Number : Season 24, serial 1 of 4.
Which One : Sixth into Seventh.
Cast : The Doctor : Sylvester McCoy
Mel : Bonnie Langford
The Rani : Kate O’Mara
Ikona : Mark Greenstreet
Beyus : Donald Pickering
Faroon : Wanda Ventham
Sarn : Karen Clegg
Urak : Richard Gauntlett
Lanisha : John Segal
Written By : Pip & Jane Baker
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 7 – 28 September 1987.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Sixth Doctor regenerates into the seventh incarnation, after being attacked by the Rani. Forced to land the Tardis on planet Lakertya, the Doctor is captured by the Rani and tricked into working for her; whilst in the midst of post-regenerative stress.
Whats good : Reasonably solid episode, nice SFX, the Tet-traps are decent monsters and the Rani is a welcome break from Ainley’s overused Master.
Whats bad : The script was written for Colin Baker. The regeneration sequence is also horribly done. It’s quite clearly not Colin Baker and no explanation is given as to why the Sixth Doctor regenerated. McCoy’s horrible ad-libbed post-regeneration clown act.
Review With Spoilers : Time And The Rani – in itself, is not actually a bad serial of Doctor Who. It is definitely one of McCoy’s better stories.
What maybe detracts from its overall scoring, with most Who fans; is the really clunky transition from Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor – to Sylvester McCoy’s – Seventh.
Baker refused to return, having been fired at the end of the previous season. So the part of the Sixth Doctor was played (briefly) by Sylvester McCoy; who regenerates, soon after being turned over by a Tet-Trap; which has gained entry into the crashed Tardis.
The Rani is the principle villain – in this one. She has kidnapped many Earth genius’, from different time-periods and is using their collective intellect – to perfect a super weapon. This super-weapon, will harnass the power of a passing “dark matter” asteroid.
The Rani doesn’t make the Doctor’s post-regeneration stress easy, either. By taking the form of captured companion Mel and persuading the confused Doctor – to work for her.
The biggest issue with Time And The Rani, is that it was written before a Doctor was chosen; so did not include any character development for Sylvester McCoy.
“You don’t understand regeneration Mel, its a lottery and I’ve gone and drawn the short plank!” The Doctor
This left McCoy, to wing his performance and with his children’s entertainment background; played the clown. So what we got, was a very annoying jester-type approach; to the role. In the vein of Troughton’s post regeneration stress routine, although Troughton could be forgiven though, as his was the first regeneration in the show.
It took until Remembrance Of The Daleks – in the following season, before these aspects of his character were dispelled enough; for a darker, more broody interpretation – to take shape.
The SFX deserves a nod here too, as Doctor Who had gone all CGI, with newly updated opening and closing title sequences – and some nifty new early digital SFX showcased. Including, the Rani’s deadly bouncing time-bubble traps.
The Tet-Trap’s are also good (for man-in-suit type monsters), with their ability to see in all four directions; due to the positininh of their 4 sets of eyes. The cliffhanger, in which the Doctor gets trapped in the Tet-trap cave – is also a bit hair-raising.
As a standalone story, Time And The Rani stands up, bar it’s various issues. It is easily one of the better McCoy episodes, which unfortunately – wasn’t too hard.
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