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Doctor Who: Timelash by Glen McCoy (DVD TV series review).

May 22, 2019 | By | Reply More

The TARDIS detects and is drawn into a time corridor/vortex/whatever. The Doctor (actor Colin Baker) detects its destination on Earth and with a bit of effort travels up it to where it came from, the planet Karfel. He explains to Peri (actress Nicola Bryant) that he had been here in an earlier regeneration, later revealed to be an untold tale of the Pertwee Doctor and Jo Grant.

Things have changed and the population is in the thrall of the Borad (actor Robert Ashby). Any rebels are thrown into the timelash, the very time corridor the TARDIS travelled through. They even saw Vena (actress Jeananne Crowley) pass them with the amulet of power. The previous leader, Maylin Renis (actor Neil Hallet) had just been killed by the Borad and his replacement, Maylin Tekker (actor Paul Darrow) is far more ruthless.

He succeeds in dividing up the Doctor and Peri, forcing the former to take the TARDIS to Earth to retrieve the amulet or his companion will be killed. Peri is already being lined up to be killed but escapes into the tunnels of the rebels but is recaptured. The Doctor succeeds in collecting Vena, but inadvertently also brings Herbert (actor David Chandler) from that time period as well. Presumably, the amulet gave Vena safe passage rather than be killed like the others.

Unfortunately, Tekker reveals his true colours and orders the Doctor into the timelash but is literally stopped by a mirror and then the real rebellion begins, with Tekker fleeing. The Borad orders Peri back into the caves for her own fate. The Doctor, with the help of the rebels retrieves crystals from the timelash and creates a couple devices to aid their cause. They also have an extra matter of the Bandrils from the nearby planet being forced into war when the Karfelons were ordered not to supply them with stock anymore by the Borad. His own agenda is to annihilate everyone. How? Well, that’s why you have to buy your own copy.

Oddly, there is little in the way of extras. First, we have the traditional audio commentary with actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Paul Darrow. Baker reveals that the story is not highly regarded by fans, mostly because script editor Eric Saward was away for 6 weeks writing the next story, ‘Revelation Of The Daleks’. ‘Maylin’ also doesn’t mean leader but father. The episode was also 9 minutes too long and the character bits were cut.

Darrow points out that he modelled his character on Richard III but was denied a hump. Bryant points out that her costume was made on a model of singer Sheena Easton with a bra. In contrast, the second episode was too short and the scene on the TARDIS with Peri and Herbert was written by Eric Saward and added while filming the next story.

‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’, running at 25 minutes, covers the background of the story. Eric Saward points out the problem of getting new writers that John Nathan-Turneer wanted and their backgrounds having problems in writing soaps working against them. Scriptwriter and newcomer Glen McCoy fulfilled this without said background although had to do a re-write because he had used the Daleks. The analysis is interesting and I tend to go along with Saward that if people add ‘dislike’, it’s a bigger struggle to say otherwise. I certainly didn’t think it any worse than any of the other classic ‘Doctor Who’ stories, but more of that below.

The ‘Photo Gallery is about 9 minutes long and features a lot of black & white photos and although there is a set gallery, little behind the scenes material.

There are a lot of threads in this story. It’s a musical chairs who actually is the head of the Karfelons, with leaders being ruthlessly killed along the way. If anything, it’s more amazing that anyone wants the job. The make-up for the Borad is also one of the most successful of the pre-CGI shows. None of them noticed that the constellation maps was something you could buy in shops at the time.

An odd thought occurred to me had Peri been returned to Earth now, she would be a couple years older than when she left and how would she explain that to her parents. Something occurred to me about this Doctor’s clothes is if you compare them to what the Time Lords wore, there’s certainly an element of bad colour taste compared to other species so maybe they see differently to them. You also have to wonder if the Borad is the same creature that the Zygons controlled and called the Skarasen in Loch Ness. Certainly, there is a resemblance.

This story is not highly regarded by the fans although I thought it quite reasonable. One can only hope history is more kind.

GF Willmetts

May 2019

(region 2 DVD: pub: BBC. 1 DVD 89 minutes 2 * 45 minute episodes with extras. Price: I pulled mine for about £ 5.70 (UK) if you know where to look. ASIN: BBCDVD2333)

cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Paul Darrow, Neil Hallet, Eric Deacon, David Chandler, Robert Ashby and Jeananne Crowley

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Category: Doctor Who, TV

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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