OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 651
STORY NUMBER: 146
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 October 1986
WRITER: Philip Martin
DIRECTOR: Ron Jones
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Time Lord
As the Doctor suffers at the hands of Crozier's machine attached to his brain, Yrcanos awakes, slips his bonds and goes berserk smashing equipment allowing him to escape with Peri and dazed Doctor. Hiding in the tunnels a clearly out of character Doctor plots with Yrcanos to attack the Mentors but when they infiltrate their slave processing area the Doctor gives their presence away. The Doctor is taken to see Kiv, the Mentor leader who's brain is expanding beyond the capability of his skull to house it. Crozier has been hired to facilitate the transfer of Kiv's brain to another body capable of housing it. Yrcanos finds the mutated form of his equerry Dorf in the tunnels and frees him swearing revenge on the Doctor. Peri is found and taken to be a servant girl. She is forced to serve the Mentors but the Doctor gives her away and takes her to be tortured, chaining he up by the sea. In the courtroom the Doctor is protesting he remembers little after he was attached to Crozier's machine but what he does remember doesn't match what he's seeing. When the Valeyard points out that the Matrix never lies the Doctor says he isn't so sure. The Mentors order the Doctor to bring Peri back into their complex where more sophisticated techniques may be used on her but as they enter the tunnels they are ambushed by Yrcanos who attacks the Doctor....
Episode ending on crash zoom on Colin Baker #5 out of 6 so far! Oh and while we're counting Yrcanos is #12 on the "lusting after Peri" list.
Here's where it starts to get a little confusing: The Doctor is obviously out of character but at the same time the Doctor's protesting that what they're seeing on the Matrix screen isn't quite what happened. Depending on who you talk to you'll get different answers as to what's actually the case here and when Colin Baker asked Script Editor Eric Saward he didn't know! Is it a wise idea to do a story where the Doctor's behaving out of character so soon after the last one (Twin Dilemma) where that aspect of the storyline was very poorly received? Probably not, and the scenes of Peri chained up on the shoreline are particularly distasteful.
But beyond that this episode is dominated by one man: Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Brian Blessed ! SORCERY! WITCH CRAFT! ONWARD MY HAWKMEN! Brian Blessed first came to public attention playing PC 'Fancy' Smith in Z-Cars from 1962 to 1965. If you want to see him acting in an early role then track down a copy of the Randall and Hopkirk(Deceased) episode "The Ghost who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo" where he plays the scheming villain in a way that might surprise anyone who's only seen his later acting work. All Doctor Who fans should watch this because it also features Roger Delgado (The original Master) as the Casino manager and Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) giving a top performance as one of the henchmen. It's worth it for Nicholas Courtney alone! Brian Blessed appeared in many other works including the famed I, Claudius (I really need to tackle the Who guest cast in that!) but his defining role is probably as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon which really marks his transformation from Brian Blessed the Actor into Brian Blessed the Force of Nature. Since then he's hardly been out of work specialising in LOUD SHOUTY ROLES and that's exactly what we get here! He was King Richard in the first series of Black Adder, Boss Nass in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and numerous other roles. He's an experiences mountaineer, a noted stage actor and loved by millions.
To end today I'll leave you with something I discovered while researching this piece: The University of York has a study space named the 'Brian Blessed Centre for Quiet Study'!