Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Trial Of A Time Lord 3: The Mysterious Planet, Part Three

Originally Broadcast 20th September 1986

Written by: Robert Holmes

In a nutshell: The Tribe of the Free, believing they have killed the Immortal, descend upon his underground castle to steal his technology. The Doctor and Peri are caught up in their affairs as they attempt to disable the Immortal’s tech.

Review: Part Three of TTOATL is a real mixed bag of, mostly, negative things. There’s something special about the story as a whole that makes the entire thing exciting even when it’s not good and I think this is down to just the epic nature of the series-long epic. I can still gain an excited sense of the scale of danger but I know this isn’t interesting stuff.

I do thing Holmes’ better days are behind him by this point, he seems here to rely mainly on sets of unimportant double acts who don’t do anything. Glitz and Dibber, Humker and Tandrell, even Grell and Merdeen class as a double act here. Characters like Drathro and Katryca are also proving to be irritating. I do believe its Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant who save the episode where they can.

Humker and Tandrell. Wasted characters but lovely cardigans.
Colin manages to work wonders as the sixth Doctor and I think everything that happened to him during his short tenure is a massive shame. He’s a great actor and a fun Doctor, but he was constantly plagued by bad writing, naff stories, poor production values and horrible BBC bosses but elements of his lovable self breath through all this and you get some evidence of that here. He has trouble in the courtroom scenes which are already interrupting the main events and Colin can’t handle much more mocking of Jayston’s Valeyard.

The plot really doesn’t go anywhere here either, it’s more about very minor character points, as our lesser secondary characters start to evolve a little, but this is the ‘stand still’ episode that usually features around the middle of an old six-parter Who. There isn’t enough plot here for a four part story, maybe this should’ve been cut down to a trilogy of episodes to tighten up the loose parts of the plot without having so much courtroom interruptions that don’t add anything as well as a lot of the character interaction and slapstick elements given to our lacklustre comedy duos. Although Glitz does have some funny lines here and Tony Selby provides a strong performance, it doesn’t save his character from being silly and a little bit pointless.

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