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Time And the Rani

Rating Votes
10
1%
1
9
1%
1
8
9%
6
7
19%
13
6
13%
9
5
33%
22
4
15%
10
3
4%
3
2
3%
2
1
0%
0
Average Rating
5.6
Votes
67
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Reviewed By: LorcanReview Date: 1/10/19 12:56 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I think that this might be one of the worst episodes of classic who ever if not the worst. The episode starts with an absolutley horrid regeneration scene which is an utter disgrace to the sixth doctor. The main plot of the episode is also dull and stupid with the rani trying to mash lots of clever peoples minds together on a planet full of these weird green aliens. The seventh doctor is also on his more jokey and less serious side in this story which i dont think was a good way to introduce him, as much as i love mccoy i prefer the darker more manipulative take on the seventh doctor in later seasons.
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 12/18/18 2:18 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is widely criticised and is often put forward as a leading contender to be rated as the worst story in Doctor Who history. I am sadly in agreement that it is pretty close to the bottom of the pile although, for me, there are a few stories worse than this. There are a couple of positives so this is not as abysmal as some of the rubbish you get on TV but for this show it is very poor.

The previous two seasons with Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor had been the two lowest quality seasons by far up to this point in many people's opinion (mine included). A number of changes were made for this new season to try to improve things but what actually resulted was a season that I think is clearly even worse. Thankfully the following season would be a big improvement and the one after that was really brilliant but season 24 for me stands as the lowest point of all.

One of the changes made was to replace Colin Baker against his will and bring in Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor. Well in reality Baker's characterisation was a big issue in his era but that was largely down to the writing and instructions he was given. His often pompous, bad tempered, rude and conceited Doctor either needed a character overhaul or a replacement and it makes sense they replaced him but it lead to him refusing to film a regeneration scene. Therefore we get a weird and unsatisfying scenario where the episode begins with the TARDIS under attack and the Doctor lying on the floor before regenerating in a disappointing way whilst unconscious and being taken prisoner by renegade Timelord/Time Lady the Rani.

After his capture the Doctor awakes and for his first episode McCoy is pretty embarrassing. There are bad pratfalls, clowning about and unconvincing delivery of lame dialogue, malapropisms and jokes. A lot of people comment on him playing the spoons but I have no issue with that any more than I have an issue with the 2nd Doctor playing the recorder (badly). At least he is very good at playing the spoons haha! What is a problem is the writing and, initially McCoy's acting. Thankfully this turns out to be perhaps partly just nerves as he does improve over parts 2 to 4 of the story. Sadly the characterisation has gone from unpleasant and annoying with Baker to overly silly with McCoy proving it is the writing and showrunner John Nathan-Turner which are to blame for this nadir. Andrew Cartmel had come in as script editor and seemingly brought about improvements in seasons 25 and 26 by which time McCoy had become very good but in this story and whole of season 24 things are in bad shape. I will say though McCoy after his initial bad acting becomes quickly far more likeable and engaging than Baker was so it turns out to be one positive change.

The plot is nonsensical - The Rani has great minds such as Einstein and Pasteur as well as the Doctor and intends amalgamating their minds into a giant brain and get them to formulate a way to create a powerful substance and fire a rocket of that substance into an asteroid composed of strange matter. It is as illogical, confused and silly as it sounds. The Rani is exploiting a race called the Lakertyans with the help of another race the Tetraps. The Tetraps are not a bad monster in design, their heads and tongues are reasonably good but when allied to a pantomime costume type body and very human sounding voices delivering cliche baddie dialogue it makes them poor. The Lakertyans look rubbish and are boring but Donald Pickering and Wanda Ventham are fine actors and imbue their meagre roles with as much gravitas as possible.

Kate O'Mara as the Rani is camp and pantomime in many ways as a character but is genuinely good and enjoyable in the role. Her impersonation of Bonnie Langford when in disguise as Mel is amazingly accurate too. Langford herself is given little to do other than scream hysterically or chip in simpering inanities so is an irritating presence.

