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By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Sunday 3 May 2020
Rating:   6

If only we could go back in time and get rid of the whole trial story arc, things would be much better. The first installment of the Trial of a Timelord series has a decent if rather standard Doctor Who story buried inside the dreadful trial sequence. Doctor 6 is on trial and forced to watch one of his own exploits where he is accused of being meddlesome and violent. The trial proceeds like no reasonable court of law and is mostly an excuse for posturing and loud pronouncements. The main story is interesting enough on its own, however, even with some bits to set up the story arc. The Doctor and Peri arrive on Ravalox to investigate why it is so surprisingly like Earth. Ravalox was supposedly destroyed by a fireball of some kind, but life still persists. There, the Doctor and Peri discover a group of surviving primitives, an underground survival system despotically run by a robot, and a pair of criminals out to get some "secrets" that the robot is apparently protecting. The story has many elements that writer Robert Holmes has recycled from his earlier Doctor Who story The Krotons, including the robot running things, the selection of the most intelligent to aid the robot, and an underground bunker where the robot runs things. On its own, this part works reasonably well without offering any great surprises. Terrance Dicks does his usual job in novelizing the script, changing very little and adding only a few bits of description that could not be conveyed by just reprinting the script.

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