a real world point of view
|Time and the Rani|
|Novelised as:||Time and the Rani|
|Main enemy:||The Rani, Urak, The Tetraps|
|Writer:||Pip & Jane Baker|
|Number of episodes:||4|
|Premiere broadcast:||7 September - 28 September 1987|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Ultimate Foe||Paradise Towers|
|Another memorable moment|
Time and the Rani was the first story in season twenty-four of Doctor Who. It marked the debut of Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor (McCoy also, briefly, portrayed the Sixth Doctor for the regeneration sequence). An all-computer animated opening titles sequence was introduced with this story. Kate O'Mara made her second and final televised appearance to date (not including the charity special Dimensions in Time, which this wiki does not consider a valid source).
Taking advantage of the post-regenerative trauma the recently regenerated and unstable Doctor is going through, the Rani hopes to achieve control of an approaching asteroid composed entirely of strange matter.
Can the Doctor figure out he is being used for the Rani's evil experiment, and what is behind the door the Rani won't allow the Doctor past?
Part one EditThe Rani and her servant break into the TARDIS, where they find both the Doctor and Mel are unconscious from the forced landing. On the Rani's orders, the beast ignores Mel and turns the face-down Doctor around, revealing that he's covered in a swirling spiral of blurry colors. In the following moment, the features of this Doctor fade along with the light, leaving a freshly regenerated new incarnation in place of the old Doctor.
In the Rani's lab, it is revealed that she has used the Tetraps to force the Lakertyans into helping kidnap an array of genius scientists throughout time, including Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, and Hypatia. She now also requires the Doctor. Angered by the incompetence of her workers, the Rani scares away a female Lakertyan.
The Doctor recovers from the crash and seemingly is continuing a conversation his previous incarnation was having with Mel. He then notices that he is no long in the TARDIS and recognises the Rani. Angered by her presence, he wonders what kind of monstrous experiment she is up to now. He takes up his umbrella to strike her. The Rani knocks him out with a laser gun and injects him with an amnesia-inducing drug. She disguises herself as Mel. Once the Doctor recovers, she attempts to convince him to repair some broken machinery in "his" lab. Beyond the lab is a closed-off chamber.
Mel has meanwhile been left behind in the TARDIS. She encounters, and eventually wins the trust of, the young hot-headed Lakertyan Ikona, who is eager to dispatch the evil Rani and liberate his people.
In the meantime, the Doctor has returned to the TARDIS to change his clothes as he finds the clownish outfit of the Sixth not a fitting match for his new persona. After failing with several outfits (including a Napoleon outfit, a British guard outfit, a schoolteacher outfit, a cricket outfit similar to that of the Fifth Doctor, one of the Third Doctor's outfits, and the Fourth Doctor's burgundy outfit), the Doctor walks out from behind a clothes rack wearing the Second Doctor's fur coat, but opens it to reveal his new outfit, which the Rani finds befitting of a Time Lord.
As Mel and Ikona flee from a Tetrap, Mel trips one of the Rani's traps. She is encased in a large bubble and thrown over a cliff.
Part two Edit
Mel's bubble lands safely in a lake, and Ikona is able to free her. They flee from Urak.
The Doctor and the Rani return to the lab, where the Doctor finds the problem and instructs "Mel" to return to the TARDIS and retrieve a tool. While doing so, the Rani orders her minion to kill Mel. Once the Rani returns and gives the Doctor the device he needs, he sees one of the mineral plates inside the device is broken. The Rani tells the Doctor that she can get a replacement from the locals, contradicting her earlier statement that they were not advanced enough for the Doctor's technological knowledge. The Doctor catches this as she leaves, realising that he has been duped. While the Rani leaves, Mel enters the lab and the Doctor mistakes her for the Rani. Mel, not recognising the Doctor due to his new face and clothes, wonders what he has done with the Doctor. After Mel mentions carrot juice and the Doctor responds with his great hatred of the beverage, Mel accepts that he is the Doctor. They decide to find out what the Rani has been planning. In an inner chamber, Beyus and Farron show them an enormous brain that channels the kidnapped scientists' mental ability into a single gestalt mind. An asteroid composed entirely of strange matter, a very rare and superheavy material, is passing nearby. The Rani has constructed a fixed-trajectory rocket to collide with it at the approaching solstice. The only known substance that can destroy strange matter is strange matter itself, so she is using the brain to discover a lightweight substitute.
They return to the laboratory, and Faroon takes Mel to safety. The Rani returns, ready to take the Doctor to the brain, but he escapes into the Tetrap pit. She can't find him, but he is surrounded by Tetraps.
