The Trial of a Time Lord 5-8

Posted by:

The Trial of a Time Lord 5-8
She’s not cried this much since Adric died…
 

Continuity Announcer: Sue is watching Doctor Who from the very beginning, and after 142 stories, she thinks she’s come out of it rather well. But it isn’t over yet, because her husband Neil has just cued up the next installment, and this one involves an old enemy of the Doctor. No, not that one.

 

Part Five

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: They should do a recap for every episode. It’s really helpful. Hey, what happened to Robert Holmes?

Me: It’s Philip Martin’s turn to take over for a bit.

Sue: The Gangsters man? That’s OK. He’s pretty good.

Pretty good? Pretty good? PRETTY GOOD?!

The episode begins on the Time Lords’ space station…

Sue: We’re going to see this model shot all the time, aren’t we? They’re getting their money’s worth out of it. You can’t blame them, though. It looks great.

In the courtroom, the Doctor and the Valeyard are fighting for the Inquisitor’s affections…

Sue: They both want to shag her in her chambers. It’s written all over their faces.

The next section of evidence takes place on the planet Thoros Beta…

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: Ashes to ashes, funk to funky, we know Major Tom’s a junkie…

Once she’s got that out of her system:

Sue: It’s an interesting effect. They are definitely pushing the boat out. Speaking of which, park the TARDIS closer to the beach, you idiot! Hang on a minute… is it just me or are they using the wrong door on the TARDIS? I thought they always opened the door on the right, but now they’re opening the door on the left. That can’t be right, can it?

Me: Remind me to introduce you to Gallifrey Base when this is all over.

The Doctor and Peri have arrived on Thoros Beta in search of gun runners. They are acting on information given to them by a “dirty old Warlord”.

Sue: Peri never gets a break. It’s as if her life is one big sexual harassment case.

When the Doctor and Peri walk across the alien beach, Sue has second thoughts about the paintbox effect.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: The fringing is even worse than some 1970s CSO we’ve seen. I bet this is what a LSD trip looks like. I hope the whole thing isn’t like this. I don’t think my eyes could take it.

But it’s not all bad news:

Sue: I’m just happy to see the Doctor and Peri smiling and being mates. I’m glad the last story wasn’t just a one-off.

The Doctor and Peri find a cave, but once inside, they are immediately attacked by a homicidal creature called the Raak.

Sue: That was completely out of the blue. The director isn’t showing very much of this thing. Clever director.

The Doctor accidentally kills the creature but the Valeyard isn’t interested in his excuses.

Sue: He’s done much worse than that. He’s shot plenty of things on purpose, why not show that instead?

Meanwhile, on an operating table somewhere…

Sue: Oh, it’s him. Brian somebody… It’s on the tip of my tongue…

Me: GORDON’S ALIVE!

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: Brian Gordon?

Me: For ****’s sake, Susan, it’s Brian Blessed.

Sue: Of course it is. Sorry, it’s been a long day. Some of us have real jobs, you know.

The Doctor and Peri employ the skiddaddle technique to escape from Thoros Beta’s security forces.

Sue: Running away like that just makes you look guilty, you do know that, don’t you?

During their escape, the Doctor and Peri encounter a man with the face of a dog.

Sue: The makeup is fabulous, especially the teeth. I hope the actor didn’t get lockjaw trying to keep them in.

Thankfully, this dog’s bark is much worse than its bite.

Sue: Awwww. He’s cute. Take him with you. He could be a scarier version of K9. But if he starts humping Peri’s leg, he’s out.

The Doctor promises to return for the poor, unfortunate beast later.

Sue: If he was a werecat, the Doctor wouldn’t have left him like that. It is OK to love dogs and cats, you know.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Suddenly, the Doctor and Peri catch a glimpse of Sil, the Mentor from Vengeance on Varos.

Sue: Oh, I like him. He’s funny.

Peri can’t believe the Doctor has brought her to a sex pest’s doorstep.

Peri: I want out, and I mean it.

Sue: Oooh… Is Peri going to leave? It’s never a good sign when companions start banging on about going home.

The Valeyard asks the court to consider a damning statistic:

Valeyard: I have calculated on a random Matrix sample that the Doctor’s companions have been placed in danger twice as often as the Doctor.

Sue: Is that all? I’d put it closer to five times as often, especially if you include being lusted after by sex pests.

Sil and a fellow Mentor named Kiv discuss King Yrcanos’ condition…

Sue: Are they sleeping in the same bed? It looks to me like they’re topping and tailing. Who’s playing the alien on the right? His voice is very familiar.

Me: It’s Mike from The Young Ones. He comes back as a Sontaran in the new series.

Sue: Once again, the guest cast are very good. Who’s she? Her face rings a bell.

Me: That’s Albie Parsons. She was in Gangsters.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: Of course she was. Why am I not surprised? Still, it’s good to see speaking parts for black actors. You don’t see it enough in Doctor Who, even in the eighties. Plus, it helps take my mind off all the black slaves in the background. What’s that all about?

The Doctor and Peri are poking around the operating room when they are discovered by Sil. The Doctor is forced to wear a helmet that can mess with your brain, and the episode concludes with the Doctor screaming in agony.

Me: You’re not saying very much.

Sue: There isn’t very much to say. It’s alright – I’ve seen a lot worse – but it isn’t half taking its time.

top

Part Six

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8The Doctor’s screams are so loud, they wake King Yrcanos on the operating table next to him. The Warlord breaks free and trashes the place.

Sue: Brian Blessed throws like a girl!

Yrcanos storms off, but not before he puts his hat on.

Sue: Is that a fireman’s helmet?

Me: I think it’s supposed to show that he’s an alien version of a samurai warrior.

Sue: Well, he’s never going to be a ****ing ninja, is he?

Yrcanos plans to fight back against the Mentors.

Sue: It’s a very subtle performance. Is Brian still alive?

Me: Yes, BRIAN’S ALIVE!

Sue: Then why isn’t he in Game of Thrones?

Yrcanos: Rrrrrrrsssssssss! I am Yrcanos, King of the Krontep, Lord of the Vingten, Conqueror of the Tonkonp Empire.

Sue: Is he making it up as he goes along?

Me: What do you think of his performance?

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: He’s Brian Blessed. How can you not love Brian Blessed?

The Doctor slumps against a wall, completely ga-ga.

Sue: He looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy sitting there like that. Still, if Brian is doing all the talking in a scene, it’s probably better if you can just sit it out.

