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< The Two Doctors
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Timelash

Rating Votes
10
4%
2
9
5%
3
8
9%
5
7
11%
6
6
25%
14
5
12%
7
4
28%
16
3
5%
3
2
2%
1
1
0%
0
Average Rating
5.7
Votes
57
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Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

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3
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 12/14/18 12:25 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

One of the worst Doctor Who TV stories. This has very few plus points - a couple of decent moments and a bit of campy fun here and there - but is basically pretty lame in every respect.

The story is that a society on the planet Karfel which we are told was visited and saved once by the 3rd Doctor (although this was not from any existing story just an added plot point) is ruled over by a dictator known as the Borad who has become a mutated monster after an experiment which went wrong so hides his appearance by having an android of an old man as his public face. The world is at war with an alien race called the Bandrils and the Karfel official Maylin Tekker is throwing anyone in the way of his and the Borad's evil plans into the Timelash which loses them in a time tunnel which leads to Earth history. When The Doctor travels through this time tunnel he also meets real life historical figure H.G. Wells as a young man and is therefore shown to influence Wells' science fiction writing.

Acting wise Colin Baker is fine but the 6th Doctor is showing the same argumentative, pompous and patriarchal behaviour that he showed in his first story (equally poor The Twin Dilemma) and not having an endearing Doctor is a big minus. Peri is as annoying and unsatisfactorily portrayed as usual and Herbert (young H.G. Wells) is not awful but pretty unimpressive. Paul Darrow is over the top camp as the Maylin but is fun and a highlight among all the other Karfelons who are almost entirely dull and wooden. Denis Carey is a magnificent actor as proved in his role in Shada but in Timelash he is completely wasted. Robert Ashby puts in a perfectly decent performance as the Borad but delivers cliched villainous dialogue.

The dialogue in general is very underwhelming and includes unnecessary meanness and grating superior attitude from The Doctor, particularly towards Peri. The sets and costumes are cheap looking and cheesy, the Morlox are pathetic rubber creatures and many effects look bad. The makeup of the Borad is OK but that is the only thing that looks sufficiently good quality. The Timelash itself is an embarrassing arrangement of tinsel and the Bandrils are equally embarrassing silly puppets.

The plot development is equally silly with most of the whole story making little sense and culminating in a dreadful twist as the Borad is ludicrously and inexplicably revealed to have not only had an android old man as a front but also a cloned version of himself with the same disfigured features who was able to engage in the full confrontation with the Doctor only to turn out to be 'not the real Borad'! Then he is defeated and pushed towards the Timelash simply by showing him a mirror despite him proclaiming his form as a wonderful improvement which he intends duplicating in an entire race - an odd choice if he finds it so unbearable to see! It all really beggars belief and is the worst revelation in Doctor Who history as well as the most pathetic defeat of a villain! How anyone can rate this as OK and harshly criticise the relatively miniscule flaws in plots or 'too easy' defeats of villains in new episodes grading them with lower scores than this nonsense is beyond my understanding. This is surely one of the bottom 3 Doctor Who TV stories if not the worst.
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Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 12/3/16 10:52 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Weird, bizarre and generally botched. Where to start with Timelash?

The introduction is enough to set the scene: plodding, poorly-written, acted and shot. Bland direction as exposition is dumped with the subtlety of a jack-hammer. Dictator - tick. Time travel concept for plot relevance - tick. Character archetypes - tick.

After a woefully slow plod, not helped by the terrible production values - we move from alien politics to comedy.. to drama.. to time travel shenanigans on earth - comic but with a historical celebrity for no reason. Then action action action before a Doctor - antagonist verbal spar, death of the antagonist, faux-drama before resolution. The thing is just all over the shop.

It's a shame because there's a central concept at the heart of Timelash that's pretty good. A well thought up villain with an emotional justification for a great genocidal plot, with plenty of scope for political machinations. Furthermore, it allows for some real tension and skin-crawling as Peri's fate is revealed. By this point it just seems as if Eric enjoys forcing Peri into sick and sadomasochistic situations.

The problem is just.. well, everything else. There's far too much superfluous gumf, not least of which being gratuitous fan-pleasing canon. Even I was rolling my eyes as for no reason, Jon Pertwee's face is revealed to be painted on a wall. Pointless. By the end, we're just working off that checklist, melodrama and bickering for the sake of it.

