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Doctor Who - Time-Flight

episode 123

UK 1982
produced by
John Nathan-Turner for BBC
directed by Ron Jones
starring Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Anthony Ainley, Richard Eston, Keith Drinkel, Michael Cashman, Nigel Stock, John Flint, Hugh Hayes, André Winterton
written by Peter Grimwade, script editor: Eric Saward, music by Roger Limb

TV-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Peter Davison), Doctor Who (classic series), The Master, The Master (Anthony Ainley)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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London, Heathrow, 1982: A Concorde disappears from the radar and actually from the face of the earth. On the other hand, a vintage police box appears, containing three strangers, Doctor Who (Peter Davison), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Tegan (Janet Fielding) - the police box is of course the Doctor's space-and-timeship the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), and when the Doctor hears that something is wrong, he is quick to pick up investigations - and before long, he has discovered a time contor that has drawn Concorde 140 million years into the past ... and soon enough, the Doctor has persuaded the higher ups at Heathrow to lend him another Concorde with crew (Richard Eston, Keith Drinkel, Michael Cashman) to get the other ship back.

140 million years back, the Doctor discovers a realm ruled by Oriental mystic Kalid, who uses the first Concorde's passengers as his slaves via mind control - and who before very long turns out to be none other than the Doctor's old arch enemy the Master (Anthony Ainley). But the Master has a problem: He is stuck in the Jurassic age, and to get away he needs a new powersource, the power of the Xeraphim - an alien race melted into one single intelligence marooned on earth - but that power is sealed away in a seperate chamber, which is why the Master needs the airplane passengers as slave labour. The other problem is that not all of the Xeraphim want to support the Master, so the Doctor sees a fighting chance to defeat him ... but no, in the end, the Xerraphim intelligence puts up with the Master and all seems lost - until the Master realizes there is still one part missing from his TARDIS, which he can get only from ... the Doctor - who trades the part for all the passengers and so on, and then he sees to it that the missing part transports the Master right to the home planet of the Xeraphim, while he sees to it that all the passengers return to Heathrow, present day ... now all that he had to leave behind is one of the Concordes ...

Veteran actor Nigel Stock plays a scientist on the Doctor's side who ultimately gives his life.

 

By and large, Time-Flight is considered as one of the weakest episodes of Doctor Who, mainly because the meagre BBC-budgets were nowhere nearly up to the requirements of two Concordes in the Jurassic age - which clearly shows in some weak sets, clumsy effects and horrible miniature work. That said however, Time-Flight isn't half bad: Even though the episode is full of esoteric mumbojumbo, it does make perfect sense (at least for a John Nathan-Turner produced episode), the Doctor is at his eccentric best (in an episode that was allegedly written with Tom Baker in the lead in mind) with Peter Davison giving one of his better performances, and the supporting cast is quite fine as well.

Admittedly, Time-Flight is not great, but at least it's perfectly watchable.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD