In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: Trial of the Valeyard

Colin Baker, Michael Jayston, and the late Lynda Bellingham reunited to play material they frankly should’ve been given the first time around.

Synopsis: There is some evil in all of us – even the Doctor. Transported aboard the Time Lords’ orbiting courtroom, the Doctor once again encounters the Valeyard, an amalgamation of the darker sides of his nature. This time, however, the Doctor isn’t in the dock. This time, the Valeyard is the defendant, accused of a crime so terrible that the presiding Inquisitor is forbidden to reveal it even to the court, nor even to his counsel for the defence… the Doctor.

If the Valeyard is found guilty, he’ll be executed. Execute the Valeyard, and the secret of his origins dies with him. A secret that the Doctor is desperate to know… and which the Time Lords will stop at nothing to protect.

Review: Like “The Widow’s Assassin” before it, “Trial of the Valeyard” went a long way toward addressing the narrative shortcomings of The Trial of a Time Lord arc. The story was an improvement by virtue of its length — an hour — and by virtue of its structure — a wonderful three-hander performance piece for three great actors. Colin Baker, Michael Jayston, and the late Lynda Bellingham reunited to play material they frankly should’ve been given the first time around.

The script by Alan Barnes and Mike Maddox was a fascinating, if somewhat problematic, exercise in balancing Classic Who mythology with New Who mythology. After all, The Valeyard didn’t need to exist when Smith’s Doctor was technically the thirteenth incarnation, and the Time Lords have handed him a fresh set of seemingly unlimited regenerations. Barnes and Maddox got around this, somewhat, the way Doctor Who writers always have — Rassilon, lies, and the fact that Rassilon lies.

All in all, this was a fun, well-acted, and well thought-out piece that was worth the wait.

Written By: Alan Barnes and Mike Maddox

Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Michael Jayston (The Valeyard), Lynda Bellingham (The Inquisitor), John Banks (Hermit)

9.7
In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: Trial of the Valeyard
  • Overall Story, Acting
  • Problematic balancing old and new continuity
  • Story
    9
  • Acting
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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