Monday 10 September 2012

657 The Trial a Timelord Part Twelve (Terror of the Vervoids Part Four)

EPISODE: The Trial a Timelord Part Twelve (Terror of the Vervoids Part Four)
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 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 Vervoids release marsh gas into the bridge so the ship's security officer Rudge summons the Morgarians to the bridge where they are able to take control of the ship. He then pulls a gun on the remaining passengers and crew present holding them as hostages and takes them towards the lounge, but en route The Doctor manages to warn Mel what is going on. An unseen assailant kills the Morgarians by throwing acid at them and exposing them to the lethal Oxygen atmosphere. The Doctor confronts Doland who he has deduced is the murderer and Commodore Travers has him arrested but while he is being taken to the brig he is killed by the Vervoids. The Doctor exposes the Vervoids to a chemical on the ship which accelerates their life cycle wiping them out and saving the ship's crew but in the courtroom both Inquisitor & Valeyard now agree the Doctor should be charged with Genocide!

That's the shortest hijack I've ever seen on TV, over as soon as it starts. Bang, bang, bang this episode with a lot of stuff happening very quickly.... which makes me wonder if the entire third segment of The Trial a Timelord couldn't have been paced a little better, more rampaging Vervoids earlier for example. But given that it's a last minute replacement effectively without the time or a script editor to sort it out I think we can forgive it a little. Probably, despite Mel, my favourite of the three so far.

So the court has gone from being an enquiry into the Doctor's activities to a trial, with unclear charges, to a trial for genocide? Right...

Hang on, a whole Trial segment without a single crash zoom on Colin Baker? What is the world coming to? 7 in 12 now then.

Episodes 9-12 of The Trial Of A Time Lord were novelised by the writers of the TV scripts Pip & Jane Baker in 1987 under the title "The Terror of the Vervoids" which is what this segment of the serial has become known as. It starts a run of three stories novelised by Pip & Jane, the most consecutive stories by any author in the Target book range other than, inevitably, Terrance Dicks. Ian Stuart Black, Ian Marter, Philip Hinchcliffe & Christopher H. Bidmead each managed two consecutive stories. 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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