked up with Glitz and Dibber. They tell her not to worry about Katryca’s proposal.

Peri: I’m not romantic enough to want more than one husband.
Dibber: Where we come from, a woman can have as many as six.
Sue: They come from Salt Lake City?

Sue finally catches the Immortal’s real name.

Sue: Jethro? What kind of name is that for a robot?

Back in the courtroom, the Inquisitor has heard enough.

Inquisitor: Is this relevant testimony, Valeyard? We seem to be straying from the point.
Sue: Yes we are, rather. She’s very posh but I’m definitely on her side. I love the court scenes.

Glitz and Dibber are led away to be burnt at a stake. Dibber isn’t very impressed.

Dibber: Now, if I was handling this execution, I’d go for a bullet in the back of the head. Much more economical.
Sue: Brilliant. They’d better not kill them. I could watch these two all day.

The Doctor is introduced to Drathro and his boys.

Sue: This programme is obsessed with autistic twins. What’s that all about?

The Doctor does a runner and Drathro has to send the L1 robot after him.

Sue: They had to speed up the video when it turned that corner. I bet it took ten minutes for it to perform that three-point turn in real life.

The inhabitants of Marb Station don’t seem to realise that it’s safe for them to return to the surface.

Sue: Hang on a minute… they’ve done this plot before. Ages ago. I definitely remember it.
Me: You’re probably thinking of The Enemy of the World. There are some similarities, I guess.
Sue: I think I preferred it the first time.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Merdeen is letting his people escape to the surface when Drathro isn’t looking.

Sue: Good old, Duggan. Maybe he’s a descendant of the original Duggan. That would make sense.

Glitz and Dibber escape from Katryca’s tribe.

Sue: A fat Han Solo and his shaved Chewbacca decide to get out of Dodge.

Dibber lobs a bomb at the Black Light Converter.

Sue: That was crap. I want to see more special effects like the one we had in the first episode.

The next thing we know, it’s rush hour on the underground’s escalator.

The Doctor: I really think this could be the end.
Sue: Yes, it’s the end of the episode. Don’t oversell it, mate.


Part Three

Sue: I still don’t like the music.
Me: Ok, thanks. We get it.

Balazar recognises Katryca’s right-hand man, Broken Tooth.

Sue: Also known as Man on Jeremy Kyle Man.

Theres another interruption back at the courtroom, and this time it’s the Inquisitor’s turn to object.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Inquisitor: I would appreciate it if these brutal and repetitious scenes are reduced to a minimum.
Sue: (In her best posh voice) Yes, one would prefer it if this was more for the kids, wouldn’t one.
Me: Do you think the programme is commenting on itself? You know, all the criticisms about it being too violent.
Sue: Does this mean the programme on trial as well?
Me: Pretty much.
Sue: So what happens if the show is found guilty? Does it get a new producer?

The L1 robot snatches the Doctor from Katryca’s village.

Sue: Awww, he just wants to give him a big hug.

And then there’s another interruption so they can explain to the audience how the Matrix is capable of recording scenes when the Doctor isn’t actually present.

Sue: I wasn’t bothered about it until they mentioned it. I won’t stop thinking about it now.

Katryca’s Wild Boys attack the L1 robot.

Sue: The Matrix needs a better director and editor. That wasn’t great. Joan is good, though. She isn’t playing it for laughs, which I’m surprised about.

Katryca believes she has defeated the Immortal One.

Katryca: It is ours now. All the strange materials that bend and do not break, All the mysteries and treasures of our ancient forefathers that we shall learn to use again.
Me: They can learn the ancient art of dentistry and fix poor old Broken Tooth while they’re at it.

Glitz sends Dibber off to get the heavy weapons.

Sue: I half-expected him to pat him on his arse when he sent him on his way.

Evidence has been edited out of the court’s proceedings.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: I really like this. This means I won’t feel so bad when I can’t follow something. I’ll just assume that it’s been edited out by the Time Lords. I bet it’s a big conspiracy.

The episode ends with Merdeen firing a crossbow in the Doctor’s general direction.

Sue: That wasn’t great. They should have ended it on a big close up of Colin’s face.

Oh, the irony.


Part Four

Sue: Do we know if this was shot on Beta SP yet?
Me: No, it wasn’t. Keep watching and you’ll find out soon enough.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4When the story resumes, we discover that Merdeen didn’t shoot the Doctor after all. He shot some other bloke instead. Merdeen is really cut up about it.

Sue: He didn’t get a chance to tell him that he was his long-lost brother.

Merdeen takes his helmet off as an act of respect.

Sue: Is his hat made from gaffa tape? Poor Duggan. He looks like Gary Numan.

Marb Station is invaded by the –

Sue: Wild boys! Wild boys! Wild boys!
Me: Don’t forget their Wild Mum!

Drathro kills Katryca and Broken Tooth by bursting their blood vessels.

Sue: OXO mum will be furious. I’m surprised she didn’t intervene.

It’s left to the Doctor to object to the Valeyard’s tactics instead.

The Doctor: Your points of law are spurious, your evidence weak, verging on the irrelevant, and your reasoning quite unsound. In fact, your point of view belongs in quite another place. Perhaps the mantle of Valeyard was a mistake. I would therefore suggest that you change it for the garment of quite another sort of yard. That of the knackers’ yard.
Sue: That was a very good speech. A bit loud, but good. Have I told you yet that I really like the courtroom scenes?
Me: Yes, several times.
Sue: The prosecutor is very good. He has an amazing voice. He’d be a great Doctor.
Me: Do you think it’s a good idea to frame the season within a trial, then?
Sue: Yes. It’s very interesting and it implies that something more interesting is going on, which is good because the stuff on this planet isn’t all that great.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4A little later, Glitz’s dialogue is bleeped.

Sue: Did he just swear?

The Doctor demands to see the sequence again.

Glitz: The Sleepers found a way into the (bleep bleep), the biggest net of information in the universe.
Sue: It’s the Matrix. What else could it be? You don’t have to be a Time Lord to work that out.

Glitz and Dibber have tooled themselves up.