Back in the courtroom, the Doctor claims that he can’t remember these events…

Sue: Of course you don’t remember, you’ve just have your brain ****ed with. We saw that less than five minutes ago.

Inquisitor: Your mind has cleared from being taken out of time?

The Doctor: As far as I can tell.

Inquisitor: Then obviously there must be some other reason.

Sue: Yes! The mind helmet thingy! Are Time Lords supposed to be thick?

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Kiv is suffering from terrible headaches and he has employed a mad scientist named Crozier to fix him.

Sue: He’s very funny.

Me: Did you watch The Young Ones?

Sue: Yes, but I thought it was silly. I didn’t get it. In fact, I barely remember the one called Mike. Was he the short one?

Me: How did you guess?

Sue: I really like this story’s design. The structure of this place is very believable. The chairs are excellent – the metalwork is beautiful, which is a nice change of pace.

The Doctor shouts “Weapons!” at the top of his voice.

Sue: Colin is trying to compete with Brian. He’s wasting his time. I bet the sound department had a nightmare on this story. God, can you imagine it?

The Doctor betrays Peri and Yrcanos to save his own bacon.

Sue: I can’t tell if he’s making it up or not. You can believe it with this Doctor. He’s been a **** before.

Yrcanos learns that his old friend has been turned into a dog.

Yrcanos: Dorf? My equerry Dorf?

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: What kind of name is that for a pet? Hickory Dorf?

Me: No, his squire has been turned into a dog, you idiot.

Sue: I’ll idiot you in a minute. How am I supposed to know? Brian’s making up half the words as he goes along.

Despite being a dog, Dorf still has a very special bond with his king.

Sue: He’s definitely that man’s best friend.

And then Sue says something I thought I’d never hear her say: she praises Ron Jones’ direction.

Sue: It’s nicely direction, this. The lighting is excellent.

Peri is accidentally recruited as a slave…

Sue: Is she joining a harem? Why doesn’t that surprise me?

Yrcanos adds THE DOCTOR! to the list of people he wants to kill.

Sue: He’s really giving it some welly. It’s impossible not to root for him.

Me: It’s been suggested that Brian would have been a good Doctor.

Sue: Really? He’d have been… interesting. He could pick Daleks up and toss them aside, which would be different, I suppose. I’m not sure if I could take him for more than an hour, though.

A veiled Peri is forced to serve drinks to the bad guys. Like Sue says, it could have been a lot worse.

Sue: She looks like she’s playing the princess in Aladdin. You know how they were always doing pantomimes when they were making Doctor Who back then? Well, did they share the costumes with the panto to save some money?

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8The Doctor cruelly unmasks Peri. She is taken to the Sea of Sorrows and chained to some rocks so her “friend” can interrogate her further.

Sue: Has he really turned to the dark side? I’m confused.

Me: So was Colin Baker.

On his way back to the Mentors, the Doctor is intercepted by Yrcanos.

Yrcanos: Now, Doctor, it is your turn to die.

Sue: Go on! Kill him!

top

Part Seven

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: I’ve just thought of something.

Excellent. I can’t wait to hear Sue’s theory about how the Matrix works…

Sue: There can’t be any wind on Gallifrey. If there was, you never would have invented a head-dress like that.

It’s business as usual as we reach the halfway point of the trial. And by that I mean Brian Blessed is spitting bits of the set over everyone.

Sue: Didn’t anyone have the nerve to tell Brian to tone it down just a bit? Then again, it is Brian Blessed so what did they expect? It’s a very entertaining performance.

Yrcanos, Dorf and Peri decide to take a rest from a hard day’s avenging. As they sit down, Dorf whimpers.

Peri: He sounds hungry.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sue: He has a name, you know. A really stupid one, I know, but he can understand every single word you’re saying. Stop talking about him as if he’s stupid.

Don’t worry, Peri, Sue says this about our dog as well.

Despite Peri’s treatment of Dorf, he is still very taken with her.

Sue: He so wants her to tickle his belly. Still, you could probably say that about every man Peri meets.

Yrcanos and Dorf fight for Peri’s affection.

Sue: Does she really think standing between them while she thrusts her breasts out like that is a wise move? Are you sure the Matrix can’t lie? Because that was mental.

Sil tempts the Doctor with a lesson in economics.

Sue: He’s great. Even his tongue is green. That’s how into this part he is. He’s got an amazingly fast tongue.

Me: He’s be a great trumpeter.

Sue: Amongst other things.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Peri, Yrcanos and Dorf are attacked by Alphan rebels.

Sue: They’ve been captured by a Peruvian pan pipe band. You couldn’t move for pan pipes in the eighties. It was horrible.

Meanwhile, Kiv has a cardiac arrest and Crozier has perform CPR on him…

Sue: I love the way he finished his cup of tea before he saved his life. That was very funny. It’s a bit weird, this, but very entertaining.

The Doctor and Sil are debating stocks and shares when Sue notices something vitally important:

Sue: The back of the Doctor’s coat needs a good shave.

Peri convinces the pan pipe band to let them go and they team up to take down the Mentors.

Yrcanos: This is a great day for battle. A great day to die!

Tuza: Does he always go on like that?

Peri: Afraid so.

Sue: (in an American accent) What can I say? He’s Brian Blessed.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Kiv’s new body has been stabilised, but he will still require another operation soon.

Sue: Why can’t he just stay in that body? What’s wrong with it? Is it cos he’s beige?

As they make their way through the caves, the lead pan piper, Tuza, keeps tripping over the bodies of his friends.

Tuza: It’s Verne!

Sue: Who the **** is Verne?

Back in the courtroom, the Doctor objects.

Sue: He wants to know who Verne is.

The Doctor refuses to take responsibility for Verne’s death. Poor Verne.

Sue: The courtroom scenes are starting to get on my tits. I don’t mind them when they shed new light on things, but that last one was just padding.

It’s taken her seven episodes to get to this point. A new record, perhaps?

Yrcanos, Dorf, Tuza and Peri are shot down by Frax.

Sue: Peri isn’t dead. They can’t kill Peri.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Back in the courtroom, the Doctor objects again…

The Doctor: I am not responsible for that!

Crash zoom on Colin’s face. Roll credits.

Sue: What a stupid cliffhanger. You finish with Peri lying on the floor. Idiots.

top

Part Eight

Peri isn’t really dead. Of course she isn’t.

Inquisitor: Then what was the point of showing that last sequence?

Sue: It’s called a cliffhanger, ma’am. We have to have one every 25-minutes. It’s the law.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Frax wants his keep his prisoners alive so the Mentors can experiment on them.

