Part One

Sue: What the hell is this supposed to be?

A CGI TARDIS has just been zapped by a CGI laser beam.

Sue: Okay, what has Ian Levine done this time? This can’t be real.

The TARDIS is forced to land on a planet with a pink sky. A native watches it descend.

Sue: David Bowie doesn’t look that impressed.

Time and the RaniAnd then it all kicks off in the TARDIS. The Rani (“I thought she was dead?”) enters the time machine (“Who gave her a key?”) with a hairy henchman in tow (“The Master has really let himself go”). And then the Doctor regenerates and – BOOM! – we’re into the title sequence.

Sue: Noooo! There’s too much to take in! Too much change! Argh!

I pause the DVD.

Sue: Right, so what the **** just happened?
Me: The Sixth Doctor fell off his exercise bike and regenerated. What’s not to get?
Sue: **** off. Come on, what really happened?
Me: Colin Baker was understandably upset when the BBC fired him and he refused to take part in the regeneration. Either that or he was double-booked on Crosswits, I forget. Anyway, this was the best they could come up with at such short notice.
Sue: Right, so that wasn’t Colin Baker lying on the floor just then?
Me: No, that was Sylvester McCoy in a wig.
Sue: Right. It’s not a great start, is it?

Back to the credits.

Sue: I don’t like the music. The notes are going up when they should be going down. I’m not sure about this at all.

Time and the RaniA silver-faced McCoy looms out of the vortex.

Me: Do you like Sylvester McCoy’s sex wink?
Sue: No.


Sue: Oh ****, it’s Pip and Jane Baker again. Could it get any worse?

On the planet Lakertya, the Rani is subjugating the natives.

Sue: Is that a spot on the Rani’s nose or has she had it pierced?

The Rani has kidnapped a famous scientist from Earth.

The Rani: Einstein.
Sue: A go-go!

Sue isn’t very impressed with the Rani’s storage facilities, though.

Sue: That will not be good for Einstein’s knees. Either she’s read the plans wrong or she’s built a prison for dwarves.

Time and the RaniIn the Rani’s laboratory, the Seventh Doctor is out for the count. Seconds after he wakes up, he’s flailing around like a prat.

Sue: He reminds me of Mork from Mork and Mindy. He’s very daft. Actually, this scene is a mess. If I’d seen this go out on television as a Doctor Who fan, I would have been annoyed.
Me: Are you annoyed now?
Sue: No more than usual.

Actually, that’s not true. I’ve never seen her get so worked up about the music before.

Sue: Bring back Dudley Simpson! This music is ****ing terrible. Actually, you probably shouldn’t write that down. Aren’t you Facebook friends with the bloke who wrote this din?
Me: No, that’s somebody else.
Sue: Good. I was going to tell you to defriend him. This is ****ing awful.

Time and the RaniA Lakertyan named Ikona rescues Mel from the TARDIS. They run into a female Lakertyan named Sarn, but as she runs off in the opposite direction, she accidentally sets off one of the Rani’s deadly bubble traps.

Sue: Hmmm.
Me: Not impressed with the effect?
Sue: It looked all right, but why would you go to all that effort? Why not just blow it up on the ground? That’s overkill. Literally.

The Rani has disguised herself as Melanie Bush to confuse the Doctor.

Sue: Are we seeing what the Doctor is seeing because he’s been drugged, or has she actually dressed up as Bonnie Langford?
Me: It’s the latter, incredibly.
Sue: Wow. It’s a good job the Doctor wasn’t travelling with Adric when she tried to pull this off. And she just happened to have a pair of pink leg warmers in her wardrobe, did she? What are the chances of that?

It turns out that the Doctor and the Rani went to university together.

Time and the RaniSue: Right, I see. So the Doctor did a PhD, the Master did a Masters and a Rani must be Gallifrey’s version of a Bachelor’s degree. That makes sense.

Meanwhile, Ikona accidentally sets off another one of the Rani’s bubble traps, but Mel saves him from certain death in the nick of time.

Sue: Yes, it’s very pretty, but what’s the point?

The Doctor begins to operate on the Rani’s broken machinery.

Sue: When is he going to change out of those bloody clothes? That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.
Me: Sylvester stays in that costume for his first year.
Sue: WHAT?
Me: The costume designer missed their deadline. These things happen.
Sue: ****ing hell.

Mel and Ikona run away from the Rani’s hairy henchmen. Sue is drawn to the Lakertyan’s unique style of running.

Sue: I bet they don’t play rugby on this planet. They’d be useless. What’s this planet called again?
Me: Lakertya.
Sue: Lakertya? They should have called it Nik Kershaw. Look at his hair! He could do with some product in it as well – it’s very dry at the front.

The Doctor returns to his TARDIS to change out of his clown costume. Sue flings a cushion in my general direction but her heart isn’t in it. She’s far too happy to see the back of that bloody coat.

And then the Doctor takes a trip through his sartorial past.

Sue: Put Patrick Troughton’s costume on!

The Doctor agrees to Sue’s demands but lurking beneath the Second Doctor’s fur coat.

Time and the RaniSue: Oh well, it’s an improvement but a bin bag would have been an improvement. It’s a very Peter Davisony look, what with the hat and the bland jacket. I like his trousers – I have some trousers just like that – but the question marks on his pullover are a bit naff. He looks like the sodding Riddler.
Me: What do you think of Sylvester McCoy?
Sue: He sounds like he’s drunk. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s having a hard time after his regeneration or McCoy is actually drunk.

She’s less reserved about the Rani.

Sue: She’s great. I haven’t got a clue what she’s doing but she’s making me laugh while she does it.

The episode concludes with Mel encased in one of the Rani’s traps.

Sue: At least she gets a thrilling ride in a bubble before she dies. She should try to enjoy it while it lasts.
Me: And that was Sylvester McCoy’s debut as the Doctor. Thoughts?
Sue: I really hate the new theme music. A lot.


Part Two

Time and the RaniSue: I don’t like this title sequence. What are those silver things supposed to be? Space rubbish?
Me: What about the new logo?
Sue: It reminds me of the New Adventures.
Me: What?
Sue: For about five years, you made me drive to Forbidden Planet in Newcastle so I could buy them for you every bloody month. That logo just reminds me of all the money you wasted.

Mel is still trapped in the Rani’s bubble of death.

Sue: Groupon do days out like this. Water Zorbing is very popular.

The Rani is exasperated by the Doctor’s erratic behaviour. At one point, she practically turns to the camera to share her innermost thoughts.

Time and the RaniSue: It’s turned into House of Cards now.
Me: I couldn’t possibly comment.

Meanwhile, a hairy beast is tracking Mel and Ikona’s progress through a quarry.

Sue: It’s not a Yeti, is it? Has the Rani teamed up with the Yeti? How mad would that be?

Ikona and Mel bicker like an old married couple.

Sue: I really, really hate the music. Have I mentioned that yet? It sounds like the sort of shit you listen to.

A Tetrap attacks Mel. She screams. Two of our cats get up and leave the room.

Sue: This is rubbish. I don’t think you’ve been working on the book at all. You’ve just been putting this off for six weeks, haven’t you? I don’t blame you. It’s shit.

The Rani’s citadel is nice, though.

Sue: Somebody’s been watching far too many James Bond films.

And then Wanda Ventham turns up as a Lakertyan named Faroon.

Time and the RaniSue: Is that Pauline Collins?
Me: You always do this when Sherlock Holmes’ mum turns up.
Sue: Oh, yes. I thought I recognised her voice. The make-up isn’t doing her any favours – she’s too beautiful to be stuck under that crap.

When Faroon finds the remains of her dead daughter, Sarn, she turns on the waterworks.

Sue: They’ve gone well over the top with the fake tears. It’s looks like she’s been sprayed in the face with a hose.

Keff McCulloch pulls at our heartstrings.

Sue: The music is ****ing dreadful! Is there an option where we can turn it off?

Time and the RaniIn the Rani’s laboratory, the Doctor is playing the spoons.

Sue: And the point of that was what, exactly? Are the spoons this Doctor’s version of the recorder? Please tell me he doesn’t get his spoons out every week. I don’t think I could take it.

