BBC Doctor Who - The Stories BBC
QuickNav to a Season: 
QuickNav to a Story: 
 
The Previous Story
Mindwarp
 The Previous Story
The Previous Story
(The Mysterious Planet)
 The Next Story
(Terror of the Vervoids)
Season
Details
SynopsisGeneral
Information
The
Episodes
Audience
Appreciation
ArchivesNotesFirst and LastThe PlotQuote of
the Story
Release
Information
In PrintPhoto
Gallery
 

Colin Baker
Mindwarp
Sixth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


The Doctor and Sil
The Doctor and Sil
 Accused of ‘crimes against the inviolate laws of evolution’, The Doctor is on trial for his life.

 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 Thoros-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...



General Information

Season: Twenty Three
Production Code: 7B
Story Number: 143b
Episode Numbers:644 - 647
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"Planet of Sil" and "The Planet of Sil"
Production Dates: May - June 1986
Broadcast Started: 04 October 1986
Broadcast Finished: 25 October 1986
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC1 and TC6)
Location: Telscombe Cliffs (Peacehaven, East Sussex)
Writer:Philip Martin
Director:Ron Jones
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Script Editor:Eric Saward
Production Assistant:Karen Jones
Production Associates:Angela Smith and June Collins (Uncredited)
Assistant Floor Manager:Anna Price
Designer:Andrew Howe-Davies
Costume Designer:John Hearne
Make-Up Designer:Dorka Nieradzik
Incidental Music:Richard Hartley
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Brian Clark
Lighting:Don Babbage
Visual Effects:Peter Wragg
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton and Terry Handley
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Dominic Glynn
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Nicola Bryant (Peri) (Departs) Guest Cast: Lynda Bellingham (The Inquisitor), Michael Jayston (The Valeyard), Brian Blessed (King Yrcanos), Christopher Ryan (Kiv) Additional Cast: Nabil Shaban (Sil), Patrick Ryecart (Crozier), Alibe Parsons (Matrona Kani), Trevor Laird (Frax), Thomas Branch (The Lukoser), Gordon Warnecke (Tuza), Richard Harvey (Mentor)Setting: Trial Sequences: Time Lord Space Station (Rassilon Era)
Evidence Sequences: Thoros Beta (2379) Villains:Kiv, Sil (from Thoros-Beta) and The Valeyard

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
644Part 504 October 198624'42"4.8PAL 1" colour videotape
645Part 611 October 198624'45"4.6PAL 1" colour videotape
646Part 718 October 198624'33"5.1PAL 1" colour videotape
647Part 825 October 198624'44"5.0PAL 1" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 39 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 4.9
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)58.41%  (Position = 127 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2003)320 Points (Position = 47 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)59.58% Higher (Position = 142 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)64.67% Higher (Position = 168 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 1" colour videotapes. A 71-edit scratch print of all episodes also exists as well as a 72-edit of Part 7.



Return to the top of this page
 


Notes


"Mindwarp" is the title that has been given to parts five to eight of The Trial of a Time Lord, the season-long storyline that constituted Season Twenty Three.

The title "Mindwarp" is not used on screen and appears only on the story’s scripts with the four episodes that comprise the story being transmitted as Parts Five to Eight of The Trial of a Time Lord. This story marks the final appearance of Nicola Bryant as companion Peri Brown.

This story also sees the return of Sil (from Thoros-Beta) to the show - from last seasons’ "Vengeance on Varos". The villainous Sil had proved highly popular with The Doctor Who production team, and Philip Martin was quickly asked to bring the character back for a second story in the show. Sil had been due to return to the show in a story entitled "Planet of Storms", later renamed "Mission to Magnus", also featuring the Ice Warriors, for the aborted original Twenty Third season. "Mission to Magnus" had also been written by Philip Martin. Over Twenty years later, Nabil Shaban returned to help resurrect this story for Big Finish Productions audio adaptation as part of The Lost Stories range.

Using an idea taken from the Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, each story that makes up The Trial of a Time Lord season included evidence taken from The Doctor’s past, present and future. Being the second story of the season Philip Martin was asked to write the second segment, set in the ‘present’ - or, more specifically immediately preceding The Doctor’s arrival at the Time Lord courtroom at the start of the first episode of "The Mysterious Planet".

