I watched The Trial of a Time Lord as a 13-year old boy and, despite some of the terrible writing and the wasted opportunity that the bulk of this season clearly appeared to be at the time, even to my young eyes, the Valeyard became (in the grand season finale) a fascinating concept. I have always wondered why he never returned to the series and I am still holding out vain hope that he may yet return even though the actor who played him is now 73 years old.
Meanwhile, dear old Big Finish productions have given me a superb Valeyard fix in the form of this superb CD audio drama. Michael Jayston returns and is in top form as the evil antidoctor who has inherited the Doctor's remaining lives and been given free reign to do just exactly as he pleases with the universe and the timelines in the Doctor's TARDIS!
As well as the brilliant storytelling, the masterful performances from Michael Jayston and (seriously) Bonnie Langford (I know!) I was blown away by the dynamic, epic sound design (planets exploding, time distortion etc) and the sinister Radiophonic-style music. I particularly liked the references to the TV stories and hearing about how the Valeyard changes the outcomes of those stories just to find out what effect it has on the history of the universe!
The realism of the drama also exposed to me the sad futility of the insane, power-hungry would-be dictators who keep cropping throughout Doctor Who. What happens if they actually get what they want and the billions of deaths that it takes before they realise that it's not making their lives any more satisfying, that power brings responsibility whether you like it or not, and that a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing!
I bought this CD when it first came out, listened to it a dozen times and sold it again. I've just bought it back again and it's been in my car stereo for two days now. I love it.
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