And then Sue notices the Tetrap’s secret weapon.

Sue: He has eyes in the back of his head. His peripheral vision must be excellent.

Mel meets the Seventh Doctor for the first time in the Rani’s lab. They suspect each other of being impostors, and it’s only when Mel checks the Doctor’s pulse that she finally believes him.

Mel: A double pulse. Then you really are the Doctor!
Sue: He could be the Master, you idiot. Just saying.

Mel is shocked by the Doctor’s transformation.

Time and the RaniMel: But you’re completely different! Nothing like you were. Face, height, hair, everything’s changed.
Sue: I bet he still hasn’t got a six-pack, though.

Even the Doctor isn’t impressed with his new persona.

Sue: McCoy is quite good when he’s playing it straight. If he can tone down the comedy slapstick, he could be all right.

The Rani knocks up some orange plastic.

Sue: That’s one hell of a bandsaw she’s got there. I’d kill for a bandsaw like that.

The Doctor and the Rani place the plastic into her machine.

Sue: It sounded like they just snapped it by accident. Oh well, just pretend it’s okay, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

The Rani dims the lighting in her lab and then she removes her curly red wig.

Time and the RaniThe Rani: Your usefulness is not yet over. You have another role to play.
Sue: I thought she was going to seduce the Doctor, what with the mood lighting and her letting down her hair like that. It was getting pretty steamy. I wonder what kind of role she wanted him to play? It sounded kinky.

But the Doctor has already legged it.

Sue: And now it’s turned into a ****ing pantomime again.

The episode concludes with the Doctor surrounded by hungry Tetraps.

Sue: This is pretty bad, but Sylvester McCoy is getting better and Kate O’Mara is hilarious. But it’s not a great start, is it? Fans don’t like this one, do they?


Part Three

Time and the RaniNicol joins us for the third episode of Time and the Rani.

Sue: What do you think of the titles, Nicol?
Nicol: It’s very eighties. It’s at times like this that I’m glad I don’t remember the eighties.

The episode recap features the scene where the Doctor overpowers the Rani with his tiny scarf.

Sue: Why would you show that again? It’s abysmal.
Nicol: Wow. That was pretty bad.

In the Tetraps’ lair, the Doctor is saved when the creatures are distracted by another food source.

Sue: Is that supposed to be blood or are they tempting them away with raspberry jam? Is the Rani running a doughnut factory?
Nicol: This pig/werewolf/bat thing would be a good love interest for the next Twilight film.

Time and the RaniBack in the Rani’s lab, a Lakertyan named Beyus trips down the steps that lead to her workstation.

Sue: Are they having a competition to see who can fall over those steps the silliest way? And what on Earth is going on with the music now? It sounds like Psycho but this is as far from Psycho as it is possible to get.

A Tetrap attacks Mel with a massive tongue.

Nicol: See! Twilight.
Sue: She’s planking!

Meanwhile, in the Lakertyan Centre of Leisure.

Sue: Is this supposed to be a Chill Out room? I like the giant disco ball on the ceiling.

The Doctor wants to investigate but Ikona won’t let him interrogate the natives.

Time and the RaniIkona: We’ll be interrupting their pleasure.
Sue: Pleasure? What pleasure? They’re bored senseless. And I know how they feel.
Nicol: They should have a ping-pong table in there at the very least.

Speaking of which.

Sue: Do these hairy things ever look you straight in the eye? This one looks like he’s watching a tennis match.

The Rani unleashes her Disco Bees of Death.

Sue: This is shockingly bad. It’s insulting my intelligence.

Nicol and I both bite our lips.

Sue: Everything about this is terrible. The script, the acting, the direction, the music. Especially the sodding music. What a start for Sylvester McCoy. He must have been gutted.
Nicol: Is this his first story?
Sue: Yes.
Nicol: Oh dear.

The Doctor encounters another fake Mel.

Time and the RaniThe Doctor: A hologram! As substantial as the Rani’s scruples.
Nicol: It’s not a great performance.
Me: He’s in The Hobbit!
Nicol: I’m not saying he’s a bad actor, he’s just terrible here.
Sue: Kate O’Mara is the only person worth watching in this. When she’s not in a scene, I want to look away.

On the surface of Lakertya, the Doctor and Ikona keep an eye the Rani’s HQ.

Sue: ARGH! This is the most inappropriate use of music in a television series – EVER! The way they fade it out too late – they stopped running ages ago. The dubbing in this episode is a joke. A joke!
Nicol: Calm down, Mam.
Sue: I can’t take it any more.
Nicol: It sounds like the sort of music you’d hear on an old 8-bit SNES game. It sounds like they’ve just entered Bowser’s Castle.

Time and the RaniThe Doctor is rendered unconscious by a Tetrap’s tongue.

Sue: He really needs to work on his planking skills. That’s shoddy.

The Doctor is placed into one of the Rani’s containers.

Sue: He just about fits. Sylvester must be really small.

And then we finally see what the Rani has been up to all this time.

Sue: A giant brain… That’s a bit silly.
Me: Yeah, you’d never catch the new series doing anything like that.

The episode concludes with the Doctor’s intellect being fed to this giant, pulsing brain.

Time and the RaniSue: That wasn’t a bad cliffhanger, I suppose. But I’m clutching at straws. I blame the music. I’m sorry, but I can’t get over how inappropriate it is.

She pays close attention to the credits.

Sue: Keff McCulloch, eh? I bet he was incredibly young and sexy when JNT hired him. There’s no other explanation for it.


Part Four

Nicol didn’t stick around for the final episode. Funny, that.

Sue: There are lots of hairy monsters in this. They must have cost a fortune. What a waste of money. And why has the Rani left Easter Eggs out to melt in the sun like that?

The Rani is trapped in one of her own cells.

Sue: Just kick it, love. Oh God, this is so bad.

From this point on, Sue doesn’t have very much to say. Not unless you count tutting and sighing. Oh, and how much she hates the incidental music. She won’t stop banging on about that.

The Doctor examines the Rani’s giant brain.

Time and the RaniSue: Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise, playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day. You got mud on yo’ face, you big disgrace, kickin’ your can all over the place.
Me: What?
Sue: Listen… Boom-Boom-Tschsk. Boom-Boom-Tschsk. Boom-Boom-Tschsk. We will… we will…
Me: Okay, okay, I get it.

And then it’s Mel’s turn to fall over in the Rani’s lab.

Sue: Those stairs are ****ing lethal! And I thought the stairs in Death on the Staircase were dangerous. I’m losing the will to live. I’d rather watch a black and white recon. I’m serious.

The brain starts counting down from 150.

Sue: This countdown is the only thing in this story I can actually follow. What the **** is Loyhargil when it’s at home?

Time and the RaniThe Doctor returns the geniuses the Rani has kidnapped to his TARDIS.

Sue: Does the Doctor ever clean the TARDIS floor? It’s so mucky.

The Rani is defeated by the Doctor (and some help from Beyus) but Sue has already tuned out.

Faroon is moved by Beyus’ sacrifice.

Sue: Oh God. They are going to play the sad EastEnders theme.
Me: Anyone can fall in love.

But the Rani hasn’t escaped.

Sue: She’s ended up in a CSO Sex Dungeon. That’s nice.

The Doctor gives Ikona the Rani’s antidote to her Disco Bees of Death but Ikona pours it all away.

Faroon: Ikona believes that our people should meet their own challenges, if they are to survive.
Sue: Ten minutes later, they’re all killed by bees.

Mel and Ikona say goodbye. You can cut the sexual tension with a bandsaw.

Time and the RaniSue: Let her stay. Let her introduce red hair into their gene pool. It might suit them.

Mel and the Doctor return to the TARDIS. Mel believes that her new companion will take some getting used to.

The Doctor: I’ll grow on you, Mel. I’ll grow on you.
Sue: I’m not holding my breath.


The Score

Sue: That was irredeemable shit.


No, that isn’t a typo. That’s a minus.

