Which One : 600 million years ago, on Concorde!
Cast : The Doctor : Peter Davison
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Nyssa : Sarah Sutton
Kalid / The Master : Anthony Ainley
Professor Hayter : Nigel Stock
Captain Stapley : Richard Easton
Flight Engineer Scobie : Keith Drinkel
First Officer Bilton : Michael Cashman
Captain Urquhart : John Flint
Angela Clifford : Judith Byfield
Horton : Peter Dahlsen
Sheard : Brian McDermott
Andrews : Peter Cellier
Adric : Matthew Waterhouse
Anithon : Hugh Hayes
Zarak : André Winterton
Written By : Peter Grimwade
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 22 – 30 March 1982.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor dematerializes at Heathrow Airport and helps officials investigate the disappearance of a Concorde, by flying on another Concorde along the same trajectory. The Concorde goes through a rift in time, back 600 million years into the past. Here, the Doctor meets a mysterious old Middle Eastern Sorceror, called Kalid. But why has Kalid kidnapped and hypnotised the first missing concorde crew, to dig out a huge monument?
Whats good : See whats bad.
Whats bad : Silly, strange episode. Another ‘Master in obvious disguise’ plot.
Review With Spoilers : Time Flight could lay claim to being one of the most bizarre Who episodes ever. It has dated in that awful way that most of the 80’s Nathan Turner Who’s have.
For a start, why are they still disguising the Master as other characters? We just know it is him already, so it is not even a twist! He’s awful in this regard. You can spot it’s Ainley before he even opens his mouth and does another rubbish accent.
Bear in mind, we have already had this ‘master of disguise’ act this season, previously in Castrovalva. Where Ainley played the elderly Portreeve. He does it again in Season 20, in The Kings Demons, playing the Kings Champion – ‘Estram’.
In Time Flight Ainley plays the weird rubber faced Sorceror Kalid and he does a pretty poor (and borderline racist!) Chinese impersonation!
Ainley’s Master was way overused in Davison’s era. It must have been an attempted nod to Pertwee – Season 8. When Delgado’s Master appeared in every episode. The difference here – though, was that Delgado oozed class and Ainley just oozed – pantomine villian!
So you know you have spotted Ainley incognito (again) and you are expecting a final shock third-act unveiling, as the Master. Gasp! Shock! Horror! The Master is behind this….!
Anyway, this is another problem with the Master in the Davison/Baker/McCoy era. He just keeps on popping up again, with no explanation as to why – or how?
Even though he is usually inexplicably trapped, marooned or even seemingly killed at the end. It might be sci-fi but it still needs an edge of credibility to guide it, which is sadly lacking here in JNT’s “include Ainley at all costs” empire.
Talking of lack of explanation, why is the Master masquerading as a weird pig faced chinese Sorceror, in a temple 600 million years ago on Earth? We don’t get to find out other than some exposition that he escaped from Castrovalva but his Tardis is broken and he needs to fix it.
And this is why he is stealing Concorde’s full of passengers – to dig out an old alien temple, so he can harnass the alien power, as a substitute for his Tardis power supply.
“Well, it’s Heathrow Airport. We appear to be on schedule, for a change….!” The Doctor
Nothing really makes sense in Time Flight, rather things are just there for grand effect. Its all dated 80’s stylings – with little substance.
A Concorde lands and takes off, from a prehistoric uneven rocky surface – without ripping its undercarriage out. Incidental characters keep getting bubble gunged by weird veiny penis warriors, who are under the Master’s bidding.
Another character, the Stewardess – Angela Clifford, mysteriously disappears from the third act entirely. Despite having not been killed or purposefully written out.
You can easily sit through Time Flight but you wouldn’t do it again, it has no real rewatch value and cannot be considered a good Davison episode, never mind a Who classic – in general.
The only bit I found moderately interesting, was Tegan and Nyssa’s trip to the central temple being blocked by apparitions of the mind and the re-appearance of past monsters. Including boy wonder – Adric, who died in the previous episode Earthshock.
Other than that, Time Flight constirutes a poor Davison episode and a poor season finale.