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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Now a number of fans hate this little gem - why? Well they give their reasons below. However I like this story. Basically it is this story that got me interested in Dr Who in the first place way back in 1987. I was only 7. For a child I think that this story is supreme. It is full of some great creatures : the Tetraps in particular, but also the Lakertyans and the two...
Published on 5 Jan 2001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time Up for Auntie?
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...
Published 22 days ago by Number13


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time Up for Auntie?, 5 Dec 2014
By 
Number13 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (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? Three cheers for the reason, the best thing about this story by light-years - it's the Rani, the evil Time Lady played once again with great style by Kate O'Mara. Her plan is, it must be said, nuts. She's trying to turn the whole planet into a giant time-manipulating brain to (of course) take over the Universe. Not content with being an evil genius herself, she's had to kidnap a random group of geniuses from across Time and Space to form a group mind to help solve the technical difficulties of her plan, and she wants the Doctor as the last part of that group mind. The chances of this working seem slim because the Doctor is hardly a team player, but it does, after a fashion, because the Doctor is also too clever for his own good sometimes. The whole scenario seems unnecessarily complex and frankly unbelievable.

If the kidnapped geniuses are her `mind', the Rani's `hands' are the oppressed indigenous people who are either too apathetic to resist or controlled by fear of the consequences. There's a good attempt to create a convincing alien culture, odd styles of running, unusual skeletons and so on, but although the elder Beyus (who works for the Rani to avoid harm to his people) is a noble, resigned figure, as a group they don't inspire the viewer to care much what happens either way. The Rani has picked up some monster helpers too, giant vampire bat creatures called the Tetraps. I've seen worse-looking monsters in the show but they don't really have a point, they only seem here to BE monsters, menace the Doctor and jump around in a monsterly manner so Mel can scream at them. Very loudly.

Eventually, the Rani makes ready to leave before the planet is `brained', thus giving ample time for the Doctor and co. to blow up her fortress and the embryo brain, while she escapes in her TARDIS but ends up caught in a Tetrap of her own making, so to speak. Personally I would have been happy to see the Rani win; Kate O'Mara is the best thing about this story by a long way. The scenes where she impersonates Mel to convince the still woozy Doctor to help with her plan are the comic highlight. She's having to keep up the breezy, bubbly façade and nudge the Doctor along, while quite obviously seething with impatience and wanting to do something very unpleasant to him as her temper frays; it's a pity the Rani never appeared on screen again after this story.

So, while I liked the villainess and the monsters weren't bad (if really irrelevant), the story seemed unbelievable, the companion utterly annoying and - the fatal point - in this season of his life the Doctor was just `OK'. That said, this is not the worst `Doctor Who' ever made, not even the worst in this season although it's close. (If you're wondering: `Delta and the Bannermen'.)

Overall I'd give the story two stars because the special effects were good for the time, the costumes also looked good and the Rani was a great villain and very well played. It's a sad state of affairs when `Doctor Who' needs the villain to save it from getting a one-star review!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Something of a misfire", 18 Oct 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (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. He's given a daft moment at the end throwing away a solution to a lethal problem on the basis they should solve their own problems!There's Christmas Cracker wisdom for you!
The Lakertyans are a good design for an alien in costume and make up, sadly not so for the Tetraps though. Meant to be bat humanoids, they just look like fat lager lout Yetis. The award for something you can't convey onscreen goes to them having 360 degree vision.
Sylvester struggles as despite the post regenerative and drug induced instability, he does looks silly not suspecting the Rani in disguise a bit more. He gets a moment when he's unsure but a quick slap deals with that. There's too much clowning, some of which works e.g. playing the spoons is a charming eccentricity like the 2nd Doctor's recorder, much of it does not e.g. comedy runs etc. There are a few moments of the better portrayal to come like delivery of the line about a "temporal flicker."
His trying on costumes sequence is like very long but seeing him in a Pertwee jacket shows the difference a better costume could have made.

Some other nice touches; the geniuses including alien ones as well as human ones & the Rani's reaction in disguise as Mel to having her evil genius summed up "I'm overwhelmed."

The extras are top notch, enough to raise the overall package marking to a 3, even though the story's a 2 at best. The Last Chance Saloon" is a great documentary on the reasons why Who was given another chance and the making of the story. Contributors include; Sylvester McCoy, the late JNT via archive stuff. the writers (more personable than previously they also get a separate feature on their original concepts for the planet), script editor Andrew Cartmel, director Andrew Morgan and there is a look at Sylvester's filmed audition plus the people he beat for the role.
There's one of those off cuts from the documentary pretending to be a separate feature things "Hot Gossip" recalling the chatter of guest stars Donald Pickering & Wanda Ventham. Great features on the effects sequences and the title sequence.

