Number : Season 22, episode 4 of 6.
Which One : Victorian writer; H.G. Wells, gets inspiration for a time travel novel, from the Doctor.
Cast : The Doctor : Colin Baker
Peri : Nicola Bryant
The Borad : Robert Ashby
Old Man : Denis Carey
Tekker : Paul Darrow
Mykros : Eric Deacon
Maylin Renis : Neil Hallett
Vena : Jeananne Crowley
Kendron : David Ashton
Herbert : David Chandler
Katz : Tracy Louise Ward
Brunner : Peter Robert Scott
Sezon : Dicken Ashworth
Gazak : Steven Mackintosh
Aram : Christine Kavanagh
Tyheer : Martin Gower
Android : Dean Hollingsworth
Written By : Glen McCoy
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 9 – 16 March 1985.
Length : 2 x 45 minute parts.
Plot : The Tardis is drawn up a time tunnel to planet Karfel, where the Doctor has visited before, in his third guise. A despotic dictator – called the Borad, rules over the Karfellians with an iron fist. Can the Doctor help them?
Whats good : It has the potential structure of a classic Who episode.
Whats bad : It’s so horribly produced and directed, due to messy rewrites – as it was being shot. The second episode is a complete mess.
Review With Spoilers : Timelash was (potentially) a great Doctor Who story, that contained plenty of individually good ideas.
It had an appearance by a famous historical character; Victorian writer H.G. Wells – who travels with the Doctor to planet Karfel. The insinuation being, that the Doctor inspired yet another great historical figure.
It also confirmed that the Third Doctor had also visited Karfel with Jo Grant, at some point in the past and that the people of Karfel had waited for the Doctor’s return – ever since.
The problem with Timelash is that none of these ideas on their own, could make up for the unfinished script, shoddy direction and last minute rewrites.
The main adventure is pretty much over 20 minutes into the second part. Much of the remaining 25 minutes, featuring the Doctor and H.G. Wells in the Tardis – feel tacked on, to bulk out the running time.
“The stories I’ve heard about you. The great Doctor, all knowing and all powerful. You’re about as powerful as a burnt out android!” Dekker
As a result, the pacing is all over the place and even a reappearance of the Borad – as a clone (after Borad number 1 is killed) also feels like time wasting.
The Borad’s half-man, half-Morlox look is surprisingly really well done but the actual Morlox is a poor puppet headed dragon special effect. (Morlox – H.G. Wells inspiration for the “Morlocks” in Time Machine, etc).
Blake Seven’s Paul Darrow is a decent villain, if a slightly underused henchman – to the Borad. He would have infact made a much more knivingly memorable Borad character, than Robert Ashby’s much more straight-laced approach.
H.G. Wells could have made an interesting ongoing companion in the Tardis, as he and the Doctor had an interesting dynamic. Sadly, it was not to be.
Timelash is – aside from the obvious budget and script issues, a potentially good Who story fighting to breathe in amongst all of the changes.
More a case of bad execution spoiling a potentially good adventure.
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