Sue: If it wasn’t for Kate O’Mara, I would have marked this down even more. It’s the worst Doctor Who story I’ve ever seen. And that includes The Toymaker.

We watched the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ documentary on the DVD later, and Sue came away thinking that Dermot Crowley would have been a very interesting Doctor. Practically everything else she said is unprintable.


Coming Soon




  1. Jennie  February 12, 2013

    Hmmmm. Just got a “Couldn’t find web page” message when I tried posting my comment.

    Anyway, welcome back:) Its been a long six weeks.

    -1? Ouch! Even your cats weren’t impressed. I kind of like Time and the Rani in a “so bad, it’s good” way. I thought that the bubble trap cliffhanger was great. If Sue thinks that this is bad, wait till she sees Delta and the Bannermen!

    • Jimbotfu  February 12, 2013

      Awww, I like Delta and the Bannermen.

      Time and the Rani is utter pish, though.

    • Robert Dick  February 12, 2013

      Delta is *nowhere* near as bad as T&TR.

      • John Miller  February 13, 2013

        The joke was after all the uncalled for hostility directed towards Colin Baker, this was presented as as some sort of New Dawn for Doctor Who. They’d supposedly “trimmed the fact”(unfunny), and this was a great new beginning. Bu the time The Doctor and Mel go back to the TARDIS, Timelash seems like the halcyon days of yesteryear.

  2. Warren Andrews  February 12, 2013

    Keff’s score went down well. He badly needed a Graeme Harper to get alongside him (ala Roger Limb) and give him guidance. First scoring job and it’s blatantly clear no one said anything – that’s the issue with season 24, no one was doing any guiding. Ken Dodd said he didn’t know whether what he was doing was right or wrong as no one said anything.:D

    “They are going to play the sad EastEnders theme…” – it is very like that in that moment.

    Whilst it’s a clear Pip and Jane Baker script, I reckon the direction from Andrew Morgan is far more to blame for the outcome, it really didn’t have to go so badly. What’s with all the wide shots!?! The designer won a Bafta prior to this story but he made some very bad decisions – the Baker’s set descriptions would have worked far better. And Lakertya being a lush forest would have looked more visually pleasing.

    As an 8 year old this was the boring story of the season that was set in one room with the woman with funny eyebrows.

    A lot of the “comedy” may not work but McCoy is much better than given credit for – he’s not helped by being treated with absolute contempt for the one who is essentially the audience eyes character – The Rani. When Morgan actually takes him camera in close, McCoy really benefits.

    It’s a mess but I hold no hate in my heart for it.

    • Thomas  February 13, 2013

      The direction is actually quite good here- check out TARDIS Eruditorum’s video blog for this story- he gives a very good discussion on how the direction here and in the McCoy years in general have visibly improved over where they were even a couple years before.

      • Warren Andrews  February 14, 2013

        Whilst he makes some interesting points about the editing (which are scripted moments that the director wouldn’t fail to pick up), many of the studio scenes are so stagily blocked/theatrical. It’s a very 80’s Who problem that only the good directors of the era get away from.

        It doesn’t help that the Rani’s lab is so impractically designed for any meaningful involvement by the camera or actors. It would have been fine for film where they’d take out walls etc to get the camera into specific locations but it’s severely limited for multi-camera (it’s the same issue that the Trial set had). The Baker’s set description was of a “Frankenstein style laboratory” which would have been far more visually interesting (if clichéd) over the four episodes.

        Andrew Morgan is a very fourth wall director in studio, something the set badly encourages. All the action is often played to the front of set which encourages the worst style of performance from the actors. He often doesn’t help the actors give a performance natural performance. Take McCoy’s first scene, the actor blocking is atrocious and so awkward – there’s a dis-harmony is the blocking and camera placements. The two don’t compliment one another. The actors can come across like props being moved around the set.

        Every so often, he’ll get something right, Sue even notices when he does, the scene when Mel and the Doctor finally know one another, the camera goes in close and their performances get smaller and it’s suddenly really effective.

        Morgan’s direction is superficially competent but it doesn’t convince, it enhances everything that’s artificial. It’s like he’s read the handbook but there’s no feel for the reality of the situation or drama. His incredibly mannered style is so ill-fitting to Pip and Jane Baker’s already overly mannered dialogue – so nothing convinces. And then on top of that you get Keff McCulloch’s debut score which comes across like badly chosen stock music. Ah a scene with crying, cue sad music that has no sense of depth. Wanda Ventham’s crying over her daughter is great acting but the music makes the moment so shallow.

        The story is full of decisions made with no feel of how it effect the whole. And that makes it incredibly fascinating.:)

        • Thomas  February 14, 2013

          See, I don’t get that all. To me this is one of the most believable looking places we’ve had in a while, despite the sets looking tacky and the planet just being another quarry. The story itself is crap, but on a technical level it’s actually quite good.

  3. Neowhovian  February 12, 2013

    Welcome back! 🙂 Rather a rough way to get Sue back into the swing of things, though, innit. ~cringes~

    I always had a hard time figuring out why people didn’t seem to like McCoy’s Doctor, as I’ve loved him since I first saw him. Of course, I had the advantage of that first viewing being Remembrance of the Daleks, and (rather happily, in retrospect) that view of him has colored everything I’ve seen since.

    When this story finally came out on DVD and I was able towatch it for the first time, it finally made sense. I didn’t absolutely hate it, but I understand Sue’s POV, and why others whose first taste of the Seventh Doctor was this one dislike him.

    Sad, since he’s among my favorites…

    • daruthedruid  February 19, 2013

      I agree with him being one of my favourite Doctors. At least – he is now after I watched him with my adult head on.

      When watching in my teens I lost interest and became cynical about the show around this time and stopped watching at the start of the next season.

      Shame – as I really see McCoy’s ability now. I don’t really hate this story, but yeah I cannot stand Pip & Jane’s writing either so agree with Sue. Feel for McCoy – he really must have struggled with this script and being given the wrong direction for him as an actor.

  4. Kris Overstreet  February 12, 2013

    What’s sad is, “Time and the Rani” is one of the McCoy-era Doctor Who serials I like BEST. I hated “Remembrance of the Daleks,” LOATHED “Silver Nemesis,” and have no kind words whatever for “Ghost House,” “The Curse of Fenric,” or “Survival.” None of this is McCoy’s fault; it’s all down to horrible scripts, worse script editing, and the overhanging shadow of JNT. I know I’m in a minority among Who fans here, but I suspect that minus sign on the score is going to be making repeat visits.

  5. django  February 12, 2013

    -1? Hmmm, at least it got less than the Invasion of Time. If thats how the scoring for this season starts, I wonder if Sue will actually manage to reach the end!

    • chris-too-old-to-watch  February 12, 2013

      Or indeed if Sue will get into positive marks…

  6. Jack Boulton  February 12, 2013

    Personally I think it’s good fun but like Monica’s haircut, it doesn’t look good. I dread to think what will happen for the next few week.

  7. RitchandFamous  February 12, 2013

    This season isn’t canon, skip it.

  8. chris-too-old-to-watch  February 12, 2013

    Sorry Sue, I’ve really got to disagree with you over the score here. Minus One. Are You Mad??? If this gets more than -10 there’s something seriously wrong.
    The ONLY thing of any worth in this………THING (sorry can’t think of synonym bad enough) is the Rani’s impersonation of Mel (and that only works because Mel is so………THING).
    The “plot” is so confusing and illogical that it’s scarcely bears thinking about (thank you Bakers), whilst the acting (apart from Kate O’Mara) is hideous. Was this in any way rehearsed, or is this the rehearsal? Design and effects are ludicrous and not appropriate and as for the running-without-moving-my-arms………THING THING THING THING

    I’m going for a gin….

  9. matthewkilburn  February 12, 2013

    Sue’s response to Time and the Rani is very close indeed to mine when the story was first broadcast. My views have not changed in the intervening quarter-century.

  10. Sean  February 12, 2013

    I’ll keep this brief. I was banished to my room to watch this story in September 1987. Everyone else had given up and Coronation Street started five minutes before. I felt like a leper. The next day in school I asked a friend if he’d watched it last night and he looked at me as though I’d exposed myself.

