The mid-‘80s were a turbulent time for Doctor Who. After the 22nd season, which ended in March of ‘85, the show was cancelled. There was a considerable uproar from the public, BBC bosses were forced to rethink the move, and its status went from cancelled to 18-month hiatus. But the reprieve came with a few conditions.
The 22nd season had been viewed by some as considerably more violent and adult in tone than such family-friendly fare ought to be, and so producer John Nathan-Turner was asked to tone down the gore and emphasize wit and humor for the 23rd season (which, all things considered, wasn’t an unreasonable request). Season 22 had also, for the first time in the show’s long history, been comprised entirely of 50-minute episodes – 13 of them, in fact. Season 23 was granted a 14-episode order! Sounds positive, right? The catch was that the show would revert back to its 25-minute format, so the seasonal running time had been effectively halved (and it retained this episode/minute count until the show finally did end in 1989.) Finally, the show needed to prove itself, and this wasn’t a guarantee of further seasons. This was no longer the ‘70s, and certain higher-ups were frankly embarrassed by Doctor Who, and thought it looked cheap compared to other film and television sci-fi (again, a valid point). In an inspired move, the art imitating life notion of putting the Doctor on trial for the entire season was born.
Read the rest of the DVD review for "The Trial of a Time Lord" by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.