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The Trial of a Time
Written by Robert Holmes, Philip Martin & Pip and
|Frequently Asked Questions List|
|This is an attempt to try and answer some of those Frequently
Asked Questions about one of the most confusing stories in Doctor Who's
history, "The Trial of a Time Lord."
Well, why is it so confusing, you ask?
One reason is a fundamental one about stories that have two plots running, with one in an outer frame. I can recall being given "Man of La Mancha" to read in a drama class once. Myself and about half the students had little trouble with it, but for some reason or another, the other half of the class couldn't follow it and had difficulty keeping the two plots straight. I've noted similar confusion among some people who have seen the Trial.
The second reason is one of our FAQs, which is the story behind the scenes. I'll try and make this brief.
Eric Saward, the Script Editor for the series at the time, came up with the idea of an umbrella theme to the entire 23rd season that would involve the Doctor being placed on Trial by the Time Lords for crimes of intervening in the affairs of other planets. Producer John Nathan-Turner liked it and the two went ahead with the plan.
This plan was that the fourteen-episode season would be split into two four-part sub-stories, and three two-part stories, the last of which would wrap up the Trial. The first two stories would contain evidence against the Doctor for the prosecution. The second two would be evidence he offers in his own defence.
There was also a deliberate decision made to follow the pattern of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." The first segment would be of the Doctor's past, the second of the present, and the defence segments were to be of his future.
Writers were assigned for all of the stories. Robert Holmes was chosen for the first and the last, and Philip Martin would write the second. Things were much less stable concerning the defence evidence. The first segment was to be written by David Halliwell, and the second two-parter by Jack Trevor Story. It was decided at this time that the two should work closely so that ideas from Halliwell's segment could merge into those in Story's.
Eric Saward was not pleased with what Halliwell and Story were each doing, and eventually rejected their stories outright.
After this, Saward and Nathan-Turner felt that as time was getting a little tight, it would be simpler to make the defence evidence all one story and for it all to be written by one writer. Christopher H. Bidmead was chosen for this task, but it wasn't long before Eric Saward pulled the plug on this story as well, feeling it lacked any drive.
Next up to bat was P.J. Hammond, and this time Eric Saward liked what was being written. The same was not true of John Nathan-Turner, and he rejected the story.
With things really getting tight now, Nathan-Turner turned to Pip and Jane Baker to write the defence segment, as the two are known for being able to write quickly. JNT and Eric Saward told them that they wanted a "whodunnit" in space, and that is what Pip and Jane produced. This final script was completed on a rush and just in time to meet production deadlines.
In the meantime, Philip Martin was doing OK with his script (by comparison), and Robert Holmes had completed the first story. However, after completing the work on Part 13 of the Trial, Mr. Holmes fell ill and soon after died, leaving nothing but an outline for the final part behind.
Eric Saward stepped into the breach to fill the gap, as Script Editors have had to do in the past, and rewrote the ending of Part 13 to bridge the gap into his concluding episode. This episode was to have followed the original ideas Saward, Holmes, and JNT had discussed prior to the season's beginning, but John Nathan-Turner found reasons to dislike it and ultimately reject it. JNT and Saward had a falling out, and Saward quit the BBC altogether, taking the rights to his script with him.
With only a week to go before the shooting deadline, JNT turned to Pip and Jane Baker again and asked them to write a segment that would conclude the entire Trial. JNT was not allowed to discuss the original endings of either the Holmes or Saward scripts, due to copyright difficulties with Holmes estate and with Saward himself.
The resulting episode was five minutes too long, but it was allowed to air this way in any case by Controller Jonathan Powell.
Is it little wonder then that "The Trial of a Time Lord" had a somewhat confusing and convoluted ending?
So just what did happen then?
The following is my personal intrepretation of the events told in the canonical televised stories, told in a chronological order from the point-of-view of the Time Lords of Gallifrey. (the Valeyard theories that follow it are based on the canon, but extrapolate from it too) Assume for this that the "present" is Gallifrey and the Time Lords as we see them at the end of the Trial.
Several centuries ago, the Matrix was violated.
The Matrix is a vast databank and storehouse of technological knowledge, including the experiences of all Time Lords wherever they may be, and the entire minds of most Time Lords who have died. Most scientific scans and functions of the Time Lords in some way involve the Matrix, and in most of those cases, it is the principle component. Terminal interface with the Matrix's functions can be achieved at various points throughout the Capitol, while direct "super-user" software-to-mind interface is available only to the President of the High Council, and the hardware is monitored and tended by the Keeper of the Matrix (the sole posessor of the Key of Rassilon which permits physical entry into its probably fifth-dimensional "interior").