Some time though has passed for The Doctor and Peri since leaving Ravallox in the previous segment of evidence, possibly many months. They have travelled to Thoros Beta directly from an encounter with a dying Warlord of Thorden who had been supplied with advanced beam weapons from there. The Doctor has travelled there accordingly to investigate the arms sales. The exchange with the Warlord would seem to have been part of an extended encounter, as Peri notes his lusting after her prior to his death.

Philip Martin was also asked to kill off Peri in the final episode of this story as Nicola Bryant was beginning to worry that her acting career was being hampered by a prolonged association with the show and so it had been decided to replace Peri with new companion Melanie Bush mid-season.

This story was directed by Ron Jones, who had also directed last seasons’ "Vengeance on Varos".

The guest cast included the larger-than-life actor Bryan Blessed playing the part of King Yrcanos. Bryan Blessed was best known for his work in Z Cars amongst many other programmes and who had been widely - if erroneously - been reported, in 1983, as the actor who would have replaced Peter Davison as The Doctor.

Comic actor Christopher Ryan (who rose to prominence in The Young Ones) played the part of the heavily made-up and costumed Kiv. Christopher Ryan returned to show, as Sontaran leader General Staal, in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky", and again as another Sontaran, Commander Strak, in the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang".

Nabil Shaban (who played the part of Sil) reprises his role from last seasons’ "Vengeance on Varos".

Trevor Laird (who played the part of Frax) returned to Doctor Who in the Tenth Doctor’s era as Clive Jones, father of The Doctor’s companion Martha Jones. Trevor Laird is to date the only actor to play a recurring character in the BBC Wales version of the show, who also appeared in the original run of the show.

It was during the pre-production of this story that Script Editor Eric Saward resigned from the show - due to his working relationship with Producer John Nathan-Turner deteriorating. Even before his resignation, signs of Eric Saward’s discontent with the show were clear. Even being unable to offer any explanation - on whether The Doctor’s unhinged behaviour in this story was caused by Crozier’s machine, The Valeyard’s tampering with Matrix evidence, or just a trick - when Colin Baker had approached the script editor seeking clarification.

Normally location recording would take place before any studio work but the opposite took place for this story. Despite the first recording session going badly behind schedule the production team got things back on track through during the second recording session. This even allowed the recording of an early scene from the first episode of the preceding story, "The Mysterious Planet", of The Doctor arriving on the Time Lords’ space station. This was then followed by the location footage being taped on a pebble beach near Brighton.

Colourisation of and additions to the Thoros-Beta sky were achieved by the HARRY digital image manipulation process, the first implementation of this on the show.

Initially it was intended that the BBC Radiophonic Workshop would provide music scores for both this and "Terror of the Vervoids". Both were assigned to Malcolm Clarke to begin with, although "Terror of the Vervoids" was re-assigned to Elizabeth Parker shortly afterwards. However, fellow Radiophonic Workshop composer Jonathan Gibbs left early in 1986 and was not replaced until the following year, leaving the other composers backlogged and with no-one free to do the incidental music for "Mindwarp". It was suggested that Dick Mills could provide both the music and sound effects, but John Nathan-Turner rejected this idea and instead hired film composer Richard Hartley to create the incidental music for this segment. It would be the only time that Richard Hartley worked on the show. The original recordings of Richard Hartley’s score no longer exist in the BBC archives with the result that there was no isolated score included on the DVD release of this story.

The Time Lords take The Doctor out of time during this story. It is also revealed that the Time Lords have the ability to remotely control a TARDIS, and can put The Doctor into a trance. This was not possible during the 1969 Second Doctor story "The War Games" - suggesting that changes were made to The Doctor’s TARDIS during one of the number of visits it has since made to Gallifrey.

Kiv, leader of the Mentors, is addressed as ‘Magnificence’. Some less developed Mentors have a primordial sting, with highly toxic venom, in their tail.

Originally, the Mentors’ dialogue was to be dubbed, as it would have been in their native language, but this was later dropped.

