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Mindwarp was the unbroadcast title given to episodes five to eight of The Trial of a Time Lord, the season-long story that constituted Season 23 of Doctor Who. It was the second serial in the Trial of a Time Lord arc. It saw the final appearance of Peri Brown in the series from a present perspective and the guest appearance of Brian Blessed as King Yrcanos.

Synopsis Edit

As the trial of the Doctor continues, evidence is presented showing his most recent adventure - where he faces an old adversary, Sil. As a scientist conducts his unethical experiments to prolong the life of Sil's boss Kiv, the Doctor's memory of the events begins to return... and an unpleasant surprise awaits him.

Plot Edit

Part five Edit

The Valeyard and the Doctor argue about the Doctor's involvement in past events. The Inquisitor warns them to pay due respect to the judicial process. The Valeyard presents his second block of evidence - the Doctor's arrival on the planet Thoros Beta.

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 says he has come to find out how the warlords obtained the technology. They enter a cave. Peri is grabbed by a monstrous creature. In the struggle the Doctor shoots it.

The Valeyard accuses the Doctor of deliberately shooting the monster, but he insists the weapon went off accidentally.

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. The Doctor says he is. They flee before they can be identified as imposters, but are quickly faced by another monster. It reacts kindly when the Doctor is nice to it. They flee further. As they hide, they see three reptilian figures being carried by guards. The third is their old enemy Sil. The Doctor realises 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. 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 will extract the truth from a suspect and could prove fatal. He starts to probe the Doctor's mind, and the Doctor screams in agony...

Part six Edit

King 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.

The Doctor tells the Inquisitor that he cannot remember these events. The Valeyard tells him he is in for a surprise if this is true.

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.

The Doctor insists that the footage is not of him, but the Valeyard tells him that the Matrix cannot lie.

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.

The Doctor tells the courtroom that what they are seeing is all part of his ploy. He says he planned to gain the Mentors' trust so that he would be allowed to interrogate her alone, giving them a chance to escape.

Peri is lashed to rocks on the shoreline and the Doctor stands over her, accusing her 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 interrogation, 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...

Part seven Edit

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. Watching these events on the Matrix screen in the Time Lord courtroom, the Doctor protests that he was not responsible. The Valeyard, however, replies, "In your mind, perhaps not. But in reality it is somewhat different, Doctor." The Doctor looks perturbed...

Part eight Edit

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. They 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. Peri is strapped down and gagged, and Kiv gives the order to shave her head. As the Doctor heads towards the lab, his TARDIS suddenly appears in the hallway. The Doctor absent-mindedly reverses into it and it takes off, heading for the space station.

In the courtroom, the Inquisitor tells the Doctor that this was the result of an order from the High Council, because the result of Crozier's experiment would affect all life in the Universe.

You killed PEri..

Kiv in Peri's body.

As Yrcanos prepares his attack on the laboratory, the Time Lords capture him in a time bubble so that his attack is perfectly timed to destroy Crozier's work. When Kiv awakes in Peri's bald body, the time bubble dissipates and Yrcanos bursts into the laboratory. Upon seeing the result of Crozier's experiment, he is consumed with fury and despiar and begins firing his gun wildly, seemingly killing Peri and the others in the process.

The Doctor is shocked by what he has seen. The Inquisitor and the Valeyard tell him that it was necessary to end Peri's life to prevent the disastrous consequences of Crozier's experiment. The Doctor, awash with rage, insists that he was taken out of time for another reason, and he declares that he's going to find out why...

Cast Edit

Uncredited cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor largely confirms the authenticity of events presented up to the end of the first episode, albeit with minor alterations having been made to make him look more guilty. He does however suffer total amnesia after that point, due to a combination of the mind-altering effects of Crozier's machine, the Valeyard altering the Matrix, and amnesia from having been taken out of time.
  • An unknown amount of time has passed for the Doctor and Peri since leaving Ravolox in the previous segment of evidence. They have travelled to Thoros Beta directly from an encounter with a dying Warlord of Thorden who had been supplied with advanced beam weapons from there. The Doctor has travelled there accordingly to investigate the arms sales. Peri notes the Warlord lusting after her prior to his death.
  • The Valeyard claims to have calculated on a random Matrix sample that the Doctor's companions have been placed in danger twice as often as the Doctor.

Foods and beverages Edit

Individuals Edit

Locations Edit

Medicine Edit

Organisations Edit

  • The Search-Conv-Corp are a "bunch of burnt out space rangers who search for wrecked spaceships".

Planets Edit

  • There is a Sondlex crop on Wilson 1.
  • Skulnesh has very nasty sewers.
  • There are seven-legged chargers on Corojaan.
  • Thoros Alpha, home to a humanoid race called Alphans, enslaved by the Mentors, is the twin planet of Thoros Beta. It appears as a large, white body, clearly visible during the Betan day, and has a large, white ring belt.
  • The Mentors are dealing with a (short reptilian) representative from Posicar.
  • Tokl is a planet in the Rim Worlds.

