Doctor Who: The Mysterious Planet (Story #143)

6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 6/10

The Trial

Dull story


Trial? I was told that it was a special “This Is Your Life”…crap.

The Doctor (Colin Baker) has been summoned to Galifrey and now facing charges that could strip him of his title of Time Lord and remove his regenerations.  Now, in defense of himself, the Doctor finds the Valeyard (Michael Jayston) providing information to the Inquisitor (Lynda Bellingham) on an adventure to a planet named Ravolox with his companion Peri (Nicola Bryant) and how a device lurking below the planet’s surface could mean doom for the universe.

Doctor Who:  The Mysterious Planet aired as the first serial of the twenty-third season of Doctor Who and the first part in the larger The Trial of a Time Lord serial that encompassed the whole season.  The story aired in four parts from September 6, 1986 to September 27, 1986.  Following Doctor Who:  Revelation of the Daleks, Doctor Who:  The Mysterious Planet has been collected as Story #144 (or Story #143 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker story Doctor Who:  Shada).  The whole The Trial of a Time Lord storyline was collected as one box set.


I’m just angry that I’m a lame robot

I have not enjoyed Colin Baker’s run on Doctor Who.  The decision to make Colin Baker the unbalanced Doctor didn’t help to make him appealing to the audience (a plan was to make him generally regain his sanity and more charming personality).  The Trial of a Time Lord however starts to try to make Colin Baker likeable again, but it is too little too late.

The story for this entry is rather generic.  The main aspect of this story that has much relevance is the set up for the trial.  The story on Ravolox seems a bit incidental (it does factor into bigger Trial story in part four Doctor Who:  The Ultimate Foe).  I wish that more time had been set-up with the Trial and that the story used as evidence had been the secondary story.  I find many Galifrey stories rather interesting and like to see how the planet and the Galifreyians are set up.


Peri…why don’t people like us?

In addition to the unlikable Doctor, he’s still stuck with the unlikable Peri (Nicola Bryant) who continues to battle her American accent.  I do have to say that she’s a little better here than in some of her earlier appearances, but she still is rather annoying (a trend that really started with the arrival of the “younger” companions that the series writers tried to bring in).  Fortunately, this is Peri’s penultimate episode and you don’t have endure her much longer.  The story also introduces Tony Selby as Sabalom Glitz who becomes an important player in the storyline and later in the run of the series.

This entry in The Trial of a Time Lord is probably the most forgettable of the four stories.  It feels like a rather generic Doctor Who story shoehorned into a larger tale.  Granted, events of the story do affect the outcome of “the Trial”, but I would have preferred a more surprising and compelling story to intro the whole tale.  Doctor Who:  The Mysterious Planet was followed by Doctor Who:  Mindwarp.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Revelation of the Daleks (Story #142)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Mindwarp (Story #144)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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