Sue: They should swap guns. He should hold the red gun, it would match his shoulder pads.

The Doctor tries to reason with Drathro.

Sue: The ideas are very good in this, it’s just looks a bit… cheap. Colin’s having a good episode, though.

After a nasty incident involving a food production chamber (Sue didn’t enjoy the “comedy” gunging of Balazar), Glitz and Dibber join the Doctor in Drathro’s castle. They offer to replenish Drathro’s supply of Black light back at their ship.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Dibber: Yeah, we’ve got so much of that, sometimes we can hardly see.
Sue: Brilliant. I could watch a whole series with these two in it. Please tell me there’s a spin-off.

Drathro agrees to leave with the mercenaries, but not before he retrieves his box of secrets.

Me: There you go. That’s what they shot this on – 1 inch videotape. Drathro is going to run off with the rushes.

Drathro doesn’t make it as far as the escalator (“Now that’s something I wanted to see”) and the Doctor manages to contain the Black Light explosion before it can take half the universe with it.

Sue: Is that it? There’s 10 episodes left. What are they going to do now? And we still don’t know why the Earth is in the wrong place.
The Doctor: There are still one or two questions that have to be answered, like who moved this planet two light years off its original course.
Sue: Exactly! Is this what the next 10 episodes are all about? That could be interesting.

And that concludes the Valeyard’s opening statement.

The Trial of a Time Lord Part 1-4Sue: Eh? But the Doctor’s done much worse than that. I’m sure we’ve seen him commit genocide before. That was nothing.

But there’s more evidence to come.

Sue: They should run an old one. He’s still the same person. Stick a Troughton on instead!


The Score

Me: What score are you going to give it?
Sue: I can’t give it a score, it hasn’t finished yet.
Me: Just score what you’ve seen so far. We’ll work out the average at the end.
Sue: It’s sort of finished, I suppose. Okay, it started off well but it ran out of steam. I loved the two mercenaries and I hope they’re in the next ten episodes. Peri did sod all, which is a shame, but it was nice to see the Doctor getting stuck in again. The bits I enjoyed the most were the trial scenes. I love a good story arc. The rest of it didn’t do anything for for me. We’ve seen it all before.



Coming Soon




  1. Dave Sanders  December 13, 2012

    No Bob, put the shellfish down and BACK AWAY SLOWLY.

    If this story was a band, it would be Drathro’s Dull.

  2. Wholahoop  December 13, 2012

    There was a lot to like about eps 1-4 and as usual, WiS subverts my perceptions in liking the courtroom scenes and Glitz and Dibber. Glitz I liked, Dibber, nah

    We do agree on the theme music though. It is my theory that having admitted in Young Observer at the time that he recorded the tune in his bedroom, I firmly believe that the woolly bass line used in this version was acheived by Dominic Glynn slapping a smoked kipper in time (da da da dum becomes phwa phwa phwa phwa) against the side of the wardrobe in said bedroom

    More of a 5/10 but a good review

    • encyclops  December 14, 2012

      I’m not sure if I like Dibber alone, but I definitely prefer Glitz and Dibber to Glitz alone. Make of that what you will.

      • Wholahoop  December 14, 2012

        I believe the phrase goes something along the lines of “Different strokes for different folks”.

        Whilst Dibber had some good Holmesian lines I was not too impressed with their delivery. Mind you what do I know about acting?

        • John Callaghan  December 15, 2012

          Music, acting, painting… In matters of taste, one doesn’t have to be qualified to have an opinion on what one likes. As I assured my mother when she kept trying to feed me cabbage.

  3. Warren Andrews  December 13, 2012

    I like it when Sue has a surprising reaction – she likes the trial scenes. Whilst my adult self finds it rather lacking, my 7 year old self lapped this one up. Lots of running about, big robots, it’s a lot of fun, shame it didn’t get a decent director (I like what Gareth Roberts said in the 6th Doctor DWM special about readin the novelisation and imagining it in your head directed by Graeme Harper).

    Looking forward to Mindwarp (with even more courtroom interruptions:))

    • Dave Sanders  December 13, 2012

      Yes, and every single one of those is ‘what the f**k’s going on’. They’ve got the wrong channel on the trialroom screen, they’re watching the repeat of Moffat-Who series six on BBC Three.

  4. Steve O'Brien  December 13, 2012

    I once stood very near to the granddaughter of the man who operated Drathro. True story.

    • Graeme C-G  December 13, 2012

      Wasn’t it Janet Ellis’s dad, so that would be Sophie then?

      • David Brunt  December 13, 2012

        Janet Ellis’ dad was in the big box robot.

        Big tall VFX bod Paul McGuinness was inside the big bugger robot.

        • Fian Gengrig  December 13, 2012

          Brother of Tom McGuinness from Manfred Mann and McGuinness-Flint.

          • Fian Gengrig  December 13, 2012

            I made that last fact up.

    • Fian Gengrig  December 13, 2012

      Sophie Ellis-Bextor? Am I remembering that right? I’m sure Janet Ellis’s dad had something to do with the robots.

  5. Longtime Listener  December 13, 2012

    In “Funny you should say that” news this week…

    “The prosecutor is very good. He has an amazing voice. He’d be a great Doctor.”

    “But the Doctor’s done much worse than that. I’m sure we’ve seen him commit genocide before.”

    While in the “Just funny” column…

    “A fat Han Solo and his shaved Chewbacca”

    • Wholahoop  December 13, 2012

      I think Neil is subliminally implanting some of these phrases by whispering them to Sue while she is asleep as the odds of them being coincidental are astronomically high

      • Neil Perryman  December 13, 2012

        To be fair, she thinks loads of people would make a good Doctor. It was William Gaunt last week. And as for the other, the Doctor has committed genocide before hasn’t he? Fury from the Deep, wasn’t it?

        • Neil Perryman  December 13, 2012

          On second thoughts, and much more likely, she might be confusing it with him attempting to commit genocide in Genesis…

          • Dave Sanders  December 13, 2012

            It’s probably The Macra Terror you’re thinking of.

