Wednesday, 9 October 2013


The Doctor faces the Borad
‘Timelash’ is a much-maligned story which people regard as being right up there with the worst Doctor Who stories of all. Whilst it is easy to see why, I think there are some good ideas in there which with a bit of work on the script and much higher production values could have turned into a solid story.
Paul Darrow as Tekker.
The premise, that Herbert George Wells got his ideas for writing science fiction from travelling with the Doctor is a great place to start your writing. The writer was Glen McCoy, a pretty inexperienced writer whose original script apparently was full of Daleks and thus was rejected. He did a first and second draft but Saward admits he didn’t give him more of a guiding hand and tried to make the scripts workable himself.
The thing is, the story fails in the areas Doctor Who, if it’s going to fail, seems to always fail in. Yes, the sets and the look, but story-wise the characters are very undeveloped, the Doctor and Peri are back to snapping and yelling at each other and we have far too much of the story set in the TARDIS. In fact the TARDIS scenes in general are just ridiculous. Half the first episode is spent strapping the Doctor and Peri to the console.

The guest characters are incredibly one-dimensional and it’s a good thing there was good spirit on the set because that goes some way to saving the story a little. At least no-one was half hearted. I felt like there were lots of little things in there that could have had time devoted to them which would have made interesting subplots which could have affected the outcome. The original Maylin for example, he is forced to divert energy to the Borad from the hospital where his wife lies critical. Paul Darrow as his replacement, Maylin Tekker, injects as much energy – some of it OTT, but better than underplaying by a long way – but even his character is just basically evil.
An Android gets his hands on the Doctor.
Herbert’s role could have been expanded. In fact the Doctor could have met him at the very start and they could have got rid of the horrid TARDIS scenes completely. The sets, as described in the script, are matte, but the bright lighting does little but show how cheap they are. The Borad though is a pretty neat creation by the effects team. The face looks rather good and if he, unlike the Master, didn’t just reappear when we all thought he much be dead, then he might be considered a decent villain today.
Herbert George Wells and the Doctor.
The second and third endings are to be honest a bit tedious and feel tacked on. The Bandrils fire at the planet. The Doctor manoeuvres the TARDIS to get in the way of the missile. The complete explanation we get it ‘it’s a neat treat. Might show you sometime. Almost as infuriating as the Master’s reason (his non-reason) for turning up again in ‘Mark of the Rani’.

Peri is dreadfully written in this one with very little to do other than scream. That was very disappointing. But I didn’t mind the story, it just seemed really really amateur that’s all. They obviously had to save money in this one, and it shows, but the script need major reworking too. Still, it has it’s enjoyable moments.

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