TARDIS Index File

Timelash (TV story)

Timelash
Timelashrope
Novelised as: Timelash
Doctor: Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri
Featuring: H. G. Wells
Main enemy: The Borad
Main setting:
Key crew
Writer: Glen McCoy
Director: Pennant Roberts
Producer: John Nathan-Turner
Release details
Story number: 141
Number of episodes: 2
Season/series: Season 22
Premiere broadcast: 9 March - 16 March 1985
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 2x45-minute episodes
Production code: 6Y
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Timelash was the fifth story of season 22 of Doctor Who. It was notably the last story of the classic era to revolve around an adventure with a historical figure, H.G. Wells.

Synopsis edit

On the planet Karfel and in 1885 Scotland, the Sixth Doctor and Peri, together with a young man named Herbert, become entangled with the machinations of the despotic Borad.

Plot edit

Part one edit

Herbert

H. G. Wells

The Doctor and Peri are arguing over their next destination when the TARDIS is ensnared by a Kontron tunnel, a time corridor in space. After the Doctor fails to free the ship, he and Peri strap themselves in. The TARDIS approaches the corridor and is nearly torn apart by the impact, but stabilises once it has entered the corridor. It is navigated to the source of the disturbance, the planet Karfel, a world the Doctor has visited before. Before they get there, the translucent image of a woman glides through the console room.

On Karfel the small population is ruled in a rigid hierarchy. At the apex is the Borad, a sadistic and despotic ruler. The Borad has never shown himself in person, only via security monitors which show a dignified old man, but something in his manner does not ring true. Fear is enforced rigidly through the policing of androids. Rebels such as Aram, Gazak and Tyheer are dealt with either by summary execution or despatch and death via the Timelash - a permanent, and ultimately fatal, exile down a corridor of time and space. Below the Borad is the Maylin, in effect a proxy mayor figure, the most senior of the five Councilors of Karfel. These Councillors are more cyphers than people of true council. One of them, Mykros, has grown unhappy with the rule of the Borad. Since the Borad came to power, their people have become disillusioned, rebellious and miserable. Their former allies, the Bandrils, are poised to invade. The Bandrils threaten war after the Borad rescinds the grain supply treaty, which underpinned the relationship between the two civilisations.

Mykros determines to discover the truth and follows the Maylin, Renis, into the Borad’s power chamber. The unhappy Maylin is transferring the power supplies of the Karfelons into the Borad’s personal system, despite the danger to his own wife, who is recovering from hospital surgery. Renis finds Mykros and gives him his blessing in rebellion. However, the Borad finds out and metes out the usual punishment: the Maylin is aged to death in a deadly beam while Mykros is sentenced to the Timelash. Before he can be sent in, however, Vena, Renis’ daughter and Mykros’ lover, intervenes to plead for his life. When this fails, she steals an amulet conferring the power to pervert the energy supply from the new Maylin, the sycophantic Tekker, and accidentally falls into the web of the Timelash herself.

The arrival of the TARDIS presents Tekker with an opportunity to retrieve the amulet. The clever Maylin greets the Doctor and Peri as favoured guests, but the Doctor is suspicious of a Karfelon society that has made huge scientific leaps in a short time and that does not permit mirrors. When the Doctor refuses to venture into the Timelash again, Tekker explains that Peri has been taken hostage to ensure his co-operation in retrieving the amulet. She has been taken to the caves of the Morlox, large lizards indigenous to Karfel, where her captors hope she will die. Yet luck is as ever on her side — as well as some Karfelon rebels, Katz and Sezon, who kill one of the creatures threatening her and take her into their company. However, they are soon attacked and captured by a patrol of guards.

To protect Peri, the Doctor returns the TARDIS into the Timelash. He calculates the normal path of the Timelash would send Vena to 1179 on Earth, but the interference of the TARDIS (which she passed through and the Doctor and Peri had seen earlier) caused her to end up in Scotland in 1885. When the Doctor arrives he finds Vena, the amulet and a justifiably agitated young man named Herbert. All three depart on their return journey to return the amulet – which is all Tekker cares about when the TARDIS arrives back in the Council Chamber.

Part two edit

Bandril

A Bandril

The Doctor, Vena and Herbert are rounded up with the rebels Mykros, Sezon and Katz and condemned to the Timelash. They fight back, killing the toadying Councillor Brunner and sealing the chamber doors, determined to hold out in a siege. This buys the Doctor enough time to hoist into the Timelash on a rope and take two Kontron crystals from the wall of the time corridor. He uses this to create a time ruse, allowing him to slip out of the chamber. Herbert follows.

