The Trial of a Time Lord (Mindwarp)

GORDON’S ALIVE, IT’S BRIAN BLESSED! Playing a warrior king on Thoros Beta (home planet of the slug-like alien Sil, from Vengeance on Varos), Brian Blessed is the beacon of fun and enthusiasm in this otherwise shoddy story. I can barely remember what else happens, something about a scientist experimenting on the humanoid locals, looking for a suitable body donor for Sil’s boss, Lord Kiv, before he dies, and the Time Lords ultimately having to step in and stop it. What happened to non-interference, eh?

Part 1 uses funky video colouring to make this scene look like an alien planet... or an Andy Warhol painting.

Part 1 uses funky video colouring to make this scene look like an alien planet… or an Andy Warhol painting.

Amongst all the lunacy is Peri being recruited as a serving wench for all of five minutes, a strange mutated wolfman, and the Doctor losing his marbles… but actually it’s all a ruse! OR IS IT? It’s a pretty poor ruse, as Peri’s mind gets wiped and the Time Lords kill her. OR DO THEY? Etcetera, etcetera. What the hell is going on?!

Sil's head prosthetic has improved since his last appearance, but the character is superfluous this time. His gurgling laugh is as distinctive as ever, though.

Sil’s head prosthetic has improved since his last appearance, but the character is superfluous this time. His gurgling laugh is as distinctive as ever, though.

Where the previous story worked perfectly well without the courtroom framing device, the four parts of Mindwarp seem intertwined with what’s happening there. The Doctor’s amnesia prevents him from setting the record straight, so we have to take the story at face value. Either that, or the amnesia is just an excuse for poor characterisation. The Doctor is a thoroughly detestable character in this story, reverting back to his cowardly ways from The Twin Dilemma.

Brian Blessed basically dominates every scene with his presence, for better or worse.

Brian Blessed basically dominates every scene with his presence, for better or worse.

Ultimately, though, Mindwarp is just boring. Really boring, aimless, witless, silly and without merit. The only excuse I can give it is that perhaps it’s unfair to judge until the full story is revealed and it’s building up to something special in the trial, but I’m not hopeful of that. And if this really is the end of poor Perpugilliam, it’s the worst exit a main character could ever hope for.

Kiv's mind is transferred to Peri's brain, shortly before she's killed in an attack. Is this really the end of her?

Kiv’s mind is transferred to Peri’s brain, shortly before she’s killed in an attack. Is this really the end of her?

Although he’s certainly the best thing in it, not even Brian Blessed can save this one, and that’s thoroughly damning!

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