Sunday, 28 June 2015

Time and the Rani


A pre-credits sequence, exciting! Only the 3rd in the show's history at this point, after Castrovalva and the Five Doctors.

The TARDIS is under fire from an unknown attacker...

The CGI, supposedly cutting edge for the time looks very cartoony, now, and hasn't aged well. 

Was it impressive for the time?
Davad@davadsteel Yes. It was incredibly exciting!


I did see this on first broadcast and don't recall being either impressed or disappointed, to be honest. I was probably in too much of a hurry to see the new Doctor, I reckon. 
Simon Hart@Si_Hart It looked great at the time. Not as good as the model shot that started the previous year though.

Bet this was a damn sight cheaper, mind you!

MAW Holmes@MAW_H I remember being quite impressed with part one at the time, but then, you know... 1987 - look at what we were all wearing!

 Tim Gambrell@Mr_Brell I LOVED episode 1 at the time. Fresh, zippy, colourful, new effects, immediately likeable new Doctor


The rainbow beam's a bit naff.

The TARDIS is forced down on to a rocky planet...

With the Doctor and Mel unconscious on the floor of the control room...

...a figure enters - it's the Rani! Looking a bit more glam than last time out, it has to be said.

"Leave the girl, it's the man I want. Leave his wig behind, though." 
Mark Walker@Mark_Walker The Rani isn't into threesomes!

As her furry friend reaches for the Doctor, though, his face is bathed in light and he regenerates once more...

Just WHY does he regenerate, though? 

My theory is that the Doctor was at the console when those multi-coloured rays hit the TARDIS and an explosion caused him to regenerate.
Simon Pittman@LibraryPlayer Maybe he just got back from saving Gallifrey (in The Day of the Doctor) but was ambushed by a surviving Time War Dalek causing regen/mem loss! #MaybeNot

The theme arrangement is radically different... 

....and is a bit marmite.

Can't say it's dated very well for me, but I like it for what it is in that it immediately evokes the McCoy era to me.

The visuals are pretty impressive, I think, I like the purple spiral galaxy and the camera movement...

...but we don't need any of that winking business, thank you! 

I do think that's the worst logo in history of the show, though!


The Rani has enslaved the Lakertyans to help them with her scheme, which seems to involve kidnapping Einstein...

The incidental music is a bit rotten, to put it mildly.

Ooh, what's the Rani got in her pink pulse-y VIP area?

The new Doctor jabbers a load of nonsense (which from the sounds of it JNT obviously put Pip & Jane up to thinking it's default Doctor-y) and falls over unconvincingly like an idiot. 

Not too promising in his first scene, but he's still post-regenerative. It's the Robot routine, isn't it?
Vincent Jones@Bunny_Snuggler Took me a long time to learn to love Sly.Got there in the end, but at the time I thought JNT should be horsewhipped for this.


Pete@other_pete I remember thinking "Oh god, he's a pillock, why!" How did they fail to learn the lessons of The Twin Dilemma?

When the Rani berates Sarn for helping the Doctor, the Lakertyan runs away...

Great monster Point-Of-View shot as the Rani has the Doctor recaptured.

The creature with the orange POV sprays the doctor with glitter and silly string and he has a lie down.

Another Lakertyan, Ikona, enters the open TARDIS and abducts the unconscious Mel.


Ikona can just waltz into the TARDIS because the Rani left the door wide open exactly like she wouldn't. I really would have thought the Rani would have ordered Urak to close it, especially with the likes of Ikona about. It's hers now - might be a bit knackered, but I'd've thought she'd be quite pleased to have it if only for spare parts.

When Mel wakes up and legs it she nearly bumps into Sarn...

...who instead trips a wire which creates an energy bubble that spins off and explodes. The CGI Death Bubble thingy is a great effect, and nice use of physical FX for the bounces that tie it together.

Nice one, Mel.
MAW Holmes@MAW_H Vale, Sarn... without whom we'd never know how dangerous the cliffhanger is...

Ikona believes Mel is working with the Rani. Maybe on account of her shoulder pads?

The Rani gives the Doctor amnesia...


...then dresses up as Mel. Crikey.

I'm guessing the Rani has some clothes & wig machine that can produce stuff just from her memory or something.

MAW Holmes@MAW_H First thing you'd do with your 3D printer I'm sure...

"Mel" tells the Doctor they're in his laboratory on Lakertya and that his amnesia is due to his regeneration.

He remembers the TARDIS... that's always a strong memory for him.

"Mel" reminds him of his university days...

Mel's dialogue seems more obviously dubbed on later than it should.


That's a great quarry, though. Seriously.

Mark Walker@Mark_Walker can't beat a good quarry!

Mel wins Ikona's trust by saving him from another bubble trap.

"Mop my brow!"

