Sun, 28 September 2008
THERE WILL BE NO TDP FOR A WEEK OR SO DUE TO TECHNICAL ISSUES.
I AM SORRY ABOUT THIS.
HOPEFULLY I CAN SORT THINGS OUT SHORTLY.
Category:Information -- posted at: 4:58pm UTC
Sun, 21 September 2008
Listen past the end credits for spoiler chat!
1) Terror of the Verviods
2) Ultimate Foe
3) Steampunk in Doctor Who
4) Spoiler chat...
The Doctor returns to the courtroom after a recess, given to allow him to mourn Peri’s death, shown in the previous block of evidence. The Doctor begins his defence, showing events from his future on the galactic liner Hyperion III, a ship taking a supply of rare metals from Mogar to Earth in the year 2986AD. The Doctor states that many of the passengers and crew will not survive the journey to Earth, for "[someone determined to] protect a secret hidden on the space liner... will become a murderer."’’
This story segment of Trial was originally supposed to be written by Peter J. Hammond, creator of the cult science fiction series Sapphire & Steel. Hammond's story outline, titled Paradise Five, was liked by script editor Eric Saward but disliked by producer John Nathan-Turner, who rejected it and commissioned Pip and Jane Baker to do the segment instead. Hammond later wrote two episodes of the Doctor Who spin-off drama, Torchwood.
Designed as a typical Agatha Christie murder mystery set on a space liner, the actual structure of the story (and its bubbly tone) are reminiscent of the series during Douglas Adams' tenure as script editor, during season seventeen. In the first episode, Professor Lasky is briefly seen reading a copy of Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.
This serial marked the last time the BBC Radiophonic Workshop provided a music score for the series.
As no individual title was used onscreen or on the final scripts for this story, there has been some confusion over how to refer to the story. It was initially commissioned with the title of The Ultimate Foe. However this title was later given to the novelisation of the 13th and 14th parts of the season. Writers Pip and Jane Baker repeatedly referred to the story as The Vervoids in subsequent interviews, as have other production team members, but this title does not appear to exist on any contemporary documentation. When Target Books published Pip and Jane Baker's novelisation, it was under the title of Terror of the Vervoids, which is now generally used to refer to the story (see The Ultimate Foe and Doctor Who story title controversy).
Thanks to the paradoxes of time travel, since Mel is from the Doctor's future, she has already met him, but from the Doctor's perspective he is meeting her for the first time. Most spin-off media, including the novelisation by the Bakers, have assumed that the Doctor, at the end of the trial, takes Mel back to her proper place in time and eventually travels to her relative past to meet Mel for the first time from her perspective. That meeting, never seen on screen, is related in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Business Unusual by Gary Russell and also in his audio story He Jests at Scars, which provides a semi-sequel to this TV story.
In the new series episode Journey's End, a Magnetron (possibly salvaged during The Time War) is used to move a number of planets to another spot in the universe. Since then, the technology appears to have been modified and/or improved as the planets apparently just teleport rather than being "thrown".
 The Doctor
This was the last story to feature Colin Baker as the current Doctor. Baker was fired by the BBC and John Nathan Turner was ordered, reportedly by Michael Grade, to recast the lead part for the following season. Baker was offered the chance to appear as the Doctor in all four episodes of the first story of Season 24, but he declined this and the invitation to return for the traditional regeneration sequence in Time and the Rani.
Due to Colin Baker's dismissal from the role, it would turn out that the Sixth Doctor's last lines on screen were "Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice!" Although The Ultimate Foe was his last regular appearance as the Doctor on screen, the last story that Baker actually recorded was Terror of the Vervoids. Baker would reprise the role on stage, in 1989's Doctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure, and on screen in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time, as well as various audio adventures for Big Finish Productions.
 Final appearances
This marked the last appearance to date of the Time Lords, apart from a brief flashback in "The Sound of Drums." Coincidentally, James Bree (The Keeper of the Matrix) had appeared in The War Games (albeit in a different role), which was the first serial to feature the Time Lords.
