Trial of the Valeyard
Audio / June 8, 2017

Released December 2013 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Big Finish is certainly no stranger to occasional bouts of fan service by revisiting characters and plot points from the original run of Doctor Who, and that is perhaps no more apparent than in its subscriber-oriented Bonus Releases which has featured a multi-Doctor story, a multi-companion story, and three stories with titles beginning with the word ‘Return.’ This has understandably been more prevalent across its ranges in the fiftieth anniversary year, one that began with finally filling the plot hole regarding Mel’s introduction, and it seems perfectly fitting that the Sixth Doctor’s infamous trial would again be revisited to close out the year as Colin Baker, Lynda Bellingham, and Michael Jayston again reunite. With a limited running time, ‘Trial of the Valeyard’ takes a surprisingly long time for the Doctor to figure out what the title openly decrees by bringing to the forefront the sixth incarnation’s more bombastic and confrontational characteristics. However, once he discovers that he has been tasked with defending the mysterious Valeyard who is on trial for a crime so heinous that even the Inquisitor cannot reveal it, the three leads shine as a story that strikes at the very heart…

The Trial of a Time Lord – The Ultimate Foe
Episode / February 5, 2016

Aired 29 November – 6 December 1986 It’s fair to say that the entire The Trial of a Time Lord arc is somewhat muddled in its execution. Following an eighteen-month hiatus during which the prospect of Doctor Who’s viability was tenuous at best, the proposition of putting the Doctor on trial to prove how strong both he and, by extension, Doctor Who remained was a tremendously intriguing and brave one. However, with three opening serials ranging from decent to fairly terrible and the Doctor’s characterization suffering immensely under an air of ambiguity due to Matrix tampering, it’s hard to believe that this arc was the best that could be achieved with the extra time and reduced episode order afforded. Perhaps more than in most arcs, then, it is up to the conclusion to provide a sort of finality that puts everything that has come before it into meaningful context and achieves what the original intent clearly was. Unfortunately, the passing of Robert Holmes before his completion of the final script threw yet another unexpected hurdle in the way of the production, and writers Pip and Jane Baker- without being allowed to know how the story was supposed to end- are…

The Trial of a Time Lord – The Mysterious Planet
Episode / February 3, 2016

Aired on: 6 – 27 September 1986 Doctor Who was in a precarious position when the aptly-titled The Trial of a Time Lord quietly came to screens following an eighteen-month absence after ‘Revelation of the Daleks.’ Attempting a season-long story arc with the Sixth Doctor’s life hanging in the balance as his own people put him on trial for his incessant meddling in the universe, everyone involved in the production was all too aware that the franchise was on the verge of cancellation as the episode order was reduced to fourteen and the length to thirty minutes each. Fortunately, despite the real-life drama that plagued the season’s production, including the death of legendary script writer Robert Holmes before his completion of the finale, the opening instalment, ‘The Mysterious Planet,’ is a strong opening that manages to hide many of the behind-the-scenes issues. Doctor Who had, of course, attempted, a season-long arc before with The Key to Time, but those six stories remained remarkably distinct with the titular Key only a linking device rather than intrinsically vital to the individual plots. The Trial of a Time Lord, however, revels in its central conceit, often cutting away from the action to advance…