The Matrix's security was thought to be inviolable. Yet somehow someone in the Universe had found a way to hack into the system and start making copies of some extremely advanced technological files. All the secrets of the Time Lords were at risk, from the time travel facility to trans-dimensional engineering.
The High Council is supposed to be concerned about this because it would mean the delivery of dangerously advanced knowledge into the hands of less advanced cultures. The normal course of action would be to trace and seal the leak and assess the damage done to the culture. .. .
However, this High Council wasn't as noble as their oaths of office said they should be. Their reaction was one of anger and fear that their monopoly of Time could soon be broken, and they decided on swift and penalizing action against those who had dared to steal from them. And by "those," they meant not only the thieves, but the entire planet of origin of the thieves.
They traced the leak in the Matrix to a planet called Earth. (On Earth's calendar, the year would be two million A.D. or so) The High Council then ordered that a device called the Magnotron would be used to draw the Earth and its entire constellation two light years off its original course.
This killed two birds with one stone. Not only was the planet now in a position that no species knew of (and therefore isolated), but in the motion, a solar fireball was created that destroyed nearly all life on Earth, and, so they thought, destroyed those who had stolen from them, and their civilization so that the breach could never occur again. Following the motion, the High Council renamed the planet Ravolox to cover their tracks, and made certain that their actions remained carefully buried, as they were highly illegal and broke several of their own Laws of Time, not to mention a moral travesty. The fact that an ancient civlization had been destroyed to save their scientific advances was of little consequence in the High Council's planning.
And as it turned out. . . their actions were not entirely successful. Earth was not in fact the civilization that had spawned the Matrix thieves. The real thieves were a group from the constellation of Andromeda. They found the way to break into the Matrix, but before they did so, they set up shop on Earth as a cover because they knew that the Time Lords would eventually trace the leak and take punitive action.
And when the Time Lords did trace the leak, the Andromedans were able to see the fireball attack coming and set up an underground survival chamber for three of their number, called the Sleepers. Also, every secret they had taken from the Matrix was stored on a large tape of microdots, and the entire underground system was put under the charge of an L3 robot named Drathro, who was given a workforce of 500 of Earth's natives to assist him in maintaining the underground system.
Drathro and the Sleeper's hibernation system were fueled by a black light system, assuring that there would never be a loss of the source of power, making the only limit on the system's lifetime one of the hardware rather than the source of energy.
The Andromedans also sent a robot recovery mission from Andromeda intended to rendezvous with Earth and recover the Sleepers and their secrets. In this case, however, the High Council won a battle as the repositioning of the planet meant that the robot mission missed Earth altogether and sped out into empty space. The hibernation system eventually failed, and the Sleepers died. However, Drathro lived on, and the box of secrets of the Matrix survived intact, still guarded by "the Immortal" and his underground dwellers.
For five centuries this dark secret of the High Council's goes undiscovered except by a handful of rogues and treasure hunters, who over the years attempt to get the secrets that were left behind. All fail because of their own devious methods when dealing with escapees of the underground system.
Until one day. . . only a few months ago.
The Time Lords' most famous renegade, known as the Doctor, was looking for somewhere interesting to go. He stumbles upon a planet listed in his TARDIS databanks that has startingly similar features to those of his favorite planet of all, Earth, including angle of tilt, mass, and period of rotation. Seeing this as quite a phenomena, he decides to investigate the planet.
While there, the underground survival system, Drathro, and the secrets are destroyed due indirectly to the Doctor's intervention and to that of another prospector from the constellation of Andromeda, Sabalom Glitz. However, the Doctor does learn several secrets about Ravolox that the High Council would rather he not know, such as the fact that Earth and its constellation are inexplicably two light years off course and that there was a box of secrets that Glitz was very interested in....
Such knowledge would be dangerous in anyone's hands, and are ten times as dangerous in the Doctor's. Someone on the High Council, possibly the President, learns of the Doctor's visit to Ravolox shortly after the fact and of how close he came on that occasion to cracking their entire cover-up wide open. The danger that he someday will crack it is extremely great now, especially when considering his affection for Earth and his natural curiosity.
This is a breach of security which could not be ignored. The Doctor had to be silenced, once and for all.
