Sue: Glen McCoy. Any relation to Sylvester?
Me: No. He wrote two episodes of Angels – which were seminal, by the way – but he’s probably best known for his crisps.
Timelash begins on the TARDIS.
Sue: I don’t believe it. Peri is actually wearing something sensible for a change.
The Doctor and Peri are bickering about where to go next.
Sue: He just pushed her! Remember when the Doctor and his companions used to have chemistry? This relationship is actually getting worse.
The Doctor is in a terrible mood.
Sue: His perm has relaxed a bit, it’s just a pity you can’t say the same about the rest of him.
The Doctor wants to visit the constellation of Andromeda.
Sue: Peri stares at the Doctor like she’s madly in love with him, even though he’s treating her like absolute 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: Yes, it is a bit Les Mis.
Sue: It must be a rehearsal, because they haven’t put the sets up yet.
The TARDIS is rapidly approaching a swirly thing.
Sue: Has the Doctor tuned the scanner to Top of the Pops by mistake?
It’s a Kontron tunnel and Peri wants to know if it’s in any way similar to the time tunnels used by the Daleks.
Sue: When did Peri meet the Daleks? I don’t remember that.
Me: Neither did Eric Saward and he ****ing wrote this!
The Doctor becomes increasingly hyperactive.
Sue: Why is he so horrible to Peri? And why does she put up with it? This is so depressing.
Meanwhile, on the planet Karfel…
Sue: Is this planet infested with bees?
A rebel is made to face a mysterious creature called the Borad.
Sue: So it’s definitely not you-know-who, then? Only he just used the word master, and every time they try to hide a baddie like this, it usually turns out to be him.
Meanwhile Karfel’s council discusses the fate of the rebellious Les Mis cast members.
Sue: Their costumes are filthy. They obviously haven’t invented Persil Automatic on this planet yet.
A rebel is thrown into the Timelash.
Me: Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be Midge Ure!
Two men meet in a power vault to sow the seeds of discontent.
Sue: Have they sneaked into the stationery cupboard? This is so cheap. I hope the script is decent, Neil, because this looks like shit.
Sue: So 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 was his job to deliver the post on this planet.
The director has opted to reveal the Borad slowly, which means we have to make do with shots of his appendages for now.
Sue: Did he trap his hand in a door?
And then Sue actually finds something to like about Timelash.
Sue: I like the blue robot. I especially like its voice. It’s as if someone took a life-size model of Data from Star Trek and they painted it whilst tripping on acid.
The Borad ages the Maylin to death for talking to a rebel.
Sue: That was a nice effect, but why did he kill him? He didn’t agree to go along with the rebel’s plan, so that seems a bit harsh.
Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor and Peri navigate the Kontron tunnel with the aid of some ‘seat belts’.
Sue: If he keeps wobbling like that, he might actually lose some weight.
Meanwhile a man named Tekker becomes Karfel’s new Maylin.
Me: That’s Avon.
Sue: Is it really? We named one of the wild cats after Avon.
Me: Yeah, it’s a shame he turned out to be a girl.
You definitely couldn’t accuse Paul Darrow of underplaying the part.
Sue: Oh my God. Is he always like this?
We discover that this isn’t the Doctor’s first visit to Karfel.
Sue: Am I supposed to remember that? Because this isn’t ringing any bells.
Me: Don’t worry about it.
Sue: I wasn’t.
Peri is warned not to sniff any of Karfel’s plants because they tend to squirt acid at anyone who admires them.
Sue: And they grow them BECAUSE?
Karfel’s enemies are the Bandrils, and their ambassador has an important announcement to make.
Sue: Is he the man from the chair? The one we didn’t see properly earlier, I mean.
Sue: In that case, I’m really confused.
A beekeeper is sent to find Peri.
Sue: What are those hats supposed to protect them from, exactly?
Me: Hay fever, probably.
