Doctor Who: Season 23, Episode 11

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Eleven (15 Nov. 1986)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Horror
7.4
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A course change that takes the Hyperion III closer to a black hole could prove unwise when there are so many aboard ship with hidden agendas. Disappearances continue, a murderer remains at ... See full summary »

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Title: The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Eleven (15 Nov 1986)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bonnie Langford ...
...
Lynda Bellingham ...
...
Michael Craig ...
Commodore
Denys Hawthorne ...
Rudge
Yolande Palfrey ...
Janet
...
David Allister ...
Bruchner
Sam Howard ...
Atza
Leon Davis ...
Ortezo
Hugh Beverton ...
Peppi Borza ...
First Vervoid
Bob Appleby ...
Second Vervoid
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Storyline

A course change that takes the Hyperion III closer to a black hole could prove unwise when there are so many aboard ship with hidden agendas. Disappearances continue, a murderer remains at large, and one person finally crumbles under the strain of harboring a guilty secret. Written by statmanjeff

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15 November 1986 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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This episode was watched by 5.3 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

Quotes

The Doctor: You'll let me know as soon as you get a reply?
Commodore Travers: Certainly, Doctor. I'll match you for candor.
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User Reviews

 
Good Doctor Who story.

Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Eleven starts as the Doctor (Colin Baker) & Mel (Bonnie Langford) are told that the woman turning into a plant (Barbara Ward) was the victim of an accident where some genetically altered pollen entered her bloodstream through a small cut. It is soon discovered Mr. Kimber (Artur Hewlett) is missing as the list of those either missing or dead continue to grow, meanwhile Mel overhears the mutant plant creatures called Vervoids in the ship's ducts talking about wiping animal-kind out before an attempt is made on her life. Remorseful genetic scientist Bruchner (David Allister) decides the Hyperion III & it's deadly cargo must not reach Earth & so hijacks it & steers it straight in the direction of the eye of the Black Hole of Tartarus threatening to destroy the ship & everyone on it...

Episode 11 from season 23 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during November 1986, the third part of the third mini four part story Terror of the Vervoids from The Trial of a Time Lord season this was directed by Chris Clough & is by far the best of the four mini stories. The script by Pip & Jane Baker is a murder mystery whodunit set in the future aboard a spaceship with strong sci-fi horror overtones, themes & ideas. While none of these elements are totally successful, some of the sci-fi seems dated with very old fashioned looking computer equipment & silly costumes, some of the horror elements don't work as the Vervoids could have been used a bit better & the mystery elements could have used a bit of polishing up as well they do all work on a basic level & I'm enjoying the story much more than either The Mysterious Planet or Mindwarp. The court room scenes are less intrusive than in the previous stories as well with fewer of them happening & when they do they seem to have more purpose rather than just a cheap argument between the Doctor & the Valeyard. I couldn't help but smile when Commodore Travers confidently tells the Doctor that the Hyperion III bridge is hijack proof yet not two minutes earlier Bruchner managed to take complete control of it on his own using a single gun! Doesn't Travers feel a bit silly now? To be honest it sounded like another poor piece of script editing from producer John Nathan-Turner along with Professor Lasky & her key's from Part Nine.

We finally get to see the Vervoids in all their glory, the face mask's are actually very impressive as are their designs taking into account they had to be humanoid in shape although I'm not so impressed with their bodies which just look like skin tight diving suits with paper leaves stuck on. I'm not sure how a group of genetically created mutant plant creatures 'born' not more than a few hours prior can speak English so well or how one knows how to operate a shower but lets not dwell on it too much. There's a very wobbly wall type moment in this episode, if you look at the scene when the Guard is killed by the Vervoids & they pick him up & carry him into the vent if you look at the guards feet they brush against the wall on the opposite side of the corridor & it wobbles like it's made from cardboard! The acting is of variable quality, there's some awful performances here as usual but there's also some good ones as well including Honor Blackman as Professor Lasky who is better known from The Avengers (1962 - 1964) & as Pussy Galore the Bond girl from Goldfinger (1964). Michael Craig who plays Commodore Travers features in the exploitation classic Turkey Shoot (1982) which I wouldn't have bothered mentioning other than it's one of my favourite films!

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Eleven, or Terror of the Vervoids Part Three, is about as good as The Trial of a Time Lord season gets & it's as simple as that really.


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