It seems that the Council's judgement of how to deal with the problem runs along similar lines to that of Servalan's in the Blake's 7 episode "Trial." Clearly the Doctor must be silenced, but it must be done in such a painstaking and seemingly honest way that a guilty verdict can never be questioned. Along the way, the Council would like to introduce the Doctor's visit to Ravolox into the evidence, thus if he is found guilty, any conclusions he might have come to then about the planet would be not taken seriously by other Time Lords since they would be the conclusions of a convicted and executed renegade. It could be dangerous, but if handled correctly, the hole in their cover-up could be neatly sealed and put away once and for all.
The Council therefore decided to take the Doctor out of Time and get him tried by the Ultimate Court of Appeals for crimes against the First Law of Time, that of intervention in history and the affairs of other peoples and planets. As the Doctor is such a meddler, at least half the conviction should be assured by his own actions by themselves.
However, the Council is also afraid that their former Lord President will yet again find a clever means of escape. They must therefore make certain that the prosecuting counsel be of equal intellect and cunning, and someone who can get under the Doctor's skin and use his own strengths against him. It would also be advantageous if the evidence could be "fine tuned" by this counsel to assure a guilty verdict.
The Council knows of someone who certainly knows the Doctor well, who is his equal in intellect and cunning, and who has a link to the Matrix already established that only a President of the High Council can ever get, and therefore an affinity for manipulation and control of the Matrix should the Council allow it...
He is known as the Doctor.
A possible future self of the Doctor's own would be asked if he would prosecute the case for all of the above reasons, and as a reward, he would be given the six remaining regenerations of the "present" Doctor's. This Doctor with no regenerations of his own agrees to this deal, and is given the title of "learned court prosecutor," or Valeyard.
This future Doctor's origin and motive questions will be discussed later. The Valeyard is charged with assuring a guilty verdict by any means, and he is also told to include the Ravolox visit as part of the evidence.
The Valeyard and the Council wait a little for the Doctor to become involved in a particularly nasty adventure that would be difficult to explain, and indeed they find one tailor-made to suit their ends. They lift the Doctor out of Time at a critical moment, and then as an emotional knife to the hearts, the Valeyard alters evidence of this adventure to make the Doctor appear to be antagonistic towards his companion, Peri, and to make it appear that, as a result of this, Peri died at the orders of the High Council.
The TARDIS and the Doctor arrive at the space station where the Inquiry will take place before the Ultimate Court of Appeals' members, and the Ravolox affair is the first Matrix evidence used against the Doctor by the Valeyard. As the proceedings move forward, the Valeyard succeeds in elevating what had been an Inquiry into a full-scale Trial, as he was charged to do by the High Council. The Ravolox evidence also has certain pieces of evidence excised to prevent the Court from learning of the break-in in the Matrix. During the evidence in this segment and the next, the Valeyard knows exactly what buttons to press on the Doctor to make this version of himself explode into what the Court and the Inquisitor will regard as immature bramblings that hurt his credibility.
The Ravolox evidence by itself is incriminating, but perhaps insufficient. The next segment is anything but insufficient, particularly after the Valeyard has tampered with the evidence.
Following it, the Doctor is even convinced that unless he puts up a decent defence, he will be condemned. The wind in his sails is also severely curtailed when he learns of Peri's death.
The Doctor is allowed Matrix access by the Inquisitor, and he takes the defence that he will improve in his future, a defence probably unique to the Time Lords but logical given the fact that they are, well, Time Lords.
However, once again, certain pieces of evidence in this case are altered by the Valeyard to make the Doctor's actions suspect. The alterations are a little more clumsy here, probably due to the fact that the Valeyard has much less time to change things the Doctor has just found than to alter evidence he himself was preparing to use. This arouses the Doctor's suspicion even more, and gives him a suspect in the alterations.
The Valeyard is unconcerned by this, knowing that the Doctor might know who is manipulating him, but he will be unable to prove it.
And indeed, following his evidence, the Doctor is unable to prove any Matrix tampering. He can get the Keeper of the Matrix to admit that the Matrix can be physically penetrated, but there is no way for the Doctor to prove that anyone has actually done it, and the Inquisitor will accept the Valeyard's evidence.
The Doctor has also put his own foot in his mouth by opening himself up to a charge of genocide from his own evidence, which under Article 7 would mandate a death sentence without possibility of reprieve or for the Inquisitor to lighten the sentence.
