Sixth Doctor - Colin Baker Regeneration
Sixth Doctor – Colin Baker Regeneration

Time and the Rani: Part One

First Broadcast September 7th, 1987 @ 7:35pm (5.1m viewers)

Doctor Who is back for a new series, Season 24. However Part One of ‘Time and the Rani’ begins with an ending. In an attempt to give Doctor Who one last chance Controller of BBC1 Michael Grade and Head of Series and Serials Jonathan Powell decreed that the Sixth Doctor Colin Baker needed to be replaced. Understandably hurt and disappointed by his sacking Baker offered to do one last series and regenerate at the end. This was declined.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Leave the girl. It’s the man I want.

Sylvester McCoy and Kate O'Mara - Doctor Who - Time and the Rani
Sylvester McCoy and Kate O’Mara – Doctor Who – Time and the Rani

With no Sixth Doctor ‘Time and the Rani’ therefore opens with a pre-title sequence. New actor Sylvester McCoy was required to adopt Colin Baker’s costume and a curly blonde wig for the transition into the Seventh Doctor. Given the circumstances the scene is effective but it is a very disappointing way for the Sixth Doctor to bow out on screen.

This story sees the return of villainess Time Lady The Rani, played by the glamorous and much missed Kate O’Mara. Unfortunately, she has the unenviable task of impersonating Bonnie Langford’s Mel, such is the weak storyline. New additions to the programme come in the form of the colourful Lakertyans and the bat-like Tetraps. Whilst the first clearly required a number of actors in peculiar costumes and running styles, the Tetraps are a much stronger creation. Only alluded to in Part One a full reveal would be saved for the following week. With four eyes, sharp claws and wings they are a striking new monster for the new era and the new Doctor.

Sylvester McCoy - Doctor Who - Time and the Rani
Sylvester McCoy – Doctor Who – Time and the Rani

As has become traditional the Doctor, fresh off his regeneration, is confused and suffering from amnesia. This is not helped by the Rani either. A Time Lord who is learning who he is can make for an intriguing plot in addition to the humorous scene in the TARDIS wardrobe. It is very clear that Sylvester McCoy is still developing his character with comedic pratfalls and getting proverbs wrong. Fortunately, the Seventh Doctor, once properly under the stewardship of incoming Script Editor Andrew Cartmell, would develop into a far darker and mysterious incarnation than we had ever seen before. ‘Time and the Rani’ is merely the starting point and marks the end of the Sixth Doctor rather than the new beginning.

Cast
  • The Doctor – Sylvester McCoy
  • Melanie – Bonnie Langford
  • Beyus – Donald Pickering
  • Faroon – Wanda Ventham
  • Ikona – Mark Greenstreet
  • Lanisha – John Segal
  • Sarn – Karen Clegg
  • Special Voice – Peter Tuddenham
  • Special Voice – Jacki Webb
  • The Rani – Kate O’Mara
  • Urak – Richard Gauntlett
Crew
  • Director – Andrew Morgan
  • Costumes – Ken Trew
  • Producer – John Nathan-Turner
  • Script Editor – Andrew Cartmel
  • Writer – Pip Baker
  • Writer – Jane Baker
Also First Aired On This Day…
  • The Dominators: Episode 5

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