Sue: The only thing that lets this down are the costumes. He looks like he’s come dressed as Buttons. Are you sure they haven’t done a deal with a pantomime?

Peri can’t wait to return to Earth.

Sue: Oh dear. There she goes again. She’ll be off soon. I hope she makes it home. I won’t be very happy if she has to settle down with a sex pest.

Peri tries to explain what love is to Yrcanos.

Sue: It’s the same feelings you have for your dog, only less intense.

Yrcanos can’t wait to reach the afterlife, mainly so he can start fighting again.

Sue: That was very funny. What a lovely scene.

The Doctor examines Tuza who has been placed in an implantation cubicle.

Sue: I hope they can implant some acting talent into him. He’s terrible.

The Doctor has to get past a Mentor if he wants to speak with Yrcanos.

The Trial of a Time Lord 5-8Sue: That’s the kind of job I want, one where you can just chill out next to a jacuzzi all day.

The Doctor still acting strangely.

Sue: So is he good or bad?

Me: I don’t know.

Sue: What do you mean, you don’t know?

Crozier decides to transfer Kiv’s brain into Peri’s body.

Sue: Do you think he’ll be happy with a compulsory sex change? He should probably check, just to be on the safe side.

The Doctor turns on Frax and Yrcanos forces the guard into his own cell.

Sue: I love the doors in this story.

Me: Colin found the invoice for that door lying around on the set, and he took great pleasure in telling Nicola that it cost more money than she did.

Sue: It was worth it. It’s a bloody good door.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Sil and Kiv find the time to conduct some business with an alien ambassador.

Sue: That is one happy alien. Look at that grin!

Yrcanos desperately wants to save his bride to be.

Sue: To be fair, he is the nicest sex pest so far.

The Doctor and Yrcanos return to the Induction Centre.

Sue: I love this set. It looks like they got their hands on one of Pink Floyd’s lighting rigs.

Yrcanos: Varoonik!

Sue: This is very funny. As long as you treat this as a comedy, it’s great.

In the next scene, Peri is killed. In the scene after that, Dorf is put down. It’s hilarious!

Sue: He’s gone to doggy heaven.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Me: Woofnik!

Peri is lying on an operating table. A helmet has been attached to her head and, more importantly, her hair is nowhere to be seen.

Sue: No way!

Me: Yes way.

Sue: So Peri is bald now? That’s a very brave thing to do. Sinead O’Connor isn’t around for ages.

The Alphan slaves are freed but they aren’t much use…

Sue: This is no time to be dancing!

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8The Doctor is racing to save Peri when the TARDIS suddenly appears in a corridor. He walks into it backwards.

Sue: What the…?

This is the point where the Doctor was taken out of time to stand trial. The Inquisitor tells the Doctor to watch and learn.

I glance at Sue. She looks genuinely worried.

Crozier tells us that Peri’s consciousness has been erased. She no longer exists.

Sue looks even more worried.

The Time Lords trap Yrcanos in a time bubble. They intend to use him as an assassin.

Sue: The ****ing hypocrites! They’ve put the Doctor on trial for less than that! Unbelievable.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Peri/Kiv awakes…

Peri/Kiv: My body is warm. Wonderful. Legs. Toes. Toes wiggling. Trunk. A neck. Strong. A head free of pain. Eyesight. Colours. Warm blood inside. Oh, I like this.

Sue: Wait until you see your new breasts. All your Christmases have come at once, mate.

Crozier welcomes Kiv to his/her new body.

Sue: That was Nicola’s best performance so far. Brilliant. And very, very scary.

The Time Lord’s let Yrcanos off his leash.

Sue: It’s like that bit in Call of Duty where you’re brainwashed into killing somebody nice. I’m sure it’ll be fine. They’ll change Peri back again. The Time Lords can fix it.

Yrcanos fires his weapon.

Sue: No way!

The Doctor can’t believe it, either.

The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5-8Valeyard: Peri died, Doctor, because you abandoned her.

Sue: No he didn’t, you kidnapped him. He would have saved her if you hadn’t stuck your oar in.

The credits roll.

Sue: Wow. Not only did the Doctor fail to save her, he was a **** to her in her last story. That was harsh.

top

The Final Score

Sue: Well, I definitely didn’t expect that. Fantastic way to go, though. That was even better than Adric. I was going to give it 7/10 – mainly because I love the green fella and Brian Blessed, and it looked great – but the shock ending bumps it up to an 8.

8/10

Sue: If you could put anybody’s brain in my body, who would you choose?

Me: Andrew Pixley.

Sue: I don’t even know who that is.

Me: My point exactly. But seriously, love, I wouldn’t change a thing.

The experiment continues…
 

Ask Sue!

We’ve almost reached the end of another era and I’ll be posting Sue’s appraisal of Colin Baker’s time as the Doctor on Christmas Eve (consider it a small gift during this season of goodwill, aka December).

If you have a question you would like to ask Sue about this phase of the experiment, please send them via this form before Saturday 22nd December. I’ll put the best 10 questions to the wife and the very best one (chosen by Sue) will win something nice and non-specific.

Please don’t post your questions on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section of this blog as I’ll only be considering questions posted via that form. It’s the only way I’ll be able to keep track of them. Many thanks.

 

Coming Soon

Next update due: Thursday 20th December.

 

If you don’t own this story, why not buy it on DVD? If you use the link below, we get a small cut, which will help pay for the site’s running costs. Many thanks for your support (UK residents only).

Doctor Who – The Trial Of A Time Lord [1986] [DVD]

Price: £13.80

3.9 out of 5 stars (79 customer reviews)

 

109

Discussion

  1. Rad  December 17, 2012

    Love the score on this, which I think is deserved for some entertaining and dramatic stuff – this is the advantage of doing this serial in four parts because I’m not sure it’s going to keep Sue’s interest throughout.

    TOATL was the first serial I properly remember watching as a kid, though, so I’ll always have a soft spot for it.

    • Frankymole  December 17, 2012

      Philip Martin’s done pretty well. Which I’m very glad about. He’s entertained me this year more than any other writer. Nice to see him on the Varos DVD, talking sense as usual. Even more so on the OU segment on the Gangsters set. If they’d let him have his head on who, he could’ve been the next Robert Holmes. Perhaps he had a lucky escape though!

      • Auntie Celia  December 17, 2012

        Indeed, why on earth would Philip Martin want to be the next Robert Holmes? Philip Martin can write for women, and does! x

        • Frankymole  December 18, 2012

          Ah, right. What was Leela in Talons of Weng-Chiang, then?