  6. Jenn Miller  December 13, 2012

    I am unreasonably excited to have Sue review Trial! ::squee!::

    And I had exactly the same reaction as she did when I saw the opening sequence for the first time, only 4 months ago. “This was made in 1986? No way!”

  7. charles yoakum  December 13, 2012

    yes, this one started off quite well, but sue hit the nail on the head taht the proceedings on Ravolox start to lose steam rather quickly. they run around, they talk, but it all comes a bit to naught. Colin and Nicola are on better terms and in better form aren’t they? the younger me loved the courtroom scenes as well, thinking that they payoff would something really damn cool that Robert Holmes could dream up.

    its very clear here that the anti violence crowd had their say, and that there was very little possible physical threat, so the problem is that the writers, in order to create drama, needed to come up with either non-specific violence (i.e. “it could blow up a part of the universe!”) or they needed to create more emotional drama as a consequence of failing (like marrying brian blessed). Or, hell, just add more comedy why don’t you?

    • Frankymole  December 14, 2012

      Although there was a big panic about crossbows, perhaps later than 1986, with lots of newspaper stories about teenagers shooting cats with them. So an odd choice, using one being shot for a cliffhanger.

  8. Simon Harries  December 13, 2012

    Loved the Salt Lake City comment best 🙂

    • Bestbrian  December 13, 2012


    • Rachel  December 14, 2012

      I think what Sue actually meant was “They come from Hildale?”

      I thought it was funny too – but, being from Salt Lake, sometimes I wish “haha, Mormons” wasn’t the only thing anybody ever thinks of when it’s brought up.

      • Wholahoop  December 16, 2012

        True, watch the QI Christmas Special episode (Groovy) with the eponymous Mr Tennant where the polygamy story was debunked. Interestingly Lee Mack suggests Bill Bailey should star in DW although casting him as the Osmond brother hidden in the attic writing all the songs did not come to pass

  9. Lewis Christian  December 13, 2012

    This one aint too bad, the next is iffy, the one after is average (one of Colin’s best, IMO) and the last one is marmite (I love it). Roll on the rest of the Trial.


    • encyclops  December 14, 2012

      Shockingly, I agree with YOU as well! Does that ever happen? 🙂 Well, except that I think the last one’s marmite and I DON’T love it, but we’ll talk about that soon enough.

  10. Adam Birch  December 13, 2012

    I still enjoy fairly sizeable chunks of this story. Even when “mailing it in”, Robert Holmes is good. The gunking is still a cringe moment and there are points where you can feel the production flying apart (though at the time of transmission I was fairly unaware of things behind the scenes).

    I like cheap gags, too. Unfortunately, my ex kept swallowing them. Ba-dum-pish!

  11. Ritch Famous  December 13, 2012

    Blimey, Sue is getting a bit precognitive.

  12. Fian Gengrig  December 13, 2012

    It all starts off so promisingly – I love the little mysteries set up to provide an enthralling season-long arc of building intrigue (sigh). Although I found it unmemorable and unengaging (and mostly annoying) when it was on, and also the second time I attempted it a few years ago, I enjoyed it much more recently. It’s quite an amiable romp really, if you’re not expecting too much, though it definitely loses momentum.

    I think it’s just too low-key for its importance in the timing of the show , though. After the 18-month hiatus, they really needed to have come back with a bang, and not just in the first 30 seconds. It’s no Twin Dilemma, but I think it was unexciting enough to give a good indication that Doctor Who was running out of steam generally. As an 11-year-old, I was really hoping for better things.

    • Fian Gengrig  December 13, 2012

      Also, the trouble with the spectacular opening shot is that it’s setting up a place where boring, talky things happen. It needed to be filled with soldiers barricading a corridor, like in Resurrection, or… *something*. It falls into the Star Wars I – III trap. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous it all looks, if it’s just people standing around speaking about tedious stuff, it’s still going to be boring. This is less boring than that, though, I wouldn’t want to tar ToaTL with the prequels brush. This is way more engaging.

      Also, rather than put itself on trial in order to comment on the things happening around the show, why not just make it good? Like, if your boss tells you you have to do a better job, it’s probably wiser just to make sure you do a better job, than dress up a bit like your boss and spend a lot of time pastiching him/her while you continue to do a mediocre job.

      • Thomas  December 16, 2012

        I think part of the problem with the divide between the model shot and the rest of the trial is that the direction and set design for the trial rooms is just bad- we needed a really iconic shot leading us into the trial itself, and all we get is a flat shot of an over-lit set as the TARDIS materializes to the right. The actual courtroom itself fares a bit better, but still runs into the problem that there’s not a lot the direction can do to make a standard courtroom design look visually thrilling (it probably would’ve benefited from a more alien look to make things more interesting).

        • Frankymole  December 16, 2012

          For its “Time Lord headquarters” The Three Doctors went for a kind of roundel motif on the floor, and lots of winding conduits leading to monitor screens. It might’ve been nice to develop the roundel / TARDIS-like theme and use round surfaces, especially horizontal ones, perhaps with different-sized platforms, on several levels, for groups of Time Lords to be scattered about on. The pools of light in “The War Games” trial, together with high and low camera angles, suggested something like this. Though a big square screen was probably unambitious after we got floating 3D affairs in Androzani, spherical screens in Resurrection, and even pyramidal 3D ones in Leisure Hive. This trial room is the very definition of “flat”.

          • Warren Andrews  December 16, 2012

            The Courtroom sadly follows in the design of Arc of Infinity and The Five Doctors in that it looks shit. 🙂

            I was watching some of Trial the other day and watching the Time Lords at the back try to turn their chairs and having to look directly above their heads to see the screen is hilarious. It’s an awful design. It brings out the worst theatricality in the actors (Langford and Selby are especially bad in part 13 projecting to the BBC canteen and beyond).

            Such a shame they didn’t go with the minimalist War Games style. There wasn’t a lot of money for that final episode but they became creative to counter it.

  13. Ryan Hall  December 13, 2012

    Trail of the timelord……It was an utter b*****d to get out of that Tardis tin i know that…..