Spoons! The horror, the horror!

The Doctor refuses to work on the experiment until his memory returns.

I like the way they've tried to make the Lakertyans different with their hands-folded-backwards running, actually.
M@nterik@Manterik they just look so alien

Beyus dispenses a nasty looking red sludge and the Rani's creatures descend...

"Mel" tries to give the Doctor a spiked drink but he's not thirsty...

"Perhaps this is my new persona: bad-tempered, sulky..."
John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland "The Doctor was concerned that he was turning into Tegan"

The Doctor decides to jog his memory in the TARDIS, so the Rani orders her still unseen henchman, Urak, to remove Mel, only to be told that she's already gone.

Spotting the skeletal remains of Sarn, the Doctor is intrigued but "Mel"'s assessment of the Lakertyans is brutal.
Mark Walker@Mark_Walker the more I know me, the less I like me!

The Doctor gives a modern take on the costume-trying bit from Robot...

After trying on the outfits of the 4th, 3rd & 5th Doctors, he reveals his new outfit from beneath the 2nd Doctor's fur coat.


Mel makes a run for it but she's being stalked...
M@nterik@Manterik the music is amazingly intrusive in this.
Mark Walker@Mark_Walker almost as much as Mel's screaming!
God yes, really too much, I'm afraid. Trying to be positive here, but the pitch & duration of her screams are painful.

MAW Holmes@MAW_H Aw, I've always had rather a soft spot for Mel.


I actually like the character, just not the screams. I like that unlike most 80s companions up to now she actually wants to be there and to enjoy travelling around having adventures.

M@nterik@Manterik I like what Big Finish and the missing adventures did with the character. Mel had great potential.


The music does sound different and therefore adds to the feeling of newness but it's way over the top.

Davad@davadsteel The music sounds like a Pet Shop Boys b-side! But again, it was another attempt to do something new.


"Mel" (the Rani) tells the Doctor that Mel is the Rani.
Uh-oh, Mel's trapped in one of the bubbles! 

 Ah yes, Mel's screaming. It's just so... penetrating.

Well, she didn't last long, did she? Never got to see the new Doctor either.

John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland This was genuinely upsetting to 7yo me. I couldn't see a way out of it for Mel.


Mark Walker@Mark_Walker it's actually quite a decent cliffhanger, all else considered!


In an unbelievable stroke of luck, the bubble lands at the water's edge...

...allowing Ikona to defuse it.

Shame Sylv didn't get to keep his tartan scarf actually.

The Doctor feels sorry for "the Rani" getting caught in "her own" trap.


"If the Rani was after our experiment, we must be playing with fire!"

Nice rescue by Ikona. 

We're still not seeing the full Tetrap.
MAW Holmes@MAW_H Prompting the now famous insult "You're not the full Tetrap, you..."

Ikona takes them to an ammo dump of sorts...

...and Mel is caught by the Tetraps! Ouch.

Hell's bells, Mel has got to quit that screaming. 

The big Tetrap reveal actually lingers a bit too long in the end making the head look rather static - impressively detailed, though.

The Doctor has solved the Rani's tech problem, but is more interested in the pink pulse-y room. A Kangaroo never forgets!

It's only a model.


The Rani ignores the Doctor's preference for an environmentally friendly solution. 

It's Sherlock's mum!

MAW Holmes@MAW_H "Faroon, Faroon, Faroon..."

Wanda Ventham injects some much-needed gravitas with a touching lament for Sarn. 

There's steely defiance there, too.

Playing the spoons AGAIN. NO!

Ikona distracts Urak so Mel can enter the citadel...

...and the hapless Tetrap fires on his Mel-ed up mistress.

The Doctor and Mel are reunited for the 1st time, sort of! They don't exactly hit it off.

Urak gushes apologies, but the Rani's more concerned that Mel is at large.

"I've had enough of this drivel!"

Fun little bit as they test each other out, with carrot juice and double pulses...
Davad@davadsteel A great scene. And Mel knows about regeneration!

Kind of forgot that Mel didn't yet know he'd regenerated. Maybe this scene needed to come a bit earlier in the story.

The Rani goes to her snazzy pyramid TARDIS but forbids Urak from following her inside.

Beyus and Faroon help the Doctor escape the lab, and he begins to piece together the Rani's scheme once again...

It seems there's a place reserved for the Doctor so the Rani can plug him into... whatever it is...

With the Rani on the way back, Mel has to hide and he'll have to play along...

The Rani is immediately suspicious to find the monitor's been left on.

 The Rani ditches the Mel act and the Doctor scarpers...

 ...straight into the Tetrap dungeon!

Oo 'eck, the Doctor's got bats in the belfry!

Not liking that gloopy sound effect at the start of the new theme arrangement, by the way. Not a patch on the previous stings.