        • encyclops  December 19, 2012

          Could you please refresh my memory about Philip Martin’s well-written women? Are we mainly talking about Etta and Areta (and if so…really?), or are you drawing on your knowledge of his work outside of Doctor Who (which I unfortunately don’t share)?

          I’ve never thought Holmes’s women were especially bad, but I’m not sure he wrote many for Who (compared to, say, David Fisher) and as a man I’m probably not the best judge of whether they’re well-written. At least he introduced four of what I’d place among the best female companions (Liz, Jo, Sarah, and Romana I, of course) and brought Leela aboard under his watch. To be frank, I’m not sure we’ve had female companions to match them since, with the possible exceptions of Benny and Donna.

  2. John  December 17, 2012

    Yay! This is my favourite Colin Baker story, so glad Sue enjoyed it. :)

  3. Darren  December 17, 2012

    Agree with the rating. Why people have a downer on this I don’t know. At the time it was broadcast I thought it was the best story in ages. Obviously it isn’t, with tons of flaws, but it’s got an atmosphere of doom that has rarely been seen before or since. And Brian’s great. Poor old Peri. Dead slug or married to Vultan. I would have chosen the former.

    • Longtime Listener  December 18, 2012

      IMPETUOUS BOY!

  4. Ryan Hall  December 17, 2012

    Peri’s demise was excellent tv , i remember being at a mates and we were just both shocked to silence, this season was slightly more fun , the next story is just typical fun Doctor who.

    have you showed Sue any of the 6th Doctor comic strips? im wondering what sue would make of Frobisher ?
    : D

    • Nick Mays  December 19, 2012

      Is it wrong for me to say that the cop-out in Episode 14 about Peri completely undermined the power of this instalment? Not that poor Peri deserved to be mind-wiped then blasted down, but it was a real jolt to the system.

      Couple of questions: if any fans out there know: 1) Did Phillip Martin write Peri’s death intending her to be dead, full stop? Did Nicola Bryant get a severe haircut for this scene?

      • Errol the Hamster  December 19, 2012

        Philip Martin intended it to be her death, it was only changed later, reportedly after Colin Baker asked JNT if she had genuinely been killed off.

        Nicola Bryant had her hair soaked in water and pressed down and covered with a bald wig for the scene.

        • Nick Mays  December 19, 2012

          Thanks Errol. It’s taken 26 years, but I can sleep easy now. :o)

          • John Miller  December 19, 2012

            I don’t think it’s wrong for you to say it ruined the impact. We all agree. It IS wrong for you to post it here and now though, as Sue may be reading your posts now without having watched Trial all the way through.

          • Nick Mays  December 19, 2012

            I did think carefully before posting that but in the first place, Neil has often said that Sue seldom, if ever, reads the comments. Secondly, I didn’t say exactly WHAT spoiled the pay-off with Peri’s death for me.

            However, I shall cover myself with sackcloth and ashes just in case… ;)

          • Neil Perryman  December 19, 2012

            To be clear, Sue only reads the comments if any have been posted by the time she reads the entry. Thankfully, this tends to be very close to the time I publish it so it’s not usually a problem. If she falls behind then I make sure she doesn’t read them – I’ll actually sit next to her while she’s reading it! It’s usually the first 10 or so comments you need to be careful with. Just in case.

      • John Callaghan  December 19, 2012

        I think the only appropriate penance, Nick Mays, is to shave your head!

        • Nick Mays  December 19, 2012

          I was going to say that, but nature got to my scalp first! ;)

  5. Robert Dick  December 17, 2012

    I really like Mindwarp. It’s my favourite bit of the Trial (my least fave is the next bit), and while it has much less to say than Varos I find it much more entertaining than it.

  6. matt bartley  December 17, 2012

    I love just about all of Trial, and this is no exception – for once, it gets the darkness of Colin’s era spot on..

    And as for that ending – fuck me, it’s brilliant.

  7. John Callaghan  December 17, 2012

    After many, many years I’ve decided I’m ready to face these stories on their own merits rather than associate them with the cringing and dismay I felt at the time, so I’m watching along with The Wife. I’m pleased and astonished to report that I’ve found a lot of fun in this bonkers season. Although it’s every comedian’s jokey idea of what generic B-movie Who is like, it’s an ultra-violent space panto which starts bizarre and gets crazier. And Crozier.

    Peri’s brain-swap send-off jars with me, though. And I’ve heard there’s a Mentor watching the A-Team in this story – where should I be looking for it?

    • Frankymole  December 17, 2012

      The DVD extras, particularly the documentary, really add to the enjoyment of reviewing this season in retrospect. Whatever we felt about the state of the series at the time, looking back at its trials and travails (and tribulations) really pays off from an archive TV-lover’s and nostalgia perspective.

      • John Miller  December 17, 2012

        Who is this “we”? You no doubt include yourself and your friends, but the show was still getting very healthy ratings, selling tonnes of merchandise, and had an enormous global fanbase. No doubt there were grumblers, but every new Doctor ever has come under heavy criticism. Speaking personally(and not claiming to represent fandom as a whole) I far preferred(and indeed still do) Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor to Blando Davison and McCrap. If Commercial TV hadn’t brought forward their daytime plans, then the BBC wouldn’t have brought forward theirs, and there would have been no 18-month hiatus. Or rather, it would have happened significantly later, not just as Colin’s first Season was ending. While I’m glad Sue(and others) like Trial, it seems to be a wrong turn. I’d much rather Peri had met up again with Sil on Magnus than on Thoros Beta.

        • Jazza1971  December 17, 2012

          I’m doing the makaton sign for “toilet”. Just saying.

        • Thomas  December 17, 2012

          Um, Trial’s ratings were pretty terrible, and Season 22 didn’t fare much better. They didn’t just put the series on hiatus on a whim.

          • John Miller  December 17, 2012

            No. Doctor Who(along with pretty much every BBC Drama show at the time) was pushed back so the BBC would have the funds for daytime and Eastenders. It was the fans and the media who twisted that around.

          • Thomas  December 17, 2012

            Yes, but decreasing ratings were also a part of that. Had the show been doing extremely well it likely wouldn’t have been suspended (or at least wouldn’t have come back with a shortened episode count).

