Best episode of Trial of a Timelord

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The Benetton Doctor

Poll Results

OptionVotes
13 3
1 1
141
4 0
2 0
12 0
11 0
10 0
9 0
3 0
7 0
6 0
5 0
8 0


Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 06:43 (fourteen years ago) link

great thread

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 08:13 (fourteen years ago) link

I'd like to join in, as I hate to see a Who-related thread neglected, but I've never got round to watching any C. Baker, sorry.

chap, Friday, 11 April 2008 11:03 (fourteen years ago) link

The only possible answers, I think, are 1 (because it all sort of went downhill from there) or 13 (the only one with a decent writer) but:

I'm not sure I can vote for something with Mel in it
I'd have liked to have rewatched them before voting but it's too close to the DVD release to do that

aldo, Friday, 11 April 2008 11:06 (fourteen years ago) link

There's a DVD release?!

I loved this whole season btw. Even the Pip & Jane Baker patch-up at the end.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Although yeah, Mel is too much and Peri was always shit.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, it's in the August/September slot that Key To Time was in last year. The trailer for it is on the Black Orchid dvd that comes out on Monday.

aldo, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Peri was... well, not awesome, but I liked the antagonistic interplay between her and Colin Baker.

HI DERE, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:39 (fourteen years ago) link

Peri was the last companion that was any good.

aldo, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:40 (fourteen years ago) link

I liked Ace when I was little.

chap, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:41 (fourteen years ago) link

The book companions were all uniformly awesome.

HI DERE, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:41 (fourteen years ago) link

I just watched my first non-Tennant Who episodes last night. Empty Child/Doctor Dances = yes, just as brilliant as everyone says. It occurs to me that Moffat's stories tend to have really strong female characters who have their own goals and who frankly couldn't care less about the Doctor.

BBC4's also been showing black-and-white episodes from the Dalek series, with William Hartnell. The pace is glacial and the production amateurish to my 21st century eyes, but the courageous, selfish, cocky Doctor is already in place, which is interesting.

I have to say the stark opening credits from those black and white episodes are absolutely phenomenal.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:46 (fourteen years ago) link

this series was fucking WEIRD and confusing but i always liked the idea of the evil doctor putting himself on trial. that seemed like a major story point that kind of crapped itself in the course of the actual show.

akm, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:49 (fourteen years ago) link

its awful

Herman G. Neuname, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:52 (fourteen years ago) link

The pace is glacial and the production amateurish to my 21st century eyes

When I watched Daleks I thought the production was actually very impressive and atmospheric, particularly the petrified forest and the first sighting of the Dalek City. However, I watched in on YouTube, so it was all very small and fuzzy.

chap, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Just to clarify the trial of a timelord season is awful

Herman G. Neuname, Friday, 11 April 2008 13:58 (fourteen years ago) link

Not wholly awful.

HI DERE, Friday, 11 April 2008 14:00 (fourteen years ago) link

I recall 13 and 14 being enjoyable sub-prisoner romps, while the rest were among the very worst Dr Who stories of all time, even worse than the recent Christmas Special.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 11 April 2008 14:38 (fourteen years ago) link

the recent christmas special wasnt as bad as the two that preceded it!

Herman G. Neuname, Friday, 11 April 2008 14:45 (fourteen years ago) link

What it needed was for the action to be interrupted every few minutes by cutting to a courtroom where someone would say that whatever the Doctor was doing constituted a crime of some sort.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 11 April 2008 14:58 (fourteen years ago) link

I guess I'm outside the ILX mainstream when it comes to Dr. Who - I thought the last two Xmas specials were rollicking romps and tremendous fun

Tracer Hand, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:03 (fourteen years ago) link

I like the first xmas special. The second two overreached.

chap, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:17 (fourteen years ago) link

the 1st one was as bad as the olympics episode

Herman G. Neuname, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Never watched any of it, doubt I ever will. The only C. Baker I've seen is Revelation of the Daleks, which was interesting, to say the least.

clotpoll, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:26 (fourteen years ago) link

http://www.dvdverdict.com/images/reviewpics/drwho1.jpg

Seriously, hottest companion ever and also the first one I remember but I watched back some YouTube clips from this era and fuck me she was a terrible actor. Ultimate 'something for the dads' companion, seeing as her entire role seemed to be to strop a bit and wear cute outfits. Is this unfair?

