So, like it or not we get a new Doctor in a revamped series where things are quite different to the previous few years. Enter Andrew Cartmel, the new script editor who would bring a swag of new writers and ideas to the show. However, season 24 starts with ‘Time and the Rani’, a script commissioned for ‘safety’ reasons by John Nathan-Turner by Pip and Jane Baker which was originally planned for Colin Baker.
If I thought ‘The Twin Dilemma’ was bad, I was even more dismayed by this one. I don’t honestly know where to start. Pip and Jane Baker seem to get worse with every script they write.
|The new Doctor wakes up.|
Let’s start with our new Doctor, Scottish actor Sylvester McCoy. What’s the hell is he doing in this story? This has to be the least convincing performance by an actor playing the Doctor ever. He does do anything with conviction, and his performance is like a man desperately trying stuff in order to find what works. He plays the spoons on Kate O’Mara’s bust for god’s sake! What was that
|Mel and a Lakertian|
|The Rani dresses up as Mel.|
Pip and Jane Baker wrote a script full of pointlessness, gags and filler. We have five minutes wasted to the Doctor choosing his new costume, a giant brain behind a door trying to work out the formula with help from scientists, most from Earth strangely enough and stuck in booths, and then we are subjected to Kate O’Mara as the Rani pretending to be Mel by putting on a wig and flouncing around. What is this shite?
Mel. Bonnie Langford. For crying out loud she has a fantastic scream but the writers and directors don’t need to make her scream so much, it’s ridiculous. ‘Oh look, a rock!’
|Donald Pickering and a Tetrap|
Why the need to see a regeneration? I mean, Colin didn’t want to come back to do the scene (or possibly the story) and who could possibly blame him, so why not reboot the series some time in the future after the regeneration. We get it, the Doctor can change bodies. The wig and the fall from the exercise bike (if that’s what is really supposed to have happened) thanks to some sort of meteorite storm it’s all cringe worthy.
|The 'ball' speical effect.|
Lakertia was supposed to be a green and verdant forest. Then first-time director to the series Andrew Morgan though yet another quarry would make a better location. And there are a whole lot of people living in this quarry. seriously. How do people imagine life on a planet which is just a quarry? No trees or animals to speak of? NOT ONE shown in the story. There were a couple of lakes though, maybe they are full of fish.
The Tetraps were never going to be well-realised. Human-sized bats with four eyes who were pretty much the comic relief from…. the comic relief. The movement of the mouths in no way coincides with the lines spoken. It’s dreadful, embarrassing stuff. The whole thing is embarrassing. One of the worst stories I can remember.
|This is the brain. It's point? I dunno.|
There is a great special effect of a spinning ball that captures people spins them around into the air and then comes down to Earth and explodes. It looks fantastic but again, it’s such a convoluted concept. Why wouldn’t you just set normal landmines?
The music is quite on the nose, although I don’t mind the new version of the theme music or the opening credits. The new logo however is awful – two pieces done in completely different styles which don’t go together. It doesn’t bode well for the next few stories.