Doctor Who: Season 23, Episode 14

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Fourteen (6 Dec. 1986)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 115 users  
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So much ado by the Valeyard and the Master over the Doctor's death makes the Doctor wary of being made decoy for some other, truer target. Continuing in the Matrix itself, he may find both them and the answers he seeks.


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Title: The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Fourteen (06 Dec 1986)

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Fourteen (06 Dec 1986) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Bonnie Langford ...
Lynda Bellingham ...
Anthony Ainley ...
Tony Selby ...
James Bree ...
Keeper of the Matrix


So much ado by the Valeyard and the Master over the Doctor's death makes the Doctor wary of being made decoy for some other, truer target. Continuing in the Matrix itself, he may find both them and the answers he seeks.

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Release Date:

6 December 1986 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final appearance of Colin Baker as the Doctor. See more »


[the Sixth Doctor's last line:]
The Doctor: Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice?
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User Reviews

"There's nothing you can do to prevent the catharsis of spurious morality!" The trial comes to an end.

Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Fourteen starts as the Doctor (Colin Baker), the Master (Anthony Ainley) & the Valeyard (Michael Jayston) are all trapped inside the Matrix battling it out to get the upper hand & destroy each other. Mel (Bonnie Langford) also drops by to give the Doctor a hand as he fights to defeat the corrupt Valeyard who wants to wipe out the High Council of Time Lords present in the court room & the Master who wants to gain complete control over the Time Lords in the ensuing chaos...

Episode 14 from season 23 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during December 1986, the second & final part of the mini final two part segment of The Trial of a Time Lord season this one wraps everything up in a rather hurried fashion, Directed by Chris Clough & novelised under the title The Ultimate Foe this two parter was originally to be called Time Inc. written by Robert Holmes, he did complete Part Thirteen but died before completing Part Fourteen so script editor Eric Saward was brought in to write it but due to his falling out with producer John Nathan-Turner refused permission for his complete script to be used so Pip & Jane Baker were hired to write Part Fourteen from scratch in just three days, which they did. Obviously. When edited Part Fourteen overran significantly & despite efforts to edit to the standard 25 minute length the plot became incomprehensible so producer Nathan-Turner asked for & got an extra five minutes out of the time-slot which means this one runs for 30 minutes. Pretty much like the previous episode lots of plot twists & turns happen in a short space of time, it certainly isn't confusing & it's easy to follow but it does get a bit annoying having the plot go in all sorts of different directions in the blink of an eye. As a whole this isn't a great episode & as a stand alone two part story The Ultimate Foe isn't that good but it does wrap The Trial of a Time Lord season up well enough despite being the least enjoyable & least memorable segment. Some of the dialogue in this has to be heard to be believed, particularly anything Mel says. This can also get a bit surreal at times too, I mean exploding feather Quills, the inside of the Matrix looking like a Victorian courtyard & that 'Fantasy Factory' neon sign is just bizarre.

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Fourteen saw several finals for Doctor Who as a series. Most notably it was the final time Colin Baker appeared as the Doctor on screen as the BBC sacked him soon after it aired although he would go onto star in several audio adventures & he does contribute to his stories BBC DVD releases with interviews & commentary's so the relationship isn't that sour. Personally I thought he made for a good Doctor but was unfortunate enough to star in the show at time when the scripts, special effects & production was at an all time low. I mean it's not his fault that Timelash (1985) was probably one of the worst ever Doctor Who stories or that Revelation of the Daleks (1985) was awful, in my opinion Attack of the Cybermen (1985) & The Two Doctors (1985) are good so all in all I guess his time as the Doctor was a mixed bag. As a whole The Trial of a Time Lord season was a ratings disaster which apparently the BBC blamed Baker for, parts one & two (they feel like a long time ago) drew in less than five million viewers while parts three & four dipped to less than four million & lets not forget back in 1986 when this originally aired there were only four channels in the UK, BBC1, BBC2, ITV & Channel 4 so in essence there were only four options. These days of course there are literally dozens of channels to choose from on freeview, satellite & cable like dedicated sports & film channels to music to light entertainment to 24 hour news channels so the enormous success of the new Doctor Who can be put into some perspective & can be understood why it's considered such a success in todays climate while it can also be understood why The Trial of a Time Lord season was considered such a failure. This was also the final time classic Doctor Who was given a prime time Saturday evening time-slot as the BBC shifted it to Monday nights for the following season & it's the last time we heard Dominic Glynn's rearranged theme tune (of Peter Howell's rearranged theme of Ron Grainer's original!) & opening titles created & shot on 35mm film rather than the entirely computer generated one seen on the Sylvester McCoy stories.

The Trial of Time Lord: Part Fourteen is an average end to the worst segment of the whole season, it's OK but simply doesn't stand up on it's own that well. Overall across it's fourteen episodes I'll give The Trial of a Time Lord a slightly above average 6 stars out of 10, Terror of the Vervoids being the high-point & The Ultimate Foe being the low-point with The Mysterious Planet & Mindwarp somewhere between.

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