Doctor Who: Time And The Rani (BBC DVD)
Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: A Episodes: C+
Major casting transitions in a show like Doctor
Who can sometimes go very smoothly and end with pleasing results,
and or they can go awry. The transition
from the 6th Doctor (Colin Baker) to the
7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) marks the beginning of a down period for the show,
and one that after several years would eventually lead to its cancellation. As regenerations go, this one goes down as
the lamest. An angry Colin Baker refused
to appear, so his Doctor’s face was obscured during the transformation into
McCoy (who played “both” roles in the scene).
Once complete, Sylvester McCoy arises as
the 7th Doctor. Previous to the
regeneration, he and companion Melanie Bush (Bonnie Langford) were attacked
while the TARDIS was in flight, causing it to crash on a desolate planet. There
the author of the attack, the evil female Time Lord Rani, seeks to use the now
befuddled Doctor in her scheme to build a machine that will manipulate time
itself. Kate O’Mara’s over the top
performance as the Rani might be one of the best aspects of this otherwise
forgettable adventure. At the other end of spectrum, Bonnie Langford’s
screaming should be recorded and militarized as a sonic weapon.
Mr. McCoy’s performance is a game one, but
his doddering, clumsy, and befuddled Doctor fails to inspire. The Rani’s scheme to kidnap great minds from
different periods in time and use them to power her machine is a clever
gimmick, and her alien servants, the monstrous Tetraps are well done
Writers Pip and Jane Baker do have a bit of
fun with the Doctor during the traditional costuming scene. He manages to try
on many of the old costumes worn by his predecessors. This also marks the only
time where a villain (Rani, disguised as Melanie) assists the Doctor in his
Extras are strong and include a featurette
on the transition, commentaries, and more.
Fans of Sylvester McCoy will of course want this for his first
appearance, while collectors interested in having all of the regeneration
episodes will also want it for that.
Casual fans may want to give this one a pass.