Tekker asks the Doctor to retrieve an amulet that a woman named Vena took 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. Colin is still removing parts of the set from his teeth.
Sue: Paul Darrow is definitely trying to make Colin laugh. He isn’t even trying to hide it.
Peri is menaced by a beekeeper brandishing a metal collar.
Sue: Is he going to measure her bra size with that thing?
Peri escapes from the android.
Sue: I bet that robot is a dancer in real life. There’s a certain elegance to him.
Me: I think he ended up on The Hitman and Her, but I could be mistaken.
Sue: He could have made a killing outside Piccadilly Circus. Hey, he just sang the theme to Close Encounters!
Peri wanders into an underground cave and accidentally disturbs a Morlox.
Sue: A cheap set and an even cheaper monster. The money has definitely run out this season.
As the Morlox advances on her, Peri screams the place down.
Sue: This isn’t her finest hour. Just jump over it, woman!
Peri is rescued by two rebels named Sezon and Katz (“Hang on a minute – wasn’t she killed half an hour ago?”), and when they show her a locket, Peri instantly recognises the woman pictured inside it.
Sue: How the **** does she know Jo Grant?
Me: The Doctor must have gone through all his old photo albums with her one night.
Sue: I told you it was an abusive relationship.
Meanwhile, in the highlands of Scotland in the year 1885…
Sue: I like this guy. He’s sweet.
Sue thoroughly enjoys the scenes in Herbert’s cottage. In fact, she doesn’t have a bad word to say until the Doctor refuses to let Herbert travel in the TARDIS with him.
Sue: Peter Davison would have taken him like a shot. Then again, Peter Davison would have taken any old ****er with him.
Herbert sneaks on board 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 his role at the last-minute or something?
Vena and Herbert (“The new Nyssa and Adric”) are just settling in when the time corridor buffets the TARDIS.
Sue: Is this time tunnel powered by helium?
The Doctor returns to Karfel, but Tekker has a surprise waiting in store for him.
Sue: They should leave the Timelash on all the time, the lighting is so much better.
The episode concludes with the Doctor being shepherded towards the Timelash.
Sue: I haven’t got a clue what’s going on any more. Thank heavens for Paul Darrow. Just imagine how boring this would be without him.
Sue wants to watch the second instalment immediately.
Sue: Let’s get it over with. I don’t want this hanging over me all day tomorrow. My life is stressful enough as it is.
The Doctor overpowers the 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 the comfort of 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 bring the Christmas decorations down from the loft later.
Sue can barely believe her eyes.
Sue: Oh look, it’s Christmas at the local sports centre climbing wall. If my students dressed a TV studio like that, I’d probably 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 to retrieve the Doctor.
Sue: This is turning into a saga now. What a bunch of idiots.
The Doctor eventually recovers a Kontron crystal.
Sue: That will look lovely on top of the tree.
Meanwhile Peri has been chained to a pole by her neck.
Sue: One for the dads, I guess.
And the Borad still lurks in the shadows.
Sue: This had better be good, Neil. They are really dragging this out now.
It becomes abundantly clear that the Borad doesn’t tolerate infidelity.
Sue: Oh dear, has his boyfriend been shagging about behind his back again?
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.
And then the Doctor slips forwards in time. It’s all a bit weird, frankly.
Sue: He’s hitting his cues late. Did they actually 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 scene is so bad, I almost believe you.
The Doctor has slipped 10 seconds into the future.
Sue: I wish I could slip 30 minutes into the future…
The Doctor wants to use this time-slip against his enemies, but Herbert isn’t convinced.
Sue: But you saw it work! He just showed it you! What more do you want?
When Tekker’s men blast a wall, a painting of Jon Pertwee emerges from beneath the crumbling plaster.
Sue: No wonder they boarded it up. Who’d want to look at that all day?
The Doctor storms off 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 because he clearly can’t be bothered to do it himself? Er… okay.
When the Doctor confronts the Borad, it turns out they’ve met before.
