Doctor Who – The Trial of A Time Lord – Mindwarp

Doctor Who – The Trial of A Time Lord - Mindwarp
Doctor Who – The Trial of A Time Lord – Mindwarp

“Mindwarp” is the second adventure of the twenty-third season, known by the global title “The Trial of a Time Lord”, which aired in 1986. “Mindwarp” has the parts that go from fifth to eighth of this season following “The Mysterious Planet” and it’s a four parts adventure written by Philip Martin and directed by Ron Jones.

The story

The Valeyard continues his prosecution of the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and presents as evidence a trip of the accused with Peri (Nicola Bryant) on the planet Thoros-Beta.

The Doctor is shown after his arrival on the planet discovering signs of technology far greater than he expected and realizing that someone is doing terrible experiments on sentient creatures. The discovery of the presence on the planet of Sil, an enemy he already met in the adventure “Vengeance on Varos”, does nothing but fuel his suspicion of a sinister plot.

While the adventure is shown to the Time Lords the Doctor realizes that his memories begin to diverge from the records in the Matrix, how is that possible?


This DVD has a fair amount of extras. There are typical contents such as the BBC announcements for this adventure, production subtitles and a gallery of  picture from it.

There are comments in the adventure alternative audio track by protagonists Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant and writer Philip Martin.

Several extras are also about the next parts of the season so if you want to avoid spoilers you should watch all the adventures of the season and only then these extras.

The Making of Mindwarp. A documentary on the production of this adventure that includes interviews with several people involved in its production.

Deleted and Extended scenes. A few minutes of deleted and extended scenes.

Now and Then – On the Trail of a Time Lord. A glance at the sites used to film this adventure to compare how they look today and how they looked at the time.

A Fate Worse Than Death. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant comment on the end of the last part of “The Trial of a Time Lord” concerning Peri’s fate.

Children in Need. A clip from the 1985 Children in Need initiative with several “Doctor Who” actors/actresses.

Lenny Henry Comedy Sketch. Actor Lenny Henry in a parody of the Doctor in 1985.

The part of this adventure concerning the trial works much better than the previous one with less interruptions but more effective. The story flows smoothly and the brief confrontations between the Doctor and the Valeyard don’t break the dramatic tone, on the contrary the fact that the Doctor’s memories are different from the records in the Matrix helps keeping the tension because of the uncertainty the viewer starts feeling.

Brian Blessed performance is over the top but this helps mitigating the violence in this adventure that had been criticized in the previous season though it also tones down a bit the dramatic tone of the story.

Overall, “Mindwarp” is a step forward from “The Mysterious Planet” because it leads the viewer to the next stage of the trial with the tension of the drama just seen and the desire to understand what’s happening.

Because this DVD is part of “The Trial of a Time Lord” box set – available on Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon USA – a global judgement must necessarily be given only at the end of the reviews of this season’s adventures.

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