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Doctor Who: Time And The Rani [VHS]

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Product details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, Kate O'Mara, Mark Greenstreet, Wanda Ventham
  • Directors: Andrew Morgan
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan 2000
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CQNC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,238 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Sylvester McCoy makes his first appearance as the venerable Doctor, coming up against his old enemy, renegade Time Lord Rani (Kate O'Mara). She forces the Tardis to crash land on Lakertya, and then masquerades as his assistant Melanie (Bonnie Langford), tricking the newly regenerated Doctor into constructing a giant time manipulator designed to drain the minds of history's greatest scientists.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Number13 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Dec 2014
Format: DVD
A new Doctor! Regeneration! Excitement - oh dear. Welcome to season 24, the one in which I thought `Auntie Beeb' (as the BBC was sometimes known) lost the plot with her favourite nephew, the Doctor. This season has several strong contenders for `worst story of all Time' (and probably Space); sadly, `Time and the Rani' is one of them.

Now before I start perhaps I should say I did enjoy Sylvester McCoy's performance as the Seventh Doctor - but not that year. Later on, he showed us the clever, mysterious Time Lord at his most devious, but his opening season was the year I almost stopped watching after being a loyal fan since the cloak-swirling days of Jon Pertwee. The strange matter is that on the surface this sounds like quite a good story. There's the (forced) regeneration to work with, the return of a terrific opponent and some decent special effects, but the end result felt very disappointing, uncertain in tone (space adventure or comedy?) and filled with jarring music.

Crash-landing on a rocky, desolate world (slate quarry probably), the Doctor unceremoniously regenerates; Colin Baker deserved better - more consistently reliable scripts and good clothes was all the Sixth Doctor needed. However, here was his replacement, who in this season was a light, comic Doctor - playing the `spoons', falling backwards down steps - far removed from his previous incarnation but still accompanied by the same bright, bubbly (and to my mind insufferable) companion. Mel (the Most Annoying Companion Ever) wasn't too bad as a contrast for the abrasive personality of the Sixth Doctor but in conjunction with a light, comic replacement seemed incredibly annoying to me. It's not the fault of the actress of course, the character was the problem.

So why did the TARDIS crash?
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bob Marlowe on 18 Oct 2010
Format: DVD
If you love this story, then you may not want to read on as I consider it the weakest debut for a Doctor yet. It's a shame because undeniably there is greater energy in the production than in the previous year. There are good moments in the direction, mostly good effects particularly for the time (Death by bubble still looks great) but it's the script bizarrely mixing real science (google strange matter!) & pre-school hi-jinx that is the problem.
The Rani shoots the Doctor's tardis out of the sky (that's another good moment)which causes him to regenerate and tries to enlist his help in manipulating strange matter to rewrite time and history. The Rani has now been reduced by her own creators Pip 'n Jane Baker to being the Master in drag, losing the intriguing amoral quality of her last appearance. She also indulges in a Masteresque silly disguise by dressing up as Mel. Yep you got it, Kate O' Mara impersonates Bonnie Langford & she does quite well with it but like when Disney Store used to make middle-aged women dress in US High School Uniforms, it's a bit embarrassing. Kate makes what she can out of the good moments e.g rapture staring at her giant brain with geniuses (genii?) hooked up to it.
To prevent the Doc seeing through the disguise she injects him with an amnesia inducing drug which considering the dangerous project she wants his help in is just plain daft.
As regular readers of my reviews know, I don't think Mel worked until Big Finish audios but the character written for Bonie Langford to play here is so insipid that it's no wonder she does little with it. She gets the unintentionally funniest line though; "I've had enough of this drivel!"
The guest cast struggle with underwritten roles, only Mark Greenstreet as Ikona makes any real impression.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. R. Williams on 3 Aug 2013
Format: DVD
After watching the extras I do feel sorry for Sylvester McCoy, you can see the dark doctor of series three during his audition, why oh why did they insist on his prat falls, etc, you can see the actor wasn't comfortable with this, the making of is excellent and worth the 3 stars alone, a series unloved by the BBC and not a lot of time to prepare decent scripts for the upcoming season, its a miracle it got two more, not sylvesters fault at all.
As an avid Dr Who fan I have this and it will get played more than once, but along with the Twin Dilema this has to be one of the weakest regeneration stories. Not sure why JNT got these stories so wrong, I have always liked Bonnie as a personnality and always felt she got unjustified bad press but she was so wrong for Dr Who, so in a nut shell, not the best starts but Sylvester was allowed to mature from the clown to the dark manipulator of his third and to a certain extent his second season.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mr. I. Clarke on 18 Jan 2010
Format: DVD
Colin Baker's end to his time of the Doctor was far from dignified. Publicly dumped by the BBC after what was the shortest run of episodes as the Doctor at the time, he wasn't even allowed the grace of a final season. As the scripts had already been comissioned with him in mind, this also makes Sylvester McCoy's debut the worst. No big story finish, a faked regeneration scene (with Sylv in a wig) and no real strong opening for the character, you really have to persevere through this one.

To be fair to the show, this is one of the better looking shows interms of location and effects; the pre-title sequence of the TARDIS being attacked is impressive for the day, one of the better video effects that started to appear in the show at this time, and the paintboxed quarry along with the very well realised bubble traps make, along with the exterior of the Rani's base, impressive viewing. The only effects letting the side down being the killer insects. The interiors are suffering from a hangover from the Baker era, very garsish and 80's looking.

Sylvester's first performance is confused, and absolutely nothing like the performance that was to come. In fact, the whole story seems to see him going through post regeneration trauma due to the fact that there is nothing for Sylvester to really hang his particular performance on. Pip and Jane Baker try to inject something new to the character for him at what really was the last minute by having him misquoting all the time (as opposed to Colin's frequent literary asides) but this very quickly becomes annoying and was wisely dropped afterwards. The other trouble with his Doctor, is that it becomes very clear from the outset, that Mel was much more suitable to Baker's loud, garish 6th Doctor.
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