Part three Edit
The Doctor is able to escape from the Tetraps when Beyus feeds them. In the laboratory, the Doctor removes a part from the Rani's machine, then leaves, right before the Rani returns. She sounds an alarm.
Meanwhile, Urak captures Mel. The Doctor meets Ikona, and narrowly escapes from one of the Rani's traps. A Tetrap is caught in it instead.
Ikona shows the Doctor the Centre of Leisure and explains that his people have become indolent. The Rani, angry at Beyus' lack of cooperation, turns on the globe in the Centre of Leisure, releasing killer insects. Faroon tells the Doctor that the Rani has Mel. The Rani offers a trade — the part he stole for Mel. However, when he makes the trade, Mel is revealed to be a hologram.
The Doctor needs to get back to the laboratory to stop the Rani. He and Ikona try to bluff their way, but the Doctor is surrounded by Tetraps.
The Rani feeds the Doctor's intellect into the brain, and it starts working, as the Doctor's brain suggests a new approach to the problem.
Part four Edit
To the Rani's annoyance, the brain starts spouting bad puns and nonsense. However, once disconnected, the Doctor inadvertently provides the brain with the means to determine the needed substance: Loyhargil.
Upon impact, the strange matter would form a shell of chronons around Lakertya, causing the brain to expand to fill the entire surface of the planet, converting it into a Time Manipulator. With this, the Rani can change the course of history and control the randomness of evolution throughout the universe.
The Lakertyan leader Beyus sacrifices his life to destroy the brain and delay the launch long enough for the rocket to miss the asteroid. The Rani escapes in her TARDIS, but finds it overrun with Tetraps who "invite" the Rani to accompany them to her homeworld.
On Lakertya, the Doctor and Mel make their goodbyes with the people they had befriended and helped liberate from the Rani. Before going in to the TARDIS, Mel tells the Doctor that his new self is going to take some getting used to, to which he replies, "I'll grow on you, Mel, I'll grow on you."
- Seventh and Sixth Doctors - Sylvester McCoy
- Mel Bush - Bonnie Langford
- The Rani - Kate O'Mara
- Ikona - Mark Greenstreet
- Faroon - Wanda Ventham
- Beyus - Donald Pickering
- Sarn - Karen Clegg
- Urak - Richard Gauntlett
- Lanisha - John Segal
- Voices - Peter Tuddenham, Jacki Webb
- Assistant Floor Manager - Joanna Newbery, Christopher Sandeman
- Costumes - Ken Trew
- Designer - Geoff Powell
- Incidental Music - Keff McCulloch
- Make-Up - Lesley Rawstorne
- OB Cameraman - Alastair Mitchell, John Hawes
- Producer - John Nathan-Turner
- Production Assistant - Joy Sinclair
- Production Associate - Anne Faggetter
- Script Editor - Andrew Cartmel
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Henry Barber
- Studio Sound - Brian Clark
- Theme Arrangement - Keff McCulloch
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Colin Mapson
Human scientists Edit
Humanoid species Edit
Time Lords Edit
- The Rani and the Doctor studied together.
- The Doctor states he is in his seventh incarnation.
- The code to open the door was 953, which was the Doctor's age (and the Rani's).
Story notes Edit
- The concept of creating a weapon by collecting the minds of all the great thinkers, including the Doctor's, was also used in the unfinished and unbroadcast story HOMEVID: Shada. Both stories involve the Doctor using his stolen consciousness to counteract the weapon.
- Loyhargil is an anagram of "holy grail".
- The working title for this story was Strange Matter.
- This is the first story to feature computer generated images (CGI) for the titles and many of the effects (including the TARDIS's flight through space in the pre-title sequence).
- One reason for the story's problems was that Pip and Jane Baker (the writers) had no idea who would be playing the new Doctor or how he would be characterised — and, at least when they started work on the project, the series had no script editor for them to discuss things with.
- Colin Baker declined to return to his role for a regeneration sequence. As a result, Sylvester McCoy donned a wig and the Sixth Doctor's costume and briefly appeared as the Sixth Doctor, making him the only actor to play (technically) two different incarnations of the Doctor. McCoy also spends much of the early part of the story clad in the Sixth Doctor's outfit.
- io9.com ranked the Sixth Doctor's death as the second weakest death in science fiction history.
- Sylvester McCoy protested about wearing the question mark jumper.
