Sunday 2 September 2012

649 The Trial a Timelord Part Four (The Mysterious Planet Part Four)

EPISODE: The Trial a Timelord Part Four (The Mysterious Planet Part Four)
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 27 September 1986
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Mallett
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 3.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Time Lord

Murdeen shoots his subordinate Grell who has been stalking them hoping to claim the Doctor's capture for himself. Katryca & the tribe of the free gain entry to Drathro's sanctum allowing his helpers to escape but Drathro kills Katryca & Broken Tooth then sends the other outside to wait culling. Balazar is found by Murdeen, The Doctor & Peri and tells them what has happened and the Doctor goes straight to Drathro's chamber to prevent a blacklight explosion. Glitz & Dibber find Murdeen, Balazar & Peri trying to follow the Doctor. Balzaar guides them in via the food production hatch where Dibber convinces Drathro that he can supply him with an alternate source of black light. Drathro fetches the secrets and leaves with Glitz & Dibber as the Black Light system overloads. The Doctor manages to contain the explosion but Drathro keels over burning up and burns the secrets he is holding. Dibber & Glitz decide to salvage the material from the black light converter while the Doctor & Peri bid farewell to Murdeen & Balzaar. In the courtroom the Doctor is pleased with the outcome as this shows him having saved many lives but the Valeyard blames him for those lost and reminds the Doctor his life is at stake as he proceeds to his next piece of evidence.

Third crash zoom on Colin in four episodes!

Some of that is pure kids TV. Glitz's deceiving of Drathro and his not at all obvious whispering to Glitz and Balzaar's slimeing in the food chute are pure Rentaghost/Crackajack at their very worse. And yet against that something is struggling to get through this with the question of who could have moved Earth and who's secrets Drathro is holding. The censored name of "the biggest information net in the Galaxy" provides something of a clue.....

Are those our old friends the UFO Moonbase control panels I see embedded in Drathro's console?

I think the trial bits of this are annoying and from what I can see, the action on Ravalox is pedestrian. It's be nice to see the Ravalox action without the Trial sequences but sadly the opportunity to do this wasn't taken up on the The Trial Of A Time Lord DVD.

As we said previously this is the last complete Doctor Who story written by Robert Holmes. He was hurt by criticism made by BBC drama executive Jonathan Powell regarding these four episodes but still started work on the final two episodes of Trial of a Timelord when he died in May 1986 aged 60.

The first four episode of Trial of a Timelord were novelised by Terrance Dicks & released in November 1987. It's the latest Doctor Who story adapted by Terrance Dicks and his only sixth Doctor novel. All 14 episodes of The Trial Of A Time Lord were released in a video boxset in October 1993 in a Tardis shaped tin with a picture of one of the seven Doctors on the base of the tin. I'm yet to meet anyone with all seven tins! All 14 episode were released on DVD on 29 September 2008.

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