Tekker has fled to the Borad. He blames the setback on the last remaining loyal Councillor, Kendron, whom the Borad executes. Tekker remains at the side of the Borad, now revealed as a hideous amalgam of human and Morlox. Together they watch on a screen as Peri is brought into a cave and strapped down while Morlox gather to feed. A canister of the chemical Mustakozene-80 is placed nearby. This can fuse together different tissue as one creature. It seems the Borad has taken a liking to Peri and wishes to mutate her like himself. The Doctor arrives to confront Tekker and the Borad, recognising the latter as Megelen, a crazed scientist he encountered on his previous visit to Karfel and exposed to the Counsel for unethical experiments on Morloxes. It seems one of those experiments has now gone wrong and Megelen wishes to replicate its effect to create a partner. His plan has been to provoke a war with the Bandrils with bendalypse warheads, which will wipe out all the Karfelons — but leave the Morlox and himself alive, allowing him to repopulate the world in his own image. This revelation prompts Tekker to rebel, but he is swiftly aged to death. The Doctor uses a Kontron crystal to deflect Megelen’s beam back at him, killing the mutant in his wheelchair.

Herbert helps the Doctor rescue Peri from the Morlox. They return to the Council Chamber where Mykros and Vena have identified a Bandril invasion fleet armed with bendalypse warheads. It is close to Karfel. The Bandrils are suspicious of the Doctor’s attempts to intervene and prevent a missile strike. He takes drastic action. He materialises the TARDIS in the path of the incoming warhead, risking his own life to save Karfel. He succeeds and returns to Karfel to find Megelen returned from the dead and threatening the Council Chamber — or, rather, the other one was a clone of this original. Megelen is unbalanced by the image of himself in a boarded up mirror, revealing the reason he hid himself away. He is thrown into the Timelash by the Doctor, who says the Borad was sent to Loch Ness.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor and Peri prepare to depart Karfel to return Herbert to his own time. Herbert is still outside and the Doctor calls to him to hurry up, before showing Peri Herbert's calling card, which identifies the young man as "Herbert George Wells".

Cast edit

Production crew edit

References edit

Jo Grant locket

Jo in the locket.

Story notes edit

  • This serial makes several references to Wells's novels The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
  • The music for this story was provided by Elizabeth Parker, who had formerly contributed special sound for Blake's 7. A selection of this music is on track 64 of the CD 30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop. The DVD release from 2007 features 8-minutes of her music in stereo (wheres the DVD audio track is mono).
  • This story was broadcast in four twenty-five-minute episodes in the USA and in Australia and New Zealand.
  • This story was originally submitted as a Dalek adventure; it was rejected, but Eric Saward asked author Glen McCoy to resubmit it without them.
  • In the original script, it was the First Doctor, along with Ian, Barbara and Susan, who visited Karfel. Some vestige of this remains in the final version, as Tekker inquires about the Doctor having only one companion with him.
  • In viewer polls, this story has not garnered much interest as a fan favourite:
    • The serial was voted into the 199 position by readers of Doctor Who Magazine in its 2009 poll, the Mighty 200. It landed in the second lowest spot of the final results, just above The Twin Dilemma.
    • Doing slightly better in the polls five years later, it was voted number 238 (previously 199 in 2009) in Doctor Who Magazine's 2014 "The first 50 years"[source needed] poll. It was fourth lowest.
  • No date is given for the scenes set on Karfel. A History of the Universe and AHistory arbitrarily place it in the year 802701, the same year in which H.G. Wells' The Time Machine is set.

Ratings edit

  • Part one - 6.7 million viewers
  • Part two - 7.4 million viewers

Filming locations edit

Production errors edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

to be added

Continuity edit

Home video and audio releases edit

DVD releases edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: Timelash. It was a "Super Value Edition" DVD.

It was released:

PAL - BBCDVD2333.
PAL -

Contents:

  • Commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Paul Darrow.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - A new documentary looking at the making of Timelash. Featuring contributions from Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Paul Darrow, David Chandler, Robert Ashby, script editor Eric Saward, writer Glen McCoy and Paul Lang from the Doctor Who New Adventures novels. Narrated by Terry Molloy.
  • Radio Times Listings.
  • Programme Subtitles.
  • Production Subtitles.
  • Photo Gallery with 8-minutes of Elizabeth Parker's music in 24bit 48hz stereo.
  • Easter Egg - Go down to Special Features on the Main Menu and click left; the Doctor Who Logo will turn green, click it and Continuity Announcements for Timelash can be seen.

Notes:

VHS Releases edit

The story was released on VHS on 5 January 1998.

External links edit