    Unmitigated shit just about sums it up. And Kate O’Mara almost makes it watchable. Close, but no cigar.

    Somehow the show limped on for two more seasons, but Season 24 was the final nail in the coffin. I’m amazed JN-T wasn’t sacked or assassinated. Or both.

    And this isn’t even the worst story of the season…

    • simon  February 13, 2013

      Thet pretty much is the most accurate description of the story and the whole Mccoy era. I am amazed no one murdered JNT either….

      • Thomas  February 14, 2013

        Oh, come on- McCoy never gets as bad as this again. Even if you’re not a fan of S24, there’s no way the later stuff is anywhere near an embarrassment as this was.

        • John Miller  February 15, 2013

          Would you care for a liquorice allsort? No? Shame!

  11. gavinio  February 12, 2013

    It’s not the greatest story ever, that much is clear, but I think there are things to admire about it nonetheless. The Rani’s base (outside) is good, the spinning globes of death are pretty good and the Lakertyan make-up isn’t bad really.

    I think Colin Baker said on his Years VHS that isn’t a bad thing to have a poor story to start off in as you’re introducing a new Doctor to the public (or words to that effect) and in that regard I think he’s right. McCoy has his moments in this story and even though I hate it I know young children do enjoy it. My son regularly watches it and lest we forget Who was still meant to be a children’s show even in 1987.

    It’s onwards and upwards from here – this is the low point of McCoy’s era. Indeed the next story is one of my favourites from the whole of Who so I hope Sue isn’t too unkind about it!

    Welcome back to Glen with another fine trailer as well as a warm welcome back to the Perrymans.

    • Jane  February 12, 2013

      Yeah, I really like the next story coming up, too. So much more fun, trying to hit a lot of different beats, and it’s obviously written by someone who actually gives a damn. Which helps.

  12. docwho1  February 12, 2013

    I think the McCoy era only gets beter and better! I think Sue will find a lot of pleasure in many of the stories yet to come particulary, ‘Happiness Patrol’, ‘Greatest Show’, ‘Fenric’ and ‘Survival’. An when I showed my partner ‘Remembrance’ the first thing he said was that felt like a story from the new series and could easily work today.

    Mind you, I do have a soft spot for 80s ‘Who’ as it was when I first started watching the show….

  13. ealadubhsidhe  February 12, 2013


  14. encyclops  February 12, 2013

    My opinion of McCoy (and his Doctor) has only risen over the years, to the point where I can actually say I like some of his stories, but yes, this is the worst possible introduction to him. It’s superior to The Twin Dilemma only in that (a) it includes Kate O’Mara, easily the best thing about both her stories, and (b) it doesn’t feature the Doctor strangling his companion.

    I’ve been watching a few of my favorite McCoys (none from this season, unfortunately) in anticipation of seeing him at Gally and oh my god, the music, the music. The titles and theme make me want to cry. I could almost stand the logo otherwise. Fortunately the incidental music will get better, as will the stories themselves, but not right away.

    Favorite comments this time:

    “Keff McCulloch pulls at our heartstrings…”

    “He could be the Master, you idiot. Just saying.”

    “This pig/bat/werewolf thing would be a good love interest for the next Twilight film.”

    So glad to have you two (and sometimes three) back!

    • chris-too-old-to-watch  February 13, 2013

      “(b) it doesn’t feature the Doctor strangling his companion.”
      But how we wanted him to….

  15. Dave Sanders  February 12, 2013

    Time And The Rani episode one may be the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, but at least it’s never dull. There is one more even worse make-it-up-as-you-go-along McCoy pissabout still to come though… and it’s not Delta (that one’s actually weathered comparatively well). JN-T thought it counted, even if nobody else did…

    • Jane  February 12, 2013

      Whatever you think it is, you’re wrong. 😛

      • Dave Sanders  February 15, 2013

        It’s Dimensions In Time. NO I’M NOT.

        • Jane  February 16, 2013


    • Carson  February 12, 2013

      I’m with you, Dave… I actually love TatR, largely because it’s never dull. I’d rather watch this over a dark action-fest like “Remembrance” any day. Well aware that I’m in the very very tiny minority 🙂 (and even I won’t defend the music!)

    • Lewis Christian  February 12, 2013

      Agreed. Being dull is Who’s worst crime, and this is far from dull.

  16. Ben Swithen  February 12, 2013

    I find a tremendous delight in the McCoy era, but this story is comfortably its most troublesome. Hope Sue finds some joy in his later (and, indeed, next) adventures.

    Very good to have the blog back. May I say, the holiday has done you good: today’s post has the gusto of Hartnell back from a break in the latter end of The Keys of Marinus.

  17. Ben Knaak  February 12, 2013

    Hopefully, Season 24 won’t put Sue off McCoy entirely. Me, I don’t think it’s quite bad as all that, but I’m in a minority on that. I’m pretty sure nobody else likes Paradise Towers except me and Phil Sandifer.

    • Jane  February 12, 2013

      I *adore* Paradise Towers. Hopefully Sue won’t be so put off by the score that she can’t appreciate all the lovely pleasures to be found by building high for happiness!

    • encyclops  February 12, 2013

      Paradise Towers is my least favorite of my most favorite McCoy stories, but it still gets a thumbs up. Most of its problems are the same ones this whole season has and its best moments point the way to the treats to come. So you’re definitely not alone, Ben, Phil, and Jane. 🙂

    • DPC  February 13, 2013

      The novelization is solid, and the televised version has potential… it’s underrated, but it does suffer from “season 24-itis”… 🙁

    • gavinio  February 13, 2013

      I said earlier it’s one of my favourite Who stories period, so you’re definitely not alone.

    • Thomas  February 13, 2013

      I enjoy Paradise Towers *and* Delta and the Bannermen, so I think that places me in an even smaller minority.

      • Anonymous  February 13, 2013

        Love them both; highlights of one of the bravest and best seasons of the show ever. When Who starts to stagnate nothing is better for it than a reboot, and boy does S24 qualify as that. Maybe it went too far, but that’s so much better than not far enough.

    • Anonymous  February 14, 2013

      Paradise Towers is a collection of great ideas that don’t come off in execution – it’s all too sterile.

      Glenn’s addition of the laughtrack is genius, though my comedy version would star Stephen Lewis instead of Richard Briers and would be called In The Cleaners. “I ‘ate you Doctor…”

  18. Anonymous  February 12, 2013

    First of all, welcome back guys.
    Secondly, Sue, sorry you had to sit through such utter shite on your return.
    Things do get better…..eventually.

  19. Mat Dolphin  February 12, 2013

    I hope Sue makes it to Fenric!

  20. James Sams  February 12, 2013

    Great to have this back, really missed this. Sue and Neil have brightened up the day. Thank you

    But Neil, cards on the table time. Were you an NA fan? Or did you just have to buy all Doctor Who merchandise in the 90s? Remember you have nothining to be ashamed of here.

    • Neil Perryman  February 12, 2013

      I was a huge NA fan and read them all.

      • James Sams  February 12, 2013

        Yay! Me too! Getting that obscure pleasure that occurs when a fan writer I like, likes something I also like!

        Hopefully to be repeated when Sue enjoys/forgives Paradise Towers…

        Don’t worry, I won’t ask that Sue read the books
        I am not insane

    • DPC  February 13, 2013

      The NAs were great… for about a year. Then the stories got more shallow, and fans kept saying we all had to buy or else the BBC would see no financial interest in making a new show… (as if, theoretically speaking, having 20 million book customers change anything – the BBC wouldn’t need to make a show as it wouldn’t be as profitable as the novel franchise)… They didn’t want to make the show and it took YEARS before they would dare license the property to any outside entity (the US, trying to cash in on what was left of fandom here, but it was ensured that a Briton wrote it, so thankfully one can’t blame all the yanks for that travesty…)

      US telemovie aside, it took the UK more than a decade to figure out people still wanted it, but noting that this is a division of the BBC (Wales) and not the main BBC, it’s a moot point. It wouldn’t care if the revival flopped, it wasn’t the main department’s money, it came from a smaller division. No fuss, no muss.