Matt DC, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:27 (fourteen years ago) link

To be fair, there are plenty of other bad performances in Trial. Nabil Shaban (sp?) and Brian Blessed for a start. However I would not want to see pics of Brian Blessed in a bikini.

snoball, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Peri was pretty great in "Caves of Androzani" and "Vengeance on Varos". Also she was the only good thing about "Timelash".

HI DERE, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Also yeah, smokin' hot.

HI DERE, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Excellent summary of the whole shooting match here:
http://www.grke.net/anorak/Trial.html

snoball, Friday, 11 April 2008 15:56 (fourteen years ago) link

My dad thought Peri was very nice.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 11 April 2008 16:08 (fourteen years ago) link

The trailer for it is on the Black Orchid dvd that comes out on Monday.

And the trailer doesn't just appear on that release. :/

Michael Jones, Friday, 11 April 2008 16:16 (fourteen years ago) link

The book companions were all uniformly awesome.

-- HI DERE, Friday, 11 April 2008 23:41 (Yesterday) Bookmark Link

oooh contentio

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 23:53 (fourteen years ago) link

To be fair, there are plenty of other bad performances in Trial. Nabil Shaban (sp?) and Brian Blessed for a start.

Whoever the hell decided to cast Brian Blessed as yet another screamy bellowy type needs a smack.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 23:55 (fourteen years ago) link

You know when you go out for dinner and one person (usu. a guy) gets obnoxious and talks over everyone? This.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 April 2008 23:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Monday, 14 April 2008 23:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 23:01 (fourteen years ago) link

oops I forgot to vote

HI DERE, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 23:08 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...

Colin Baker audios are great. The I, Davros one was ace, and the rest of the time his time is very good. Were the tv eps quite as good, or was it all shitty mid-80s writing?

kingfish, Saturday, 21 June 2008 08:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Some of it is the writing, the worst of it being Pip & Jane Baker ("It's a megabyte modem!" FFS). Also the stupid idea they tried to work in about the Doctor being a bit "evil" immediately following his regeneration, which might have worked with an actor capable of greater subtlety of performance. Which leads on to CB, whose idea of subtlety is tying a ribbon around the brick before throwing it through the window. Check his acting opposite Brian Blessed where they try and upstage each other. Also there's that mid 80's BBC thing of having all the sets really brightly lit. Evil villain's underground lair? Hey it's lit up like fucking Sainsburys!

snoball, Saturday, 21 June 2008 09:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Baker was suited to stage. His style was too big for cheap television.

Autumn Almanac, Saturday, 21 June 2008 13:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm watching trial at the moment, I'm about 6 or 7 eps in. I'm really enjoying the bits where it cuts back to the courtroom and the Doctor's going "What are we watching this boring tripe for!? It's pointless!!", while I sit there thinking "YES!".

JimD, Saturday, 21 June 2008 13:24 (fourteen years ago) link

The courtroom scenes are particularly good in their badness. It's one thing to see CB or Blessed or Nabil Shaban overacting, but something else to see Joan Sims, OXO woman, and Michael Jayston getting sunk by bad dialogue and crappy cheap sets.

snoball, Saturday, 21 June 2008 14:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Correction, cb isn't in the i, davros one, but the earlier audio. Which is really good. He and Dav get hired by a megacorp to improve a robot product line and the Doctor spends his time happily fucking with Davros, screwing up his work, etc.