The Valeyard has not re-appeared in the television series. His sole appearance in the Big Finish Productions audios has been the Doctor Who Unbound (and therefore outside of established continuity) He Jests at Scars..., where Michael Jayston reprises the role. The character has been featured (usually in dream sequences or metaphors) in the New Adventures and Missing Adventures book ranges from Virgin Publishing and the Past Doctor Adventures from the BBC, however none of these appearances conclusively reveals his origins. The forthcoming unofficial novel Time's Champion, the late Craig Hinton's final novel completed by his friend Chris McKeon, will see the return of the Valeyard and his origins revealed.
Robert Holmes was originally commissioned to write the two episodes. Unfortunately, he died from a chronic liver ailment after completing a draft of the first and left nothing beyond a plot outline of the second. The series Script Editor Eric Saward resigned around this time due to disagreements with the producer, John Nathan-Turner, but agreed to write the final episode based on Holmes' outline, and also rewrite Holmes' draft to tie the two together, for which he was credited as Script Editor. The original ending to this segment (and, indeed, the whole Trial story and possibly the series) would have seen the Doctor and the Valeyard in an inconclusive cliffhanger, both (seemingly) plunging into a void to their deaths as an extra "hook". However, Nathan-Turner felt this was too downbeat and believed that it was important that the season did not end on an inconclusive note since it was important after the hiatus to prove the series was back in business. Saward refused to change the ending and withdrew permission to use his script very late in the day, by which point the production team had been assembled and the segment was entering rehearsals.
John Nathan-Turner commissioned Pip and Jane Baker to write a replacement final episode. For copyright reasons they could not be told anything of the content of Saward's script (and there were lawyers observing all commissioning meetings). The only similarity between the two is the announcement that the High Council of the Time Lords have resigned, which was a natural development of the earlier scripts. The new script ended on an optimistic note, with the Doctor departing for new adventures.
In keeping with this more optimistic stance, Nathan-Turner decided to amend the script at the last minute to show how Peri had not died as shown in Mindwarp but in fact, became Yrcanos's queen. Her "death" was merely a part of the Valeyard's tampering with the Matrix, with a shot from the earlier story used to show this. Nicola Bryant was disappointed to learn how the fate of her character had been changed.
Ultimately, the works of Charles Dickens are evident in the story: the fictional landscape in the Matrix resembles Victorian era Britain, and the character (and name) of Mr. Popplewick are strongly Dickensian. The Doctor also quotes the final two lines of A Tale of Two Cities, prompting Mel to chide him: "Never mind the Sydney Carton heroics!"
The working title of this story was Time Incorporated. However, this title did not appear in the final scripts or on-screen.
Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality.
Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk and shares a similar fanbase and theme of rebellion, but developed as a separate movement (though both have considerable influence on each other). Apart from time period and level of technological development, the main difference between cyberpunk and steampunk is that steampunk settings usually tend to be less obviously dystopian than cyberpunk, or lack dystopian elements entirely.
Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual craftpersons into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.
Wed, 10 September 2008
The Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric arrive on a spaceship which is headed for Earth. On board they meet natives of Earth from various different eras, and also three Urbankans: Monarch, Persuasion and Enlightenment. What are the aliens' intentions when they reach Earth?
The TARDIS materializes on board a vast and advanced alien spacecraft, observed by a hovering surveillance device which conveys the arrival of the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric to an observing being that is in control of the vessel. The TARDIS crew become separated and the Doctor and Tegan reach the bridge of the vessel where the green-skinned commander introduces himself as Monarch, ruler of Urbanka, and his associates and fellow Urbankans are the Ministers of Enlightenment and Persuasion. The leader is intrigued by talk of current Earth civilisation and reveals their ship is bound for Earth. Shortly afterward Enlightenment and Persuasion seemingly regenerate into human form, dressed in garments Tegan designed to demonstrate contemporary Earth fashions.
