Doctor Who – tape 1849

It’s always a pleasure when Doctor Who pops up on this blog. These were the UK Gold reruns, so there’s some corkers of stories on the list. I wonder which classic story it is this time?

Time-Flight

Oh well.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this one, so let’s give it a whirl.

It starts off well enough – Concorde is approaching London, but its signal is becoming intermittent. Something odd is happening.

Cut to the Tardis. Everyone looks rather sombre. Oh yes, I remember now. This story comes right after Earthshock, so Adric has just died. Tegan asks why the Tardis can’t just go back and rescue him. Which is a fair question, actually. If a Doctor Who assistant is destroyed in the flaming fireball of a cyber-ship colliding with Earth in prehistoric times, and nobody sees him die, why could he not be rescued?

There’s probably a whole Big Finish series about how Adric was actually rescued, isn’t there? If not, I wouldn’t put it past Steven Moffat to have a season-long arc where the big villain is an older Adric, after having been rescued by the Master, and turned against the Doctor.

Anyway, back to the current story, and the Tardis arrives at Heathrow after the Concorde has vanished. After a brief security kerfuffle in which I almost expected them to carry out a controlled detonation of the Tardis, the Doctor invokes his UNIT affiliation, and is asked to help look for the missing plane. His solution is to fly another Concorde along the same flightpath, but with the Tardis on board, so he can spot a spatial anomaly.

So they load the Tardis on board a Concorde.

Tardis Loading

The production team clearly had some great access, and they’re making the most of it in this opening episode. It’s a pity it starts looking ropey when Concorde is, in fact, transported back 140,000,000 years. “Definitely Jurassic” declares the Doctor, then adds “There’s a nip in the air. We can’t be far off the Pleistocene.” Which is a good trick, given that the Pleistocene started about 2.4M years ago, since it’s the Ice Age, as Tegan says. “Better watch out for the odd Brontosaurus” he adds. Which is only compounding the scientific howlers in this scene. At the time, Brontosaurus wasn’t even an actual dinosaur species, and there were no dinosaurs left during the Ica Age.

All this is played out on some of the most unconvincing sets the show has managed. Very cheap looking.

There’s a glimpse of a strange alien being who we presume must be behind the Concorde kidnapping.

Strange Alien

He’s veering dangerously close to Fu Manchu, frankly.

The crew of the missing Concorde are all being controlled by some form of mind control. Nigel Stock is some kind of scientist who can resist the control. And when Nyssa and Tegan are looking for the Doctor, naturally the recently dead Adric appears to them.

The recently dead Adric

Our culturally inappropriate alien appears to die – but then reveals he is none other than The Master.

A surprise unmasking

 

The Master was after the Doctor’s Tardis, and manages to capture it, but the Doctor and a plucky band of British Airways passengers and crew are on hand to help him.

In episode three, a whole new set of aliens are introduced. The Zeraphin are some kind of hive mind race with a good side and an evil side, and it all gets a bit psychobabbly. At one point The Doctor uses the classic line, lampooned in Steven Moffat’s Curse of Fatal Death, “I’ll explain later.”

When the action moves outdoors, the budget limitations get a bit more glaring, with some frankly woeful miniatures.

Concorde Miniatures

 

The Doctor manages to foil the Master using some sort of Timey Wimey jiggery pokery. Then, in a massive shock ending even more shocking than the shocking death of Adric at the end of Earthshocking, The Doctor and Nyssa leave in the Tardis, leaving Tegan behind. This was the end of series cliffhanger – would Tegan return?

 

 

 

Following this episode, there’s a trailer for Blake’s 7.

Then the recording stops shortly into a film, Just The Way You Are.

 

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