          • John Miller  December 18, 2012

            So was the change from 44 episodes(Season 6) to 25 epidoses(Season 7) also because of decreasing ratings? Again, EVERY BBC Drama show that was set to go into production during that period in 1985 was either suspended(or in some cases, NOT Doctor Who, cancelled outright). Even if Season 22 had been getting 20 million viewers an episode, Season 23 would still only have started in September 1986. And, the BBC’s own financial woes(not the fault of Doctor Who), combined with the decreasing attention span of the 80′s youngster, led to less actual screentime per Season. It’s funny that many so-called “fans” make comments like this about JNT or Colin Baker, or Saward…..

          • Frankymole  December 18, 2012

            Was ” the change from 44 episodes(Season 6) to 25 epidoses(Season 7)” for budgetary reasons? I thought it was more due to production factors like the complexity of making the show in colour and using Barry Lett’s new scheduling system.

          • John Miller  December 18, 2012

            Yes. That was my point. Less screen time doesn’t mean that the show is being “punished” for “failure”. Just like being off telly for a while doesn’t automatically mean it’s being punished either. I’m sure there’s someone who believes that the 2009 David Tennant episodes were some sort of Wrath Of The BBC. Something similar happened in the USA where in the 60′s shows could easily do 35+ episodes a Season. By the 80′s it was down to approximately 22. Simply changing times, changing tastes, changing ways of producing television etc.

          • chris-too-old-to-watch  December 18, 2012

            What were the ratings – numbers please….

          • John Miller  December 18, 2012

            Is this what this has come to? Anyway, Season 22′s lowest was The Two Doctors with 6.5 mil. The highest was Attack of the Cybermen with 8.05 mil. Season 23 got off on the wrong foot to be sure with a mere 4.35 mil for Mysterious Planet, but had picked up to a 5.0 mil for Ultimate Foe. To put things in perspective, troughton’s highest/lowest were The Moonbase with 8.3 mil and The War Games with 4.9 mil. McCoy era ranged from 5.43 mil (highest) to 3.65 mil (lowest). Of course, the drop from the 7.55 mil of Revelation Of The Daleks to the poor 4.35 mil for Mysterious Planet could be blamed on the hiatus. Although even Hartnell(4.5 mil for The Smugglers) and Tom Baker (4.7 mil for Meglos) got lower ratings. That’s if you take ratings to be the be-all and end-all though…..

          • Thomas  December 18, 2012

            Obviously decreased episodes doesn’t in itself mean a punishment, but in this particular case- where there’s no clear production reason for it and came mostly as a surprise to the creators- it can probably be read as an attempt by the BBC to be putting much less money into a show they think has overstayed its welcome.

            I’m not trying to necessarily argue that the hiatus was only because of decreased ratings (though that likely helped, as they were suffering in a way that numbers outside of context don’t show), just that the return was handled in a way that definitely showed the BBC wasn’t happy with the show.

          • John Miller  December 19, 2012

            There WAS a clear reason for it. As many people have stated many many times, the BBC itself was having financial problems. In addition, a sizable chunk of the BBC Drama budget had been spent on the new daytime schedule, as well as starting up something called “Eastenders”. There simply was not the money necessary to do a full 26 episodes(or the equivalent of 26 episodes). You should look at things in the context of the BBC itself in 1985/86, the changing viewing habits of the public etc., rather than looking at Doctor Who in isolation. The “decreased ratings” people go on and on about happened as a result of the hiatus, rather than being a cause for it.

      • John Callaghan  December 17, 2012

        I don’t for a moment doubt that you’re absolutely correct. However, that behind-the-scenes info is exactly what I was trying to purge myself from. I’m trying to watch this season as a self-contained work of fiction, rather than seeing it in the context of how it was produced and how it felt at the time.

        I generally try and avoid that sort of stuff anyway; I didn’t watch Confidential, for instance. The illusion is fragile enough as it is!

        What I am interested in is how the narrative was developed, and how it could have been done differently; finding a way to save Peri would have made an interesting part 14, for instance. I love John Binns’ piece ‘Trial And Error’ (in Licence Denied) where he re-writes these stories.

        When it’s all over I might well take your advice and go behind the scenes, though, so thanks for the pointer.

        And where *is* the A-Team?

        • Jazza1971  December 17, 2012

          If you can find them maybe you can hire the A-Team…

          • John Callaghan  December 17, 2012

            Can I hire the A-Team to tell me where the A-Team are in this story? Is that a bit too recursive for them or are they up for a Castrovalva-style challenge?

      • Cracked Polystyrene Man  December 17, 2012

        The TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS doco is excellent.

  8. John  December 17, 2012

    I think it’s the trial scenes that are really responsible for lowering people’s opinion of this great story. As Sue mentioned some are pointlessly intrusive. Also the suggestion that the Valeyard’s tempered with the evidence needlessly complicates the story. If it wasn’t for this, I think the audience would have just accepted that the Doctor was just acting badly, as a clever rouse. And of course revelations later in the Trial spoil one of the most dramatic endings the show has ever produced.

    • John  December 17, 2012

      *Tampered

      • SpaceSquid  December 17, 2012

        Yeah, if anyone was going to be “tempering” the evidence, it’d be the Doctor himself. Hell, maybe he did; maybe that’s why he seems more reasonable this season. I’ll bet in reality he was strangling Peri half the time and calling her a **** the other half.

        • DPC  December 17, 2012

          Ouch!

        • Hector  December 17, 2012

          I always took it that the Valeyard tampering the evidence thing was padding to make the court scenes seem relevant to the rest of the plot.
          Within the context of the scenes on Thoros Beta, it’s clear that the Doctor is affected by the mind frazzler and comes to his senses in part 3 when offered a marsh minnow by Sil. From then onwards his behaviour is back to normal.

  9. Chris  December 17, 2012

    This story links the Whoniverse to the Aliens-verse – check out the artefacts in Crozier’s lab – one of the jars contains a chest-burster

    • DPC  December 17, 2012

      Or the same set designer teams going into the other camp’s studio and nicking props at night… :D

    • John Miller  December 18, 2012

      But if they’re watching The A Team, then it’s not the so-called “Whoniverse” at all.

  10. Ben Herman  December 17, 2012

    Genuinely surprised that Sue liked this so much. For me, the “Mindwarp” segment has always been an almost unbearable mess to trudge through.

    It may interest Sue to know that Colin Baker was left in the dark as to whether the reason the Doctor was acting so erratic and betraying Peri was due to the effects of the mind scramble, him doing a really good job pretending, or the Matrix evidence being tampered with. So he had no idea how to play it. Baker recounted in Doctor Who Magazine #324, when he asked that question to Eric Saward, he was told “I don’t know – Philip Martin wrote that!” So he would then go ask Martin for clarification, only to be told “I don’t know – Eric Saward told me to write that!” Never, ever a good sign.

