Sue: Glen McCoy. Any relation to Sylvester?
Me: No. He wrote two episodes of Angels – which were seminal – but he’s probably best known for his crisps.
Timelash begins on the TARDIS.
Sue: I don’t believe it. Peri is wearing something sensible for a change.
The Doctor and Peri are bickering about where to go next.
Sue: He just pushed her away! I remember when the Doctor and his companions used to have some chemistry. Their relationship is actually getting worse.
The Doctor is in a terrible mood.
Sue: His perm has relaxed a bit. Pity I can’t say the same for the rest of him.
The Doctor wants to visit the constellation of Andromeda.
Sue: Peri stares at the Doctor as if she’s madly in love with him, even though he’s treating her like shit. This is an abusive relationship.
Meanwhile, on the planet Karfel, some rebels are revolting.
Sue: I know! Let’s stage the musical right here!
Me: It is a bit Les Mis.
Sue: It must be a dress rehearsal because they haven’t put the sets up yet. It’s a very bland planet so far.
The TARDIS is rapidly approaching a swirly thing.
Sue: Has the Doctor tuned the scanner into Top of the Pops by mistake?
The Doctor: That is a Kontron tunnel. Put more colloquially, it’s a time corridor in space.
Peri: Didn’t the Daleks have one of those?
Sue: When did Peri meet the Daleks? I don’t remember that.
Me: Neither did Eric Saward and he ****ing wrote the thing!
The Doctor is very hyperactive today.
Sue: Has he been mixing alcohol with his antibiotics again? And why is he so horrible to Peri? And why does she put up with it? This is depressing.
Meanwhile, on the planet Karfel.
Sue: Is this planet infested with bees?
A rebel named Aram is captured and brought before a mysterious figure in a chair.
Aram: Who are you?
Borad: The Borad, your master.
Sue: It’s not “you-know-who”, then? Only he just used the word master, and every time they try to hide a baddie like this, it’s usually him.
Karfel’s council meet to discuss the fate of some Les Mis cast members.
Sue: Their costumes are filthy. They obviously haven’t invented Persil Automatic on this planet yet.
A member of this council is a man called Tekker. Sue recognises the voice but she doesn’t recognise the face.
Sue: I don’t know who he is but he’s enjoying himself. Is it Ray Davies?
A rebel is thrown into the Timelash.
Sue: Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be Midge Urrrrrrrrrrrrre!
The public face of the Borad is very familiar.
Sue: It’s a really old Patrick Troughton.
A man named Mykros follows the Maylin to a secret power vault so he sows some seeds of discontent.
Sue: Has he sneaked into the stationary cupboard? This is so cheap. I hope the script is good, because this looks shit.
Sue: Is he the mailman?
Me: No, he’s the Maylin. He’s in charge. Sort of.
Sue: Oh, for a moment there I thought it might be his job to deliver the post.
Mirrors are forbidden on Karfel.
Sue: That explains why they all look such a clip. The amount of rouge plastered on that poor woman’s face earlier (she means Vena) was a joke.
We only get a vague sense of the Borad.
Sue: Did he trap his hand in a door?
And then Sue finds something to like about Timelash.
Sue: I like the blue robot. The colour scheme is very striking and I love the voice. It’s as if someone got a life-size model of Data from Star Trek, and then they painted it when they were on acid. But I like it.
The Maylin is summoned to the Borad for talking to a rebel. The Borad ages the poor bugger to death.
Sue: That was a decent effect, but why did he kill him? He didn’t agree to go along with the other bloke’s plan. That’s a bit harsh.
The TARDIS crew navigate the Kontron tunnel with the aid of some “seat belts”.
Sue: If it keeps wobbling like that, the Doctor might lose some weight.
Tekker has become the planet’s new Maylin.
Me: That’s Avon.
Sue: Is it really? We named a wild cat after Avon.
Me: Avon is definitely wild.
Sue: It’s a shame the cat turned out to be a girl.
Paul Darrow definitely isn’t underplaying the role of Tekker.
Sue: Is he always like this?
This will be the Doctor’s second visit to the planet Karfel.