- In this story, the Seventh Doctor wears braces on the outside of the pullover, with it tucked in. Sylvester McCoy admitted it was a regrettable choice. He said it did injustice to the appearance of his tummy, giving him a "beer gut" look. For future stories, the actor instead kept to wearing his braces over his shirt, and had the pullover over that, as is more traditional.
- During the regeneration, the exercise bike the Sixth Doctor rides in Terror of the Vervoids is visible in the TARDIS control room. In Issue 409 of Doctor Who Magazine, in an article on regeneration, the writer suggests that the Sixth Doctor's "mortal" injury may have been caused by him falling off the bike.
- While trying on clothes, the Seventh Doctor briefly wears the outfits of his fourth, third, and fifth incarnations as well as the fur coat of his second incarnation.
- The Doctor refers to his new regeneration as his 'seventh persona'. This would seem to settle the question of the Doctor having other regenerations before the First Doctor.
- This story gives no on-screen explanation for how the Rani survived being in peril from the dinosaur at the end of TV: The Mark of the Rani. However, in the novelisation, she stated that it had broken its neck on the ceiling of her TARDIS.
- This is the first time the Doctor is seen regenerating at the beginning of a serial, as opposed to its end (barring recap footage, of course).
- This would be the last time a TARDIS other than the Doctor's was shown on-screen until the non-canonical charity special Dimensions in Time. In canon Doctor Who terms, another TARDIS would not appear until the "Junk TARDIS" in TV: The Doctor's Wife.
- Donald Pickering (Beyus) and Wanda Ventham (Faroon) appeared in TV: The Faceless Ones together 20 years earlier, in which they played Blade and Jean Rock respectively. Before that appearance, Pickering had played Eyesen in TV: The Keys of Marinus whereas, in the interim, Ventham played Thea Ransome and the Fendahl Core in TV: Image of the Fendahl.
- Part 1 - 5.1 million viewers
- Part 2 - 4.2 million viewers
- Part 3 - 4.3 million viewers
- Part 4 - 4.9 million viewers
- Colin Baker refused to film a regeneration sequence. Partially true. In an extra found on the The Trial of a Time Lord DVD box set, Colin Baker said that when he was asked to film a regeneration sequence, he agreed as long as he was allowed to do a full third season playing the Doctor. They never recontacted him.
Filming locations Edit
- Cloford Quarry, Cloford, Frome, Somerset (Exterior of Rani's base)
- Westdown Quarry, Chantry, Frome, Somerset (Location where the TARDIS lands)
- Whatley Quarry, Whatley, Frome, Somerset
- BBC Television Centre (TC1 & TC8), Shepherd's Bush, London
Production errors Edit
- Sylvester McCoy pronounces "Princeton University" as "Prince Town" without narrative cause. Since "Princeton" has more or less standard pronunciation across all English dialects — even Scottish ones — this is simply a fluff on McCoy's part.
- The overhead microphone is visible in part one after the Rani introduces herself as Mel. The boom operator seems to have trouble following the Doctor's erratic movements.
- Mel is sliding from hills and sits in a cavelike pipe, still her trousers bottom is very clean.
- Third part, when the Rani searches for the Doctor outside of the building: she wears red pants instead of the white one earlier.
- The Sixth Doctor's final words before his regeneration were "Local...tractor beam..." (PROSE: Spiral Scratch)
- The Rani last appeared in TV: The Mark of the Rani.
- The final portion of PROSE: Spiral Scratch leads into this story as (paradoxically) does that of Craig Hinton's novel, Time's Champion.
Home video and audio releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
- This story was first released on DVD in Region 2 on 13 September 2010. Region 4 release came out 4 November 2010 and Region 1 on 14 June 2011. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:
- Commentary by Sylvester McCoy (the Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), and Pip & Jane Baker (Writers).
- The Last Chance Saloon - includes McCoy's audition footage for the Doctor, with an appearance by Janet Fielding
- 7D FX
- Hot Gossip
- Blue Peter
- Breakfast Time
- Coming Soon Trailer
- Radio Times Billings
- Production Subtitles
- Photo Gallery
- Easter Egg: CGI Regeneration sequence, with Colin Baker added.
- Easter Egg: Eye-Sore
- Easter Egg: The Name'sh McCoy, Shylveshter McCoy
- A computer animation at the very beginning to explain how the Rani made the TARDIS crash-land.
- Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
VHS releases Edit
This story was released on VHS as follows:
- Region 2: July 1995
- Region 1: September 1995
- Region 4: October 1995
- BBC Episode Guide for Time and the Rani
- Time and the Rani at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- A Brief History of Time (Travel): Time and the Rani
- The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - Time and the Rani