Things are going fine and dandy for the Valeyard, until one of his oldest enemies decides to show up and blow the roof off the space station.
The Master arrives from within the Matrix, proving to one and all that not only qualified people can get inside, as he's got a copy of the Key of Rassilon. He also brings Glitz and the Doctor's future companion Melanie to the space station as witnesses in the Doctor's defence, although Glitz's testimony goes more to indict the High Council. (Melanie featured in the Doctor's defence evidence.) Glitz explains why he was on Ravolox (and it turns out he was hired to do so by the Master, who was probably wary of going there himself as his presence might have been detected by the Matrix and alerted to the Council) and what the Time Lords did to the Earth to protect their own interests. The Valeyard can do nothing but get angry, and the Doctor takes the opportunity to point out the Time Lords' own hypocricy. The Master then introduces the Court to the true identity of the Valeyard, and the Valeyard flees into the Matrix, where he has contingency plans of his own in the making.
Back on Gallifrey, the news from the Trial of the Doctor breaks, and the entire High Council is almost immediately deposed. Reports say that an insurrection is taking place, collapsing Gallifrey into chaos.
Meanwhile, the Doctor pursues the Valeyard into the Matrix, and finds that his future self has set up a fantasy world similar to that he had encountered once before. Before the Valeyard will show himself, he has his minion, Mr Popplewick, get the Doctor to sign a consent form which will bestow his remaining lives to the Valeyard should the Doctor die within the long and dark corridors of this Fantasy Factory.
The Valeyard then immediately manipulates the fantasy to try and kill the Doctor. An attack by illusion fails partly due to Glitz's intervention, but mostly because of the Doctor's refusal to believe in the illusion. He next tries a short, physical attack, but the Doctor and Glitz are rescued from this by the Master with the use of his TARDIS which he has managed to nest within the Matrix.
The Master's motives begin to show themselves at this point. His intention, he says, is to get the Doctor and the Valeyard to destroy one another. While this is certainlsomething he'd like to see happen, the truth is that he wants them to be so concerned with fighting each other that the Valeyard will not notice when he takes control of the Matrix memory tapes himself. When he believes he has achieved this, he delivers an ultimatum to the Court of Appeal, telling them that as he has control of the Matrix, only he can impose order on the now chaotic Gallifrey, and if anyone disregards his commands, they will invite summary execution. The Master connects the Matrix tape to his TARDIS controls, and only at this point finds out that it has been boobytrapped by the Valeyard. (and it might not have been the real tape at all) The trap pins him in his own TARDIS for the duration of this tale...
The Valeyard's third attack is perhaps his best. He decides that the best way to kill the Doctor is to convince him that he must sacrifice his own life, and he sets up an illusion of the Trial room that he uses to convince the Doctor that he has been found guilty of the genocide charge and will shortly be executed. The Valeyard doesn't know that the Doctor has spotted the illusion, but he aborts it in any case when the real Melanie intervenes and blurts out loud that the Trial was an illusion.
If the Valeyard had another plan to kill the Doctor (while both are within the Matrix and therefore the "will my lives away" pact would stay true) after this, we do not find out about it as the Doctor goes onto the offensive, and the Valeyard is distracted by Glitz and the Master's activities.
While investigating the Valeyard's illusions, the Doctor finds a list of the names of the Court of Appeal, all crossed through, and in his handwriting. Glitz then arrives with Mr Popplewick, the two having stuck up a deal whereby Glitz would deliver the Doctor to a certain location if he were given the Matrix memory tape. The deal is completed, albeit not quite as Popplewick would have liked, and then before Popplewick can carry out his plan for the Doctor, the Doctor turns and captures him, revealing to Melanie that this Popplewick person has been the true Valeyard all along in an elaborate disguise.
However, just before this happened, the Valeyard managed to activate a contingency plan. In this place in the Matrix is a Particle Diseminator which, when used, will use the Matrix screen in the Court to destroy all the members of the Court of Appeals, and as the Valeyard put it, cause "the catharsis of spurious morality." The list, the Doctor realizes, is a hit list for all the members of the Court.
It is not known if this was something the Valeyard was told to do by the High Council, or if he was doing this on his own. It would be in character for the Valeyard, after collecting his "fee" of regenerations, to want to send the Council up a creek without a paddle and kill off the Court of Appeal as well, thus leaving a power vacuum for himself and his then-exclusive control of the Matrix to fill. Indeed, the Master seems to have similar but less thought-out ideas like these of his own. Fortunately, the Doctor is able to cause the system to self-destruct, and the Court is saved. The Valeyard appears to be destroyed in the feedback.