    • John Williams  December 17, 2012

      The commentary on the DVD is interesting because Philip Martin (much to Baker’s astonishment) explains everything very clearly. The Doctor is behaving badly, it’s not related to the Matrix being tampered with and it’s all to do with him inheriting King Yrcanos’ characteristics after being frazzled by the mind helmet. It all sounds convincing, and Baker is left rueing the fact he didn’t get to ask Martin at the time. It’s a really good commentary.

      • Ben Herman  December 17, 2012

        Really?!? I have yet to pick up ToaTL on DVD. About a decade and a half ago I once sat through the entire 14 episodes in one sitting (I taped them off the local PBS channel in the late 1980s). At the end of the day, I felt like my brains were going to leak out of my ears. Since then, I have not been able to re-watch the story. When I do get the DVD set, I’m certainly not going to repeat that experience. Maybe I’ll just watch them with the commentaries this time. They sound better that way, in any case.

      • DPC  December 17, 2012

        I always perceived Sixie’s unbalance in this story as due to Crozier’s machine. Other elements do add in justifiable reasons from the cast to be confused, though… The actors also having to deal with the Doctor’s constant accusations of the Matrix being tampered with, but I always thought the mindwarping machine caused the Doctor’s attitude change. (Even in season 22, he was never so callous toward Peri…)

  11. Broadshoulder2  December 17, 2012

    One of the pleasures of this blog is Sues reaction to sudden twists in the story. That was great. Of the trial stories MW is the one I like best.

  12. Ben Herman  December 17, 2012

    By the way, I recently discovered this site via a link from another blog. I’ve been spending the last several days reading various past commentaries on stories by yourself and Sue. Really entertaining. As a long-time fan of the show (28 years and counting) it has certainly has given me a very different perspective on an assortment of treasured serials listening to Sue’s comments & observations. She’s both insightful and funny.

  13. Frankymole  December 17, 2012

    “Hickory Dorf”! I’ll never call him anything else.

    • Peter A  December 18, 2012

      “Hickory Dorf” is up there with Katy Manning’s “Delicate Arcturus” for sure.

      • BWT  December 19, 2012

        The name “Dorf” is even funnier if you have a basic knowledge of Dutch or Afrikaans…

  14. SheldonJones  December 17, 2012

    Was the Doctor’s treatment of Peri a clever ruse, tampered evidence or the effects of the aborted procedure at the end of the first episode? 26 years later I still have no idea…

    • John Miller  December 17, 2012

      That’s mentioned above on this very page.

  15. Gavin Noble  December 17, 2012

    Don’t agree with Sue’s score on this one – I’d only give it a six myself but the ending is wonderfully dramatic and Nabil Shabin as Sil is as much a delight second time around as the first.

    Glen’s lost the plot with the trailer though – the upcoming four episodes are the most entertaining of the whole Trial season for me – new companion and all!

  16. Dave Sanders  December 17, 2012

    I always called this story Wind-Up. I bet you lot miss Dibber now he’s gone, the one thing the Thoros system looks to have a definite lack of is a straight man.

    Terror Of The Vocal Chords is up next…

    • DPC  December 17, 2012

      More like “Terror of the Rude-looking monsters” – it’s actually quite the fun story, despite some obvious nitpicks… :D

      • Thomas  December 17, 2012

        Bad dialogue and shoddy characters aren’t exactly “nitpicks”. ;)

    • P.Sanders  December 17, 2012

      What and you think Glitz and Dibber were just good friends? Not in my adolescent imagination anyway…

  17. DPC  December 17, 2012

    “Mindwarp”‘s plot is convoluted, but after repeat viewings it can be made more coherent.

    It’s that it’s so watchable and so chilling with the gloom and doom that one can become an addict.

    “Sue: It’s called a cliffhanger, ma’am. We have to have one every 25-minutes. It’s the law.” — That HAS to be part of your book’s forward, preamble, “word from our author”, et al, before chapter 1! :D

    Peri’s fate is very creepy indeed…

    Loved how the Doctor and Peri are bona fide friends; something that should have been in season 22 as well. They never got the balance right last season…

    Peri is also more confident and self-capable. Like her intro story, but for so few stories in between!

    Definitely an 8/10 from me as well; the atmosphere and acting drive the story, allowing rewatchings to make more sense of the proceedings.

    Oh, the novelization of “The Ultimate Evil” is very similar to “Mindwarp” – I found it to be an engaging read…

  18. Rassilon  December 17, 2012

    “For ****’s sake, Susan, it’s Brian Blessed”.

    Is it wrong that I read that with William Hartnells voice?

    • nkx9  December 17, 2012

      Brilliant!

  19. encyclops  December 17, 2012

    I’m glad Sue liked this better than I did. I mean, it was great to have Brian Blessed and Christopher Ryan in Doctor Who, and I thought both Sil and Crozier were terrific. But between the (yes, increasingly annoying) trial interruptions, the bizarre misbehavior by the Doctor, and the weird “hoooooold everything” ending, I never got enough of a grip on what was actually happening to really get into the story. I’d definitely agree that Nicola Bryant is at her best when she doesn’t actually have to be Peri, and Sue’s explanation of love is hilarious!

  20. nkx9  December 17, 2012

    Just as an aside, I went to the Barbican on Saturday to see Twelfth Night’s farewell gig (if any of you don’t know who they were, look ‘em up – excellent and challenging prog rock band with a long pedigree). To cut a long story short, I was somewhat astonished to discover that Nicola Bryant was in the audience as well!

  21. P.Sanders  December 17, 2012

    I remember at the time that of the Trial stories Mindwarp particularly seemed to get a critical pasting, but revisiting it as an adult I think there’s a lot to enjoy. Both humorous and doom-laden, the last 5 minutes left our family in shock after 8 weeks of worrying about where poor Peri was. The whole ‘is he really mad’ issue is frustrating – why invest in a story where half of what you see may never have happened? And if your script editor doesn’t even care what the answer is you have a real problem! My personal take has been that nearly everything in this and the next story is as we see it, bar obvious exceptions. The Doctor is being horrid because his brain is scrambled, and that’s also why he doesn’t remember properly. Case dismissed!

    And to folks who haven’t got the TOATL boxset yet, the extras are great. Like Timelash and Time & the Rani, there’s a great and very honest doc looking at this troubled era and Season 23 specifically. I always had a guilty soft spot for Trial (flaws and all) as I was only 10 when it came out, but like the Pertwee era these DVDs have given me a new appreciation for these stories, given the behind-the-scenes madness and fan hostility going on at the time, which all went over my head at the time.