Also, Paul Darrow shows up in this series, doesn't he? Was this the one were he later complained about not being allowed to go full-on Richard III, hump and all?

kingfish, Saturday, 21 June 2008 20:23 (fourteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

just re-watched this for the first time in over 20 years (except I skipped straight from episode 10 episode 13, might go back to watch episodes 11 and 12 at some point in the future)

episodes 1-4: very good, maybe the best TV sixth doctor story if you edit out the trial scenes.

episodes 5-8: I love Philip Martin's writing and Nabil Shaban's performance as Sil, I think there's quite a bit to enjoy here if you watch it in the same way you watch the bits of Shada that they finished filming, i.e. as components of an potential story that ended up never being completed.

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 19:29 (one week ago) link

episodes 9-10: I enjoyed The Mark of the Rani more than I expected to the last time I watched it, and had quite fond memories of Terror of the Vervoids from when it was one of the first Dr Who stories I ever saw in about 1998, so I was hoping this would be alright but it was pretty terrible. I'd forgotten how bad Bonnie Langford is here (she's very good in all of the Big Finish audios I've heard her in, so I don't think it's her fault. Maybe if they'd written a better character for her to play instead of TV's Bonnie Langford, but In Space). All the scenes with Honor Blackman wearing a tracksuit and working out in the space-gym are funny, and I like how cramped the corridors between the apartments are, adds to the Murder on the Orient Express feel although it doesn't really fit with how spacious the rest of the ship looks. Michael Craig is still alive, surprisingly.

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 19:44 (one week ago) link

episodes 13: I remembered episode 13 as being good, but really, apart from the one scene with Geoffrey Hughes as Mr Popplewick it isn't that great. The opening ten minutes or so with the Master appearing on a TV screen to labouriously explain the plot just painful. They manage to imbue the Victorian London set with a lot of atmosphere though, and the Popplewick scene is excellent (a particular shot really stuck in my memory from the first time I saw this, after the Doctor has pushed through the door into the second Mr Popplewick's office and he looks back over his shoulder through the door and there's a shot of the first Mr Popplewick scowling from his desk. In my memory you actually see more than two Popplewicks though, I remembered the Doctor looking through the door leading out of the second office and seeing an infinite recursion of Popplewicks in offices, but this is just suggested by the dialogue). Michael Jayston looks a lot more menacing without the silly leather cap.

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 19:47 (one week ago) link

Also, Paul Darrow shows up in this series, doesn't he? Was this the one were he later complained about not being allowed to go full-on Richard III, hump and all?

― kingfish, Saturday, June 21, 2008 9:23 PM (thirteen years ago) bookmarkflaglink

Bit late on this to say the least, but Darrow was in the season before the Trial one, he played the villain in frequent "worst story ever" poll winner Timelash and did his best out-ham Colin Baker(no small feat) in every single one of his scenes. John Nathan-Turner pretty much blamed him for trying to sabotage the production with his antics, but I honestly believe he just realised what a shitshow the whole thing was and just decided to have a bit of fun.

"Spaghetti" Thompson (Pheeel), Monday, 20 June 2022 20:06 (one week ago) link

episode 14: Michael Jayston is a really good actor, it's a pity they waste him by having him play a part where it's never clear exactly what he's doing or why. 'There's nothing you can do to prevent the catharsis of spurious morality' is an all-time brilliant piece of terrible dialogue though, maybe they should have leaned into this kind of thing more, make a virtue of the fact that the story is incoherent and no-one making it has any idea what's going on by giving the antagonist dialogue that is impossible to parse.

Sometimes the dialogue in Pip and Jane Baker stories is so stilted and unnatural that it's kind of compelling and spellbinding. All of their characters talk in exactly the same way though, and in Terror of the Vervoids the rest of the production is too drab to prevent this from getting boring. It's such a contrast from the first 4 episodes where (like lots of Robert Holmes scripts) so much of the zip in the scripts is coming from having characters who speak in different registers meet and converse with each other, I can see why people might find the way the characters talk too schticky but I think it's what tends to make Holmes's episodes more consistently watchable than most other writers on the show.

