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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who: Time And The Rani (BBC DVD)

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 “rubber-suit” monsters. 


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 wardrobe selection.


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.



-   Scott Pyle


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