Sunday 9 September 2012

656 The Trial a Timelord Part Eleven (Terror of the Vervoids Part Three)

EPISODE: The Trial a Timelord Part Eleven (Terror of the Vervoids Part Three)
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 November 1986
WRITER: Pip & Jane Baker
DIRECTOR: Chris Cloug
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Time Lord

The Doctor & Mel are found by Lasky & her co-workers. Doland explains that the mutant was his lab assistant Ruth who was involved in an accident. All over the ship plant like creatures begin emerging and killing people taking the dead bodies to their hidden base. Bruchner has grave doubts about the work he has done with Lasky and after a disagreement with Doland he burns the research. The Doctor on the Hyperion is shown to the courtroom to be sabotaging the communications equipment but the Doctor in the Courtroom insists that this wasn't what happened when reviewed the recording earlier and the Matrix has been altered. Bruchner takes control of the Hyperion 3 and begins steering it towards Black hole of Tartarus.....

Hurrah! Monsters everywhere, we're transitioning from "Murder mystery" (we still don't know who done it) to the most beloved of all Doctor Who formats Base Under Siege. The Vervoids, now we can see them, have had some flak over the years with people being able to see elements of both sexes genitalia in the designs!

One of the Vervoids is played by Bob Appleby who was a Nimon in The Horns of Nimon.

The original plan was that this season was to finish with three 2 part stories all using the same sets. Robert Holmes was asked to write all six episodes but declined, agreeing to write the final two. Jack Trevor Story and David Halliwell were brought on board to write the first 2 two parters but problems arose with those stories (Halliwell's was called Attack From The Mind) so former script editor Christopher H. Bidmead was asked to write a four part story, The Last Adventure aka Pinacotheca. That then developed problems too so unofficial continuity adviser Ian Levine recommended Sapphire & Steel creator P.J. Hammond who then wrote Paradise Five for the slot. Producer John Nathan-Turner didn't like this story so that was dumped and Script Editor Eric Saward turned to Pip & Jane Baker who wrote Mark of the Rani the previous year. They delivered their script, known as The Ultimate Foe then revised to The Vervoids which is what ended up being used. At least one of my sources indicates Saward wasn't keen to work with the Bakers again but fails to give his reasons. They'd done a good enough job on Mark of the Rani, though the second episode wasn't as good as the first. The script chaos, together with dissatisfaction with both the character & casting of the new companion, a deteriorating relationship with his producer and the death of Robert Holmes seem to be contributing factors to Saward quitting the script editors job though it appears this was at the time amicable enough because when the next round of chaos strikes the first person John Nathan-Turner comes to for help is Saward himself.... We'll pick this up in episode 13.

1 comment:

  1. What really gets me is that the production team had 18 months (an entire year and a half!) to come up with this season, and yet everything just kept falling apart. Obviously the unfortunate, untimely death of Robert Holmes did not help matters. Neither did the BBC's desire to cancel the show permanently. But it just seems like the whole season was a huge mess from Day One, and that's really epitomized with all the behind-the-scenes problems that took place getting the third slot of Trial filled with a workable story.