  22. Ollie  December 17, 2012

    There’s alot going on and it may’t got an 8 from me if we didn’t have to watch Miss Piggy watching himself every 5 minuets.

    The Trial scenes just get in the way and take you out of the action.

    I’m glad the next season is far superior.

  23. John Callaghan  December 17, 2012

    I seem to be the only person who isn’t mad on the ending, although it would have been simply wonderful if the Doctor had rescued Peri after she’d been turned into Kiv, and then not noticed.

    Doctor: “Right, Peri, we’re off on another adventure!”
    Peri: (deep voice) “Warm blood! Legs!”
    Doctor: “Yes, yes.”

    • encyclops  December 19, 2012

      I love it!

      • John Callaghan  December 19, 2012

        Cheers!

        Considering how weird part 14 has the chance to get, this could have made a bizarre ‘sit com’ segment, complete with cheesy Terry And June music and laughter track!

  24. Richard Lyth  December 17, 2012

    This is definitely my favourite part of the Trial – the ending is about as bleak as Doctor Who gets, if only they’d had the guts to stick with it.

  25. John G  December 17, 2012

    “I hope they can implant some acting talent into him. He’s terrible.”

    Sue was certainly on good form for this segment, and I don’t think she is all that far off with her score. This is easily the best section of Trial, a weird blend of humour and horror that works very well indeed, particularly at the climax (such a shame JNT couldn’t leave the ending alone ultimately, but that’s something to discuss at the end of the season). Sil and Kiv both really shine, and I think I prefer Sil in this to Vengeance. Brian Blessed, meanwhile, is very much Brian Blessed. His shouty schtick actually fits the story quite well, although when I think of how good an actor Blessed can be (see I, Claudius) it does frustrate me how he has allowed himself to become such a hammy old caricature over the years. As for the Doctor, I find it rather amusing that he goes “dark” again in this story just as a gentler side to this incarnation was emerging. When I saw this I wasn’t bothered by why the Doctor was acting as he did – I just assumed it was because he had had his brain scrambled. Colin gives a great perfomance, particularly at the end when he witnesses Peri’s fate, which does serve to show how much he really does care for her.

    Can’t wait for Sue’s reactions to the new companion…

    • Frankymole  December 18, 2012

      Blessed’s performance may depend on the material. In Lovejoy, from 5 years after this, he gives a considered and more or less understated performance for most of his two episodes. And yet in Blakes 7 from 1977/78 he’s playing a religious zealot who shouts a lot…

      • DamonD  December 18, 2012

        That B7 one is arguably the first time Brian Blessed became BRIAN BLESSED, and seemed to enjoy it.

      • John G  December 19, 2012

        Yes, I would agree that Blessed’s performances are very much influenced by the material he is working with, and in the case of this story or The Black Adder, or indeed the BBC’s 1990s adaptation of Tom Jones, his BRIAN BLESSED persona works quite well. It’s just a shame that is has defined him so much, as he is a gifted actor capable of real subtlety, as I, Claudius demonstrates.

  26. Sean Alexander  December 17, 2012

    ‘Mindwarp’ (as we are obliged to call this particular epistopic… I can’t remember the rest) is a mess. But it is at least a GLORIOUS one. Well directed, with mostly excellent performances (we’ll skip over Colin’s ‘brain damaged’ acting in Episode six) and a genuinely shocking climax that should… no, I’ll leave it there, shall I?

    It’s arguably the best four episodes of the Season (okay, The Ultimate Foe, Time inc., whatever the F**k it’s called) does have it’s moments, but that is to damn with faint praise.

    Nabil Shaban and Christopher Ryan are superb and Patrick Ryecart’s sip of tea (Sue, you’ve been reading your husband’s copy of The Discontinuity Guide, Haven’t you?) is a genuine piece of genius.

    8/10 makes it the best since ‘Revelation of the Daleks. I doubt Parts 9-12 will score as well…

    Excellent stuff both, as always x

    • Frankymole  December 18, 2012

      ‘The Ultimate Foe’ is the Vervoids segment. The last two episodes were ‘Time, Inc.’. It’s the Target books editor who confused matters!

      • chris-too-old-to-watch  December 18, 2012

        Glad about that: the”Terror” of the Vervoids never really rang true to me for some odd reason……..

        • Dave Sanders  December 18, 2012

          Well it’s hardly ‘ultimate’ either, unless at the time they meant ‘possibly the last ever one’.

          • John Miller  December 18, 2012

            Well, The Ultimate Foe wasn’t referring to the Vervoids….

      • Errol the Hamster  December 18, 2012

        Not quite. DWM was referring to the stories by those titles in its season survey results, published in issue 126, dated July 1987. Which predates the Ultimate Foe book by over a year, as that one wasn’t published until Autumn 1988.

  27. Amanda-Lynne Case  December 17, 2012

    I rather like this one. It’s so gaudy and so dark at the same time, it’s like watching the Blue Peter Christmas Panto with a fever of 103.

    • Dave Sanders  December 18, 2012

      It’s the trial scenes that becomes the panto. “Oh no it isn’t!” “Oh yes it is!”

  28. Paul Mc Elvaney  December 17, 2012

    Brian Blessed as a ninja, Sue?? BRIAN BLESSED?!? A NINJA?!? A WONDERFUL IDEA!!!!

  29. fromEssex  December 17, 2012

    I’ve never quite understood Mindwarp. It has great bits like Brian Blessed, Sil and his cohorts, Crozier, but The Doctor’s erraticism(?) is never explained and spoils the story. I always took it that the Doctor was pretending to be an arse for some reason and never got the chance to save Peri before being taken out of time. This wasn’t explained in the story.

  30. BWT  December 17, 2012

    Sue: “He could be a scarier version of K9. But if he starts humping Peri’s leg, he’s out.”

    Exactly. That’s *my* job.

    Yeeeeaah… I’m not convinced. Great effets, nice to see Sil again, BRIAN BLESSED!!! and, of course, the ending (Peri). But it still lacks cohesion and there are too many MacGuffins too give us a clear idea of what it all means.

    And, controversial statement though it may be, I’m looking forward to Sue’s reaction to the next entry, which just happens to be my favourite Colin Baker story. (Yeah, I know…)

    • Sean Alexander  December 18, 2012

      Terror of the Vervoids – your favourite Sixth Doctor?

      I need not say another word…

      • John Callaghan  December 18, 2012

        I shall take your unspoken approval with the warmth it’s offered with, then, ‘cos it’s my fave Colin story too.