    • chris-too-old-to-watch  February 13, 2013

      I’m convinced the NA books are where McCoy’s Doctor got most of his positive reputation from.

      • Anonymous  February 14, 2013

        And the comics.

        I wouldn’t say ‘most’, though Paul Cornell specifically.took the Dark Doctor in the direction which made ABSOLUTELY the most sense.

  21. frankymole  February 12, 2013

    The best bit was where McCoy played the spoons on the Rani’s chest!

    • DPC  February 13, 2013

      By far!

      I’m surprised the show got away with it, but there is clearly no sexual subtext…

      Any modern Doctor couldn’t have the same benefit, given how the modern show (2005-present) has become with sexual subtexts. And I could only see Matt Smith doing a similar shtick because he’s not drooling at and/or trying to bang his companion, but with all the blatant sex jokes, it would lack the tact and cleverness that the spoons gag circa 1987 had.

  22. Dave  February 12, 2013

    I squirmed when this was first shown, admittedly not quite as badly as when they served up The Twin Dilemma.

    It’s a stinker of a script and I as much as I like Kate O’Mara in this I really hate the Mel/Rani subplot. It might have been slightly more palatable had they tried to go with the original idea of a lush jungle planet (fairly rare in Dr Who) a dull gravel pit near Frome was a bad decision as it invites comparison with thirty+ other dull scripts in similar locations.

    The spartan and over lit sets (WTF were they thinking with all the scrunched up blue tin foil in the pyramid machine?) and the chubby cuddly tetraps with their wrinkled stocking legs are rather different from the original production designs. On the plus side most of the model effects are pretty good.

    I also hate the music but if I have to find anything positive to say it’s that this is Keff’s best effort. The others are even worse and Shada just makes me weep. How dare he synch that to a witty script by Douglas Adams.

    My abiding memory of this was showing it to my best school mate on our new VHS recorder a couple of days later (he’d been at sports club and missed the actual transmission). Even my bestest ever lifetime school buddy couldn’t watch this with me. He squirmed and didn’t want to offend me knowing what a huge fan I was and I squirmed and couldn’t put him through the viewing torture. We turned off after about seven minutes and headed out into the sunshine.

  23. Anonymous  February 12, 2013

    So very good to have you back. Dunno about anyone else but the times that you mislead Sue are great fun and mischief. Cushions schmushions, please continue! The next story can only benefit from following this car wreck.

  24. jazza1971  February 12, 2013

    Third time lucky?

    Mmmm…not liking the new way of posting messages after I typed a reply only to be told that my “request has timed out”. I’ll give it another go and will make sure I copy the damned thing first before posting, just in case…

    A nice surprise to see the blog return on my 42nd birthday.

    I was thankful for this as I’d had a slightly less nice DW related surprise earlier in the day whilst watching the 4th episode of “The Android Invasion” with the Info Text on (doing some DVD catching up on my day off) to be informed that Ian Marter had died on his 42nd birthday!

    Anyway, back to “Time and the Rani”…

    “Oh ****, it’s Pip and Jane Baker again” is the new “Terry ****ing Nation”.

    Regarding Sue’s appraisal of McCoy’s clothes, I’m making the Makaton sign for “toilet”…

    It’s great to have you back! 😀

    • Neil Perryman  February 12, 2013

      I have been experiencing intermittent time outs but I can’t work out what is causing it. I will keep working on it. Please accept my apologies – it’s a WordPress thing.

      • jazza1971  February 12, 2013

        No problem…a slight annoyance, but still good to have you back.

        Is there a release date for the book yet, Neil?

  25. wholahoop  February 12, 2013

    To be fair there are four dodgy stories in Season 24 and this isn’t the worst. I dread to think what scores “Paradwas Towers” and “Delta and the Bananamen” will get.

    Worst logo ever

    The only positive things I can say are that I thought the pre-titles sequence was OK and that under the circumstances the unexplained regeneration went as well as could be expected

    • Robert Dick  February 12, 2013

      >To be fair there are four dodgy stories in Season 24 and this isn’t the worst

      Oh it is, *by a mile*.

      • wholahoop  February 12, 2013

        Oh no, the next one Towers above it for unbelievably awfulness and I apologise for getting ahead of the blog, so I’ll save my tirades for the next blog posting

        • John Miller  February 14, 2013

          Is that why you’re wearing a red shirt red shirt?

    • DPC  February 13, 2013


      I have to hold off until those entries get posted, but it does indeed get worse. At least “Time and the Rani”‘s camp value is watchable. That cannot be said for what’s to come…

      Thank goodness for seasons 25 and 26…

  26. peacockpete  February 12, 2013

    I get the feeling the score isn’t likely to improve much over the next three stories…

    And hooray for the return of WIS!

  27. Anonymous  February 12, 2013

    How dare you not like this one! Outrageous, it’s a classic and I’ll put anyone who says it isn’t into a giant spinning bubble, bounce them over some rocks, turn them into a tree and then AND THEN unleash a serious catharsis of spurious morality on their sorry posteriors.

    Actually I quite like it, daft but fun. And it feels fresh and exciting. No really!

  28. Simon Harries  February 12, 2013

    My youngest sister loved Time and the Rani when it was transmitted. She was eighteen months old. It was colourful and bright and was as fabulous for her as, ooh, Tellytubbies. In contrast I ****ing hated it and I still do. I’d have to be very drunk indeed to sit through it now.

  29. Grindroid  February 12, 2013

    – Faroon: Ikona believes that our people should meet their own challenges, if they are to survive.

    – Sue: Ten minutes later, they’re all killed by bees.

    Funniest thing I’ve read in ages. Thank god you’re back!

  30. Rob Moss  February 12, 2013

    Time and the Rani was the first time I watched Doctor Who with a feeling of complete disgust. I’d put up with Timelash and just “thought it was a bit shit”, but as of this story, I was utterly embarrassed watching it with my parents, a feeling that stayed with me for the next three years…

  31. Doug  February 12, 2013

    -1 was too kind in my view. Virtually unwatchable.

    Anyway, great to have you back! Lovedthis rejoinder:

    Sue: It’s turned into House of Cards now.
    Me: I couldn’t possibly comment.

    Finally, at the risk of stirring up old trouble, Nicol does look gorgeous in the K9 snowman photo….

  32. Lewis Christian  February 12, 2013

    It’s a good job I rate this 11/10 then. Yup, seriously. Mine and Sue’s scores together average it out to what it deserves to be. Sue, get used to the music. 🙂

    Great to see you back, and I hope Sue grows to like Season 24/McCoy.

  33. Paul Mc Elvaney  February 12, 2013

    Welcome back, Neil and Sue, it hasn’t been the same without you! As for the story………oh dear. I feel bad for Cartmel as well as McCoy, it’s a crime against humanity! But i really, really hope McCoy grows on Sue, he’s my 2nd favourite after Pat. Funnily enough, Sue thought Pat was drunk at the start too…

    • DPC  February 13, 2013

      McCoy’s era DOES get better, and given how quickly season 24 had to be made, and under constraints on the style and presentation, it’s amazing anything got made in the first place.

      I wish, for seasons 25 and 26, more episodes per season were allotted, since the show was improving by leaps and bounds…

      • Paul Mc Elvaney  February 13, 2013

        Yes, I totally agree. I can understand why people hate Season 24, but at the same time, I’d much, much rather the goofy silliness of this season over the relentless, depressing stories of the majority of the Saward era. Personally, what this season did for the show in the long term was remind us that Doctor Who can do anything and go anywhere again! Surely something good must have come out of the next three stories if the show goes from this crap to the quality of Remembrance in that short space of time.

  34. Mark  February 13, 2013

    To paraphrase Dickens, it was the worst of times, it really really was the worst of times. I expect I’m not alone in wanting to extend my sympathy to Sue at this very very difficult time. I hope she makes it far enough to see the likes of Remembrance and Fenric so she doesn’t write off the McCoy era completely, they do shine like good deeds in a weary world.