The Doctor and Melanie leave the Matrix and the Inquisitor drops all charges against him, and suggests he run for the Presidency again, but the Doctor has a better idea and suggests that she do so. She doesn't say no, and the Doctor and Melanie depart together. (A non-canon source, the novel of this story, provides a means whereby the temporal problem of a future Melanie leaving with the present Doctor is unravelled. Even when not considering this, there is no reason to suspect that in the interval between this and the next story, Melanie could have met the Doctor as they were "supposed" to and for the Vervoid story to have happened, along with several other adventures) The Inquisitor and the Court prepere to leave for Gallifrey, with the Inquisitor telling the Keeper of the Matrix to repair the Matrix's damage from the diseminator.
But as it is revealed, it is not the Keeper of the Matrix who is now wearing his robes, but rather the Valeyard, who seems to have escaped the Matrix alive and well and now again in another disguise....
It seems to me that the Trial was intended by Robert Holmes at least to be not so much a Trial of _a_ Time Lord, but to be the Trial of the Time Lords, plural. In the end, it is the Doctor who is passing judgement on the Time Lords' decadent and corrupt actions, while at the same time they admonish him for interfering in the affairs of the Universe while trying to make it a better place. And even when the tables are turned, the Time Lords still don't actually do anything to help the Doctor when he enters the Matrix to battle his evil self. Melanie can't believe it, but the Inquisitor tells her twice words to the effect of, "We are not empowered to interfere." All these stuffed shirts will do is sit back and watch the struggle on a glorified television screen and comment on it.
And what is it we the audience are doing?
It seems to me that Holmes was close to completing another morality tale of the type Doctor Who has told before, with an allegory to modern society. We tend to do a lot of watching of what suffering and evil is going on in the world, but we tend to not do a lot about it and worry more about our own skins and what could happen if we interfere. The Doctor's answer has always been to just leap in and get on with it. Perhaps Mr. Holmes was going to suggest we do the same?
There are a couple of small other FAQs I want to address before heading into the biggie. The first is the question of what evidence was true and what was not.
Well, "Mysterious Planet" doesn't seem to have any evidence changed other than the excisements, and this is probably to make sure that that segment was not beyond doubt when the guilty verdict would come down. "Terror of the Vervoids" seems to have two pieces changed, which the Doctor protests about.
The difficult one is "Mindwarp" as the Doctor's memory of the story was still hazy when he viewed it. Clearly the ending did not happen the way we saw it. Perhaps someone like one of the bearers leaped in front of Peri/Kiv before Yrcanos fired. Perhaps that time bubble never really happened and the entire final segment was fiction. (If it was real, I think we're owed an explanation of how we're viewing this as the Doctor's TARDIS is out of collection range past this point. Of course, I suppose they have ways around this if they really want to tune in, but still. . . ) The difficult bit for me about "Mindwarp" was never so much Yrcanos' shooting but rather how the transplant was resolved. I'm relatively becalmed these days. In case you hadn't noticed, Crozier's operations were still erratic, and in fact his regular brain cortex transplant of Kiv into the fisherman starts to revert, and the body's leftover brain starts to assert control and influence on Kiv's. As Crozier has never attempted a "mental patterns"-only type transplant before, I would theorize that something similar happened before too long after the transplant, and that Peri's mind wasn't as dead as he told Sil it was.
The other big altered scene in "Mindwarp" is probably the interrogation scene. I note with suspicion that the Doctor is asking Peri questions about the Alphan resistance. For one thing, I wonder how the Doctor knew about the Alphan resistance since no one had told him about it yet that we saw (yes, it could have been off-screen, but that doesn't affect the next point), and for another, I wonder why he's asking Peri about them when he knows (even if he really were evil here) that she can't know anything about them. This means that this is all either bluster he's putting on for the watching Mentors, or that the Valeyard changed the questions.
I also notice that Peri doesn't go on and on about him changing sides throughout Parts Seven and Eight and does in fact save his life on the cliffhanger where Yrcanos was going to kill him. Perhaps he really did tell her something to give her hope in the interrogation, but told her not to tell anyone?
Another question that comes up from time to time is that the solar fireball in "Mysterious Planet" and the mentions to Andromeda make it sound as if there are some common events between this and things we see in "Ark in Space."