Glitz is not as interesting in episodes 13-14 as in episodes 1-4, I think the reason he works in The Mysterious Planet is that he's *not* a Del-Boy style lovable rogue, he's genuinely unpleasant and dangerous guy who can present himself as a lovable rogue when expedient, the gift-of-the-gab stuff is supposed to come across funny but also creepy, having Glen Murphy there as the less polished, openly thuggish henchman is a big part of what makes it work. But when he appears again at the end he's just a straightforward twinkly, cowardly but lovable rogue.

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 20:32 (one week ago) link

apparently part of the original inspiration for the story was A Christmas Carol, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come giving them the idea of adventures being shown from the Doctor's past, present and future - but then they don't actually do anything with this, there's no reason why the Vervoids bit couldn't also be from the Doctor's past, there's no indication of much passage of time between The Mysterious Planet and Mindwarp so there's no real sense that the former is from the Doctor's 'past' any more than the latter. Mr Popplewick and the Victorian London setting at the end seem to tie into the Christmas Carol/Dickensian theme, but it's not really developed.

I'd missed the existence of this until now, has anyone seen it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sil_and_the_Devil_Seeds_of_Arodor

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 20:43 (one week ago) link

Labour Party politician Jeremy Corbyn was seen carrying a copy of the DVD while at a political rally, although it is not known what his opinion on the production was.[8]

this is odd - maybe he's had some contact with Shaban in his capacity as a disabled actor, or his theatre group

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a344df73e1ddcc580a095930740aa0ca740c3975/0_248_5184_3110/master/5184.jpg?width=620&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=971a646935c860274adcde90bc7b9b34

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 20:47 (one week ago) link

was it ToaTL that Chibnall had an on-air crack at Pip and Jane about? 'cos I felt his most recent season was quite reminiscent of this one - barely coherent, taking liberties with the continuity in very ham-fisted way, bit of cod Victorian nonsense...

i did watch this at the time and remember feeling glad that it was back to 25-minute episodes, and the Sixth Doctor and Peri having a warm relationship was also a massive relief (how terribly they messed with the fundamentals of the show during Colin Baker's era) - but it went fairly rapidly downhill after the first 4 eps.

the life of a rebo band is always intense (emsworth), Monday, 20 June 2022 21:29 (one week ago) link

I agree about the Sixth Doctor and Peri having a warmer relationship works better (it's interesting that this seems to be more due to how Baker and Bryant's acting choices rather than anything in the script) (the Doctor apparently betraying Peri in Mindwarp wouldn't really work without this warmer relationship, it doesn't really work anyway but for other reasons).

I think there's an issue with most of the 1980s companions (until you get to Ace, anyway) that it's never really clear exactly why they are travelling about with the Doctor. Nicola Bryant plays the part like someone who is convincingly terrified and having a horrible time going to all these awful places where her life is frequently put in danger and she might die an incomprehensible ditance away from her home, which is interesting sometimes, but the tone is inconsistant and there's no real sense of Peri doesn't just ask the Doctor to take her back to earth in the 1980s, she'd make more sense as a character in the original 60s set up where the Doctor can't control the tardis and is trying to get someone back to their home planet/time. This is probably an obvious point, but I think part of the reason Colin Baker works better in some of the audios is that when he's paired with Evelyn Smythe he seems like less of a bully, someone who will give as good as she gets wrt rudeness and stubbornness.

soref, Monday, 20 June 2022 21:55 (one week ago) link

This thread reminds me of one of my favourite photos of Brian Blessed - he was in Mindwarp, there is a connection:
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/imageserver/image/%2Fmethode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2Fca66225e-2611-11e8-bb7d-85110f4c5caa.jpg

That's from Cats, which also had Bonnie Langford, which raises the question of whether John Nathan-Turner was aware of this or not.

From what I remember Peri was written as a caricature of a bored US gap year student - the kind that travels the world, but only in the company of other people from the US, and only to places where people from the US regularly go. Reading a synopsis of Planet of Fire she just leaves her family and, from their point of view, vanishes forever, which must have been disconcerting.

Ashley Pomeroy, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:30 (one week ago) link


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