    • Dave Sanders  December 13, 2012

      And the cardboard sleeve edition didn’t last five minutes,

      • Dave Sanders  December 14, 2012

        By which I mean it was like the genuine article – fell apart after one scene once you realised how cheap it looked.

  14. John G  December 13, 2012

    Well, that was an interesting take from Sue. I couldn’t agree more with her on the Glynn theme, though I wonder if it might have come across better if they had changed the title sequence too – seeing the starfield sequence with different music doesn’t feel right at all. As for the story, though… I thought the trial scenes were awful, and all the “knacker’s yard” and “junkyard” dialogue is pretty cringeworthy – I feel sorry for poor old Colin having to say it, though thankfully these scenes do improve in the later episodes. I also think the main body of the story is pretty dull. It’s a great shame this was Holmes’ last completed contribution to the series, as it is one of his weakest scripts and a pale echo of some of his past triumphs, with Glitz and Dibber very much the poor man’s Garron and Unstoffe. It’s nice to see the Doctor and Peri getting on better, but after that opening special effect the story just doesn’t grab as it should, particularly given the trouble the show was in at the time. Indeed, this feels like a programme that has lost a certain amount of self-confidence after the hiatus, with a very half-hearted feel to the proceedings. The season does get better, but I’m sure the pedestrian nature of these early episodes helped to ensure disappointing ratings for the whole run.

    By the way, I loved the Salt Lake City comment too, even if most Mormons have long since ceased to be polygamous…

    • Frankymole  December 14, 2012

      And even when they were, wasn’t it that men could take several wives, not vice versa? Though polyandry is popular with some pagans and indeed some people who aren’t religious at all.

  15. Robert Dick  December 13, 2012

    If you’ve been enjoying Michael Jayston in this, you should buy A Bit of a Do in the Network sale. One of the best TV shows you’ll ever see.

    • Nick Mays  December 15, 2012

      I think Jayston’s best role was around the same time as ‘Trial’ in series 2 of ‘Big Deal’ when he played a really sinister piece of work who was vying for the affections of Robby Box’s girlfriend, played by the lovely Sharon Duce.

      I seem to recall he was a bit of a Control freak…

  16. Steve  December 13, 2012

    Yay! I have a soft spot for this one too– mostly because of the guest cast (esp. Glitz and Dibber) and the courtroom scenes.

    I do find it hard to believe that Glitz and Dibber haven’t got a Big Finish spin-off, or at least been asked back, given the people who HAVE got spin-offs.

    • Robert Dick  December 13, 2012

      I dont think either Jago & Litefoot or the CounterMeasures folk are less likely choices than Glitz and Dibber.

      • John Miller  December 14, 2012

        Jago and Litefoot at least have tremendous chemistry. And the idea of a spin-off was suggested at the time of Talons. When I first saw the promotional ad for Counter Measures(on a forum), I took it to be a spoof that some fan had made. A satirical comment on the enormous amount of “product” that Big Finish puts out. The idea that it was genuine didn’t actually cross my mind at all. Especially with the line something about “long-awaited” and how the fans had been dreaming about it for years, apparently. Coming soon from Big Finish., because the fans demanded it…Sea Base 4. Set in 2080, and leading up to the events of “Warriors of the Deep”. … and in current production…The Conrad Brothers return to star in The Twin Geniuses….because it’s what the fans have been dreaming about for thirty years!

        • Frankymole  December 14, 2012

          I’ve been dreaming about Pamela Salem for more than 30 years…

          • Anonymous  December 15, 2012

            I have agree with you on this. She really is an attractive person

          • Wholahoop  December 15, 2012

            I have to agree, Pamela Salem is very attractive

    • Nick Mays  December 14, 2012

      Now if you want a spin-off for Big Finish, then surely it’d be Wilfred Mott and Rory’s Dad BRian!

      (Sorry! I know that’s New Series)…

    • Wholahoop  December 16, 2012

      To be fair, a series with Glitz and Dibber would be better than one with Glitz and Mel

  17. Jazza1971  December 13, 2012

    I have a soft spot for all 14 episodes of TOATL, and individually I think most are pretty good…even the work of the Two Bakers!

    • Warren Andrews  December 14, 2012

      I think Pip and Jane do their best Who work in Trial. Considering that both scripts are essentially panic jobs. Whilst their dialogue usually leaves much to be desired, they’re technically very fast writers, able to structure a script – I think they’d be great script editors (though not in terms of envisioning the series).

  18. encyclops  December 14, 2012

    Wow! Sounds like Sue had almost exactly the same feelings about this part of the story as I did (and do, as far as I know — haven’t seen it in at least 20 years). I agree with every single word of her summing-up, and would probably have given it a 6/10 as well if I’d only seen it once.

  19. Terry Francis  December 14, 2012

    “The prosecutor is very good. He has an amazing voice. He’d be a great….” Blimey, the wife in space in no fool!

  20. DPC  December 14, 2012

    Count me in as a fan of the trial scenes as well!!

    I recall the first viewing of “Mysterious Planet” in 1987 (in the US)… loved the bass, but the synth sax felt all wrong. Good concept, but the weak equipment hampered its execution.

    Glitz and Dibber excel.

    It’s a shame Colin only got (effectively) half a proper season.

    I’d rate it 6 or 7 too…

  21. Mister  December 14, 2012

    “The Doctor: I might stay here for a year or so and write a thesis. Ancient Life on Ravalox by Doctor –
    I sigh.”

    I’m not trying to be troll-ish, but considering how many times the show likes to play with the concept of the Doctor being called “Doctor Who” going all the way back to the Hartnell years (Troughton’s famous Dr. Von Wer also comes to mind), I’m always surprised by how many fans still get so upset at this. Personally, I think it’s funny. :/

    • Mister  December 14, 2012

      Maybe I should clarify, I don’t believe the Doctor is called Doctor Who. I think I remember reading in several articles the original intent was that his name roughly translated into English was “Doctor Who.” Obviously it didn’t catch on, but I do like the gags they throw in sometimes like Doctor Von Wer, WHO 1 on Bessie, or the “Ancient Life on Ravalox by Doctor -” joke in this story. To me, it’s just silly fun.

