Reviews The Trial of a Time Lord Vol. 1 audiobook read by Lynda Bellingham

Published on November 10th, 2013 | by James Whittington

Doctor Who: The Trial Of A Time Lord – Volume 1 Reviewed

The TV version of The Trial Of A Time Lord was an overblown and tired version of the series which was only saved by some credible acting and some rather nifty special effects. I recall being disappointed by the whole effort and thought it was a sad waste of Colin Baker’s talents. The story arc was dragged out and really did test the viewer’s staying power. Anyway, that aside these adventures were given a Target book release, ones I missed when originally released so these audiobooks are the first chance I’ve had to see how much these stories could have been improved in book form.

Doctor Who: The Mysterious Planet

This was the first adventure of the 14 part serial and was written by prolific author Terrence Dicks from scripts by the legendary Robert Holmes. This should have made an explosive combination. Unfortunately it drowns in over description trying to compensate for the rather thin plot.

The TARDIS has been taken out of time and the Doctor had been brought before a court of his fellow Time Lords. There the sinister Valeyard accuses the Doctor of breaking Gallifrey’s most important law and interfering in the affairs of other planets. If the Valeyard can prove him guilty, the Doctor must sacrifice his remaining regenerations. To prove his case the Valeyard focuses on an adventure from the Doctor’s past. It is an adventure set on the planet of Revolox, a seemingly primitive world but one which the Doctor and Peri find strangely familiar…

OK, I might upset a few people here but this story is drab, boring, flat and bereft of any sort of drama at all. The constant interruption from the Valeyard or Doctor or whoever just when the story is getting to be slightly interesting becomes tiresome. Yes, I know this is a connection story arc but did it really have to stop the flow of the story so much?

I love Lynda Bellingham, she’s a great actress but her talents here are wasted and she struggles with the rather pedestrian script. She does pull off Peri’s whine perfectly which is the only real highlight of the audiobook which also suffers from some intrusive sound effects.

The Trial of a Time Lord Vol. 1 audiobook read by Lynda Bellingham

Doctor Who: Mindwarp

Mindwarp or Trial Of A Time Lord Parts 5-8 is a real highlight of the Sixth Doctor’s tenure. A far cry from some of his other adventures this one got it so right that it’s a shame it’s stuck as part of the Trial story arc. It gave Colin Baker’s interpretation something to chew on, to get to grips with and played a blinder by bringing back one of the finest characters of the 80s, Sil.

Accused of ‘crimes against the inviolate evolution’, the Doctor is on trial. The sinister prosecutor, the Valeyard, presents the High council of Time Lords with the second piece of evidence against the Doctor: a dramatic adventure on the planet Thoras-Beta which led to the renegade Time Lord’s summons to the Court of Enquiry. But as the Doctor watches the scenes on the Matrix he is puzzled by what he sees – his behaviour is not as he remembers. Only one thing is certain: on the evidence of the Matrix the Doctor is surely guilty as charged.

Dramatically charged with a perfectly balanced injection of satire, Mindwarp is one of those Doctor Who adventures that just gets better and better each times you watch/hear/read it. Colin Baker delivers the story with enthusiasm and wit adding the right amount of tension to the proceedings. Solid with just the right amount of effects this is probably going to be the best story from this two part set.

With an RRP of £18.35, The Trial of a Time Lord Volume 1 audiobook is available from Amazon – while stocks last – for just £9.80
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About the Author

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James has been a Doctor Who fan for as long as he can recall. A child of the 70s and 80s, he weathered all the storms and controversies the show encountered, though he didn’t buy the “Doctor In Distress” single.



2 Responses to Doctor Who: The Trial Of A Time Lord – Volume 1 Reviewed

  1. avatar Ian Gettings says:

    I was listening to Trial 1-4 in the car today. Have to say, that in book form read by Bellingham, the story came alive for me. It feels on part 2 that there is some padding at times, but the opening description of the station in space is superb and I found I was listening to an enjoyable story that gripped me throughout.

  2. avatar Christine says:

    I am one of those nutters who actually quite enjoy the Trial of a Timelord, especially the episodes with Mindwarp in it. So much so that I did buy the novelisation and particularly enjoyed the way Peri’s further life has been envisaged’. And obviously Sil is and remains wonderful. But I also like the rest of the trial, even if the Mysterious planet is slightly boring (but with some great elements), and Terror of the Vervoids is rather traditional and people suffering from dirty minds compare the Vervoids to something else. The best way to watch it though, is in a marathon session as a whole. Then the interruptions by the trial, aren’t so intrusive. I really like all those collared people turning to the screen once again. Of course there are better things to be found in the history of the Doctor, but also worse things. And Colin is doing an excellent job with what he is given.

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