Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Thirteen 

The charge against the Doctor changes from mere meddling to inexcusable genocide. His future looks both grim and very short.


Chris Clough


Robert Holmes


Episode complete credited cast:
Colin Baker ... The Doctor
Bonnie Langford ... Melanie
Michael Jayston ... The Valeyard
Lynda Bellingham ... The Inquisitor
Anthony Ainley ... The Master
Tony Selby Tony Selby ... Glitz
Geoffrey Hughes ... Popplewick
James Bree ... Keeper of the Matrix




With the evidence for the defense at an end and the trial nearly over, it would seem that the Doctor's fate has been well and truly sealed. But the shock intervention of an old adversary throws new light on the case with the Doctor's future traveling companion Mel and the roguish Sabalom Glitz being presented to the courtroom as surprise witnesses. Shocking revelations come to light involving the high council of Time Lords, the Valeyard and their corrupt conspiracy which involved the Doctor and his affairs with the planet Ravolox. But with an even more mind blowing revelation brought to the fore, the Doctor is forced to come to terms with an enigmatic link between himself and his sinister prosecutor. Written by Robert McElwaine

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Plot Keywords:

sixth doctor | master | See All (2) »


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This episode was watched by 4.4 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


The Doctor: In all my travellings throughout the universe, I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed HERE! The oldest civilization: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core! Ha! Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen - they're still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power - that's what it takes to be really corrupt!
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Featured in The Chronic Rift: Colin Baker: The Sixth Doctor (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Interesting, but not Terribly Entertaining
23 December 2014 | by Robinson2511See all my reviews

After 12 weeks of build-up, Who is the Valeyard?, What is happening to the Matrix? What's the deal with those secrets on Ravalox? Our questions are finally answered, in Episode 13 of the Trial of a Time Lord. It turns out the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the Doctor's dark side, ironic that the Valeyard plays barely any part in this episode. The truth that Gallifrey destroyed the Earth to protect the secrets from the Matrix, is very interesting, even if it does go against the entirety of the Doctor Who canon, especially future episode like The End of the World and New Earth, but considering these are 2 of the worst stories in recent Doctor Who history, I don't see how badly this can affect those stories, but it's still a gripping twist. Sabalom Glitz is back after his last appearance in Episodes 1-4 of the Trial of a Time Lord, and he makes for a very amusing presence, Mel probably less so, the Inquisitor makes as much of an impact as ever, just being there to ramble on about court proceedings, and the Valeyard, does nothing in this episode, despite it having just been revealed that his is actually the Doctor. The setting of the Matrix has a very Dickensian feel about it, and the result feels very cheap, almost as if they'd run out of money, there are only two extra supporting cast members here, that being the Keeper of the Matrix, who again does absolutely nothing, and Mr. Popplewick, who has barely a 5-minute screen presence despite there being 2 versions of the same character. The cliffhanger is slow and drawn out, certainly not to the standard of the Deadly Assassin's cliffhangers, but I suppose it can in some way be considered, "creepy".

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Release Date:

29 November 1986 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Staffordshire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | DTS (DTS HD Master Audio 5.1) (Blu-ray)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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