Doctor Who: Time and the Rani (Story #147)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

The Rani is fun, nice visuals

Still a bad period for the Doctor


Goodbye Sixth Doctor…not going to miss you…

The Rani (Kate O’Mara) has returned and it means doom for the Doctor.  Forcing a regeneration, the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) wakes up amnesiac and under the Rani’s secret control.  The Rani has a plan to collect geniuses throughout time and the Doctor is the key to her plans.  With the Lakertyans forced to work for her and the Tetraps, the Doctor’s only hope might be Mel (Bonnie Langford)…but the Rani has plans to even make Mel the Doctor’s enemy!

Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani is the first serial of the twenty-fourth season of the long running BBC series.  The story aired in four episodes from September 7, 1987 to September 28, 1987 and introduced Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor.  Following Doctor Who:  The Ultimate Foe (which was part of the larger Doctor Who:  The Trial of the Time Lord serial), Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani was collected as part of The Sylvester McCoy Years as Story #148 (or Story #147 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker serial Doctor Who:  Shada).


If only my massive shoulder pads could free me from this bubble!

Doctor Who:  The Trial of the Time Lord ended in a bit of a mess.  Colin Baker was let go and wouldn’t return to shoot the regeneration scene for the season (Sylvester McCoy plays himself and stands in for Colin Baker in the opening) and this serial wasn’t written for McCoy.  Mel had been introduced in The Trial of the Time Lord as a future companion of the Sixth Doctor, but plans to show their introduction were scrapped due to Baker’s leaving.  Despite all the problems, I find there is something kind endearing about this episode.

I hated Colin Baker and his angry, crazy Doctor.  Sylvester McCoy was more of a throwback to the earlier Doctors but he didn’t have that same spark that someone like Baker or even Troughton had.  The episode pays homage to the previous Doctors in the costume selecting scene, but it kind of makes you wish the old Doctors were back.


Well at least I didn’t have imitate Peri…

Mel is also a strange companion.  Due to the set-up of her character, it is hard to have a connection to her since she isn’t the “everyman” that joins the Doctor on his adventures.  Instead you have a relatively unexplored companion who never gets her due.  Though I generally find Mel kind of annoying, I feel Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani is one of her better outings.

What makes Mel better is the fun return of the Rani who I wish would get the chance to go head-to-head with the Doctor again.  Much of the serial, Kate O’Mara is giving her Mel impersonation to try to get the Doctor to do what she wants…It rather funny to see her in the red wig and somewhat trying to overact like Bonnie Langford.


To effectively flash us, you need to take your clothes off first…

Though the story of Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani sometimes drags, it is noted that it is one of the better special effects episodes.  The serial that these great ball traps that are reminiscent of The Prisoner and it also features two decent looking aliens in Lakertyans and the Tetraps.  Either of those two races would also be welcomed back in a new Doctor Who episode.

Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani is a little better than some of the other later Doctor Who episodes.  The runs had gotten rather depressing and it is sad to watch the show since it is missing its spark, but it is a nice (and goofy) story that keeps moving.  Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani is followed by Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Ultimate Foe (Story #146)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers (Story #147)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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