Sue: Am I supposed to remember that? Because it isn’t ringing any bells.
Me: Don’t worry about it.
Sue: I wasn’t.
The TARDIS arrives on Karfel and Peri has to be warned not to sniff the plants.
Tekker: Although it is a very beautiful specimen, it has the nasty habit of ejecting an acidic fluid into the face of the admirer.
Sue: And you grow them BECAUSE?
The enemies of Karfel are the Bandrils. Their ambassador makes an important announcement on a monitor screen.
Sue: Is that the man from the chair? The one we didn’t see properly earlier on.
Sue: I’m confused. And this thing’s voice doesn’t match its face. A bit like him.
She’s talking about Paul Darrow, of course.
Sue: Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching him. He’s very entertaining. Oh my, was that a limp wrist? Is he taking the piss?
A beekeeper is sent to find Peri.
Sue: What are those hats supposed to protect them from?
Me: Hay fever.
Tekker asks the Doctor to retrieve an amulet which Vena has taken with her into the Timelash.
Sue: Paul is desperately trying to upstage Colin, here.
Me: This is Paul Darrow’s revenge for an appearance Colin made in Blake’s 7 a few years ago. Colin is still picking bits of the set out of his teeth.
Sue: Paul Darrow is trying to make Colin laugh. He’s not even trying to hide it. This could get messy.
A beekeeper approaches Peri with a metal collar.
Sue: Is he going to measure her bra size with that thing?
Peri escapes from an android.
Sue: I bet the actor playing the robot is a dancer in real life. There’s an elegance to him.
Me: I think he ended up on The Hitman and Her, but I could be wrong.
Sue: He could have made a killing outside Piccadilly Circus. Hey, he just sang that line to the Close Encounters music!
Peri finds herself in an underground cave. She accidentally disturbs a Morlox.
Sue: A cheap set and a cheaper monster. The money has definitely run out this season.
Tekker wishes the Doctor luck in his mission to retrieve the amulet.
Sue: He’s playing it like Tom Baker played the Doctor. Paul Darrow would have been a very interesting choice for the role.
A Morlox advances on Peri.
Sue: Do we ever see the back of that thing?
Peri screams the place down.
Sue: This isn’t Peri’s finest hour. Just jump over it, woman!
Peri is rescued by the rebels Sezon and Katz (“Hang on a minute, wasn’t she killed half an hour ago?”). They show her a locket with a picture inside.
Katz: This was given to my grandfather by the Doctor. Do you know who she is?
Peri: Jo Grant. She used to travel with the Doctor.
Sue: How the **** does she know that?
Me: The Doctor must have sat Peri down on night and he’s gone through all his photo albums with her.
Sue: I said it was an abusive relationship.
Meanwhile, in the highlands of Scotland in 1885.
Sue: I like this guy. He’s very sweet.
Sue enjoys the scenes in Herbert’s cottage and she hasn’t got a bad word to say about Timelash until the Doctor refuses to let Herbert travel with him in the TARDIS.
Sue: Oh, you bastard. Peter Davison would have taken him. Peter Davison would have taken any old ****er with him.
Herbert manages to sneak his way onto the ship anyway.
Sue: For the last time, LOCK THE ****ING DOOR! And why is Herbert wearing a suit that’s two sizes too big for him? Did they recast the role at the last-minute?
Vena and Herbert (“The new Nyssa and Adric”) are just settling in when the TARDIS is buffeted by the effects of the time corridor.
Sue: Is the time tunnel powered by helium?
The Doctor returns to Karfel but Tekker has a surprise in store for him.
Sue: They should leave the Timelash on all the time. The lighting is much better.
The episode concludes with the Doctor being herded towards the Timelash.
Sue: I haven’t got a clue what’s going on any more. And I’m a bit bored. Thank heavens for Paul Darrow. Imagine how boring it would be without him in it.
Sue wants to watch the second part straight away. Doesn’t she realise she’s dangling us over the edge of oblivion?
Sue: Let’s get it over with. I don’t want this hanging over me all day tomorrow.
The Doctor manages to overpower an android with a mirror he stole from Herbert.
