Sue: Peter Grimwade again? So he writes and directs at the same time. Excellent.
Let’s see how long it takes her to work it out, shall we?
Sue: Bloody hell, it must have cost the BBC a small fortune to film on Concorde. Unless this is stock footage from an old British Airways training film. I can’t tell yet.
The plane disappears into thin air.
Sue: (Singing) Bermuda triangle, try to see if from my angle…
Meanwhile, Tegan is back in uniform on the TARDIS.
Sue: No wonder they look depressed, it’s probably the stench of BO.
The crew are actually mourning Adric’s death.
Sue: Oh, yeah. Sorry. I forgot about him.
Me: Forgot?! We only watched it last night!
Sue: I am so over it, Neil. Let’s move on.
Tegan and Nyssa want to know why the Doctor won’t save Adric.
Sue: No, don’t do it! That would break the laws of time and common sense. And is it just me or is Nyssa still trying not to laugh?
The TARDIS crew decide to take Sue’s advice and get on with their lives.
Sue: At least they mentioned it, I suppose. It would have been a bit weird if we’d joined them sipping cocktails on a beach after the last episode.
The TARDIS is heading for Earth when it’s buffeted by time turbulence. But despite this, the Doctor still manages to get them to Heathrow airport on time.
Sue: Hey, if that’s Heathrow airport, that means they can finally get rid of Tegan!
The TARDIS has materialised over a runway, which perplexes the hell out of Air Traffic Control (which seems to staffed by one man and his boss, whose moustache reminds Sue of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation). Anyway, the TARDIS dematerialises again and Air Traffic Control write it off as a small aircraft.
Sue: Well that’s alright, then. It’s only Heathrow-****ing-airport, we always let light aircraft stray into our flight paths. Jesus!
The TARDIS makes a short hop to the middle of a terminal building, which annoys Tegan no end.
Sue: She’s never bloody happy, is she? She doesn’t want to go. Not really. Well, that’s just tough. Push her out the door and go!
The Doctor and his companions decide to loiter in the terminal instead.
Sue: How brown is this airport? Are you sure they haven’t landed in 1972?
When questioned by the authorities, the Doctor uses his UNIT connections to ease his way into a plot that’s already in progress.
Sue: Excellent, we haven’t had a UNIT story for ages. It’s good timing, too, because we had one in the new series on Saturday [The Power of Three]. It must be fate or something.
One telephone call later, the Doctor and chums are given full security clearance.
Sue: Makes a nice change to being arrested for a crime you didn’t commit. I feel like we’ve been spared an episode.
Concorde is so impressive, Sue’s EastEnders detection alarm fails to go off when First Officer Bilton and Captain Stapley step into the frame.
Sue: It’s a design classic. Everyone I know who has travelled on it has told me how amazing it was. I wish I’d flown on it, but I never had more money than sense.
Me: I remember owning a die-cast toy Concorde when this story went out. I loved it to bits, but then I broke its nose off. A wheel fell off as well, I think.
The TARDIS is taken to the plane’s hold.
Sue: If Adric was still here, he could have landed it inside the plane without all this faffing about.
Tegan is overjoyed to be in Concorde’s presence.
Sue: Why is she still here, Neil? Why didn’t she head straight for the Qantas check-in desk as soon as they arrived at Heathrow? She definitely doesn’t want to leave, you know. It’s all a big act.
It’s fair to say that Time-Flight‘s direction fails to impress Sue.
Sue: Peter Grimwade must be having a bad day. The direction is okay but it’s nothing special. It’s very flat.
Me: Peter Grimwade didn’t direct this story, he just wrote it. The guy who directed Black Orchid directed this.
Sue: Oh, right. You can definitely tell. It’s workmanlike at best.
The Doctor jumps into the TARDIS so he can flip it the right way round.
Sue: I can imagine Matt Smith doing something daft like this. I really liked that.
Concorde passes through some time turbulence and the TARDIS begins travelling backwards through time. However, when the plane lands, everything appears to be completely normal.
Sue: That was a bit of an anticlimax. And it isn’t very often the Doctor is wrong.