  35. DPC  February 13, 2013

    Welcome back, y’all!!

    I love the music. It feels fresh and new, has some atmosphere, but it is very 80s. (I think JNT thought the style would be perfect for what was now demanded of the show, since it was put back after fan outcry from being axed (even stars and production members of the show stated it was being axed, with the BBC later saving face by saying ‘hiatus’ and not being bothered to find a new production team, and their claim of “Nobody wanted to do it” is pretty much shot down in an extra in one of season 24’s DVDs where one guy stated really he wanted to do it… but I digress. As a soundtrack I do enjoy Keff’s score for this story…)

    I love some of the story’s potential (and it was originally set on a forest planet, until it was decided to go wander off to another quarry and render half the dialogue describing the Lakyrtians being daft as a result).

    But I love your review of this tale far more.

    True, there was virtually no time to get it written and Andrew Cartmel had only gotten aboard…

    The show has the feel that the suits wanted (no horror, make it whimsy, make it silly, make its credibility turned to confetti so people will forget about it…)

    The Rani and Doctor are both 953 (so they’re fraternal twins?)…

    The single trajectory rocket means the asteroid must be detonated at a specific point in space, meaning any closer or any more distant would render the whole experiment pointless so there’s no point in making a mobile trajectory…

    To me, most of season 24 is garbage, with only the bookends (TATR, Dragonfire) having anything redeeming, but season 25 will surprise Sue quite a bit… hopefully in the right way. 🙂

    In 1987, on first viewing, I wondered where Colin went (the news of the sacking and hiatus hadn’t made it to my area then).

    The pratfalls were dumb but the mixed maxims were tolerable.

    The music seemed a lot worse back then…

    The opening credits were way-cool, apart from the paper crumples that were not asteroids…

    I love the story for camp value, but I can’t take it seriously. It’s on par with “The Horns of Nimon” and most other season 17 stories…

    And Ikona, being right all along, pretty much sentences his entire race to death when he throws out the liquid… but, again, the planet was supposed to be lush, with the Lakyrtians preferring to be lazy than to see the Rani as an invader and fighting back. How many of them were scientists that knew alien lifeforms before the Rani invaded? The story is so lax on these details… ugh! But, at camp value, it’s terrific.

    And what the suits wanted.

    • Warren Andrews  February 13, 2013

      The on-screen realisation of Lakertya makes us believe that Ikona throwing away the antidote means the Lakertyans are doomed. That’s clearly not the intention of the script but the way the planet of presented to us, doesn’t make up believe in the civilisation. Clueless direction and design.

  36. Rassilon  February 13, 2013

    Pure unmitigated crap & to think I hurried the girl (that was to become THO), to catch this POS, having been spared the pre-title & the titles, I watched in loathing & sheer disbelief & then the closing titles started & my brain experienced a new level of WTF!

    I think I (fortunately) also missed Ep3 due to my moving to Swindon to do a one year HNC & possibly a few others when we had the hurricane that blew our aerial off.

    They should have had a pinball instead of the TARDIS bouncing off the silvery blobs. I stayed with it Sly got easier as the scripts improved & Mel\BL (who genuinely makes me want to scream & scream & scream until I’m sick). Once we get to Dragonfire & that “cliffhanger” out of the way it will start to get better (Happiness Patrol\TGSITG being the only two downers).

    • encyclops  February 13, 2013

      With Lewis giving Time and the Rani an ELEVEN out of ten? really? and the architect of Time Lord society panning my two favorite McCoy episodes, this is going to be one hell of an exciting dash to the finish line!

      • Lewis Christian  February 13, 2013

        Season 24 is underrated, flawed, brilliant, fun and awesome 🙂

        • Thomas  February 13, 2013

          Absolutely- though I’ll admit I don’t share your opinion of TatR.

  37. Jon  February 13, 2013

    It really was crap, wasn’t it?

  38. Polarity Reversed  February 13, 2013

    Welcome back. Great snowdog – that girl has the makings of a first-class navvy…

    I’m still lurking, but this stuff is well past my Who sell-by date and bedtime. Seen the odd episode here and there, but afaic the writing had been on the wall for years.

    I met Sylvester once after an intimate little one-man show. He struck me as a very nice guy, and certainly has a commanding live presence that belies his stature. He asked me whether I was a fan of Dr Who, and I replied that for me the magic faded pretty rapidly after Tom. His response was dignified, but he did admit that things were “difficult” when he took on the role.

  39. James  February 13, 2013

    Ha. All the early scenes with the disguised Rani are *wonderful*.

    After that, not so much.

  40. John Miller  February 13, 2013

    Welcome back. Just a terrible, terrible way to do it. And it doesn’t get much better. Oh dear.

  41. BWT  February 13, 2013

    Sue: That was irredeemable shit.

    I have no words. I can only concur with Sue…

  42. DamonD  February 13, 2013

    Most important thing first – great to have you guys back!

    Shame you had a duffer like TatR to welcome you, though. It’s terrible that they duplicate the same mistake they made with Twin Dilemma, giving the new Doctor such an awful introduction story. TatR is a work of desperation and it shows.

    It’s all upwards from here at least…maybe only in increments for this season, but hey ho.

  43. Paul Mudie  February 13, 2013

    A very fair score. I cringed when this was first broadcast and that was pretty much it for me and Doctor Who back in the 80s. McCoy was woefully miscast as the Doctor, and the whole production had become naff and cheesy in the worst possible way. It was like a show for kids made by a bunch of old people who’d never met a child. Just embarrassing. I will enjoy experiencing McCoy’s era vicariously through Sue, because that will save me having to watch the stuff myself!

  44. Paul Mudie  February 13, 2013

    Lovely to see you back, by the way! 🙂

  45. Neil Perryman  February 13, 2013

    Next time on the Wife in Space:


  46. Lewis Christian  February 13, 2013

    I adore how much flak this one gets, when you consider Doctor Who had already given us The Horns of Nimon, The Twin Dilemma and a couple of others. You need to consider the production side, that they had no scripts, no writers, no time, no budget, no Doctor… it was chaos and it was amazing anything got made. I think that’s why I love this so much, because it is a bit pants… but it’s damn good fun and it’s a tribute to the hard work of the producers, writers and actors who managed to pull this off in next-to-no time at all.

    -1 is highly unfair, I think. I know I’m in a minority but even so. Every DW has something to like, something great. Even a 0/10 or 1/10, I could accept, but -1 is just saddening. If we get anymore negative scores, I’ll ignore the scores from now on. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion but it just seems very silly to me. Focus on the good, please, as well as the bad.

    • chris-too-old-to-watch  February 13, 2013

      I think the reason for the negative marks (and comments) is because this is so bad, that it actually makes you feel diminished after watching it…

    • encyclops  February 13, 2013

      Well, let’s remember these are Sue’s unvarnished reactions to the story that’s onscreen, not a balanced critical essay taking into account all sorts of background about the story that even a lot of fans haven’t delved into.

      Personally I see how you could enjoy this (and have already commented that I think Twin Dilemma is worse, though I adore Nimon and probably always will). It helps to know that McCoy’s Doctor isn’t always like this, in a way that it doesn’t much help knowing Colin’s Doctor shakes off the psychosis.

      • Lewis Christian  February 13, 2013

        This is a fair point. I think this story’s a ‘grower’ in the sense that you let it off the hook a little more, the more you know.

  47. django  February 13, 2013

    I like Paradise Towers, but the story’s nearly ruined by Richard Briers. How can such a good actor be so Bad?

    • Jane  February 13, 2013

      Briers doesn’t ruin Towers at all! You have to remember, The Great Architect is a dual metaphor — the awfulness of modernistic architecture coupled with God. To play God/Modernist as a zombie is bloody funny, simply because of the commentary. If anything, the fact it’s played so camp is absolutely necessary, considering how “seriously” those types take themselves. It’s the perfect send-up.

      • Thomas  February 13, 2013

        Agreed totally- Briers’ only weak point is his first scene as Kroagnon, everything else is fantastic.