      • encyclops  December 14, 2012

        I half expect this exchange in the 50th anniversary special:

        CLARA: What’s your name, then? Your real name?

        DOCTOR: It’s not important.

        CLARA: No really, I want to know.

        DOCTOR: All right, it’s…

        CLARA: Yes?

        DOCTOR: Doctor…

        CLARA: Yes?

        DOCTOR: …Hootibartfast.

        CLARA: (sputtering) “Hootibartfast?”

        DOCTOR: (shrugs) I told you it wasn’t important.

        • Wholahoop  December 14, 2012

          Careful now, I think the Grand Moff occasionally reads this blog

        • Lewis Christian  December 14, 2012

          Any relation to Slarti..? 😉

        • John Miller  December 15, 2012

          The Doctor’s name is one of those things we must never know. Just like The Master’s name. Or the origins of the Time Lords. The mysteries and possibilities(as well as the fan discussions, speculation etc.) are part of the whole experience, and why Doctor Who is so popular. Anyone who would attempt to tell us details like the Doctor’s days at the Academy, the origins of Time Lord society, or the relationship between Omega and Rassilon is severely limiting the possibilities of Doctor Who. It’s funny that something that claimed to be “too broad for television”(or whatever the exact wording was, I don’t care), actually turned something with near-endless possibilities into a rigid, limited load of drivel.

          What is The Doctor’s real name? It is whatever you want it to be. But it is also whatever I want it to be. And yet it is both and neither.

          • Fian Gengrig  December 15, 2012

            John: it’s like what the fans did with the original Star Wars trilogy – every background character was given a name and a back-story, ever incident mentioned in passing (“that bounter hunter we ran into on Ord Mandell”) was fleshed out into a spin-off book, until something that fired the imagination and was busting with possibilities was boiled down to very definite, prescribed history. What was intended to expand the fictional universe just made it feel so much smaller.

  22. Jay  December 14, 2012

    “They can learn the ancient art of dentistry”

    MORE Space Mutiny!

  23. Gavin Noble  December 14, 2012

    I guess I’m in the minority of people who actually enjoys watching the whole of this 14 part story then? Five out of the last six episodes are excellent…but more on that when we get there. Opening shot of this story is great but the rest of it is a bit average though punctuated by the normal Holmes double acts and funny dialogue. Things do build from here though.

  24. Richard L  December 14, 2012

    I never quite understood why they were putting the Doctor on trial for a *second* time for what seems to be exactly the same stuff he was on trial for in the first. Especially considering all the “black ops” he did for the Time Lords across the years.

    • John Miller  December 15, 2012

      Well, that becomes clear at the end of the Trial. I could say it now, but the whole point is that The Wife In Space is watching it episode-by-episode. Since we’re only 4 episodes out of 14 in, explaining the twists at the end of the trial would be in incredibly bad taste.If after Episode 14 you still don’t know why The Doctor has been put on trial, then there may be a problem.

  25. chris-too-old-to-watch  December 14, 2012

    Thanks again for great review Sue: it’ll be intesting over the next 10 episodes…

    My main problem with this opening story is just because of the same reasons other people have said they love it. Presumably, within the context of the trial, it was chosen by the Valeyard to prove the Doctor’s guilt. So why then pick an episode from the Doctor’s past that so blatantly highlights the problems with the Time Lords – theft of the *bleep* and movement of earth etc. There must have been so many other examples of the Doctor’s interference that would have done a better job that wouldn’t have needed editing that first arouse the Doctor’s suspiscions.

    • Frankymole  December 14, 2012

      It seems that the TARDIS-to-Matrix “monitoring device” (recording device) has been installed since “Revelation of the Daleks” since all the available adventures come from after then – older Doctor and Peri, etc. I like to think the devious/conspiracy-type Time Lords – or even the Valeyard – installed it during the time the ‘proper’, but cancelled, early 1986 season. Though maybe not in the abandoned story(-ies) “Gallifrey” by Pipnjane/Saward 🙂

  26. Merast  December 14, 2012

    I’m with Sue on the theme tune, it always feels very tacky when you hear it. I definately prefered the previous version.

    Trial itself is not too bad really, getting Holmes on board for this season probably helps and i definately prefer the Peri-Doctor relationship this time round, it’s like she has matured and he has chilled out a bit.

    Interesting idea about Jayston being an 80’s Cumberbatch, i’m sure Moffat’s fans would like to see him in a similar role sometime soon.

  27. Paul Mudie  December 14, 2012

    This isn’t too bad a start, but I think something much more spectacular was needed to give the show a shot in the arm at this point. The opening special effects shot makes you think “This is more like it!”, so the rest of the production values can only disappoint. Of course, it would have helped if the upper echelons of the Beeb had increased the budget, but that wasn’t part of their agenda…

    The trial isn’t a bad idea on paper but it could have been much better implemented. And I’m not at all keen on Nicola’s new hairstyle. I’ll be very interested to see how Sue reacts as this season unravels.

    • John G  December 14, 2012

      The reaction to Nicola’s next hairstyle should be interesting…

  28. Alex Wilcock  December 14, 2012

    I think Sue’s score’s not unfair this time, though despite the marvellous Mr Jayston I’m less keen on the court scenes (like saying, ‘We’re **** and we know we are’) and I’m much keener on the music, particularly the terrific (“techno bollocks”) incidental score. The leads are great, it’s lovely to have the Doctor and Peri so relaxed and happy with each other – and, as in The Two Doctors, when given some really good Bob Holmes lines to work with, Colin absolutely shines.

    Can I confess to a little bit of fannish squee at Sue saying, “Are we watching the right version?” Longtime Listener above has seized on the best lines, and I second Robert on A Bit of A Do – listen out for Jayston’s Rogue Male on Radio 4 Extra (even if he doesn’t rate it).