The TARDIS crew are reunited as guests aboard the ship and it soon becomes apparent that there are four distinct human cultures represented on the vessel by a small group of humans – Ancient Greeks, the leader of whom is the philosopher Bigon; Chinese Mandarins and their leader Lin Futu; Princess Villagra and representatives of the Mayan people; and Kurkutji and his tribesmen, of the very ancient Australian Aborigine culture. The Urbankans have made periodic visits to Earth, each time getting speedier in their journeys. This time they have left their homeworld after erratic solar activity, storing three billion of their species on slides aboard their craft, and it seems the current journey is their last and they now wish to settle on Earth, which they are due to reach in four days time.
The Doctor becomes suspicious of Monarch and soon learns that the Urbankan does not plan on peaceful co-existence: instead, he has developed a virus to wipe out humanity, and this will be unleashed before the Urbankans disembark. He also finds out that the humans aboard are not descendents of the original abductees, but are the original people taken from Earth and converted into androids like the three Urbankans walking around on board. The four leaders of the peoples have been given additional circuits to help them reason, but this facility can be taken away, as Bigon learns when he crosses Monarch once too often. He explained to the Doctor that Monarch strip-mined and destroyed Urbanka in a quest for minerals to improve the ship, and now plans to do the same to Earth. Monarch believes that if he can move the ship faster than the speed of light, he can pilot it back to the beginning of time and discover himself as God…
Adric, nevertheless, is rather taken with Monarch, and tensions between him and the Doctor become very strained. It takes the truth to break the alien’s hold over the boy. The Doctor now sets about over-throwing Monarch and, with the help of the human androids led by a restored Bigon, a revolution is put into effect. Enlightenment and Persuasion are de-circuited, while Monarch himself is exposed to the deadly toxin and killed. It seems he was a product of the weak “flesh time” after all, having never, as the Doctor suspected, been fully converted into an android. The humanoid androids decide to pilot the vessel to a new home on a new world, while the TARDIS crew departs. Back in the console room, Nyssa suddenly collapses to the floor in a dead faint.
Broadcast, VHS and DVD release
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Thu, 4 September 2008
The TARDIS arrives on the planet, where the Doctor shows Peri a weapon given to him by the "Warlord of Thordon", made on Thoros Beta. He states that has come to find out how the warlords obtained such technology. They enter a cave, where Peri is grabbed by a large monstrous creature, which during a struggle the Doctor shoots with the gun.
A figure arrives and accuses the Doctor and Peri of murdering the Raak, despite their protestations that it attacked them first. The figure asks if they are part of Crozier's group, and the Doctor says that he is. They flee before they can be identified as imposters, but are quickly faced by another monster, but it reacts kindly when the Doctor is nice to it. They are forced to flee further, and as they hide they see three reptilian figures being carried along by guards, the third of the figures is shown to be their old enemy Sil. The Doctor realises that Sil is probably behind the arms sales, and informs Peri that Thoros Beta is the home world of Sil's race, the Mentors.
In Crozier's laboratory, King Yrcanos is being experimented on, and the Doctor and Peri sneak inside. As the Doctor sabotages some of Kiv's equipment, Sil arrives in the laboratory. The Doctor is strapped to a table, and Crozier applies a metal helmet to his head. Crozier states that the equipment to extract the truth from a suspect, and that technique could prove fatal. He starts to probe the Doctor's mind, but Yrcanos awakes and destroys the equipment. Overpowering the guards he departs the laboratory, followed by a stunned Doctor and Peri. Yrcanos outlines his plans to attack the Mentors. The Doctor says he would enjoy that, and then collapses.
Yrcanos, the Doctor and Peri go to where new slaves are brought into the base. Yrcanos plans to attack the guards and steal their weapons, but as he sneaks into the room, the Doctor calls out to the guards, giving him away. Yrcanos, unable to fight the guards, flees. Peri points a weapon at Sil, and asks the Doctor for help, but he ignores her. Peri drops the weapon and flees after Yrcanos. Sil asks the Doctor why he helped the Mentors, and he replies that the odds were on their side.
