Number : Season 19, serial 7 of 7.
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 episodes.
Plot : The Doctor finally returns Tegan to Heathrow Airport – in the correct time-period. Subsequently, helping airport-officials to investigate the disappearance of a Concorde; by flying on another Concorde – along the same trajectory.
The Concorde goes through a rift in time, 600 million years into the past. Here, the Doctor meets a mysterious old Middle-Eastern Sorceror, called Kalid.
Whats good : See whats bad.
Whats bad : Silly, strange episode. Yet another obvious ‘Master-in-disguise’ plot.
Review With Spoilers : Time Flight could lay claim to being one of the most bizarre Doctor Who episodes ever. It is definitely one, if not the – worst season finale.
For a start, why are they still disguising the Master, as other characters? We just know it is Anthony Ainley, so it is not even a twist! He’s just plain awful at pretending to be someone else. 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 Knight-Champion; ‘Estram’ (anagram).
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 story. The difference here – though, was that Delgado oozed class and Ainley just oozed – pantomine villian!
At least, when Delgado disguised as another character – it literally was a different actor. With a split-cut reveal of Delgado pulling off a rubber-mask. It made for a surprise as it was impossible to spot the disguised Delgado-Master.
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!
Anyway, this is another problem with the Master in the Davison/Baker/McCoy era. The Master just keeps on popping up again – and again, with no explanation as to how, the Master escaped the previous predicament.
Even though usually inexplicably trapped, marooned – or even seemingly killed. 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” directive.
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 from the Master, that after escaping Castrovalva; the Master’s Tardis is broken – and needs fixed.
And this is why he the Master is stealing Concorde’s full of passengers – to dig out an old alien temple; to harness the alien power, as a substitute – for a 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. It’s all dated 80’s stylings – with little real substance – or integrity.
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, Stewardess Angela Clifford, mysteriously disappears from the third act entirely. Despite having not been killed off – 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 decent season-filler, never mind a season-finale.
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 constitutes – a poor Davison episode and – a poor season finale. Candidate for worst episode ever.
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