        • John Callaghan  December 18, 2012

          Ooh, that sounded a bit more stern than I intended. Sorry!

          • BWT  December 19, 2012

            Not at all – I took all comments with much warmth and love, such as they were offered. You both have good taste – I know as I have decreed it so, even if you were unaware of it at the time. ;)

  31. Wholahoop  December 18, 2012

    Looks like I am in the minority in not liking this one. For example, the skedaddle technique coming across to me as quite childish. Am I also alone in thinking the local rebels fey and woolly? Almost a story by numbers perhaps and the confusion behind why the Doctor was behaving as he was didn’t help as far as I am concerned

    I never rated Vengance either but I liked Gangsters though FWIW

  32. fromEssex  December 18, 2012

    Just one thought about Sil and co.. they are pretty helpless. They are carried about by humans/humanoid bigger than them, and they have no defences as far as I can see. Why don’t the natives/slaves just overthrow them?

    • fromEssex  December 18, 2012

      Though it’s maybe writen as a pastiche on our society, but I’m getting a bit deep here.

  33. Ben Herman  December 18, 2012

    For those who are interested in Colin Baker’s viewpoint on the turbulent events taking place behind-the-scenes at Doctor Who in the mid-1980s, I strongly recommend tracking down the entire interview he did for Doctor Who Magazine ten years ago, which appeared in issue #s 321 to 325. Very insightful stuff.

    Speaking specifically again about ToaTL Parts 5-8, aka Mindwarp, my favorite anecdote from that interview has to be when Baker recounts BRIAN BLESSED flubbing his lines during the last shot of the day, when they had time for only one take. As Baker puts it…

    “We had to run a corridor amid lots of explosions, open the door, grab Nicola Bryant, and Brian had to say ‘Right – let’s find the Mentors!’ That was all he had to say. And it was two minutes to ten, so off we go… ‘ACTION!’… Explosions!… Open door… Grab Nicola… Look at Brian… And he can’t remember the word ‘Mentor,’ so he says ‘RIGHT – LET’S FIND THE… F**KERONS!’ The silence in the studio was deafening…”

    Somehow, I believe every word of it!

  34. chris-too-old-to-watch  December 18, 2012

    I taped all the trial stories at the time, and some years ago (in a whimsical moment), I edited out all of the “interuptions” of the courtroom scenes, only keeping those at the beginning and end of each separate story. If you ignore the blatant Blankety Blank scenery rip-offs, it works much better, and is much less annoying

  35. Simon Exton  December 18, 2012

    There are some bits of this story that I absolutely love- Peri’s departure is almost the best companion exit in the show’s history and Brian Blessed is a joy to watch. Overall, though, it’s just a bit ‘Meh’ and never really lives up to its potential. Still, that makes it better than most of the rest of the Colin era…

  36. Paul Mudie  December 18, 2012

    I think I’m still too traumatised by the manner of Peri’s departure to look at this one objectively! It was certainly a brave choice and I’m glad Nicola got to go with a bang rather than a whimper, but it’s a bit grim.

  37. DamonD  December 18, 2012

    “It’s hilarious!” Loved that bit!

    Interesting score, to see someone talking this one up. It’s my least favourite of the Trial, but perhaps I should give it another go.

  38. Robert Dick  December 18, 2012

    I think Yrcanos shows how good an actor Blessed is. It’s an achievement to be that big yet not be empty. He’s both subtle and broadstrokes at the same time.

  39. Robert Dick  December 18, 2012

    And if Sue likes the Vervoids story more than Robots of Death then I’m coming round your house. And I’m bringing John Levene.

    • Dave Sanders  December 19, 2012

      Bring Chris ‘Open Air’ Chibnall as well. THAT would be fun to watch.

  40. Alex Wilcock  December 18, 2012

    Another excellent piece, and it’s great to see Sue reacting so well to something as it goes along – I just hope she doesn’t come to have the same sort of opinion of this story I have about Journey’s End… Still, at least it wasn’t all the ending. She’s back to liking the furniture again (and not unreasonably).

    Best lines this time:
    “Awwww. He’s cute. Take him with you. He could be a scarier version of K9. But if he starts humping Peri’s leg, he’s out.”
    OK, so she guessed the wrong one out of that couple.
    And:
    “They’ve been captured by a Peruvian pan pipe band. You couldn’t move for pan pipes in the eighties. It was horrible.”

    I grinned a bit at Sue and the cup of tea. It’s a fab Patrick Ryecart moment – I’m with her and CornellToppingDay on that. Not least the tiny stutter on the “F” as he calls his lord and master a “fish-faced monster!” allowing us just for a fraction of a second to think of another, more Brian Blessedy word. Ben Herman’s beaten me to the ‘Brian Blessed Versus the F**kerons’ anecdote, though I did enthuse about both that and the tea in my own Mindwarp review. Plus some more analysis, too.

    Oddly, I’m the reverse of Sue on the Trial scenes here – I think they work better now that the interruptions resemble a DVD commentary in which cast members argue over the deleted scenes and try to salvage their own parts in a box-office disaster. But while there’s a lot to enjoy in the story, it’s still blighted by Saward’s appalling mess of just not doing his job. Never mind leaving poor Colin dangling – just as this Doctor’s finally been mellowing and showing some progress on the ‘Mr Darcy’ journey conceived for him, the script editor chooses this moment not just to make him nasty, but not to pay any attention to how it worked. What a ****eron.

    Sue won’t read Licence Denied, but John Callaghan’s absolutely right about John Binns’ piece. And about his entertaining alternative ending. I think I may disagree strongly with him next time, though (if probably not for the same reasons many others will)…

  41. Andrew  December 18, 2012

    I hope the camera was rolling when that happened and it somehow makes its way onto Youtube. Mind you, Brian Blessed once described a “palm pilot” as sounding like something you w**k with!

    • Andrew  December 18, 2012

      The f***eron moment that is!

  42. jonathan inge  December 19, 2012

    my brother and i saw this on american pbs when we were kids. we were very happy when peri died. we were also quite bewildered seeing the trial wasn’t concluded by this point.

  43. Paul Mudie  December 19, 2012

    I’ve been thinking more about this, and I think my problem with Peri’s fate is that it’s far more disturbing to have her mind and identity wiped than just to kill her off. It just seemed such a cruel fate for the character at the time, in the same sort of way that Donna’s memory loss did in New Who. It may or may not be satisfactorily explained later on, but at the time, it really felt like a kick in the teeth.