But something isn’t quite right. Nyssa can see decaying corpses, for a start.
Sue: Did they die waiting for their luggage to turn up?
The location suddenly takes on an unreal hue.
Sue: Their flight has been diverted to the capital city of Chromakey.
And that’s when Sue’s EastEnders alarm finally went off.
Sue: Oh, it’s Barry’s boyfriend, Colin!
Neil: I’m sure Michael Cashman will be flattered with that extensive summary of his career.
The abrupt shift from a beautiful location to a fake studio set fills Sue with disdain.
Sue: Oh dear. It’s all gone pear-shaped. And it started so well.
We cut to a control room where an oriental sorcerer is chanting over a white globe.
Sue: Am I supposed to think that’s you-know-who?
Me: Does it look like him to you?
Sue: How should I know? He’s always in disguise!
Either way, Sue thinks she has the sorcerer’s plan sussed.
Sue: So he’s hijacked a plane and he’s hypnotised all the passengers into thinking they’re having a wonderful time in Times Square, when in reality they are probably mining for something or other. It’s always ****ing mining, isn’t it?
The Doctor tells his companions Heathrow airport won’t exist for another 140 million years.
Sue: I’ve heard of the hotel not being ready on time, but this is ****ing ridiculous.
Concorde’s wheels almost buckle when it lands on a prehistoric plain.
Me: My toy Concorde had the same problem with our carpet.
Sue: What rubbish. How can you hypnotise people so they don’t suffer from whiplash? Why didn’t all the alarms go off? It’s nonsense!
But wait! Another Concorde has landed here as well.
Me: Look! There’s my toy!
The episode concludes with… I’m sure Sue can explain it…
Sue: A shower cubicle is assaulting the Doctor.
Sue: How could they follow Earthshock with that?
The Plasmatons envelop the Doctor.
Me: (Singing) You’re in the colony of Slippermen…
Sue: Very funny.
Me: I can’t take credit for that. Patrick Sanders on Twitter pointed out the similarity between this lot and an old Peter Gabriel Genesis routine. He’s right, though, it is uncanny.
Sue: It’s the wrong song, anyway. It should be (singing) Workin’ at the car wash…
One of Concorde’s stranded passengers is an academic from the University of Darlington.
Sue: WHAT? The University of Darlington? Is he having a laugh? This really has turned into proper science fiction, now. The University of Darlington? Ha!
Professor Hayter’s specialist subject is hypnosis.
Sue: You’d have to hypnotise yourself if you lived in Darlington. Seriously, though, The University of Darlington??!
Nyssa has a panic.
Sue: No one’s rushing to help her, even though she’s displaying all the classic signs of a heart attack. How very odd.
Nyssa is possessed by an alien force. She warns our heroes not to approach the citadel.
Sue: That was Nyssa’s best moment in the series so far. And it wasn’t even her.
Tegan volunteers to stay with Nyssa while Captain Stapley accompanies the Doctor to the citadel.
Sue: Another blow for feminism. Plus, she’s more handy than the captain. When was the last time he shot a Cyberman in the chest?
The Doctor rounds on Professor Hayter for his willingness to abandon his fellow passengers to their fate.
Sue: What I want to know is how could the University of Darlington afford to fly their staff on Concorde? It doesn’t make any sense.
Sue isn’t very impressed with Kalid’s make-up.
Sue: Now that we can see it in a close-up, it looks as if a pigeon has shat plasticine all over his head. His teeth are minging as well. And is it just me or does he sound like Chris Eubank? I can’t take him take seriously.
Concorde’s passengers are hard at work in the sanctum’s chamber, probably for the first time in their lives, which may explain why they are making such a pig’s ear of it.
Sue: What are they are banging on? Is it a giant tortoise? Look at the guy who’s trying to use the palm of his hand as a mallet! What is he doing? Give them some proper tools!
Captain Stapley finds Bilton, who still believes he’s flying a plane.
Sue: I don’t blame him. I’d pretend I wasn’t in this episode if I were him.
Stapley tries to jog his first officer’s memories.
