The Trials of Tara was the fourth story in the anthology Decalog 2: Lost Property. It was written by Paul Cornell. It featured the Seventh Doctor and Bernice Summerfield.


The Doctor and Benny visit Tara, with Benny dressing as a man. On Tara, things have changed. Reynart is missing and is assumed dead, Strella must marry, and Grendel of Gracht is plotting against her.

Strella sets up a series of competitions for any male who enters the castle; anyone who loses will be killed, and she will marry the final victor. Benny and the Doctor are required to participate, and they are joined by Augmentio, a prince from another kingdom.

Meanwhile, Grendel has kidnapped Titania, wife of Oberon king of the fairies, in order to force Oberon to help him. He also has revived the Kandyman, who has crashed on the planet, to help him.

The Doctor, Benny and Augmentio pass several challenges, then a troop of performing females arrive, and the Doctor suggests that the three "men" dress as women and participate in a performance with the Players. While Benny fails at being a convincing woman, the Doctor exposes Augmentio as an android. Augmentio confesses that his task was to marry Strella, then murder her. The Doctor adjusts his programming, and Augmentio returns to Grendel, freeing Titania and telling Grendel that he did not kill Strella. The Kandyman kills Augmentio.

Grendel and his men surround the castle, but the fairies, led by Oberon, appear, and the battle begins. The Kandyman kidnaps Strella for ransom. The Doctor and several of Strella's men, accompanied by the female Players, appear, and the Players reveal themselves to be Reynart and his men, who had been caught in a temporal trap. The Kandyman threatens to kill Strella, but Grendel's men won't let him and kill him. Grendel runs away and his army surrenders.



  • The Doctor tells Benny that Strella resembles his friend Romana I.


  • This was written in "play format", with affected archaic language.
  • The stories in Decalog 2 have a common theme of homes owned or acquired by the Doctor. The home in this story is the land he owns on Tara.
  • This story bears some resemblances with William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream among others. The names, for example, Titania and Oberon are references to the same two characters in the very same play who also happen to be the king and queen of the faeries.
  • Other plays referenced include Macbeth (the three witches), Twelfth Night (women disguising as men and vice versa) and Hamlet (plot of revenge).


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