I’ve always wondered what the individual stories in the bad idea that is the Trial of a Time Lord season would be like on their own – that is, with all the Trial sequences cut out. That idea had been a pet project of mine for ages and when the DVDs came out I finally had my chance to answer that question. And the answer is – a helluva lot better than they were on TV!
This first story, The Mysterious Planet, is really just a rewrite of The Krotons. Maybe Robert Holmes was all out of ideas by this point or perhaps his final illness was starting to take its toll. But, whatever the reason, the Doctor’s encounter with Drathro is actually less entertaining than the original Kroton version – and that’s saying something!
On the plus side we’ve got Carry On stalwart Joan Sims, Worzel Gummidge‘s Mrs Bloomsbury-Barton, as Katryca, Queen of The Free in a Bonnie Langford fright wig. But best of all there’s the wonderful Tony Selby playing “loveable rogue” Sabalom Glitz, and I would much rather it had been him who was the post-Peri companion than Melanie bloody Bush. Wouldn’t you?
Oh, I can just imagine it, Sixie and Glitzy in the Tardis! Ha ha. Selby is one of those actors who’s been in almost everything but I mainly remember him from the old National Service sitcom Get Some In! And can someone please tell me why he hasn’t done any Big Finish??? For this Fan Edit I’ve included a couple of deleted scenes for the sake of completeness in the first episode. They’re okay I suppose but I can see why they got left out.
The biggest problem was working round the cutaways to the trial room, such as when Peri gets upset on discovering Marble Arch. That involved lots of covering up the joins with crossfaded music cues and cutting away slightly earlier than they did on telly. All the episodes come out quite a bit longer than normal, certainly longer than I was expecting but, given the amount of setup for the trial this story has to do, perhaps that isn’t so surprising.
But what they do is help to give you an idea of what the story would have been like had it been part of an “ordinary” season of Who and editing them was not only fun but worthwhile too, I think. And if the memory of Trial is too painful, then you can always watch them and imagine that they`re just cut-downs with most of the padding removed!