Pip and Jane Baker
What’s It About?
The TARDIS is attacked by the Rani, and the Doctor regenerates due to physical damages sustained in the assault. As he tries to remember who he is, the Rani manipulates the Doctor in to helping her with an experiment which would give the Rani control over time itself.
The more I know me, the less I like me.
Before I started this project I had only seen clips from “Time and the Rani.” I was horrified. Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor behaved like a buffoon. It lacked the darker, nuanced performance I had seen in “Remembrance of the Daleks” and “The Curse of Fenric.” As a result, I have been dreading “Time and the Rani” for quite some time. But . . . I enjoyed it.
This doesn’t mean I think “Time and the Rani” is a mal-treated classic. But I think the loathing heaped on this story is disproportionate to what it is. Throughout the story I felt like I was watching a story by Terry Nation, only with a quicker pace and less leg injuries. Watched in context, “Time and the Rani” is a decent story and one that is almost a refreshing tone after the previous two seasons. There is no hint of Eric Saward in this story, and I think that is one of “Time’s” greatest strengths.
That said, “Time and the Rani” falls into the same trap that many introduce-the-new-Doctor stories from the classic era fall in to—no one quite knows what to do with the new paradigm. In fact, the new paradigm hasn’t even been established yet. This story sees a new Doctor, a new script editor, and a new mandate for the show from the BBC (make it lighter in tone). There doesn’t seem to be a strong direction of vision here. They are still trying to forge a path.
But, as the new story after an era that I wasn’t completely enthusiastic for, this story satisfies as a palette-cleanser. It is a decent starting point but not an overly impressive one.