Me: (Singing) Here comes the mirror man.
Sue: Why would anyone program a robot to be afraid of its own reflection? Where’s the practical application in that?
The Borad monitors these events from his inner sanctum.
Sue: Why is he sitting on a massive poker chip?
The Doctor decides to abseil down the Timelash.
Sue: That reminds me, we have to get the Christmas decorations out of the loft.
Sue can barely believe her eyes.
Sue: It’s Christmas Week at the local Sport Centre’s climbing wall.
She really can’t believe it.
Sue: Seriously, if my students wanted to dress a studio set like that, I would fail them.
The Doctor falls further into the Timelash.
Sue: I’m a celebrity! Get me out of here!
More people are sent into the Timelash after him.
Sue: This is turning into a saga now. What a bunch of idiots.
We discover that the public face of the Borad is nothing more than an android.
Sue: So they just wheel him out whenever they need him to talk, like they used to do with George Bush?
The Doctor recovers a Kontron crystal from inside the Timelash.
Vena: Oh, well done.
Sue: Yes, that will look lovely on top of the tree.
Peri has been chained to a pole by her neck.
Sue: One for the dads, I guess.
The Borad is still lurking in the shadows.
Sue: This had better be good. They are really dragging it out.
Borad: I will not tolerate infidelity.
Sue: Oh dear, has his boyfriend been shagging about behind his back?
The Doctor experiments with the Kontron crystal while his allies barricade the doors.
Sue: He doesn’t seem to care about Peri’s whereabouts or safety at all.
Vena: I think we could be running out of time.
Sue: And I’m running out of patience.
The Doctor slips forwards in time. It’s all a bit weird.
Sue: He’s hitting his cues really late. Did they rehearse this?
Me: It’s funny you should say that. I think they were too busy doing panto and appearing at conventions to give it their full attention.
Sue: This is so bad, I almost believe you. And I know what the Doctor’s doing really. He’s in a different time zone thingy whatsit.
Yes, the Doctor time-slipped 10 seconds into the future.
Sue: I wish I could time slip 30 minutes into the future. Then this would be over.
The Doctor prepares to use the time-slip against his enemies, but Herbert isn’t convinced.
Herbert: But will it work?
Sue: You just saw it work! He just showed it you! What more do you want?
When Tekker’s men finally storm the place, the female rebel named Katz actually laughs.
Sue: She loves a good death, that one. Which reminds me, I’m sure they killed her in the first 5-minutes of Part One. Unless she has a sister.
A wall is blasted away to reveal a painting of Jon Pertwee hiding beneath it.
Sue: No wonder they boarded it up. It’s shit! Who’d want to look at that all day?
The Doctor storms out.
Vena: Where are you going?
The Doctor: To find the Borad.
Sue: Not Peri, then?
The Doctor asks Herbert to keep an eye out for her.
Sue: So he’s entrusting a complete stranger to save his companion for him? Because he clearly can’t be bothered to do it himself.
The Doctor confronts the Borad.
Borad: Come closer. Now look at me carefully, Doctor. We have met before.
Sue: I definitely don’t remember this. What score did I give it?
Me: You didn’t give it a score. You haven’t seen it. No one has seen it.
Sue: That’s a bit stupid.
We finally get to see the Borad’s face.
Sue: Hey, that is very good. Actually, this is the best thing in the whole story. When he said “come closer” I thought they’d be pushing their luck, but it looks amazing. What’s it supposed to be?
Tekker doesn’t like the sound of the Borad’s plans so he stands up to him. Sadly, he’s standing in front of a chair that can age him to death when he does it, the plonker.
Sue: What a shame. Paul Darrow was wasted in that role.
The Borad has chained Peri up so he can turn her into his sex slave.
Sue: That’s a weird first date. And you’d think he want to spend at least one night with her before he disfigured her.
A Morlox approaches Peri and some mustakozene gas “excites” the beast.
Sue: What the **** am I watching?
The Borad is defeated when the Doctor reflects his time ray back on him.
Borad: No! You’ve tricked me!
The Doctor: You tricked yourself.
Sue: Yeah, but you still pointed it at him. Stop making excuses.