Can the two stories be resolved in terms of dating to meld nicely?
I think so. Follow.
As far as dating goes, the only hurdle we have to overcome is the Doctor's theorizing in "Ark" that components of the space station had been constructed in the late 29th or early 30th centuries, which he then extrapolated to suggest that Vira and the others were from the same time frame. However, prior and future series continuity suggests against this as we've seen stories in years beyond 3000 that take place on Earth at least in part. "Daleks' Masterplan" and "The Invisible Enemy" are but two.
The solution may be in dialog between the Doctor and Harry on Nerva again but this time in "Revenge of the Cybermen," when Harry asks about them being on the beacon before the time of the solar flares. The Doctor tells him that they are "thousands of years" before that point. If one is imaginitive enough, one can conclude that this also means that "Ark" has to take place several thousand years beyond the 30th century, and that even though the components may have been built then, the station wasn't set up as the Ark until the 2 million A.D. mark.
This would be in keeping with an Earth that sees a solar flare/fireball coming very soon and needs to set up a survival station fast. They do a quick inventory of the junk in orbit and find a still-viable space beacon that they can convert quickly into their survival station in time to beat the flares.
There. That sorts out the dates. The only question now is Andromeda. In "Ark" we learn that before the flares hit, humans sent last-ditch colonist missions to many different worlds, and that one succeeded on a world in Andromeda where the Wirrn used to live, and in fact drove out the Wirrn. And we then learn in "Sontaran Experiment" that the humans went on to build a pretty sizeable little Empire which the Sontarans would like to add to their collection.
But in "Mysterious Planet," we are told that Andromeda already has humanoid-looking inhabitants, and that it did before the flares.
Well, this is easy enough to resolve when you consider that the entire constellation of Andromeda could have quite a few worlds in it that are habitable, and that we know that at least one of them is vacant of humans as the Wirrn owned it. It makes sense that the Andromedans might never have wanted to colonize it themselves because of that, and that with "no vacancy" signs everywhere else in the constellation, the humans were forced to land there. The neat thing is that they beat the Wirrn and eventually start building their own Empire.
The next FAQ I want to address about the "Trial" before getting to the biggie is the names of the stories. The last "Doctor Who Magazine" insists in several places that we should start referring to early stories by their "proper" titles, such as "100000 B.C." for "An Unearthly Child."
This argument applies to the Trial because the four substories that were eventually produced all had their own working titles which the recent "Sixth Doctor Handbook" tells us about, and they insist that the titles most people know the third and fourth stories by are wrong and that they should be called "The Ultimate Foe" and "Time Inc." respectively. ("Foe" should be the Vervoid story)
This is a load of rubbish, and its another thing that that book and that DWM have got wrong lately.
The owner of a copyright is the only authority who should decide the title of something. In "Doctor Who"'s case, this is the BBC. Therefore, what they say about the shows goes. Therefore, because the BBC Video of the first story ever is labelled "An Unearthly Child," I will call it that and not "100000 B.C."
Therefore, because my videos of the Trial call the last two stories of the Trial, "Terror of the Vervoids" and "The Ultimate Foe" respectively, I will call them that. Nevermind the fact that it makes more sense to call them by these titles. :)
One other little much-published error that I want to correct is in John Peel's book "The Gallifrey Chronicles." In it, he maintains that the Valeyard seems to have stolen the Keeper of the Matrix's body at the end of the Trial. I can't see any evidence for this whatsoever. We don't see the merging take place, and we've already seen the Valeyard use a disguise earlier, therefore I think the fact that he's wearing his robes at the end is merely another disguise.
Yes, he imitates the Keeper's voice for two words quietly, but the Valeyard should be just as capable of imitating a voice as the Master was in "The Time Monster" (where he reproduced the Brigadier's voice perfectly in terms of sound) or as the Doctor himself was in "The Masque of Mandragora" (Hieronymous).
Also against Peel's theory is the continuity of the series. When mergings take place, the resulting person looks like the "interim" state, not the other way around as it would have to be in this case.
We see it in "Planet of the Spiders" and "The Keeper of Traken" this way, and in "Logopolis," the new self was obscured by the whiteish wrappings and we couldn't see the face underneath so we can't be certain. Still, Peter Davison doesn't look like Tom Baker.
Michael Jayston's was the face in the robes at the end of "Foe," not James Bree. Case closed.
