Timelord On Trial – Trial Of A Timelord
The story behind ‘Trial Of A Time Lord’ – season 23, is infinitely more interesting – than the actual televised final product.
During 1985, after a poor reception to Colin Baker’s first outing in season 22. Doctor Who was put on hiatus by the Beeb top brass – for 18 months and told to include; more humour – and less violence.
Watching episodes, like: Attack of the Cybermen and Revelation of the Daleks now; although tame – by today’s standards. There was a definite nasty undercurrent of violence prevalent – in Baker’s era.
Other episodes, such as Vengeance On Varos, were criticised for their depiction of an acid bath and public hangings. The Two Doctors had a cannibal called Shockeye; needlessly stabbing an incidental character – and biting the head off of a rat.
So, in the prevailing 18 months; in-between season 22 and 23. Production went back to the drawing board and a whole season of stories, were ultimately scrapped.
Cancelled episodes, included; the return of the Celestial Toymaker in an episode to be shot – on location; in Blackpool, called The Nightmare Fair.
Yellow Fever and How to Cure It, would have featured the return of The Autons; with an appearance by The Master – and The Rani.
Another story was titled ‘Mission to Magnus’. Others include; ‘The Ultimate Evil’, Chris H. Bidmead’s ‘The Hollows of Time‘. PJ Hammond’s ‘Paradise 5’; were also contenders.
The story behind the season 23, that never was, is fascinating – and it very well could have been the making of Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor. Some of these assumed lost Season 23 episodes, have recently been remade by ‘Big Finish’; as audio adventures.
With the new season scrapped, a decision was made by producer JNT (and head script-writer Eric Saward) to go with a re-written season-long story-arc, of the Doctor on trial; to match the show’s real life predicament.
Robert Holmes was commissioned, to write The Mysterious Planet and The Ultimate Foe. Pip and Jane Baker were commissioned, to write Terror of the Vervoids and Philip Martin; Mindwarp.
Robert Holmes died, before completing episode two of the two-part finale; The Ultimate Foe script. A job which then fell to head script-writer; Eric Saward. Saward turned in a draft of the new script, based on Holmes production notes.
However, after a number of bustups with producer JNT, Saward then walked – and took his episode two – with him, threatening legal action – if it was used without his consent.
Terror of the Vervoids writers Pip and Jane Baker stepped in and wrote a new episode two – for The Ultimate Foe – in only 3 days, with further rewrites by JNT.
The scope of the story moved aswell. Originally, it was to feature the Sixth Doctor and evil future Doctor duplicate – The Valeyard. Enternally locked in a infinite battle, one unable to outsmart the other. It was a bold stance for Doctor Who to take.
Producer JNT feared, that this ending would give the Beeb top-brass; the necessary ammunition to cancel the show. With the infinite battle ending, seemingly feeling like a natural conclusion – to the show. So the ending was changed – so that the Doctor continued on his travels, with new companion Mel.
The rest is history and Trial Of A Time Lord – whilst not particularly well received; was enough to save the show. At least, for another 3 years.
The Beeb top brass, commissioned another 3 seasons but only on the pretext – that the Doctor actor was changed. Therefore, actor Colin Baker became the first Doctor in history, to be fired more here.
Season Twenty-Three- 1986
Trial Of A Time Lord :
The Mysterious Planet🔵⚪⚪⚪⚪
Terror of the Vervoids🔵🔵🔵🔵⚪
The Ultimate Foe🔵🔵🔵🔵⚪