Species Edit

  • It is stated that many, possibly all of the Mentors are mutants but no cause is cited. Crozier notes that Kiv's donor body is of the same branch of mutation. Some mutants retain a primordial sting with a highly potent toxic venom in their tails.
  • The Alphans are residents of Thoros Alpha, twin planet of Thoros Beta. Ethnically and culturally, they outwardly resemble Native Americans but little of their actual culture is seen. They serve on Thoros Beta either as slaves or indentured labourers and more recently have been controlled more directly via centrally controlled behavioural manipulator implants related to Crozier's field of research. Not all Alphans can be successfully controlled in this way. An underground resistance exists on Thoros Beta, led by Tuza, both facts which are known by King Yrcanos, and comprised at least in part from rejects from the Mentors implantation centres. It is not clear if the humanoid bearers of the Mentors in this story and Vengeance on Varos (dark skinned and with Greek style dress) and the Matrona's harem girls are Alphans (albeit a different ethnic group or caste), humans or another alien race entirely.
  • The Raak is a genetically engineered amphibious creature. It is implied to be a genetically augmented native of the seas of Thoros Beta created as a by product of Crozier's experimentation and resembles a bipedal version of terrestrial deep-sea Angler Fish with very large, sharp teeth. It is not know whether "Raak" is the name of the species from which this individual originated or the given name applied to the augmented specimen. It is said that before his reversion, he was responsible for operating a mechanism designed to artificially control the planet's tide and was proud of his genetic enhancements, implying a high degree of reasoning and ability to communicate.
  • The Warlords of Thorden are one of many technologically inferior cultures to which the Mentors of Thoros Beta supply weapons and advanced technology. Kiv implies that his business interests do in fact have some rules limiting the level of technology they sell to these races but that may merely have more do with their ability to pay or with Kiv's desire to prolong the conflict and therefore income stream. It is not stated whether or not the Mentors are in fact supplying both sides in these struggles, but given the relative sophistication of the small arms they are supplying to the Thorden, it seems likely. However, Crozier's attempts at behaviour modification with King Yrcanos suggest a high degree of coercion on their part.
  • Whilst investigating Crozier's lab, the Doctor picks up and inspects a specimen jar that appears to contain a preserved Xenomorph embryo specimen (specifically a chestburster) from the Alien films.

Technology Edit

Time Lords Edit

  • The Time Lords use Yrcanos as an assassin (to kill Kiv, Sil, Crozier and his assistants) because Crozier's discovery would affect natural evolution throughout the universe. They do this by holding Yrcanos in a time bubble (frozen until his targets are in the ideal place for him to kill them without risk of failure). These actions are described by the Inquisitor and then shown.

Weapons Edit

  • Phasers have been sold on Thordon from Thoros Beta. They can be set to stun or liquefy.

Story notes Edit

  • The special effect showing a ringed planet in the sky over Thoros Beta early in the serial duplicates an image seen at the end of the 1985 New Zealand SF film The Quiet Earth.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for part six was accompanied by a black and white publicity still of Yrcanos putting his fists up to the camera, with the accompanying caption "Rogue chieftain with the evil eye: Brian Blessed as Yrcanos / BBC1, 5.45 p.m. Doctor Who".
  • In keeping with the "colour coding" of the Doctor's cravats, this story sees him wearing his red cravat, consistent with its events leading directly up to the start of the trial. This is its earliest chronological appearance within his time stream, although he wears it throughout the court room scenes, from the previous story through to the end of The Trial of a Time Lord.

Ratings Edit

Brackets refer to this story's individual parts
  • Part five (1) - 4.8 million viewers
  • Part six (2) - 4.6 million viewers
  • Part seven (3) - 5.1 million viewers
  • Part eight (4) - 5.0 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • The expansion of Kiv's brain is a direct result of Crozier experimenting on him to increase his intelligence. (It isn't. Dialogue establishes that Kiv's intelligence and brain expansion are the result of his being a mutant, and that Crozier wasn't hired until the expansion had already become a serious problem.)

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • After the Raak has finished attacking the Doctor and Peri and dies, a boom shadow can be seen across Colin Baker's head.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

DVD Contents

  • Audio Commentary featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Philip Martin
  • The Making of Mindwarp
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Now and Then - On the Trail of a Time Lord - Locations used in The Trial of a Time Lord
  • A Fate Worse than Death? - Clip from Part 14 of Trial of a Time Lord in which the Inquisitor reveals Peri's ultimate fate, with commentary from Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant
  • Trails and Continuity
  • Production Subtitles
  • Children in Need
  • Lenny Henry - Segment of The Lenny Henry Show parodying Doctor Who
  • Photo Gallery

VHS releases Edit

  • This story was released as Doctor Who: Mindwarp
  • It was released:
    • UK October 1993 (released with the other The Trial of a Time Lord stories in a Tardis-shaped tin with a random picture of one of the (then) seven Doctors on the base)
    • US October 1993 (same as the UK release except packed in a cardboard box in honour of Doctor Who's thirtieth anniversary)
    • Australia October 1993

External links Edit