The big remaining question about the Trial is the Valeyard and his origins. Who is he? Where does he come from? And why does he want his own earlier self dead?
All we know about the Valeyard comes from statements from himself and from the Master.
I'll start with the Master. This is how he describes the Valeyard when first revealing his identity.
"They [the High Council] made a deal with the Valeyard, or as I've always known him, the Doctor, to adjust the evidence. In return for which, he was promised the remainder of the Doctor's regenerations." When asked about his calling the Valeyard, "Doctor," he explains thusly, "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you. The Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation."
This statement is one of the most key. It suggests that either the Master does not know if the Valeyard is Doctor No. 12 or Doctor No. 13, or that (as seems more likely) the Valeyard is an "interim" state between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors of the future, as had been seen in the series on two previous occasions. The first such was of the Doctor's old teacher. The "host" body was that of the old monk K'Anpo Rimpoche. Walking around some time before this, completely corporeal and interactive and sentient, was K'Anpo's next self, at that time called Cho-je. When the moment of regeneration came, Cho-je faded away from sight and simultaneously melded into the body of the "host" K'Anpo, so that the resultant Time Lord was one again. He looked and spoke like the old Cho-je.
The second occasion of such melding and an interim self is of the Doctor's own regeneration from his fourth to his fifth selves. In this case, the new self was again fully sentient, but this time more ghostly, and perhaps as a result of this, the Doctor was caught by surprise by his presence. The new self did not take on its final form until the regeneration came.
Therefore, if the Valeyard is an interim state, he is in fact probably what the Thirteenth Doctor will look and sound like, but is not necessarily the "destined" Thirteenth Doctor, as he has not yet united with the twelve selves that come before him.
Perhaps it would be good to consider another statement of the Master's at this point.
"But the Valeyard, a distillation of all that is evil in you, untainted by virtue, a composite of your every dark thought, is a different proposition."
This, coupled with his earlier description of the Valeyard as an "amalgamation" seems to suggest, at least to me anyway, that his creation is not a natural one, but is perhaps more like someone purifying a mixture, only wanting the evil aspects. "Distillation," "composite," and "amalgamation" suggest to me a third agency at work as well.
It has been my pet theory for several years that the High Council, in its quest to find the ultimate prosecutor for the Doctor's trial, used the Matrix's abilities to predict the future and its unique two-way connection to the Doctor's mind to create for themselves a Doctor who was nothing but evil traits, and who would hate and despise his other "proper" self for his good traits and would like to seem him destroyed. They chose the "interim" state between Doctors 12 and 13 for two reasons. One: by picking a Doctor so far in the future, they get the most experienced Doctor ever who will therefore have a better chance of winning. Two: by picking this Doctor, who has no regenerations of his own, they can offer regenerations as a carrot-on-a-stick for their little Frankenstein's monster.
I came up with this theory because it seemed to me to be a logical one, and because it solved the temporal paradox problems involved with a future Doctor travelling into his own past to kill his earlier self. However, I've since this time thought of some other possible explanations for the Valeyard's origin and actions.
He could indeed be a rogue future self that was naturally created, who does indeed travel into his own history and who is indeed hired by an earlier (to him) High Council to prosecute one of his earlier selves. The deal probably would have meant that the original Doctor would be executed in the act of the Valeyard merging with his body and quashing his mind, taking over the Doctor's life from this point onwards.
The argument against this has always been that it would change his own history, but as I better understand these days, changes in history can and do happen, and the result is alternative time lines. All that would probably happen to the Valeyard is that the time line he travelled back from would become inaccessible to him should he have wished to return, which he might not have wanted to do anyway.
However, when I look at the Fifth Doctor's fading in "The Five Doctors," and see what such temporal instability in someone's time line can indeed do, I start to go back to my first theory again.
In fact, I still like my first theory better because it also implies heavy Matrix-links to the Valeyard's origin, which would give him more power over it and make him a more dangerous and therefore more entertaining villain. But even without that, I still think he's a better villain than others like the Master for the simple reasons that he *is* the Doctor.
I also like the way the Trial ended, because it suggests that the Valeyard is alive and well, and was at first under the Keeper of the Matrix's guise. This would give him an edge on control of the Matrix. I am also not confident that the Inquistor and the Court of Appeals would be able to set up their own "good" High Council if he rallied forces against them. And then when you add to that the fact that the Seventh Doctor not long after this sends the Hand of Omega and possibly the Nemesis as well to Gallifrey. . . and that only the Doctor (and hence the Valeyard) can have control of these objects....
