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Doctor Who - Time and the Rani [DVD] [1987]

3.6 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, Kate O'Mara, Mark Greenstreet, Donald Pickering
  • Directors: Andrew Morgan
  • Writers: Jane Baker, Pip Baker, Sydney Newman
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner, Peter Bryant
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Sept. 2010
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002SZQCDO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,679 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Featuring Sylvester McCoy as the newly regenerated seventh Doctor, this new DVD features the Doctor’s battle with the evil Rani. After being attacked by the Rani, the TARDIS crash-lands on the planet Lakertya. On the floor of the console room, the Doctor begins his sixth regeneration...

In his post-regenerative confusion the Doctor is separated from his young companion Mel and tricked into assisting the Rani in her megalomaniac scheme to construct a giant time manipulator.

Lost on the barren surface of the planet, Mel has to avoid the Rani's ingenious traps and her monstrous, bat-like servants, the Tetraps. She joins forces with a rebel faction among the Lakertyans, desperate to end the Rani's control of their planet.

The Doctor must recover his wits in time to avoid becoming a permanent part of the Rani's plan to collect the genius of the greatest scientific minds in the Universe...

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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'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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Yes, this story to be released in September 2010 is the main reason why 1980s Doctor Who gets such a bad press - after unceremoniously dumping the woefully underrated Colin Baker, the production team seem determined to nail the lid on the coffin of the BBCs flagship family drama. From the risibly bewigged Sylvester McCoy in the opening regeneration scene, to Mel's clownish costume, and the Seventh Doctor's mind-numbingly awful mixed metaphors (truly the lamest expression of post-regeneration trauma in the series' history), this is one almighty mess - not to mention Kate O'Mara hamming it up as evil Time Lord 'The Rani'. Everything about this stinks; even Russell T Davies struggles to find something to like about it!
Accomplished actors such as Wanda Ventham, Donald Pickering and Mark Greenstreet must have wiped this mess from their CVs, and it's amazing anyone wanted to be associated with the show afterwards.
DVD extras have not yet been announced, but I would strongly advise anyone except diehard completists to steer well clear of this release come September.
Fortunately Sylvester McCoy was at least given something of a chance to redeem himself in later serials - an opportunity which he eagerly grasped - subsequently this remains the low point of his era as well as the show's; Twin Dilemma knocks spots off this, and that's saying something!
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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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