Sue: I definitely don’t remember this. What score did I give it?
Me: You didn’t give it a score because you haven’t seen it. No one has seen it. It wasn’t made.
Sue: Well, that’s a bit stupid, isn’t it?
We finally see the Borad’s face.
Sue: Hey, that’s very good. Actually, this is the best thing in the whole story. When he asked the Doctor to come closer, I thought they were pushing their luck. But it still looks amazing.
Tekker doesn’t like the sound of the Borad’s plans and he finally decides to stand up to him. Sadly, he does this while standing in front of a chair that can age a person to death, the plonker.
Sue: What a shame. Paul Darrow was completely wasted in that role.
The Borad has chained Peri up so he can turn her into his sex slave.
Sue: You’d think he want to spend at least one night with her before he disfigured her.
As a Morlox approaches Peri, some mustakozene gas ‘excites’ the beast.
Sue: What the **** am I watching, Neil?
Thankfully, the Borad is defeated when the Doctor reflects his time ray back on him.
Borad: You’ve tricked me!
The Doctor: You tricked yourself!
Sue: Yeah, but you still pointed it at him. Stop making excuses.
Unfortunately, the Doctor still has a war to avert.
Sue: Oh, does he have to? I couldn’t give a toss about this lot. Let them 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 forcibly removes Peri from his time machine.
Sue: Unbelievable… This is painful to watch. Why hasn’t this finished yet?
The Doctor materialises his TARDIS directly in the path of the Bandrils’ missile, not that Sue is worried in the slightest, because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have yawned if she was. And then, when that’s all over, Karfel appoints a new Maylin.
Sue: So is he in charge now?
Sue: When did they have enough time to hold an election? This planet isn’t very democratic, is it?
The new Maylin invites the Bandrils down to the planet for a chat.
Sue: Yeah, invite the people who just tried to destroy you round for coffee. Why not?
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 just lazy.
The Borad threatens to pluck Peri’s eyes out as Jon Pertwee looks on from a hole in the wall. The Doctor retaliates by mocking the Borad’s looks.
Sue: This isn’t right. Matt Smith’s Doctor would see the beauty in everything. This is awfully shallow.
Me: Would you shag the Borad?
Sue: **** off!
The Borad is pushed into the Timelash. But don’t worry – he’ll have somewhere nice to swim for the next thousand years.
Sue: Are they saying what I think they’re saying?
Me: I think so.
Sue: So he’s just going to swim around in Loch Ness for a thousand years? He won’t come 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 and he shows Peri a card with Herbert’s name printed on it.
Sue: I suppose that’s clever, but I’m past caring at this point.
Me: It explains all the references to The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Sue: So HG Wells managed to string that story out over several books? And I thought this was padded.
Sue: Wow. That was terrible. Yes, 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 even liked the blue androids. But as for the rest of it – the script, the direction, the special effects, some of the performances – it was horrendous. But I blame the script most of all.
Me: Fans like to call this story something else. It’s an anagram of the title.
Sue stares at the DVD cover, and then, after giving it plenty of thought, she declares:
Sue: Male shit.
Me: Close enough.
Sue didn’t need to be persuaded to watch the making-of documentary, mainly because she wanted to hear everybody’s excuses. Unfortunately, because I didn’t bother to check beforehand (if you think I’m going to watch The Making of Timelash twice, you can think again), it included a massive spoiler.
Sue: Ooh, it’s the Daleks next! The Daleks and Graeme Harper! I can hardly wait.
Because Terry Molloy narrated the documentary, they had 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, Neil?
Despite this, the documentary was definitely worth persevering with.
Sue: Now I know why it turned out so badly. Glen McCoy must have been eight years old when he wrote it, because he looks like he’s 35 today. What were they doing letting an eight-year-old write for Doctor Who?
She doesn’t half love Paul Darrow, though.
Sue: It’s a shame he didn’t play the Doctor. He’d have been great.