It is not clear whether the Mentor’s planetary state is the same as the Amorb Corporation that Sil represented in "Vengance on Varos".

It is revealed that the Thoros Betan seas include: ‘The Sea of Turmoil’, ‘The Sea of Despair and Longing’, and ‘The Sea of Sorrows’. There is also an island called ‘Brak’.

Thoros Alpha is the twin planet of Thoros Beta and is home to a humanoid race called Alphans who are enslaved by the Mentors. It appears as a large, white body, clearly visible during the Betan day and has a large, white ring belt.

The Alphans outwardly resemble Native Americans but little of their actual culture is seen. They serve on Thoros Beta either as slaves or indentured labourers. An underground resistance however, exists led by Tuza.

The Raak is a genetically engineered amphibious creature. It is implied to be a genetically augmented native of the seas of Thoros Beta created as a by product of Crozier’s experimentation. It is not known whether ‘Raak’ is the name of the species, from which this individual originated, or the given name applied to the actual creature.

Whilst investigating Crozier’s lab, The Doctor picks up and inspects a specimen jar that seemingly contains an embryo Xenomorph (aka a chestburster) from the Alien films.

This second story of Season Twenty Three is sometimes considered to be one of the show’s most violent stories.

The video evidence shown at this story’s end leads directly into beginning of "The Mysterious Planet", the first part of The Trial of a Time Lord, taking place immediately prior to the action in the courtroom.

At the end of this story it is revealed that the Time Lords use Yrcanos as an assassin (to kill Crozier, his assistants, Kiv, Sil and to destroy the equipment, but not actually to kill the, still unharmed, Peri) because Crozier's discovery would affect natural evolution throughout the universe. (Not to mention giving everybody Time Lord length life spans). They do this by holding him in a time bubble so he is frozen until his targets are in the ideal place for him to shoot them without risk.

It has never been revealed how much of this story was fabricated. The Doctor however, largely confirms the authenticity of events presented (albeit with clever use of editing and camera angles on The Valeyard’s part to make him look culpable for the death of the Raak, for example) up to the end of Part Five. He does however, suffer total amnesia after that point due to the effect of Crozier's machine, rather than being taken out of time.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely: The TARDIS is missing its information notice on location; The third Mentor appears to be watching The A-Team on the television!

This story marked the end of Nicola Bryant’s time on the show. At first she was pleased that Peri would receive such a strong send-off with her death in the final episode of this story. However, it has been revealed that she was disappointed to learn that John Nathan-Turner had elected to reverse this decision and reveal in the season’s final episode, in the final part of "The Ultimate Foe", that Peri had not been killed after all.

Nicola Bryant has continued her career mostly on the stage. Her television appearance include the children programme The Biz! and Blackadder's Christmas Carol. Nicola Bryant reprised her role as Peri in 1993 for the Thirtieth-Anniversary Children In Need special "Dimensions in Time" and has also appeared in a number of the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio stories.

The Doctor meets Peri again in two spin off stories. She features in Virgin Books’ The New Adventures novel "Bad Therapy", written by Matt Jones, in which she harbours significant resentment of The Doctor’s abandonment of her. A post "Mindwarp" hallucination of Peri then appears in the Big Finish Productions audio story "Her Final Flight".

This was Philip Martin’s last televised Doctor Who story. Philip Martin became a senior radio drama producer for the BBC but continued to write for television, including the science-fiction series Star Cops. He also novelised his unmade "Mission to Magnus" for Target Books in July 1990.

A novelisation of this story, written by Philip Martin, was published by Target Books in June 1989 and was the final part of The Trial of a Time Lord season to be adapted. Philip Martin’s novelisation adds a joke ending which contradicts Peri’s fate that is suggested at the end of "The Ultimate Foe". The novelisations’ epilogue recounts Peri’s return to Earth with Yrcanos as a boxer.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first use, in Doctor Who, of the HARRY digital image manipulation process.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 Nicola Bryant's last story as Peri.

 The last appearance in the show for Sil played by Nabil Shaban.

 The last Doctor Who story to be written by Philip Martin.