But it’s not over yet. The Doctor still has to avert a war.
Sue: Does he have to? Really? I couldn’t give a toss about this lot. Let ’em die.
The Doctor returns to his TARDIS to deal with the Bandrils’ missile but he ends up bickering with Peri instead.
Sue: What is going on? Has the director left the building?
The Doctor picks Peri up and he forcibly removes her from his time machine.
When he’s finished arguing with her, the Doctor turns his attention to Herbert.
The Doctor: Shut up!
Sue: My thoughts exactly. This is painful to watch. Why hasn’t this finished yet?
The Doctor places his TARDIS in the path of the Bandrils’ missile. Sue doesn’t think he’s dead for a second. I’m sure she wouldn’t have yawned if she did.
Karfel has a new Maylin. This time it’s Mykros’ turn.
Sue: Is he in charge now?
Sue: When did they have enough time for an election? This planet isn’t very democratic, is it?
The new Maylin invites the Bandrils down for a chat.
Sue: Yeah, let the people who tried to blow you up come round for coffee.
But it’s not over yet. The Borad has a clone.
Sue: How convenient. They didn’t even bother to hint at that. That’s lazy.
The Board threatens to pluck Peri’s eyes out as Jon Pertwee looks on from a hole in the wall. So the Doctor winds the Borad up about his looks.
Sue: This isn’t right. Matt Smith’s Doctor would see the beauty in everything. This is awfully shallow.
Me: Would you shag him?
Sue: **** off!
When Peri sees his face, she screams.
The Doctor: I told you she’d scream.
Sue: Yeah, but Peri’s been screaming at everything this week.
The Borad is pushed into the Timelash.
The Doctor: Thought I recognised the landscape. He’ll be harmless enough there. At least he’ll have somewhere to swim for the next thousand years.
Peri: But won’t he be seen?
The Doctor: From time to time.
Sue: Are they saying what I think they’re saying?
Me: I think so.
Sue: So he’s just going to swim about in Loch Ness for a thousand years? He won’t swim ashore at any point? You know, because he has legs. I mean, what the ****?
Herbert wants to stay on Karfel.
Sue: WHY? Have you seen the place? It’s a dump.
But the Doctor knows better. He shows Peri a card with Herbert’s name printed on it.
Sue: I suppose that’s clever but I’m past caring.
Me: It explains all the references to The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Sue: HG Wells managed to string that story out over several books. And I thought this was padded.
As the credits roll, Sue has one last damning statement to make:
Sue: Herbert’s business card reminds me of yours. It’s got **** all written on it as well.
Sue: Wow. That was terrible. But it isn’t without merit. The Borad was excellent – probably some of the best make-up I’ve seen in the series – and Paul Darrow was hilarious. I could watch him all day. I liked the blue androids as well. They were nice. As for the rest of it – the script, the direction, the special effects, some of the performances – well, it was horrendous. But I blame the script the most.
Me: Fans have been known to call this story something else. It’s an anagram of the original title.
Sue stares at the DVD cover, and then, after much thought, she says:
Sue: Male shit?
Me: Close enough.
Sue wanted to watch the Making Of documentary on the DVD. She wanted to know what their excuse was.
Sue: The title screen is wrong for a start. Paul Darrow was good, the Doctor is bad, and the other one is ugly.
Sadly, this extra, whilst certainly illuminating (“JNT didn’t have a bloody clue!”), also includes some spoilers.
Sue: Ooh, Daleks next. Daleks and Graeme Harper. I can hardly wait.
Because the documentary is narrated by Terry Molloy, they have to mention Revelation of the Daleks every four minutes for it to make any sense.
Sue: Ooh, it’s got one of The Champions in it. That was my favourite TV show when I was a girl. Why haven’t we got a box set of that?
Despite this, I think the documentary was worth it in the end:
Sue: I know why it turned out so badly, now. Glen McCoy must have been 8-years-old when he wrote it. He looks 35 today. What were they doing letting an 8-year-old write for the series?
She doesn’t half love Paul Darrow, though.
Sue: It’s a pity he didn’t play the Doctor. He’d have been great.