November 1, 1986: Doctor Who faces The Terror of the Vervoids

17:45 – Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord: “Terror of the Vervoids”

The Trial of a Time Lord, titlecard [Doctor Who Collectors’ Wiki*]
by Pip and Jane Baker

Starring Colin Baker with Bonnie Langford

A 14-part adventure

At last the Doctor is able to present his evidence. It takes place in the future with a new companion and new problems.

Radio Times extract from BBC Genome*.

The Terror of the Vervoids

Terror of the Vervoids was the unbroadcast title given to episodes 9 to 12 of The Trial of a Time Lord, the season-long story that constituted season 23 of Doctor Who. While the previous stories of the season delved into past adventures of the Sixth Doctor, this story examined the Doctor’s pending future. Using that anachronistic style, it introduced Langford as companion Melanie Bush, deviating from the formulaic structure where a stranger found themselves meeting the Doctor for the first time, and vice versa. Instead, her character was a future companion that the Doctor had yet to meet- something later repeated with the character River Song 22 years later.

A group of Vervoids in Doctor Who: “Terror of the Vervoids” [Wikipedia*]


The Time Lords have brought the Doctor to trial, accusing him of gross interference in the affairs of other planets. If he is found guilty he must forfeit all his remaining regenerations. In the hope of proving his innocence, Melanie Bush, an as-of-yet unmet companion from later in his life, is summoned to the court. Hopefully through her help, the jurors will be reassured in letting the Doctor go free by seeing what good acts he stands to commit as opposed to destructive ones.

In his defence the Doctor tells of an adventure set on board the Hyperion III space liner in his future. Answering a distress call, the Doctor and Mel arrive on the liner just as a series of grisly murders begins.

Find out more

*The 20th Century in Sound and Vision is not responsible for the content of external websites.


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