Blimey what a long recap for this episode!

The Doctor tries to talk his way out of trouble but it's the food that Beyus dispenses that really gets through to them!

Urak starts throwing his weight around, but Beyus isn't impressed.

The Doctor emerges from his hiding place & tries to persuade Beyus to raise his resistance from 'passive' to 'some'.

Beyus is happy enough to help the Doctor escape but protests when he steals the Rani's Microthermistor.

On the move again, Mel is confronted by a rowdy gang of Tetraps, who stun her and take her to the Rani.
Mark Walker@Mark_Walker Mel screams again, gets tongued then passes out!

I think you need to self-Kenneth, there! Lol!

Mark Walker@Mark_Walker 


Hurrah! 

Ikona's timely intervention saves the Doctor from a bubble-trap...

...which then finishes off a marauding Tetrap.

Ikona bemoans his indolent people, lazing around under the Rani's subjugation. 

Dated as it is, the tune in the Lakertyan leisure hive is the best bit of music in this so far. 


The Rani decides to make an example of the Leisure Hive Lakertyans for Ikona's assistance to the Doctor...

...and wipes them out with killer bees.

Stop hanging around, Mel!

Having got his attention, the Rani has arranged a prisoner exchange of sorts, Mel for the Microthermistor...

...but Urak has tricked him with a holo-Mel!

The Rani revives the hypnotised Mel and releases her into Beyus' custody.

"A bird in the hand keeps the Doctor away?" Hark at the Doctor calling Mel a 'bird'!

Ikona distracts one Tetrap, but the Doctor runs straight into another and is captured!

This time it's the Doctor that's had a tonguing. These Tetraps aren't fussy.

The Rani plugs the Doctor into her giant brain computer...

With the Doctor's input the brain makes the breakthrough the Rani needed.

Mel screams as the Doctor wobbles his face at the brain - cliffhanger!

Much of Urak's dialogue is unfortunately unfathomable. 

The Rani packs him off to get his lazy mates out of bed.

The Doctor begins to have a disruptive influence on the brain...

When she goes to disconnect him, the Rani finds herself taking the Doctor's place, trapped in his cubicle.

Urak fits the Lakertyans with explosive ankle bracelets. This season's in thing.

When the Rani demands to be released, Beyus just walks on by...


The Rani's scheme is finally revealed: she needs the strange matter in the asteroid to turn Lakertya into a giant time manipulator.

The Doctor can't help himself correcting the brain's calculation and accidentally gives the Rani her solution.

John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland We can retcon that with the Doctor's later manipulations and schemes...


Mel gets her own back on Urak, netting him with the glitter gun so that she and the Doctor can make their escape...

...but the Rani is more preoccupied manufacturing the Loyhargil she needs for the warhead of the rocket she'll use to detonate the dark matter asteroid. It's all a matter of time. And the Rani.

The Doctor shows Ikona how to defuse the ankle bombs.

The brain starts its big countdown, but the Doctor's sabotage means the rocket will miss its' target.

Beyus finally decides which side he's on, attaching the ankle braclets around the brain and sacrificing himself to blow it up.

Beyus has delayed the launch long enough for the rocket to miss the asteroid.

Great dematerialisation effect on the Rani's TARDIS.

Smashing little scene of the geniuses (genii?) in the TARDIS, a nice glimpse of a TARDIS corridor...

Although she got away, it seems the Rani might be a little hung up for a while...

The Doctor offers Ikona the antidote to the Rani's poisons but he pours it away, telling him that they must work for their own solutions.

"I'll grow on you" is a little less ambitious, & optimistic, than "whether you like it or not!" isn't it!

The Space Pirate@SpacePirateOz A little more humble, and a lot easier to take! Not everyone agrees of course but that's it for me!

Nowhere near as bad as its' reputation that; high production values and the freshness of everything being new definitely work in its favour. 

Sylv is very likeable once you get past his first very silly scene. 

Kate O'Mara and the other supporting cast are on good form, and the Tetraps look quite impressive.

It's actually the music and the frequency (in both senses) of Mel's screams that are the biggest let downs.

Lass Productions@21stcenturylass And the script.

Lol, well that too, yes!


John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland has a lot going for it. But they can't mask the silly story. There's even some nice character moments. Poor Time and the Rani. But is it really any sillier than The Chase?
Bit apples and pears, I think in that the Chase tries to be a jolly freewheeling romp, Time and the Rani takes itself seriously.

John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland Maybe. Its certainly NOT the way to introduce a new Doctor and re-establish the show after two rocky years....


It does seem to repeat the mistake of keeping the audience at arm's length.


John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland Not that 7yo me minded. I lapped it up, liked the new funny Doctor, and I hid behind the sofa, when I was supposed to...



TTFN! K.
Coming Soon... The Time Meddler

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