michael jayston


“Mr Chambers will demand an explanation…”

That time when Mister Popplewick turned out to be Mister JJ Chambers in disguise, which was an alias being used by the Valeyard, who was actually, in a roundabout way, the Doctor himself.

The Trial of a Time Lord - season 23 - 1986

(GIF 05 - bit of a fan edit.)

Doctor Who Theme
  • Doctor Who Theme
  • Big Finish Productions
  • Unbound; He Jests At Scars...
Doctor Who Themes I Greatly Enjoy - [1/10]
↳ Doctor Who Unbound: He Jests At Scars...

My tenth favourite theme song is a version used only once for the Doctor Who: Unbound range from Big Finish Productions. In the Unbound range, the writers are free to explore ‘What if…?“ scenarios such as Auld Morality where the description was "What if The Doctor and Susan had never left Gallifrey?” In He Jests At Scars… the “What if…?” Is “What if The Valeyard had beaten The Doctor within the matrix in The Trial of a Time Lord”. The theme is to sound like a darker version of the Glynn version of the theme, which makes sense since it’s set right after the Sixth Doctor’s reign.

I remember the first time I met Michael Jayston, we were chatting about this and that, and for some reason I mentioned that sometimes I fear having trouble being taken seriously as a professional, as I do tend to look a bit young for my age.

“Really?” he said. “Because you honestly don’t look a day over 64.”

Oh Michael, you ol’ smoothie. I do enjoy a bit of ridiculous banter.

Who fans - and if you’re reading this, you probably are one - will remember Jayston’s understated, menacing performance as the Scrapyard Barnyard Junkyard Valeyard in the show’s Trial Of A Time Lord season, a role he has since reprises in the Big Finish audios He Jests At Scars and the recent Trial Of The Valeyard. He’s been in far too many other things to list them all; that said, I would be remiss if I failed to mention his performance opposite Alec Guinness in the fabulous BBC adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Then there was the time I mentioned being a lapsed academic, and he looked at me incredulously, and said “did you say you’re a lapdancer?” and I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. So thank you for that, sir.

Fact #63

Besides learning to operate the Matrix and throw quill pens, Michael Jayston has said that the most difficult part of his role in Trial of a Time Lord was getting the hang of vanishing and reappearing at will. As one of the few actors to master this art with some proficiency, he was in more recent years hired to train Toby Jones in the skill for the new series. Toby Jones, however, still splinches himself every third take.





(Clockwise from 2:00) Jeremy Brett, Lawrence Olivier, Tom Baker, Joan Plowright, Derek Jacobi. The Merchant of Venice, 1973.

I’m afraid that isn’t Derek Jacobi but Michael Jayston (who is an equally fine actor). Sir Derek was Gratiano in the original NT stage production at the Old Vic but Jayston took over that role in the 1973 film.

Also, not Tom Baker, but the director Jonathan Miller, who I had never realized really resembles the Fourth Doctor!  That’s uncanny! 

Also, I think that’s whoever played Nerissa, not Joan Plowright.  Yikes!  Sorry, OP, to be jumping all over your wonderful photo post!  It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at one of the more interesting versions of that play.  Thank you so much for posting it!

OK here’s what Google Books showed me of the actors list: Tom Baker as Morocco, and I saw him mention in an interview that he worked on the set when not acting.  I just uploaded a c.1973 photo of Jonathan Miller and HOLY WOW.  The resemblance is indeed uncanny.  However the mistake is an informed one, lol.


That is indeed Joan Plowright as Portia in disguise unless it’s Anna Carteret, but Anna’s face is a bit more cherubic.  You however are correct about Michael Jayston.  I found him co-starring in Granada and it was the blurry chin dimple that put me off the scent and I mistook him for DJ >.<