Paul Darrow's bad panto performance is worth a view, and like I say, the Doctor's encounter with the Borad is an awesome little scene with a real horror of a punishment for Peri. That aside, it's just dull, tedious and broken. Particularly given my praise for the Borad - there's a sense that a far more interesting serial happened a few decades prior to the one we're left with.
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 6/16/16 4:42 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

There is a theme of triangles in 'Timelash'. The tessellations on the walls are mirror opposites of the Tardis’ roundels in a similar off-white colour scheme. Then there is the crystal in the first scene that the Doctor uses to pin down the map and the control panel for the Timelash has a crystal pattern on it. The Doctor uses crystals from the Timelash to defeat the Borad. The Timelash itself is an upside down triangle and the door Peri escapes into the caverns with has a triangle door handle that when turned correctly resembles the ‘Blakes 7’ logo. Then there are the amulets the Maylin wear. I am sure Paul Darrow appreciated that. In short there are enough triangles to make Pythagoras hard. With three sides, angles and corners triangles represent the number three. Such as the axis of characters: The Doctor, Peri and Herbert. And the opposing formation: The Borad, Tekker and the android representation of the Borad, his “other self”. The other Androids also have blue faces like their master and as his foot soldiers could be seen as an extension of his will.

The two faced – or should that be three faced if you count his android one? – villain has had all the mirrors removed. Presumably, so he doesn’t have to look at himself. In this story, we also get see one of the Doctor’s other faces, which hides a mirror. The androids that share The Borad’s blue skin are also fearful of mirrors like their master. Why would you build your phobias in to your androids? Even though The Borad can’t bear to look at himself he observes others, through cameras. He lets out no information about himself and presents a false image while spying on others. This is typical of totalitarian systems of power and alienation is a common cause for The Doctor to help indigenous people rise against their oppressors. The Borad also uses another familiar tool of the Dictator: gas. In the interest of good taste (and avoiding any fart jokes) I will leave that there.

The people live in fear, oppression rules and the plants spit acid in your face. We never see Karfel's surface but can we presume Karfel is an inhospitable planet? It's mentioned when Peri is being shown the vegetation, when Tekker and The Doctor are left to talk, that the plants are mainly (suggesting not exclusively) from Bandril. So why were the Bandrils relying on Karfel for food? What can Karfel offer? Morlox steaks? The Bandrils do state that they have an agreement for grain – the one thing they are incapable of growing on their homeworld….

This is a tale set on an alien world but with no date. Yet it constantly refers to the past. The time corridor goes back in time, never forwards. Why doesn’t it drop people in Bermuda? The shows own history is referenced, albeit with an unwritten story. And Peri mentions that the Daleks had a time tunnel. This story was originally written with Daleks instead of the Borad. As this links to the shows beginnings with the H.G. Wells inspired ‘Time Machine’ I think this would have been a nice link back. It would have helped the costume budget as well as the Daleks appeared at the end of the season. The Timelash doesn’t seem very fearsome as it doesn’t actually kill although being permanently removed from your loved ones is a similar effect, I suppose. Did this story draw inspiration from the sixties US TV series 'The Time Tunnel' which was itself inspired by the 1964 movie 'The Time Travelers'?
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
3
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
2
Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: AlfredReview Date: 10/4/15 7:39 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This one is bad, for sure, but not as bad as Time and the Rani although there may only be a whisker in it.

The good: the Borad is a quite decent creation as a villan; his sick infatuation with Peri, which climaxes (sorry) with something akin to a BDSM scene, serves to keep the interest going in an otherwise pitiful tale.

The bad: The Bandrils are straight out of the Muppet Show!!! The costumes of the androids and the guardoliers are just plain silly in design. The H.G. Wells sub-plot grates on your nerves. Paul Darrow's acting is so camp that he appears to be trying to sabotage the story.

The ugly: the timelash itself is about as menancing as a kindergarten class's cardboard box creation and makes for a number of hilariously overacted sentencing scenes: "your punishment is the timelash!" - "Nooooooo......" - "Aghhhhhh....." The voices of the androids will have you in stitches, how could they have got past the rushes?

All in all, Time and the Rani is more depressing than anything else. Timelash, somehow or the other, retains value as a good belly laugh.