    My favourite thing about this story, though, is something that’s not really been mentioned. Perhaps because I was a bright and gloomy (not in fact a contradiction) teenager with a few existential crises in 1986, I really empathised with Drathro. I analyse his character in some depth – and just how the Doctor manages to wind him up – in my own review of The Mysterious Planet: Colin giving that speech about the meaning of life; Drathro self-absorbed and not knowing whether he’s self-aware or just programmed that way, and so taking it out on his charges. He’s such an underrated character, like Marvin the paranoid android done for real. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but if you can see him as a brilliant piece of writing, go for it, I say.

    Can’t disagree with Sue about his Dalek knock-off little helper, though.

    • Frankymole  December 14, 2012

      Nice view of Drathro.

      If Drathro is Robot L-3 and his mini-mate is L-1, what happened to L-2?

    • Warren Andrews  December 14, 2012

      As a kid, I loved the L1 precisely as it was a knock off of a Dalek. No robot worth its salt was any good in my eyes unless it was like the Daleks – consequently I loved the cleaners in Paradise Towers.:)

  29. Richard Lyth  December 14, 2012

    I must have missed the opening shot when it first went out, or just didn’t register the significance, as I thought the Trial scenes were all set on Gallifrey right up until I watched it again on DVD. Very odd. As to the story, Glitz and Dibber are great but the whole thing’s rather derivative of about a dozen other old stories and not as good as any of them. The trial scenes are probably the best bits, as they seem fresh and original at this point, it’s only later on that they get annoying.

    • DPC  December 14, 2012

      That sums it up rather nicely, actually… though the trial scenes (for me) didn’t often waver in quality…

      To me, the next two stories are far better and more fresh in feel.

    • Lewis Christian  December 14, 2012

      The Trial is an interesting point, especially with The Seventh Door / Matrix links. Is it Gallifreyan tech? You’d presume so. But I have a theory that the whole thing is one elaborate hoax made up by the Valeyard.

  30. DamonD  December 14, 2012

    It has some nice moments and scenes, but generally by-the-numbers and rather uninspired.

    Unlike this blog, which continues to be as good as ever.

  31. stevie g  December 14, 2012

    Ironic that TIME plays such a role in the WHO universe isn’t it. I mean, who’d of guessed that 20yrs later due to a nicely packaged dvd box and a few extras that stories such as this could be released let alone looked back on fondly. WHO around this period was so off the mark, so truly terrible…TIME is a funny thing, you hark back to your past and reminise …reading this ‘reivew’, revisiting this ‘story’ and what with my new found love of all things Colin related aka his superb audios – I actually warm to this tale.

    However, although its nice you’ve broken up the story so that you can post the reviews..I don’t feel you should give scores..and then this ‘average’ them out nonesense. No – 1 overall score I think afterall this is essentially 1 story….just my brains on the matter, just I think Sue’s comments regarding the cliffhangers etc suffice and scores at this stage really not needed.

  32. Ollie  December 14, 2012

    I’m gonna kip until Sylv turns up…

    • Dave Sanders  December 15, 2012

      Good luck getting to sleep with Brian Blessed on next.

  33. Tempusfugit (the Spanish whovian)  December 14, 2012

    Sue: It’s good, this. Very Planet of the Apes. I definitely want to know more

    I had exactly the same feeling when I watched this episode. I luv the post apocaliptic stuff

    And I liked TOTL more than some Davison episodes, it’s a shame what they did to Colin…

  34. BWT  December 14, 2012

    Count me in as another who saw Episode 1 at the time and thought “wow” at the opening model shot. I’m not sure what it is about “The Mysterious Planet” (can I call it that?) but it’s got a charm and intrigue about it that the next four episodes don’t. I like it. And it’s a Robert Holmes! His last proper one. And… am I the only one who felt a bit sorry for Drathro when we saw how pathetic he actually is – just wanting to survive like the rest of us, and being sold down the river.

    • Chris  December 14, 2012

      The opening model shot is fantastic, but they needed a strong director like Graeme Harper at the helm. The contrast between that spectacular opening shot and the fairly pedestrian look of the rest wouldn’t have been so noticeable if they’d had Harper. In fact, if he’d directed the whole 14 part Trial it might be more highly regarded.

      The one thing I do like about this story is that, more by accident than design, there’s a thematic unity to it all, even if the individual stories aren’t great. Each segment of the Trial is connected to the theme of evolution – more specifically, hubristic interference with the course of natural evolution, the attempt to defy and defeat nature. In Planet, it’s the messing around with Earth’s history and timeline, turning it into the planet Ravalox. In Mindwarp, it’s the Mentors attempt to overgo the negative physical consequences of their own parasitic decadence. In Vervoids, it’s the old Frankenstein’s monster trope. Even the two-part coda has a connection to this theme, which I won’t spoil here.

      • Tommy  December 14, 2012

        There are thematic threads and moody undercurrents running through Trial yes, and even moments of existential angst at times, as though the show itself is sentiently aware of its own mortality. I’ve never been sure if it entirely works, or for that matter if it all pays off- these elements seem to haunt the story but not necessarily pull it together, but I strongly get the sense that the Robert Holmes of just a few years prior could have definitely pulled this off and it would have been one of his greatest works. His own illness, and the team finally, properly falling apart certainly didn’t help though.

        I’ve long held that under this particular decaying production team, the show was past its best right after The Five Doctors, and might as been better ending right there, and yet here, and in Revelation of the Daleks, there are frustrating hints of what could have been with Colin’s Doctor, and the stranger places the show could have gone.

        • Nick Mays  December 15, 2012

          There was a story related by Eric Saward and John Levine in DWB around this time about another reason why the Beeb bosses reined JN-T in and put the show on hiatus.

          According to the story, whilst Season 22 was airing and Season 23 was in pre-production, JN-T and his partner/Production Assistant Gary Downie went on a trip to Hong Kong to scout locations for the original planned Season 23 opener (an Auton story). But they ended up clubbing and gallivanting until it got to the last day and they hadn’t scouted a single location, so they hired a taxi and literally drove around sticking a video camera out of the taxi window to film likely locations.

          According to Levine, the story gained such notoriety at the BBC that the Top Brass most certainly heard about it.

          If it’s true, then I think the attitude of “We can get away with any old shit” was pretty strong amongst the team even then.