Great commentary with Sylvester, the Bakers and a rare appearance from Bonnie Langford who is great fun as they all are. Bonnie advises us if you're asked to do something dangerous by the director, ask him to do it first!

A great support package propping up a weak story, completists only.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Now a number of fans hate this little gem - why? Well they give their reasons below. However I like this story. Basically it is this story that got me interested in Dr Who in the first place way back in 1987. I was only 7. For a child I think that this story is supreme. It is full of some great creatures : the Tetraps in particular, but also the Lakertyans and the two brains. IOt also has some great graphics - in particular the bubble traps. Give this story a go. Its not that bad! Its certainly better than The Twin Dilemma or Timelash!!!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How any fan could ever give this 5 stars is mad, 16 Jan 2011
By 
Mr. R. G. Prizeman "Dickie 1" (croydon UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
As a fan i have to give an honest review, this is one of the worst Dr Who stories ever and I am not sure it even deserves 2 stars. Just because this is the old or classic series dose not mean every story should get five stars, there were some bad stories and this was one. This is no Genesis of the Daleks or Pyramids of mars, could you really give this story 5 stars making it the same as those, i do hope not. OK Sylvester McCoy had to take on a story originally written for Colin Baker's Dr, but no matter who the actor was not much could save this weak story.I never understood why Bonnie Langford was the companion, and i am sorry her performance still grates, but to be fair this was more due to the script as opposed to her acting ability. The idea of the Rani played by Kate O'Mara collecting all the scientist to make a super brain was a workable idea, but this is just a awful part of Dr who's history, The McCoy Dr you see here is nothing like the Dr that was portrayed in the next season, but this did nothing than make the average person laugh at the pr gramme, including Varety Lambert who hated it. The extras are good but is the price worth it for extras alone. On a plus it was goodbye to the awful sixth Dr costume, shame it was not goodbye to the question marks as well. This is for hard core fans only be careful.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only a Skullbrain would like this, 21 Aug 2006
Contary to believe, the McCoy era produced more good stories than bad. Sadly, this IS BAD, no, worse than that, it is complete CRUD!!!!!

Sylvester McCoy is one of my favorite Doctors (Thrid to Pat Troughton and Tom Baker in fact) but he is not at all good in this, and Bonnie Langford is rubbish, she screams and screams and screams till we're deaf with anger at the writing and acting, in fact, only McCoy and Kate O' Mara are good.

However, the Tetraps are VERY freaky to look at, and the ep 2 cliff-hanger is as good as The Curse Of Fenric ep 2, Remembrance of the Daleks ep 1 and to some extent Paradise Towers ep 2 (If Ace, my fav companion was in Mel's shoes, I'd have been having nightmares) and Urak was good and eerie. The 7th Doctor is very good as well and very interesting to watch, he is a lot more funny and entertaining than Jon Pertwee, but I was upset when he senselessly killed a Tetrap, Colin Baker had gone, but the brutalness remained.

This was going to get one star, but, because of the Tetraps and McCoys and O' Mara's performances, I give it two.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'How can I find the right kind of wire?', 24 July 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
'The new Doctor is going to be a bloke, who used to put ferrets down his trousers' was the news told me by a real Job's comforter in 1985. Colin Baker had been unceremoniously sacked, and it is hard to blame him too much, because he comes across as a very likeable bloke, when he's not wearing that coat, but now we have a hurried regeneration, and a very different kettle of fish indeed. Sylvester was nothing if not different.

So the story has a disorientated Doctor partnered, at least at the outset, by the Rani dressed up as Mel. The latest planet looks very impressive, and the Tetrap monsters are fun, and (in one shot) we get to see that there really are hordes of the things (rather than the more usual six), and that bubble trap looks very good, and that giant brain looks very good - almost operatic - and lots of geniuses, including a nice little cameo from Albert Einstein. It all looks very good, even if the local aliens are wetter than the ocean, and the skeleton is a nice touch.

There's been some money spent, I'll give 'em that.

But it is still a story for kids.

Not too much of a problem, if you're about 11, or if you don't look for any more to a tale than a jolly runaround. Kate O'Mara is highly amusing, even if it does draw attention to the fact that Mel herself is really quite annoying, and Sylvester, with his spoon-playing and his delightful malapropisms, is eminently watchable, but the story itself is no deeper than a modest-sized puddle.