 Eric Saward's last story as Script Editor.


Return to the top of this page
 


The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Surface of Thoros Beta
The Surface of Thoros Beta

In the courtroom, aboard the Time Lord’s space station, The Doctor’s trial continues. The Valeyard’s next evidence, again presented via a monitor screen linked to The Matrix, is an account of The Doctor’s recent involvement on the planet Thoros-Beta in the 24th century, last quarter, fourth year, seventh month, third day.

The Doctor and Peri, his travelling companion, arrive on a coastal beach on Thoros-Beta, The Doctor having decided to investigate after learning from the dying words of a Warlord of Thordon that technologically advanced and highly dangerous weapons are being supplied from this planet. Exploring a tidal cave, the travellers are attacked by a squid-like creature, the Raak, which has apparently been stationed there to operate machinery extracting energy from the sea water. The Doctor kills the Raak with a phaser which he had acquired from the dying Warlord.

The video footage suddenly stops and The Valeyard claims that this act is proof of The Doctor's inherently violent nature. The Doctor though protests that the death of the Raak was an accident. The Valeyard’s evidence then continues showing The Doctor and Peri being captured by humanoid guards and taken to the laboratory of a scientist named Crozier, whom the guard leader had assumed they were here to see. The Doctor and Peri though manage to escape before the mistake is discovered and, in some nearby tunnels, find a wolf-creature, the Lukoser, chained to a wall. A procession of Mentors, natives of Thoros-Beta, then passes by, and amongst their number is Sil (from Thoros-Beta) - who The Doctor and Peri last met on Varos (see "Vengeance on Varos").

Peri Meets King Yrcanos
Peri Meets King Yrcanos

Crozier has been conducting experiments in brain transference, his ultimate aim being to transfer the brain of the Mentor leader, Kiv, into a new body, it having outgrown its own. He has also been using a cell discriminator device to pacify the belligerent King Yrcanos, a Krontep warrior, who is currently lying on a bed in the laboratory.

The Doctor and Peri make their way back to the laboratory. The Doctor starts to disconnect the circuitry but is discovered by Sil, who decides to use the cell discriminator on him. The process though has already been started when Yrcanos suddenly revives and starts smashing up the laboratory before escaping into the tunnels. Yrcanos’ actions however, did not prevent The Doctor’s mind from being affected by the process he has undergone, which has made him become callous and self-interested. He offers to help Crozier repair the lab and assists Sil with some interplanetary currency speculation. Then, totally out of character, he betrays Peri to the Mentors. His bewildered companion is chained to the Rock of Sorrows on the jagged coastline outside the city and The Doctor starts to interrogate her in an attempt to get her to confess to being a spy from Thoros-Alpha.

King Yrcanos
King Yrcanos

Back in the courtroom The Doctor objects. He claims that he cannot clearly remember these events and so is sure that the evidence being presented has been falsified. The Valeyard states that it is impossible to tamper with the Matrix and so the video footage continues with Peri being escorted back to the base for further questioning. But on their way they are ambushed by Yrcanos and so The Doctor flees. Peri then accompanies Yrcanos who reveals that he is trying to locate an Alphan resistance movement, which he assumes is present on the planet, and that the Lukoser is actually Yrcanos’s loyal equerry, Dorf, who has fallen victim to Crozier's experiments. He also makes a shock announcement to Peri that he wants her to become his bride.

When Yrcanos finds the Alphan resistance group, Peri manages to win over their leader, Tuza. They all then head for Alphans’ weapons dump but are ambushed, and taken prisoner, by the Mentors’ guards. Crozier meanwhile has found a temporary body in which to house Kiv's brain. It is that of a Mentor fisherman found floating dead in the sea. The transfer is achieved successfully after several nerve-wracking false alarms - Kiv having ordered that both Crozier and Sil be killed if the operation failed.