          • Tommy  December 15, 2012

            Ian Levine, I think you meant.

            “If it’s true, then I think the attitude of “We can get away with any old shit” was pretty strong amongst the team even then.”

            I always got the opposite impression of JNT, that he was actually a very suspicious and paranoid about his job (hence his control freakish behaviour in shunning certain older or professional writers), and who was constantly aware of and worried about BBC politics and the ratings figures he was chasing. There always seemed to be a desperation to his era, and a sense that the more positively adulated JNT was by the fans, the more paranoid he seemed to become about their loyalty to the show, hence the ‘you’re either with us or against us’ attitude to the viewer that set in in Warriors of the Deep, Twin Dilemma, and indeed the Trial season itself.

            And yet I can’t say I disbelieve that account of his scouting holiday, and how obstinate, reckless and irresponsible he could be about the job. Infact it would fit with the suggestions that by now there was virtually no separation from his work life and his personal life, and that the man did have a bit of a drink problem when he started the show- hence how the show had started succumbing to a ‘wino’s vision’.

            What I do wonder about though is if true, andif the Beeb did hear about it, then why did the BBC keep him in the job? He’d gotten the job on account of being good with budgeting, so wouldn’t this account have disqualified him of being the man for the job? It’s been suggested that the BBC were still treating JNT as one of their own, to the point of taking his side when Eric turned against him. So maybe they didn’t want to fire him outright, and wanted to keep him on staff, but would rather have him run a dwindling show they didn’t care foranymore but couldn’t cancel, than a potential success. And maybe they thought capping the budget would prevent another holiday fiasco.

            I still think the cancellation was down to little to do with the show’s content itself, but was more simply down to the BBC management changeover being suddenly less sympathetic to the series, and the corporation being in financial trouble and needing to downsize.

          • Nick Mays  December 15, 2012

            IAN Levine of course! “That’s f***ing killed it now!” ;o)

            Good points there Tommy. Like most situations of this nature, it was probably a lot of things both in and outside of the Production Team that caused the hiatus and then the series’ cancellation. It was sad at the time, but maybe it was necessary. I’m not saying the new series is always perfect, far from it, but it’s back, it’s still strong and it’s 50 years old next year. That’s a hell of an achievement.

            I sometimes wonder if anyone would fondly remember that funny old black and white series about a time traveller who nipped around in a police box the series had been cancelled after the War Games in 1969, or after Season Seven in 1970?

          • Tommy  December 15, 2012

            Ooh there’s a thought.

            I suppose in the age of revivals and reboots and remakes of past cult franchises, there was always going to be a way someone would try bringing the show back in some form or another. However, The War Games or moreso Inferno would mark one of the few points in the show’s run where if ended there, the show would feel overall like a complete work that came to a proper conclusion.

            There’s a cynical part of me that thinks if it ended there, it’d be more likely that a followup would be something along the lines of a Dalek or UNIT spin-off, with the feeling that with the Doctor’s origins explained, and his fate on Earth either being ambiguous, or like all good counterculture age heroes, he finally gets a job like a good boy, maybe his story had been told, and the Daleks or Yeti had been the more remembered aspect of the show. Hell, maybe Terry Nation would have gotten a Dalek series off the ground in the 80’s then.

            If the show was to be fondly remembered, and the revival was to be anything like it is now, then the show would need to at least survive up to the Tom Baker era (which is the part most remembered by the public, and where the show started to gain a US following), with the most likely cancellation point being Logopolis (mainly because of the ratings fall at that time), which would have been good grounds for the series to continue in a sci-fi novels range, not to mention the show’s magazine and comic strip being established then. There probably would have been no Big Finish though or if there was it would have had to recast the Doctor to be played by Nicholas Briggs, which might not have gone down as well as it did with Davison, Colin and McCoy. We’d probably only get Big Finish proper if the show ended with at least one season under Davison’s belt, or if by happenstance the TV Movie still happened. So I still think The Five Doctor’s would be the best, and neatest resting point.

            What might have saved face for the show is if JNT had left on The Five Doctors as he originally intended, with plans to revive the 60’s soap opera Compact as his next project. I think it was again somewhat down to financial reasons why the BBC rejected the submission. If he had, then maybe Fiona Cumming or Peter Moffatt would have taken over from him- they seemed to value a writer’s input a lot more than he did.

            As for the New Series, I’ll admit there were times in RTD’s era I almost felt ashamed at some of the stories and moments he wrote, and the hysterical cult of Russell that seemed to overwhelm fandom, to the point of sometimes wishing it hadn’t come back. But since Moffat’s taken over I’ve felt much more positive about it, even if I do think there have been a few teething troubles with Moffat taking over the workload and having to rush his best, it at least feels like Doctor Who again rather than some trashy fannish vanity project, and even feels like wherever the show fell beforehand, it was perhaps worth it to get here (I’m also glad we’re dispensing with the story arc business). I just wish they wouldn’t keep splitting the seasons. I don’t think it does the show’s popularity or public enthusiasm any good. But still, if it leads to an eventful 50th, then I can’t wait to see what the mighty Moff delivers.

          • Wholahoop  December 15, 2012

            I used to read DWB between 1985-1989 and don’t recall any of this Hong King trip reported. Mind you my recollection was that they went to Singapore. Do you know which issue this was in please?

          • Nick Mays  December 15, 2012

            Sorry, in my case “the memory cheats”… The trip was to Singapore, not Hong King.

          • Nick Mays  December 15, 2012

            Duuuuhhhhh – or even Hong KONG!

          • Wholahoop  December 16, 2012

            Sorry, my query was not the actual location but the veracity of the story that they had gallivanted around until the last day and this shambles contributed to the hiatus

          • Nick Mays  December 16, 2012

            No probs. Saward and Levine both confirmed it, Saward going so far as to say it was a running joke at the BBC about it being one hell of a location trip!

            So unless they made it up to further discredit JN-T and Gary Downie, as far as I know it’s true.