Peri comes across Matrona, who allows her to join the Mentors' servants rather than turn her over to the guards. Covered with a veil, she enters the Commerce Room with Kiv's medication. The Doctor calls to her to get him a drink, so she disguises her voice to avoid being recognised. When she brings him a new drink, the Doctor uncovers her and denounces her as an enemy to the Mentors.
Peri is lashed to rocks on the shoreline and the Doctor stands over her, accusing of being a spy. She asks why he is behaving the way he is, and the Doctor tells her that Crozier is planning to put Kiv's brain into his body unless he can help them. Crozier stops the interegation, saying that they have more effective methods of extracting the truth from Peri. As they re-enter the complex, Yrcanos attacks the guard, and threatens to kill the Doctor. However, Peri smashes the gun from Yrcanos's hands allowing the Doctor to flee. In Crozier's laboratory, the scientist prepares to transplant Kiv's brain into a recently deceased Mentor corpse with the help of The Doctor. The operation proves successful.
Meanwhile, Yrcanos, Peri and Dorf team up with members of the Alphan resistance. Agreeing to allow Yrcanos to lead them in an attack on the Mentors, they go to the resistance arms dump, but they are ambushed by Mentor guards and shot down. However, it is revealed they have merely been stunned, and they are taken to cells.
In Crozier's laboratory, Lord Kiv is rambling due to the body of the fisherman influencing his brain. Crozier makes plans to transfer the brain into another more suitable body, and suggests using Peri. The Doctor says he would prefer that she is not experimented on, but while he is trying to find another candidate, Peri is brought to the laboratory, and strapped to the operating table. Crozier begins to prepare her for the surgery.
The Doctor goes to Yrcanos's cell and tricks the guard allowing Yrcanos and Dorf to escape. Together they free the remaining resistance members. They head towards the control room from where all the slaves are mentally controlled and succeed in freeing the slaves from mental control, but Dorf is killed by a passing guard. Lord Kiv is taken to the laboratory to prepare for the operation. As the Doctor heads towards the lab, he is summoned by the Time Lords and promptly vanishes.
As Yrcanos prepares his attack on the laboratory, the Time Lords capture him in a time bubble so that his attack is perfectly timed. When Kiv awakes in Peri's bald body, the time bubble dissipates and Yrcanos bursts into the laboratory. He is consumed with fury and begins firing his gun wildly.
Initially it was intended that the BBC Radiophonic Workshop would provide music scores for both this and the following segment of The Trial of a Time Lord; both were assigned to Malcolm Clarke to begin with, although Terror of the Vervoids got 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 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 Hartley worked on the series.
Trevor Laird returned to Doctor Who in the Tenth Doctor era as Clive Jones, father of the Doctor's companion Martha Jones. Similarly, Christopher Ryan returned in 2008 as Sontaran leader General Staal in The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poison Sky.
In October 1993, this story was released on VHS as part of the three-tape The Trial of a Time Lord set. A DVD release is due on September 29th 2008, similarly packaged with the other stories in The Trial of a Time Lord season. Special Features include: deleted and extended scenes • "The Making of the Trial of a Time Lord - Part Two - Mindwarp" (a 20-minute feature) • "Now and Then - On the Trial of a Time Lord" (a 21-minute feature) • "A Fate Worse Than Death" Feature • Doctor Who Lenny Henry sketch • BBC Children in Need archival footage • TV Talkback archival footage • photo gallery • trails and continuities.
A novelisation of this serial, written by Philip Martin, was published by Target Books in June 1989 and was the final segment of the Trial arc to be adapted. Martin's novelisation adds a joke ending that gives away the revelation regarding Peri's fate in The Ultimate Foe, suggesting an entirely different outcome for the character (and for Yrcanos) than is suggested in the serial.