Doctor Who (1963)

Season 24 Episode 1

Time and the Rani, Part One

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Sep 07, 1987 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
33 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The alien world of Lakertya. With the aid of the savage Tetraps, the Rani has conquered this planet to allow her to continue her depraved biochemical experiments. But she finds herself needing the Doctor's assistance…

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  • A not-so-satisfying renewal for the Doctor

    I'll admit it's clever to bring the Rani back into the show, even for just this story. However, how could they get rid of the Sixth Doctor after only two years on the show!? That is way less than the previous five. The regeneration didn't flow smoothly as the others did; the even changed the Doctor Who theme, which they usual did in the final season of the previous Doctor.

    The story seemed a little off with the Doctor regeneration right before the opening credits. It's like saying "here ya go, here's a new Doctor to continue the adventures through time and space; we got rid of the previous one.moreless
  • How could they go so badly wrong?

    I agree with the only other review posted here (so far) about the quality of the script, performances and production. In short, a mess, and a sad travesty of what the show had often been in the 60s and early 70s. Where I disagree is on Sylvester McCoy's Doctor. To me, his casting showed so little understanding of what Doctor Who was about that I wondered how John Nathan Turner had survived so long as its producer. The actor (with his light entertainment background) seemed incapable of carrying the role, particularly when an attempt was made to turn the Doctor into a 'darker' personality. In this story as in many others, he gabbles his lines and fails to convey any emotion at all. An ability to play the spoons and fall over humorously is NOT sufficient qualification for the role of Doctor Who. Fans reported that McCoy was brilliant on stage, but as the Doctor he was a disaster, totally lacking in the charisma, presence and vocal talents needed.

    To compound his casting blunder, the producer partnered McCoy with the ghastly Bonnie Langford, hired Andrew Cartmel as script editor and Keff McCulloch to write the music. In stories like this, the programme became even more like Cinderella in Space. We had garbled plots, horrible sets and costumes and trite, intrusive music. Worst of all, it became impossible to believe in the character any more. In "Time and the Rani" he programme's loveable quality was nowhere to be seen, and would not return for nearly twenty years.moreless
  • Everything about this episode is terrible. One of the worst Doctor Who outings ever.

    The Doctor Who fan site Outpost Gallifrey describes this episode as representing "just about everything wrong with the series during this period." No other words could more aptly describe the first episode of this four part adventure.

    The story is weak, unengaging and barely makes any sense. The dialogue frequently relies on clichés, particularly regarding the important character of the Rani. The direction doesn't make up for any of the script's inadequacies. The pace is slow. The costumes are dire. Both the Doctor and Ikona's outfits are horrible to look at. The colour patterns clash, looking like a small child has swallowed several neon glow sticks and vomited onto linen. The only saving grace is that in the closing scenes The Doctor changes into clothes that make him look less like a clown.

    Time and the Rani ultimately suffers from a lack of passion from the writers and production team. The biggest shame regarding this 24 minute mess, apart from the drop in quality from Who's 70s/ early 80s peak, is that it served as the introduction to an actor who would go on to become one of the most memorable Doctors. Sylvester McCoy does his best with some poor dialogue but fails to save the episode from being one of the worst in twenty six years of Doctor Who screen time.

    For anyone who wants to know what kind of a Doctor McCoy was, watch stories from series 25 and 26 where he was served by better writing, a better companion and a much darker, adult edge. Time and the Rani is awful.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Trivia: While choosing his clothes, the Doctor tries the costumes of the fourth, third, fifth and second Doctors, in that order.

    • Plot Hole: How is the TARDIS able to show what Urak sees? The Rani doesn't modify the scanner at all.

    • Continuity: The TARDIS is conveniently unlocked when Ikona retrieves Mel, then locked when the Doctor and the Rani return.

    • Plot Hole: The Rani tells Urak to remove Mel from the TARDIS. However, she was watching on the scanner when Mel ran into Sarn.

    • This episode features a pre-titles "cold opening" where the TARDIS crashes and the Doctor regenerates, and is one of the very few episodes in the original series to have one (The Five Doctors, Castrovalva, Part One and Remembrance of the Daleks, Part One are the others). Cold openings would be a regularity in the 2005 revival, however, starting with The End of the World.

    • Sylvestor McCoy is the only actor (other than stunt doubles) to have played two different incarnations of the Doctor in the television series. However, Richard E. Grant, who played the Tenth Doctor in the Comic Relief sketch The Curse of Fatal Death, went on to play the Ninth Doctor in the BBCi webcast Scream of the Shalka.

    • The TARDIS crash is apparently serious enough for the Doctor to become mortally wounded, prompting a regeneration, but merely knocks Mel, a far more fragile being, unconscious.

      There is, of course, more to it than that. For an explanation of the events leading up to this regeneration, see Spiral Scratch, a Past Doctor Adventure by Gary Russell (BBC Books, August 2005, ISBN 0 563 48626 0). According to this book, the Doctor was already dying and on the verge of regenerating when the TARDIS crash-landed.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • The Doctor: Ah! That was a nice nap. Now, down to business. I'm a bit worried about the temporal flicker in sector thirteen. There's a bicentennial refit of the TARDIS to book in. I might just pop over to Centauri Seven, and then perhaps a quick holiday. Right, that all seems quite clear. Just three small points. Where am I? Who am I? [ noticing the Rani ] And who are you?

    • The Doctor: What monstrous experiment are you dabbling in now?
      The Rani: I didn't go to the trouble of bringing you here just to discuss the ethics of my work.
      The Doctor: Ethics? Don't be such a hypocrite! Your past is littered with the mutilated results of your unethical experiments!
      The Rani: I had all I could take of that cant back in our university days. Am I expected to abandon my research because of the side effects on an inferior species? Are you prepared to abandon walking, in case you squash an insect underfoot?

    • The Doctor: Since you were exiled from Galifrey, you've had nothing but contempt for all other Time Lords!
      The Rani: My contempt started long before my exile.

  • NOTES (7)