          • Nick Mays  December 16, 2012

            And sorry, I can’t recall which issue of DWB it was in. I’m sure it’s in my loft somewhere, but I’ve only just got all the Christmas decorations down from there, so I don’t fancy rooting around for that one issue! 😉

          • DPC  December 16, 2012

            The Opening story was to be set in Blackpool; a later story (written by Robert Holmes) was to go to Singapore (the video camera in a taxi bit was correct, though I don’t know if they were clubbing.)

            Since JNT had been asking to leave since “The Five Doctors” but being encouraged to stay, one cannot help but to wonder if the “We can get away with any old” mindset started as a form of passive-aggressive reaction to being pigeonholed. Sue even alluded to it in “The Twin Dilemma”…

  35. Siobhan Gallichan  December 14, 2012

    Always thought that the theme for the Trial series actually fitted it well… The fact it was only for that one series, along with matching Glynn incidentals, gives the whole thing a sense of conection.

    Glynn had to work very quickly to produce the theme. he badly wanted more time. Danny Stewart recently was allowed access to the basics of Glynn’s theme. The results can be found here

    I recomend the Cosmos mix. It’s a bit yummy.

    Now, to flash back a story, I can’t believe, Neil, that you talked about Doctor In Distress without mentioning that incredible, amazing sequal, Let’s Save Confidential.

    So many Wolrd Famous (ahem!) podcast celebrities (ahem!!) coming together to record… yes.. well…. It’s does the job, lol. Still bloody proud of it, to be honest – I have no life 😛

    • Frankymole  December 15, 2012

      I’m interestedin the Cosmos mix but I don’t like sites that demand your email address before you’re allowed to hear the “free” download. I get enough spam already!

      • encyclops  December 15, 2012

        Listening to it now. It’s OK, I guess.

        The Davison era was the last time I liked the theme tune, personally. After that it gets more and more anemic until 1989, and then bombastic and lacking in character from 2005 onward. I do like some of Murray Gold’s music (“Doomsday” for instance), and the new theme is OK…just not that special anymore.

        • Thomas  December 16, 2012

          I think I’m alone in really liking the Keff McCulloch theme, and I’m not really sure why I like it- initially I just hated it, but it grew on me quite a bit. I think it’s actually one of the best in creating a set atmosphere and tone for the series- it’s one of the few that make it seem like a separate show of its own, rather than a continuation of something existing (though whether or not that’s a good thing is a personal thing).

          • encyclops  December 16, 2012

            I get what you’re saying. Taken together with the titles and logo, it kind of roots the whole thing in that Red Dwarfy/Hitchhiker’sy soil. Not inherently a bad thing — I like thinking about that colorful era of science fiction.

  36. Auntie Celia  December 14, 2012

    Oh my dears!

    ‘stationERy’ for papER; ‘stationARy’ for a cAR!

    This is jolly interesting and I am so enjoying dear Susan’s reactions. I had never noticed that the exterior scenes were not filmed. xxx

    • Frankymole  December 15, 2012

      Previous stories with locationd shot on video include ‘The Sontaran Experiement’, ‘The Seeds of Doom’ and ‘The Stones of Blood’ (there are probably others I can’t recall offhand). I don’t know if it merited special mention then, but of course those were on 2-inch video, not the low quality 1-inch stuff used after The Five Doctors.

      • solar penguin  December 16, 2012


        • Frankymole  December 16, 2012

          Good spot!

  37. toby  December 15, 2012

    I really like the version of the theme, but not in context with the programme. It’s a bit like when EastEnders tried that Jazz/Evening/”walford nights” thing in the early 90’s-good version, but not for the title sequence itself!
    As for the VHS tin, it’s outside now being used as an ashtray, bent beyond belief after years of not fitting on the shelf! And I still find it odd that TOM baker’s picture is underneath.
    Maybe I should have bought all 7 version?

  38. Sean Alexander  December 15, 2012

    Sue has been extremely kind to this. 6/10. I’d have give 3.

    It DOES get better. Eventually

  39. P.Sanders  December 15, 2012

    Of the Trial stories this is the one I remembered least, mainly because we never got to see Part 4 for some reason. I do remember at some point saying that I’d be glad to move on from this trial business in a few weeks only to be told by my brother that it was 14 EPISODES LONG. TMP is okay though – nothing special as a complete story, but lots of nice bits as Sue discovered that keep you moving (at least until Part 4 begins to lose momentum). Baker and Bryant are great and it’s a shame the 6th Doctor’s characterisation was only just settling in when he was dumped by upstairs.

  40. Thomas  December 15, 2012

    I hope I’m not the only one that finds it tremendously silly to treat a season with 4 stories and 3 production codes as one singular 14-part entity.

    • Frankymole  December 16, 2012

      If separate writers define “story” boundaries, then “The Daleks’ Master Plan” is at least two stories (eps 1-5 and 7 by Terry Nation, the rest by Dennis Spooner)… Mind you, we can’t rely on production codes either since its ‘teaser’, “Mission to the Unknown”, was referred to as episode 5 of “Galaxy 4”. And according to some production documentation, “Delta and the Bannermen” and “Dragonfire” would be one story…

      • Thomas  December 16, 2012

        I’ve not seen DMP yet (though I’ve heard arguments that it should be considered more than one story), but Trial of a Time Lord is very clearly split into four separate story arcs, with the only things linking them together being the trial footage itself and the name (though even the trial itself is split into four parts, with each story representing a different part of the Valeyard’s inquiry). Arguing in any way that Terror of the Vervoids is in some way the same story as Mysterious Planet just seems to me to be rather silly.

        • Frankymole  December 16, 2012

          It has three production codes, the last six episodes running together (Vervoids tale into the final confrontation). So I’d say three stories – within one serial. Dalek Master Plan had at least three story arcs too.

          • Thomas  December 16, 2012

            I would still discount it being a singular serial, though, given that the only thing that lends itself to that is the unifying name (and even there each episode is title individually). Though I’m even hesitant of grouping Vervoids and Ultimate Foe together despite the production code since they have very little to do with each other, outside of Mel and the Valeyard. Ark in Space and Sontaran Experiment had more in common, and those are still two separate stories (albeit with two separate production codes, but still).