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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.

On 14 September 2019, the story was shown at BFI Southbank with 5.1 surround sound mix and re-recorded music by original composer Richard Hartley. A Q&A with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant was also held.[1][2]


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.


Part five[]

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 Brown 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 where 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 homeworld 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[]

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.

Yrcanos, the Doctor and Peri.

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.

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 asks 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[]

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.

Brain Transplant.

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. 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[]

However, it is revealed Peri, Yrcanos and the other members of the resistance have merely been stunned, and they are taken to cells. Whilst locked up, Peri and Yrcanos start to develop fond feelings for each other, as Peri tells Yrcanos about the concept of 'love'.

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 anyway.

Peri's head is shaved.

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.

In the laboratory, Peri is strapped to an operating table and gagged, as Crozier has found her to be a perfect candidate for transference. Matrona Kani then shaves Peri's head completely bald in preparation for the surgery. Lord Kiv is taken to the laboratory to prepare for the operation. As the Doctor heads towards the lab, the TARDIS suddenly appears in the hallway. The Doctor is drawn backwards 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.

Back in the laboratory, Crozier has successfully transferred Kiv's mind into the brain of Peri, whose original memories and personality have been erased in the process. When Kiv awakes in Peri's bald body, she is delighted with her new form.

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. The time bubble dissipates and Yrcanos bursts into the laboratory. Upon seeing the result of Crozier's experiment, he is consumed with fury and despair 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...


Uncredited cast[]



Foods and beverages[]





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


  • There is a Sondlex crop on Wilson One.
  • 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 Posicarian delegate from Posicar.
  • Tokl is a planet in the Rim Worlds.


  • All of the universe's commodity markets can be accessed by a communications device called the warpfold relay.
  • Crozier's equipment includes a lexifier and an endrodiotone.
  • Crozier works on a BTU - a brain transference unit.


  • Phasers have been sold on Thordon from Thoros Beta.

Story notes[]

  • 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 Ultimate Foe.
  • Brian Blessed turned down a major film so he could work on this serial.
  • Nicola Bryant hated filming the interrogation scenes where she was tied to a rock by the sea, as she doesn't like the sea.
  • 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 New Zealand SF film The Quiet Earth.
  • Peri's final fate happened in part because Nicola Bryant was interested in playing a villain.
  • Most of the time, Colin Baker had no idea if the events of the story were real or if the events had been tampered with. Neither Philip Martin nor Ron Jones knew, and Eric Saward had resigned his post as script editor by the time production began, so he played it as if it were a lie. "I was very confused by it, but I had a very different problem, especially in Mindwarp because there was a point when I said to Eric Saward, the script editor, “When I’m tying Peri to this rock and threatening to torture her, am I doing it for some subtle reason of my own, because I think I’m being watched or whatever, or because I’ve been affected by the mind probe, or is the Matrix lying?” Those were the three alternatives as I saw it. He said “I don’t know, you’d better ask Philip Martin”, so I got in touch and gave him those three alternatives, he said “I don’t know, Eric wrote the trial stuff, all the Matrix stuff was added after, by Eric, you’d better ask him.” So I went to John Nathan-Turner, he said “Oh, whichever you like.” This is the level of involvement at the time. Eric was going through his own problems at the time, disagreeing with John Nathan-Turner on all sorts of things. I felt that was all very sloppy, it was all cobbled together a bit. The stories were written independently, and the trial theme was put on top. I felt it was the Matrix lying, so I really was torturing Peri. But it was very difficult. You expect the writers to know what’s happening, but that’s not always the case".
  • George Baker, John Carson, Phil Collins, Michael Craig, James Ellis, Peter Gilmore, Don Henderson, Bernard Hill, Derek Jacobi, Stratford Johns, Denis Lill, John Rhys-Davies, Clifford Rose, David Warner and Frank Windsor were considered for Ycranos.
  • Nicholas Ball, Andrew Burt, Michael Cochrane, Phil Collins, Peter Firth, Jack Galloway, Clive Merrison, Jeff Rawle, Simon Rouse, Paul Shelley, David Warner, James Warwick and Simon Williams were considered for Crozier.
  • King Yrcano's helmet is based on the Samurai.
  • According to Colin Baker, Patrick Ryecart was baffled by the serial and "never knew his bloody lines".
  • Brian Blessed claimed the production "was not an entirely happy atmosphere" due to the threat that the series might be taken off. He later said he thought Colin Baker hadn't made up his mind how to play the Doctor and he found his version of the Doctor unhappy.
  • Eric Saward thought this was the best story of the season.
  • During rehearsals, Philip Martin was worried about the amount of silliness going on. Brian Blessed was telling anecdotes and the cast started to play their roles in a very stylised manner.
  • Brian Blessed Ycranos like Prince Vultan, his character from Flash Gordon.
  • Brian Blessed thought the script was brilliant because of Ycranos' interaction with Peri, as if he'd never met a woman before.
  • Colin Baker recounted a take near the studio cut-off point at 10 PM, where nobody messed around because there was no time for a re-take. Brian Blessed had to say, "Right, let's go find the Mentors". Instead, he dried and said, "Let's find the f*ckerons!". There was silence in the studio and Baker and Nicola Bryant expected Blessed to get a telling off from John Nathan Turner. Instead, Nathan-Turner tip-toed down from the gallery and said, "That wasn't very helpful, Brian". Blessed replied, "Sorry, old boy. Can never remember the f*cking words". A re-take took place.
  • Nicola Bryant claimed that the lab door cost more than she did.
  • Christopher Ryan is best known for his role in The Young Ones. Colin Baker filmed a sketch for the first season where he played Evil Count Dustbug that was cut from the final broadcast.
  • The role of King Ycranos was always written for Brian Blessed.
  • It was during production of this story that Robert Holmes passed away. Eric Saward announced the news on set.


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


  • 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[]

Production errors[]

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.


Home video and audio releases[]

VHS releases[]

  • 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

DVD releases[]

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

Blu-ray release[]

  • This story was released in the Season 23 Boxset on 3 October 2019.

Blu-ray Contents:

  • Audio Commentary featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Philip Martin.
  • 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
  • Isolated Music Soundtrack - The original music master for these episodes are lost, so a new recording was commissioned from composer Richard Hartley. This new music can be heard on the 5.1 mix and as Isolated Music, while the original is present on the broadcast mono sound mix.
  • Production Subtitles.
  • The Making of Mindwarp
  • Behind the Sofa, featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford, Fraser Hines, Matthew Waterhouse & Mark Strickson.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes.
  • Studio and Location Footage
  • Temps X - a report from a French Magazine programme that visited the set during production of this story. (French language, English subtitles). Also includes behind-the-scenes photo gallery.
  • Breakfast Time - Producer John Nathan Turner, Nicola Bryant and Janet Fielding promote the Companions book on 20/10/86.
  • Now & Then - Revisiting the original locations used in the first, second and fourth segments of the Trial season.
  • Blessed on Doctor Who - Legendary Actor Brain Blessed talks about his career and lifelong love of Doctor Who in this 2007 interview.
  • 50 Years in the TARDIS - Colin Baker recalls his time as the Doctor in this 2013 interview.
  • The Sixth Doctor Revisited - A celebration of 'Sixie'. Contributors include Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford and Steven Moffat (Executive Producer 2010-2017).
  • 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 Contiunity announcements.
  • HD Photo Gallery.
  • PDF Written Archive.
  • Alternative/Extended Edits based on the director’s initial cuts for each episode, most episodes contain scene extensions and entire sequences that were removed before transmission. While some episodes are not much longer than the final broadcast versions, they may contain alternative takes or a different story structure.

External links[]