  48. Matt Sharp  February 13, 2013

    Of course, to fully get the ‘Season 24’ effect, you really need to get a bored continuity announcer to read a not-entirely-accurate recap of events over a selection of poorly chosen publicity photographs between every episode…

  49. Simon  February 13, 2013

    Yes its a terrible Story. And so is Sylv. It does not get a lot better. This really was the end of classic Who for me. The music comments are bang on the money. Its all utterly dreadful. And the Theme tune has been murdered. I have heard you tube attempts by fans that are better.

    Minus One out of Ten is too generous…it was that bad when I first saw it, when it was broadcast I have NEVER watched it since.

    The whole point of Doctor Who, is the Doctor. If you cast someone who is not very good or unlikeable it just destroys it. People moaned about Colin Baker, so they should have either got someone better, or let him stay on and go a bit darker with it and tone it down.

    But instead they decide to change the Doctor and cast Sylv…I have nothing against him, I like him as a person, but he just does not work as the Doctor and its not really all his fault. Some fans hold up other storys he did to prove he is better, but I dont agree.

    The audience switched off in droves, it was put up agains Coronation Street and so it suffered even more until they put it out of its misery. Lets just hope they never make the same mistakes as this in the new series……..

  50. Marty  February 13, 2013

    “I see. So the Doctor did a PhD, the Master did a Masters and a Rani must be Gallifrey’s version of a Bachelor’s degree. That makes sense.”
    That actually makes amazing sense Sue!
    Time and the Rani is terrible, it does have a few redeeming features. It’s the first use of CGI, the TARDIS isn’t that bad. The titles are very 80s, but like all the titles they’re of their time. Unfortunately this story doesn’t have the Rani in every scene which would save it. Or someone like Paul Darrow who kinda saves Timelash.

  51. G  February 13, 2013

    Someone on Youtube did a good pisstake of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEtvU_jBEb4

  52. Richard Lyth  February 13, 2013

    Great to have the blog back! Hard to argue with Sue on this one – this is probably the weakest season of Doctor Who ever made, and this is by far the worst story in it. Thankfully it does get better, eventually…

    • Thomas  February 15, 2013

      I dunno, I think 5 and 11 are far weaker on a conceptual level, and 17 and 23 don’t fair much better on a production level. This really isn’t *that* bad a season.

  53. Thomas  February 13, 2013

    Come on, now, there’s no way this is worse than Celestial Toymaker or Twin Dillemma. At the very least this is better directed, has a better and more consistent visual style (seriously, this actually looks really good, especially in comparison to the direction and visuals of Twin Dillemma) and at least is FUN in its concepts, free of all the maudlin cynicism of the Saward era.

    I mean, it’s a crap story, to be sure, and I had a really hard time watching it, especially as I dearly love the McCoy era, even the rest of this season (Delta and the Bannermen is one of my favorite stories), but it’s certainly not the worst story ever by a considerable margin.

    • Thomas  February 14, 2013

      Also, I hope the music/titles grow on her eventually- I know I started out despising them, but they somehow began to grow on me to the point where they’re honestly one of my favorite sequences now (probably fourth or fifth overall). They give such a great atmosphere to the whole of the show (which is one of the major advantages of the McCoy era as a whole- it has such a unified feel to it and doesn’t feel like a disparate set of stories strung together at random, which is not something I can say for something like the Williams or Saward eras).

      • Kris Overstreet  February 14, 2013

        After having watched slightly more than half of the McCoy stories, the theme music of his era is STILL fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I still can’t believe anybody allowed that horrible rendition to go out over the air once, never mind for three full seasons.

  54. John G  February 13, 2013

    So, Sue wasn’t overkeen on this one then? I must confess that, though it does lapse into irredeemable silliness by the end, I do rather enjoy the McCoy/O’Mara double act in the first half, especially when the Rani is mimicking Mel. McCoy’s performance is OK – indeed, although he is my least favourite Doctor by some distance, the light tone of Season 24 does suit his limited acting abilities considerably better than the later, more challenging scripts. I can’t argue with Sue about the music and new titles though – utterly dire.

    Anyway, welcome back for this last lap. There are a number of potholes still to negotiate, but the finish line is in sight!

  55. Anonymous  February 14, 2013

    Sylv is much better than Colin already. That is all that matters.

  56. P.Sanders  February 14, 2013

    The script is balls, yes. It’s everything that unfunny stand-up comedians used to mock Who as being about. And even as an 11 year old I knew something wasn’t quite right as I watched it. The title sequence was pants even in 1987. But away from the “last chance saloon” context of the time, I now quite enjoy this one – as a completely guilty pleasure. The CGI bubble-traps are pointless, but among the best FX the classic series ever had. Plus the Rani always did like her pointless but interesting traps (tree-mines anyone?), and I was fascinated by them, just as I was by the Cleaners in the next story (which I also enjoy a lot, though I think in that case the production let done the script, whereas here it’s vice versa). Whereas The Sensorites, The Dominators, Underworld and Time-Flight are dull beyond compare, and Twin Dilemma is bollocks on every conceivable level, at least there’s always something going on in this one. Plus the older aliens give it more dignity than it deserves, McCoy begins to settle in the role, O’Mara is hilarious in a good way and Mel is pretty pro-active in this. Yes it’s not very good but there are worse. Season 24 slowly began to turn around (PT is a great idea, Delta is actually ok after a certain unfortunate cameo and Dragonfire has its moments – though it certainly isn’t as good as it seemed at the time). To say Who was dead from this point on is ridiculous – a major creative rebirth was ahead – not perfect but exciting and scary.

  57. Cookey  February 14, 2013

    Well, the time had to come. I had a feeling that Sue wouldn’t like this, but i will gladly admit that this is much better than Colin’s first story. I won’t say this is a masterpiece but i like it, in fact it’s fair to say that i am the type of fan that finds little to nothing overly dislikable about Doctor Who.(Are there many of us?)

    The Seventh Doctor’s era actually improves with time (in my opinion), and the current Seventh series interestingly, has reflected the main theme of this era, i.e Doctor Who? Everyone knows there was a plan to re-establish mystery to the Doctor and i think it is fun to wonder how it would have played out into the 90s.

    BTW, it’s good to have you both back.

    • Polarity Reversed  February 14, 2013

      Actually, the whole dragging of the “Doctor Who?” thing from the titles into the plot is one of the aspects that annoys me most about the current biz. The Cartman Plan (“you will respect my authoritah!”)

      Personally, I preferred the character as an enigmatic daffy vagabond alien weirdo, rather than a superhero, or worse still, some kind of god.

      • Kris Overstreet  February 14, 2013

        THIS. I despise most of season 25, and ALL of season 26, for this reason.

        • Tesquil Ormbush  February 16, 2013

          Same here. The “Cartmel masterplan” stuff makes me cringe with embarrassment, like a 13-year-old trying to be deep; and it doesn’t suit the character anyway. The Doctor was always one of the little guys who wins out through wit and ingenuity, someone we can identify with, not a lonely god from the yawn of time. Sorry, dawn of time.

          • Thomas  February 16, 2013

            I know you said you stopped following the Eruditorum once he got to JNT, but it’s worth noting his take on the idea of the ‘masterplan’, which he says is mostly a fan myth that has more to do with Platt than it does Cartmel, and in practice amounts to a lot less in the episodes themselves (Cartmel preferring to hint at an undisclosed mystery than anything really specific itself). And for the most part, I think he’s right.

            I mean, it is telling that the “far more than another Time Lord” line was edited out of Remembrance.

          • Kris Overstreet  February 16, 2013

            And ESPECIALLY not someone who deliberately puts their companion through mental agony and into hazard of life and limb solely to make her grow as a person. I found the Doctor of Season 26 absolutely despicable- a trait I find otherwise only in the Matt Smith Doctor and the very earliest William Hartnell. (Even Colin Baker’s Doctor I can find some sympathy and even enjoyment with.)

            I like McCoy as an actor, but if a blue box appeared out of nothing in front of me and the McCoy Doctor stuck his head out and invited me for a ride, I’d tell him to stick his magic box someplace else that’s bigger on the inside.