Sue: (As Stapley) Oh yes, the Australian with the terrible BO problem. We had a good laugh about it, remember?
Kalid continues to monitor events on his globe.
Sue: He keeps having to waft his own farts away. And when he’s chanting, he sounds like he’s singing Shaggy’s ‘Mr Lover Lover’.
Nyssa and Tegan enter the citadel, and as they turn a corner…
Sue: Eh? What?
Thankfully, Adric is just an illusion.
Sue: That was some of Matthew’s best acting. Has he gone for good now? Was he contractually obliged to appear in all the episodes or something?
I explain that Matthew Waterhouse appeared in this episode so they could keep his departure a secret – this way his name wouldn’t be missing from the cast list in Radio Times, which would have been out when Earthshock Part Four was broadcast.
Sue: I don’t care what anybody says, JN-T was a genius.
Sue: It’s the Melkur! Is it? No, it’s just another illusion. Ha! They almost had me going there, for a second.
I’m just surprised she got the Melkur’s name right, although she does drop the ball when a Terileptil suddenly appears.
Sue: Oh, it’s one of them. You know, the android shoppers.
When Stapley and Bilton arrive in Kalid’s lair, a two-headed snake keeps them at bay.
Sue: That doesn’t look anything like the Mara!
And then something happens. I can’t remember what exactly, and I didn’t jot anything down in my notes. In fact, I may have nodded off. Anyway, whatever happens, Kalid ends the scene vomiting over himself. But it isn’t Kalid! It’s…
Sue: NO WAY!
Sue: Well, I didn’t see that coming. I’m shocked. And not in a good way, but a “Oh no, here we go again” way. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why did the Master throw up on himself like that? And why bother dressing up at all? What was the fucking point? There had better be a bloody good reason for it.
Sue: Shall I tell you what the best thing about Time-Flight is, Neil? It’s the music. And I don’t mean the incidental music, I’m talking about the theme music.
Peter Grimwade’s writing credit appears on screen again. Sue sighs.
Sue: Peter should stick to directing, although I don’t think even he could have saved this script.
The Master is back!
Sue: (As the Master) So, after I escaped from Castrovalva, I thought to myself, “I know what I’ll do – I’ll steal a couple of planes and dress as a racist pantomime villain. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.”
The Master admits the planes were accidentally trapped in his time contour.
Sue: Well of course they were! It was silly of me to think he could have done it on purpose.
The Master threatens Stapley and Bilton with his tissue compression eliminator.
Sue: Be careful, lads, he could turn you into a pair of collectible figurines.
The Master uses the Doctor’s TARDIS to travel to the sanctum’s chamber.
Sue: Why not just walk there, you lazy bastard?
When Stapley and Bilton infiltrate the Doctor’s TARDIS behind the Master’s back, it feels like we’re watching an exceptionally camp episode of The Benny Hill Show.
Sue: I think I’ve finally worked out why this is Glen Allen’s favourite story.
Stapley can’t work out how to pilot the TARDIS.
Sue: This is very funny. Just imagine the spin-off possibilities if he manages to hit the right button.
In the sanctum’s chamber, the passengers have finally stopped hallucinating.
Sue: They’ll be writing stern letters to Watchdog as soon as they get home, because this was definitely not in the brochure. Having said that, they seem to be taking the news in their stride that their flights have been delayed by a few million years. I’d be livid.
Me: They’ll all revert to savagery when the complementary nuts run out.
Captain Stapley passes the audition to be the Doctor’s next companion with flying colours.
Sue: He’s great. He likes to get stuck in, he’ll believe just about anything, and I bet he’s handy with his fists.
Stapley sabotages the TARDIS but the Master doesn’t seem that bothered.
Sue: Why would he want that heap of shit when he’s got his own? His TARDIS can sit in a chair and fire laser bolts from its eyes. The Doctor’s TARDIS just confuses people.
When we return to the sanctum, which Sue compares to an up-market toilet, her mind begins to wander.
Sue: Peter’s celery is a bit limp. He needs to sort that out.
Professor Hayter decides to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of ultimate knowledge.