Let's just say I look forward with great anticipation to the day we get to see read or preferably see a return to a Gallifrey which may be very different to the one we knew before, one which may have a Lord President Valeyard, who would get to make good on the threats he made to his good self in the Matrix in "The Ultimate Foe."
"Come now, Doctor? How else can I obtain my
"With you destroyed, and no longer able to
Written by Robert Holmes
Written by Philip Martin
|There is an interesting piece of trivia about this episode I
haven't seen mentioned anywhere else, so I thought I'd mention it. In this
episode there is a scene where the Doctor tells Sil about how a company
that retrieves wrecked spaceships will soon have a lot of work on their
hands if they investigate one certain area as there are some wars going on
in that area at this time. The places and times mentioned are directly
used in Philip Martin's Find-Your-Fate Doctor Who book
called "Crisis in Space," and indeed there are some wars going on in this
area that get your character in trouble. As I recall, he wrote that book
in between his work on "Vengeance on Varos" and writing this.
One other thing before we begin. I don't know if you have noticed, but so scrupulous am I (huh!) in taking pains to present only what is seen on the TV screen that I try not to mention the names or titles of characters until they are actually referred to by name by one of the other characters. This is the reason that I'm still referring to the Frax as "the guard officer" because no one has yet said his name and it still doesn't get said anywhere in Part Seven! This is a problem I've noticed in some other stories Script Edited by Eric Saward. Its as though for realism's sake he doesn't want people saying each other's names constantly like you hear on stupid soap operas that are trying to hook new viewers every day and remind us who is who. Still, he seems to go overboard in a few cases, and this seems to be one of them. Of course, it could've been Philip Martin's fault I suppose, but the Script Editor is supposed to catch things like this, I thought. :)+++
Terror of the
Written by Pip and Jane Baker
|Anyway, today we begin a story by Mr. and Mrs. Baker, who as we
shall see, like to use their writing to lecture the world on vocabulary
words that they believe we should all use, but which probably would not be
used in 2986. Let's not even begin to get into language translation
hassles about this script. :) Having said that, I think given the time
they had to write this show, the story they came up with wasn't all that
bad. It has one more subplot than seems credible, but this certainly isn't
the worst story in the show's history. I do want to get in one jibe,
however, but I'll let you do it for me. The challenge of the day is to see
if you can spot the logical error that exists in the very first scene on
the Hyperion III.
BTW, I'm considering coming back to this story when I've finished the entire Trial synopsis and doing a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" commentary on my own synopsis, as a net means of MiSTing this story. :)
This is part nine of the entire trial, and part one of the third sub-story called "Terror of the Vervoids," though that title does not appear on screen.
Written by Robert Holmes & Pip and Jane
|This is the episode that contains most of the debateable
information about the Trial, and a certain character whose origin gets
partly explained in this show. Because of this, I intend to be extra
careful this time in making sure that passages in quotations are indeed
accurate quotes of what is said on screen and that my intrepretations of
material I'm not quoting directly are pretty close as well.
The only thing I'm not certain on is the timing of the clock chimes, but I am certain as to their number. . . count them and see if you think they're significant, at least the first series. . .
BTW, am I the only person who thinks it not a coincidence that this certain character of whom I've spoken gets his origin story in Part THIRTEEN ? :)
This is part thirteen of the entire trial, and part one of the fourth sub-story called "The Ultimate Foe," though that title does not appear on screen.
|And here we are, the last episode of the Trial, and the last
for two Doctors, to date anyway.
One thing I do wish I could somehow add to these synopses is the Incidental Music, as I think Dominic Glynn does a particularly fantastic job on this story.
This is another episode that contains most of the debateable information about the Trial, and a certain character whose origin gets partly explained a little more in this show. Because of this, I intend to be extra careful this time in making sure that passages in quotations are indeed accurate quotes of what is said on screen and that my intrepretations of material I'm not quoting directly are pretty close as well.
Once again, if anyone out there has missed a part of the Trial, email me with your request and I'll send you what you missed. Also, would anyone be interested in seeing a version of the Trial of just the Trial scenes themselves, with all the evidence removed, for purposes of clarity? Wouldn't be difficult to arrange.
This is part fourteen of the entire trial, and part two of the fourth sub-story called "The Ultimate Foe," though that title does not appear on screen.
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