Providing a programme for children is what's required, then this really is a tour de force, but Dr Who isn't children's television.

The trouble was, that for the whole of the season, that's what it was to be.

2/5 but on its way to 3...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Messy and daft, but not without good points, 12 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
Sylvester McCoy became one of the best Doctors ever to grace the series- eventually. However he got off to an appalling start, and "Time And The Rani" justifiably tends to appear well towards the bottom of any fan ranking of Doctor Who stories.

Pip & Jane Baker were the worst writers ever to contribute to Doctor Who, and their story here is a ridiculous mess.

On the plus side, there's a marked improvement in special effects. Whilst all four episodes are (like the DVD cover) far too pink, improved computer graphics and some very good setbuilding and model work help make the whole thing a little more impressive on that front. I've always been impressed by the Seventh Doctor title sequence, which was ahead of its time, and also the new theme arrangement- although the incidental music was not so convincing.

The DVD extras follow along the usual lines- a jokey commentary, a half-hour slightly tongue-in-cheek documentary about the danger Doctor Who faced from cancellation, ten minutes about the visual effects, and some Easter Eggs that I'll admit I've not found yet... Sadly no deleted scenes or outtakes but you can't have everything.

A standard Who DVD- decent enough but certainly not one that should be on the top of your wishlist.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as people say.., 3 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
I admit these two things: I am a Sylvester McCoy fan and I still agree that this is NOT his best...but it has some good positives, and that's what I want to talk about here. So, here we go - why is it worth buying this first seventh doctor story?

1) If you compare it to the previous story The Trial of a Time Lord, Time and the Rani is so much more fresh, light and different. It's not bogged down by the Doctor's past like the previous two seasons either. The viewers needed this difference and it was such a nice relief at the time.

2) The Tetraps are really brilliant. As a child in 1987, these creatures scared me lots with their four eyes and horrible tongues - as well as their utter hatred of everything. They were well realised by the team and saw a complete upgrade to some of the monsters from before.

3) The opening credits and special effects throughout the story are top notch for 1987. Those bubble traps are extraordinary and very well done.

4) Though the script is a bit rubbish and has massive plot holes, the actors still perform very well: Mark Greenstreet; Donald Pickering and Wanda Ventham are excellent. Sylvester McCoy is still finding his feet, but you can really see him developing here and the power to come is very much in this story. Finally, Kate O'Mara is wonderful as the naughty Time Lord, The Rani. Let's have her back some time?

What's bad? The script has plot holes, which are filled in nicely by the helpful information text. Is that all? Yes, pretty much. It isn't McCoy's best story - but it is a marked improvement on what went before...I highly recommend this DVD.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Start, 18 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. I. Clarke "wellerard_21" (Leeds UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (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. From here on in the character really doesn't work, and it shows straight away. Kate O'Mara's performance as The Rani is markedly different to the first time out, more sulky and stroppy than detatched, but her Bonnie Langford impression merits a star alone. She seems less the pure scientist she was and more a kind of tyrant here, right down to using Nazi terminology.

Also deserving a star for solid work in the supporting roles are Mark Greenstreet, Donald Pickering and Wanda Ventham as the Lakertyans, each giving their character the weight and sympathy that they truly deserved.

The plot involving the Rani stealing geniuses to destroy an asteroid of strange matter for her to be able to re-write time accross the universe sounds grand, but is less than impressive on screen. Really, this would have ben better edited down to a three parter mid season. This would have been a middling story on it's own, but the fact that this is 'debut' story makes this just tat bit more of a disappointment. However, the show would come back from this and show signs of true promise, before the axe fell.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear..., 17 Feb 2012
By 
Greystone (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
This has got to be the dullest most boring, embarrassing episode in the history of Who to that date. McCoy is awful, pratting about like a proper fool. No charisma, no acting ability and dear oh dear no line delivery. I almost curled up with his line: 'and who are you!'.

The Twin Dillema was bad, but at least you could laugh at it. This abysmal effort contained absolutely nothing at all of any sort of entertainment value. It was like some amateurish school play, I still have terrible dreams about it but the good news is I am responding to treatment.

I have relented in many ways and bought some McCoy DVDs just to see how the features play. Can rubbish like this be critically defended? that kind of thing, but I wouldn't waste a single pound on this drivel in fact I wouldn't have one given.
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Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987]
Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987] by Andrew Morgan (DVD - 2010)
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