Sue: Just think of all the modules he could have taught at the University of Darlington. What a waste.
When Scobie bumps into Angela, a flight attendant he’s probably slept with (ask Sue), he successfully breaks her mental conditioning.
Sue: British Airways took a big risk when they agreed to be in Doctor Who, don’t you think? That scarf is blatant product placement and it would be very hard to distance themselves from this if it all went wrong.
Me: What do you think British Airways thought when they saw Time-Flight for the first time?
Sue: Someone probably got fired.
A Xeraphin materialises in the middle of what looks like an up-market urinal.
Sue: His suit is very tight. Just saying.
And then Sue begins to lose the will to live.
Sue: This is crap. I’ve stopped paying attention to it. I just don’t care any more. Rub my feet, Neil, because this is torture.
The episode concludes when the Xeraphin are transferred to the centre of the Master’s TARDIS. Or in other words: the Master has finally defeated the Doctor.
Sue: Yeah, right… For fuck’s sake…
The credits roll.
Sue: I was really looking forward to Peter Davison but this series is all over the place. Please tell me it gets better, Neil. I don’t think I can stand much more.
Sue: Come on, let’s get Shite-Flight out of the way. Let’s get rid of Tegan and move on.
Stapley and Bilton take the TARDIS back to the Doctor with help from Hayter’s ghost. The Doctor commends him for piloting the TARDIS with such precision.
Sue: Are you joking? Any idiot can fly it these days. What’s the big deal?
And then Sue falls silent for a good five minutes.
Me: You’re not saying very much.
Sue: I know. I can’t be bothered. What can I possibly say about this? The plot involves a plan where they have to dig a hole for Concorde to sit in while they change its tyres. And then they have to build a runway. It’s bollocks. It’ll take them months! And even if they did take off, where are they going to go? Prehistoric New York?
The Doctor does a deal with the Master – he’ll give his arch-nemesis his temporal limiter in exchange for the safety of Concorde’s passengers.
Sue: Are the passengers still hallucinating? They look like they’re hanging around outside a McDonald’s at Heathrow airport. They certainly aren’t reacting like they’ve been kidnapped by aliens.
They change the plane’s tyres.
Sue: No fucking way! They aren’t Concorde tyres! That’s the tyre from a Mini Cooper! They are definitely taking the piss, now.
Cue a rant from Sue involving alloys and measurements that means absolutely nothing to me.
Sue: And another thing, where are the stairs, eh? How are they actually getting in and out of that fucking plane? Give me strength!
Tegan is given the job of ushering the passengers back on board.
Sue: (As Tegan) I hope you can all jump because the door is fucking miles away.
Incredibly, Concorde manages to take off, runway or no runway.
Sue: Un-fucking-believable. You can even seen the terminal buildings in the background!
When Concorde is back in the air, Sue is even more damning.
Sue: The plane on the ground had silver engines but the plane in the air has black engines. Oh, why do I even care?
The Doctor programmes the flight computer and the plane enters a time contour.
Sue: It’s like that film with the Navy in it. You know, where their boat goes back in time.
Me: The Philadelphia Experiment?
Sue: Yes, but this is more like The Philadelphia Light Experiment.
Back at Heathrow airport, Tegan is thinking about her future. After all, it isn’t exactly dull travelling with the Doctor…
Sue: Yes it is! Even the Doctor fell asleep during this episode. Leave while you still can!
The Doctor traps the Master on the planet Xeraphas.
Sue: That makes no sense at all. None whatsoever.
The Doctor hopes it will be for good this time.
Sue: It never bloody is, though, is it?
Meanwhile, Tegan is still wandering through the airport.
Sue: Doesn’t she have a funeral to go to?
The Doctor and Nyssa do a runner before Ron Swanson can launch an official investigation, and in the confusion, Tegan is left behind.
Sue: I feel sorry for her. She deserved a decent goodbye scene at the very least. She looks quite bitter, actually. Be careful what you wish for, chick.
As the credits roll, Sue boos.
Sue: I’d like to give the captain one.
Sue: The rest was crap.