            (Unless he’s playing the spoons at the time. I could never resist spoon playing.)

      • Thomas  February 15, 2013

        Except of course the ‘masterplan’ is mostly a myth, since all Cartmel wanted to do was just hint at mystery and didn’t have a real plan as such.

    • DPC  February 14, 2013


      I did like how Doc7’s enemies perceived him as being a god of sorts, rather than trying to tell us (the viewing audience) that he’s godlike (since we’re not smart enough to watch the stories themselves without having to break the fourth wall all the time), but he’s alien first and foremost. I have to save the specifics for those stories, but since then I’ve changed my mind a number of times and applaud the era. JNT was good as a producer, he only needed the right script editor. Eric Saward was a good writer, but as script editor his era is too variable, and there’s a lot of stories I adore from his era due to their originality…

      And I liked how the Doctor is being made more mysterious… at least by repute. The literal adaptation (putting “Doctor Who?” into stories, as Polarity Reversed said, is found (way too many times) in Matt Smith’s era, and even too many times in RTD’s. It’s even more juvenile than Captain Jack talking about his x-rated escapades. Or River Song, who is mostly a female clone of Jack…

      • Polarity Reversed  February 15, 2013

        Aw… I’m rather fond of River – a sort of saucy Romana redux…

        Perhaps the desire to make Sylvester more, broadly speaking, mysterious was necessary (and welcome) after they’d collectively made such a total beans of the character previously?

        I’m not a 7 expert by any means, but what I have witnessed of the period leaves me with the impression of the lead struggling to combine clowning and grrrrravitas while being constantly battered by silly scenarios and cackhanded production. A bit like Die Hard with a Smurf…

        • Kris Overstreet  February 16, 2013

          Tom Baker and Patrick Troughton made the clowning and gravitas work, even with zero budget… but they had better scripts and producers who were less interested in public relations and gimmicks than in making the best television they possibly could.

          • Polarity Reversed  February 16, 2013

            Yeah – it’s difficult to pin it down. The Doctor has always been a clown/sage at heart (although it’s difficult to find much evidence during the Worried Prefect period).

            Sylvester was miscast, IMO – there was an obstacle because of his prior association with clowning, mime, kids’ TV, etc. They shouldn’t have needed to reemphasise the mystery really – I mean, here’s a centuries-old alien with some highly unusual physical abilities and the ability to travel anywhere and anywhen. How much more mystery do you want, exactly?

            You mention Pat and Tom – those were the points where they gambled bravely by seriously addressing the Doctor’s backstory and I think it worked out pretty well. I think he’s just fine as an advanced being with incurable wanderlust. I just don’t think the character benefits from even the inference that he was some primal essense emitted during (one of the) big bang(s), or great drinking buddies with Omega, Rassilon, Epsilon and Teflon.

            That’s comic-book superhero stuff and I think there’s been far too much of it in the new run too. So when are we going to get Dr Who teaming up with the Hulk, Batman, Sherlock Holmes and Ghengis Khan to take on the vampire Daleks, werewolf Cybermen, Sontarans? … and there’s cake and ice cream too! It’s getting a bit like one of those kiddy “who would win in a fight between” arguments.

            I reckon he’s at his best when he’s just some clever guy who can stop an army with a comb and a pint of milk. Well, it worked for me once…

      • Cookie  February 17, 2013

        They are overusing the line at the moment, i fully agree there. I just hope it leads to something significant.

  58. Steve  February 15, 2013

    Hey, welcome back guys… Been far too long…

    Just my opinion, but Worst. Story. Ever!

    Everything about this one is terrible, and I say that as a McCoy fan. It very nearly made me give up watching the show when it first went out.

    For me its like the most terrible pantomime imaginable.

    Mind you some people love it, so what do I know…

  59. Mat Dolphin  February 15, 2013

    As someone who’s currently listening to UNIT Dominion, I shudder when I compare it to this!

  60. Tesquil Ormbush  February 16, 2013

    I haven’t seen TarR since it was show, when I’d have been about 12, but back then I wouldv’e agreed with -1 as being pretty fair. The music is what killed the McCoy era for me – even *in* the 80s, it sounded cheap and like it was trying too hard to be trendy and hip-hop. Those awful tinny ‘orchestra hits’. Ugh. And the GC, too, looked cheap to me even back then.

  61. docwhom  February 16, 2013

    Hmmmm – well that’s 10 mins of my life I won’t get back. 😉

  62. Anonymous  February 16, 2013

    ‘Loyhargil’ sounds like the reaction to the McCoy titles out of pure motion sickness, as invented by Clive Doig.

  63. chris-too-old-to-watch  February 16, 2013

    I know Sylvester McCoy is supposed to be a really nice person, but at the time, all I could think is “Oh my God, not the bloody awful mime artist from Vision On”

    • Impromptu  February 16, 2013

      Indeed – for some of us of a certain age, just too much baggage.

      White-face, stripey top, melodrama and slapstick antics that you have to be 6 or French to find remotely entertaining. But enough about the 7th Doctor, back to Vision On…

      • encyclops  February 16, 2013

        This is a situation where it helps to have been an American teenager when McCoy started. No baggage at all except for what season 24 itself created.

        The man is here at Gallifrey One this weekend and he wasn’t onstage 2 minutes before it was obvious that he is and always was Doctor material. It’s what was happening around him that wasn’t always top-notch…but even so he got a better deal than poor Colin.

  64. Julian Chislett  February 16, 2013

    So glad The Blog is back. I didn’t know how much I was missing it until it returned.
    I had a sneaking suspicion this one would get a low score and I’m glad to see it’s possible for minus ones to be awarded, as TATR deserves it. There are so many elements of this one that combine to make it, as Sue so rightly qualifies, irredeemable shit. But for me, and I think Sue, it’s the dreadful, non-incidental music of KM. He must surely rate as the series’ worst ever composer. And that’s saying something.
    I once stood at a bar in Swindon slagging KM off, while he was standing next to me. I don’t think he heard me and I didn’t know it was him; I mean, why would I? Had I known I might have talked louder or maybe offered him some critical advice: **** Off!
    On a more positive note, I think it’s fair to say this is “probably” McCoy’s worst…On the other hand…I’ve just remembered a few more.

    • matthewkilburn  February 16, 2013

      I’ve seen an academic argue that Keff McCulloch’s scores represent a giant leap backwards in television sound design, and that view accords with my prejudices. However, I once came across someone who argued McCulloch was ahead of his time, and that his music set an example for the dance scene of the 1990s (not my area) to follow, which made McCoy era Who worthy of interest in their eyes or perhaps ears.

  65. Choc113 (@Choc113)  February 16, 2013

    I think Nocol’s idea for the stupid bat thing as the new twilight love interest is great:) Someone should do a YouTube mash up vid of Bella doing her serious and mornfull stare and then cut to the Tetrap looking google eyed and stupid instead of whatshisname…… Cedric or whatever

  66. daruthedruid  February 19, 2013

    Hey all – been away for quite a while due to heavy work commitments. Missed commenting on previous posts but glad to be back here and to join you for ‘ol Sly.

    This was the point when aged about 17 my interest (to my shame now!!!) in Doctor Who flagged. Next bit off-topic – but in my young teens I found my suspension of disbelief somewhat undermined when Colin Baker regenerated into the Doctor. Somehow I had this rule in my head that it should always be a new actor, rather than someone who played a bit character I never even liked! I think from that point on my interest declined…

    Though I have since re-watched all of the programmes with my lady love in a marathon inspired by you and LOVED Colin completely in new light.

    My love for Doctor Who declined even further with these current seasons. Again I have re-watched all of the upcoming stories and REALLY loved Sylvester again. I think I had far too serious a head as a teen and just did not get any of the lightness – but my cynicism that set in did not even let me give the show a chance then.

    One show coming up, TGSitG, sticks in my mind and was the point when I chose to walk. And I never came back until the 2005 revival. Oh totally to my shame again! As there IS so much good ahead – was amazing to re-watch it all recently.

    Oh – and my partner is a complete addict like I am again! Well done Neil and Sue, keep it up!