Number : Season 23, serial 2 of 4.

Which One : Sil; the slug’s homeworld.

Cast : The Doctor : Colin Baker
Peri : Nicola Bryant
The Inquisitor : Lynda Bellingham
The Valeyard : Michael Jayston
King Yrcanos : Brian Blessed
Sil : Nabil Shaban
Kiv : Christopher Ryan
Crozier : Patrick Ryecart
The Lukoser/Dorff : Thomas Branch
Tuza : Gordon Warnecke
Matrona Kani : Alibe Parsons
Frax : Trevor Laird
Mentor : Richard Henry

Written By : Phillip Martin

Produced By : JNT

First UK Broadcast : 4 – 25 October 1986.

Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.

Plot : The Tardis is guided, to the planet of Thoros Beta. Homeworld of Mentor Sil – and his sea-slug Mentor race.

Whats good : It has a really effective shock-ending. The Doctor versus The Valeyard in the court room – is good also.

Whats bad : Brian Blessed – a bit too shouty and hammy! God forbid this guy was once a potential Doctor-elect!

Review With Spoilers : Mindwarp is the second story in the sesson-long story-arc – in Trial Of A Timelord story.

After the disappointingly average, The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp finally gets proceedings underway, with a sci-fi concept story; which raises the bar – significantly.

The scenes in-between, involving The Doctor and The Valeyard squaring up – to each other – across the court room; are well-written and played out.

Evidence is provided, of the Doctor’s interference – in other races affairs, by the Valeyard. This evidence shows the Doctor and Peri, land on the world of Thoros Beta; homeworld of the Mentors.

They are captured and are prepared, as potential transplant patients for the brain of Sil’s Mentor boss; Kiv, who is dying.

Along with the way, they meet another captive; Brian Blessed who does his usual shouty and hammy turn, in a larger than life character role – as King Ycranos.

“Oh!… Oh! It’s strange. Ever since we came to Thoros Beta. I’ve been homesick. Well, not so much for a place……. but a time!” Peri

Colin Baker always managed to bring a much underrated villanous edge, to the Sixth Doctor. In Mindwarp, he betrays both Peri and Yrcanos – to the Mentors, to gain favour.

It’s all a ploy by the Doctor, to learn what the Mentors are up to. But the viewer is left wondering, whether Baker’s Doctor – has finally crossed over to the darkside.

Where Mindwarp sets itself apart, from the other Trial Of A Timelord stories, is that – it sets up the events directly prior, to the Doctors recall; by the Time Lords – and eventual trial.

In that regard, they could have easily dispensed with Mysterious Planet and started with Mindwarp, instead.

It also ends, on an unexpected and profoundly shocking note. The Doctor – on his way to save Peri, from the surgery room. Seemingly falls into a trance and is drawn into the Tardis (which suddenly materialises alongside) – to be spirited to the Time Lord trial.

As a result, no one rescues Peri and she has Kiv’s brain successfully transplanted, into her. King Yrcanos then finds her (and dismayed at what has happened); kills her – and Sil.

Doctor Who has never been so cocksure of itself, in so coldly dispatching – a likable and well-regarded companion, in this manner. But it works really well and if the rest of Colin Baker’s era and indeed McCoy’s, had taken such measured risks, with the stories. We might not have seen the show come to an abrupt end – only 3 years later in 1989.

Later unfolding events in Trial Of A Timelord, do unfortunately undermine this ending somewhat. But it still stands out – as a high point in the season.

Peri was a likable companion and easily one of the best – of a bad 80’s bunch. She would be a big miss after leaving. But still, they gave her a memorable send off – in this.

An easy contender for best episode of Baker’s run alongside Ultimate Foe.

🔵🔵🔵🔵🔘 (4.5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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