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

3.6 out of 5 stars 77 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 (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002SZQCDO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,941 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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I know that 'Time and the Rani' isn't very good but that's not to say you can't enjoy watching it. Indeed, it can be very enjoyable.

Whereas stories like 'The Sun Makers' are boring and visually dull, 'Time and the Rani' is rarely if ever boring and visually it is anything but dull. In fact it's often visually very impressive thanks to some stunning effects work, for example the Rani's bubble traps and the model work. The quarry location is also imaginatively used and the story is very well shot.

The story starts with a pre-credits sequence which features by far the worst regeneration to date. Colin Baker wasn't present and so they simply put Sylvester McCoy in Baker's costume and an unconvincing blonde curly wig. Needless to say, it was a bad start to the story.

The Lakertyans (the reptilian indigenous creatures on Lakertya) look quite garish and silly in green, orange and yellow and with very long blonde hair. The Tetraps (the Rani's muscle, bat like creatures with eyes in the backs of their heads) on the other hand look quite good.

Sadly the Rani's plan is just a string of meaningless technobabble. It's also impossible to believe that the Rani, who is supposed to be a genius, would concoct a plan that involved her impersonating Mel with an unconvincing ginger wig and a copy of Mel's outfit. Even though the Rani's plan severely lacks credibility Kate O'Mara is still fun to watch in the role of over-the-top villain.

Sylvester McCoy's performance involves pratfalls, playing the spoons and mixing metaphors. These characteristics wouldn't be annoying but they're all quite prominent, especially the metaphor mixing, making it difficult to take this bumbling Doctor seriously.
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