This does not all look cheap, there are some good effects like the spinning, exploding sphere traps and efforts have been made with sets but they sadly just look garish and do not improve on the overall lack of quality in writing and very poor action scenes of people awkwardly falling over and clowning about. There is a little bit of mindless fun in the middle but it becomes boring by the end.

Very disappointing. 4/10
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 4/6/18 9:48 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Seventh Doctor era unfortunately did not start off on a good note. Quite the contrary in fact; behind the Sixth Doctor opener "The Twin Dilemma", "Time and the Rani" is the worst first story for a Doctor and honestly one of the worst Doctor Who stories currently in canon. Reading the background information on it, this is a story clearly disliked by almost everyone involved on it including the production design and the writing team and it very much shows. With a dumb and nonsensical premise of the Time Lord known as the Rani kidnapping geniuses from throughout time and space for mysterious reasons badly explained in the story, the TARDIS is attacked and forced to land on the planet Lakertya with the Doctor regenerating in the console room for reasons that wouldn't be properly explained until almost 30 years later. From there, the story devolves into lots of running back and forth, hammy overacting, over the top designs, and bad effects. As much as you can tell that the production team is trying to make things work, it simply fails pretty badly and this story is retro 80’s camp in the worst way with nothing substantial to back it up with. Unlike 'Twin Dilemma' however, there are a couple of things that I would recommend watching parts of it for. One is Sylvester McCoy doing his damndest to salvage what he can in the part and halfway succeeding. This is far from the personification from the Doctor he would grow into in later stories but McCoy is a natural in the part from the get go and he gets a few good moments here in there particularly in his interactions with his companion and in his post-regeneration mania which isn’t anything unique but is at least entertaining. Another watchable piece to this story is Kate O'Mara as the Rani. That's not to say that the character itself is good in the story as unfortunately she's basically portrayed here as a female Master before Missy happenned in the new show. The Rani is supposed to be an amoral scientist with no regard or interest for anything else other than her experiments and her work. Here that's sort of the case but she does things that the Master would've done had been in this story such as threatening peoples for her own sake, disguising herself in a bad over the top wig / outfit, and especially in her nonsensical plot that makes surface level sense but disintegrates the deeper you go with it. I think this is more the script's fault than the actor's as O'Mara is certainly trying her best but she doesn't get much to work and it turns into a standard cursory villain role as a result. Unfortunately the good elements of the story end there as the rest is either boring or bad. Bonnie Langford as Melanie Bush is at her worst here which is a shame because I do think she has good stories later on. Here she's just a screeching waste of screen time with nothing to add to the story other than reacting to the Doctor's new look and getting captured over and over. The design of the alien Lakertyians are laughably awful looking like 80's chicken men and the actors in each side role look and sound bored out of their minds. The location shooting is dull with lots of gravel pits and nothing interesting to look at and the interior sets looks cheap and forced out of desperation and time. The action and pacing are uninspired and at times laughable with lots of unnecessary pratfalls, confusing moments, and plenty of times where you just get a sense of wonder at how everything could've gone so wrong. This story is just a mess and one that I would like to say avoid if it weren’t so important to the show. Literally the only thing that saves it from ‘Twin Dilemma’ bad is watching Seven’s first moments and post-regeneration scenes and a little bit of the acting and effects. It's an utter shame as the Seventh Doctor and his era would go onto some of the greatest stories in all of Doctor Who history and it's really not the worst Seventh Doctor story ever shockingly as you can certainly see glimmers of potential here and there. But for Seven's first story, he definitely deserved better.
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Reviewed By: BrainofMorbius23Review Date: 12/2/17 9:36 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

What the devil!
Poor McCoy has a rough start. This story is just plain silly as he’s shot down? By the Rani and then she poses as his companion to minipulate him!
There’s more to it but it’s just utter crud.

I actually really like sevens quirkier manipulator type doctor but he’s to struggle a whole season of sewage before things come together.

Still ... I’ll watch any doctor who !