As neither The Doctor nor the Alphans are suitable candidates for the permanent transference of Kiv’s brain, Crozier must find another host. He therefore wonders if Peri would be suitable. The Doctor, now acting more like his true self, goes to the Induction centre - the area where new Thoros-Alphan prisoners are taken for conditioning with brain implants. There he frees Tuza, rescues Yrcanos and Dorf from a cell, before heading off to save Peri, who is being prepared to become the ultimate recipient of Lord Kiv’s intelligence. Dorf is killed by guards and, in a rage, Yrcanos destroys the control centre. This causes the Alphan slaves to start milling about in confusion as their brain implants are longer operative.

Sil
Sil

As The Doctor approaches the laboratory, to rescue Peri, he is taken out of time by the Time Lords and transported to their space station to begin his trial. The video footage continues showing the transference operation being completed successfully by Crozier, and Kiv awakening in the body of Peri, whose own mind now ceases to exist.

Yrcanos and Tuza, who had been temporarily frozen in time by the Time Lords, are released at this point and they force their way into the laboratory. Unable to stand the sight of his intended bride possessed by Kiv’s consciousness, Yrcanos fires a phaser indiscriminately about the room, destroying everything within - the result which the Time Lords had intended to achieve, to eliminate the threat which they considered the transference equipment to pose to the natural course of evolution.

Back in the courtroom The Doctor is distraught at what he has seen and angrily disputes The Inquisitor’s claim that the High Council had no choice but to intervene. The Valeyard though insists that the interference of the Time Lords was to prevent a greater disaster befalling the universe due to the actions carried out by The Doctor.

The Doctor though is not convinced and he alleges that the Time Lords had an ulterior motive for taking him out of time and thus preventing him from saving Peri. He also asserts that there is more to this trial than has so far been revealed, and that he has every intention of finding out what it is as the trial continues.

 
The Doctor with Kiv and Crozier
The Doctor with Kiv and Crozier
Crozier Prepares to use King Yrcanos
Crozier Prepares to use King Yrcanos
The Doctor
The Doctor
Peri in Chains
Peri in Chains
 
Frax Reports to Sil
Frax Reports to Sil
Lord Kiv Awakes in Peri's Body
Lord Kiv Awakes in Peri's Body
Peri is Possessed by Kiv
Peri is Possessed by Kiv
The Courtroom
The Courtroom




Quote of the Story


 'Today, prudence shall be our watchword. Tomorrow, I shall soak the land in blood!'

King Yrcanos



Return to the top of this page
 


Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Audio
CD
30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop1993BBC CD 871Photo-montageSound effects
Video
VHS
MindwarpOctober 1993BBCV 5009Part of the "The Trial of a Time Lord" Box set containing all 4 "The Trial of a Time Lord" stories Released on 3 cassette in a TARDIS shaped tin (BBCV 5008)
Video
VHS
The Colin Baker YearsMarch 1994BBCV 5324PhotoClip only Introduced and commented on by Colin Baker
Video
DVD
MindwarpSeptember 2008BBCDVD 2422Part of the "The Trial of a Time Lord" Box set
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 23 (Limited Edition)September 2019BBCBD 0471Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 4 specially restored stories


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
MindwarpJune 1989Target No. 139Philip MartinAlister PearsonISBN: 0-426-20335-6
CD
CD
MindwarpSeptember 2013Target No. 139Philip MartinAlister PearsonPart of "The Trial of a Time Lord - Volume 1" CD Audio Set. Audio version of the Target Novel read by Lynda Bellingham
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 87 (Released: November 1999)
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 117 (Released: October 1986)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 121 (Released: February 1987)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 249 (Released: March 1997)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 399 (Released: September 2008)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 130 (Released: December 2013)

Return to the top of this page
 


Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion

 
Colin Baker
The Sixth Doctor

   

 
Nicola Bryant
Peri
 
   




On Release

Sound Effects CD Cover
Sound Effects CD Cover

BBC
AUDIO
VHS Box Set
VHS Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Colin Baker Years VHS Video Cover
Colin Baker Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   
The Collection Season 23 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 23 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
 
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 87
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 87

CMS
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 117
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 117

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 121
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 121

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 249
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 249

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 399
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 399

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 130
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 130

GE Fabbri
   

Return to the top of this page
 
 
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Me
Episodes of the
Sixth Doctor


Season 23 (The Trial of a Time Lord) Press to go back to the previous visited page References
 
 
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.