You're supposed to be conducting an experiment...
Time and the Rani was the first story of Season 24. It marked the debut of Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor (McCoy also, briefly, portrayed the Sixth Doctor for the regeneration sequence). An all-computer animated opening titles sequence was introduced with this story. Kate O'Mara makes her second and final televised appearance (to date) as the Rani.
The Rani kidnaps the recently regenerated and unstable Doctor along with various other scientific geniuses on the remote planet Lakertya, harnessing their intellects to control an approaching asteroid composed entirely of Strange Matter.
The Rani, with her four-eyed servants the Tetraps, has forced the Lakertyans into helping kidnap an array of genius scientists, including Einstein, Pasteur, and Hypatia, and also requires the Doctor. Beforehand, however, she injects him with an amnesia-inducing drug, disguises herself as Mel, and convinces him to repair some broken machinery in 'his' lab. Beyond the lab is a closed-off chamber.
Mel, meanwhile, has been left behind in the TARDIS. She encounters, and eventually wins the trust of the young hot-headed Lakertyan Ikona, eager to dispatch the evil Rani and liberate his people.
Once the Doctor regains his memory and reunites with Mel, he discovers the Rani's plan. In the inner chamber they find an enormous brain that channels the kidnapped scientists' mental ability into a single gestalt mind. An asteroid composed entirely of strange matter, a very rare and superheavy material, is passing, and the Rani has constructed a fixed-trajectory rocket to collide with it at the approaching solstice. The only known substance that can destroy Strange Matter is Strange Matter itself, so she is using the brain to discover a lightweight substitute.
The Rani captures the Doctor and feeds his intellect into the brain, but to her extreme annoyance the brain starts spouting bad puns and nonsense. Once disconnected, the Doctor inadvertently provides the brain with the means to determine the needed substance: Loyhargil.
Upon impact, the Strange Matter would form a shell of chronons around Lakertya, causing the brain to expand to fill the entire surface of the planet, converting it into a time manipulator. With this, the Rani can change the course of history and control the randomness of evolution throughout the universe.
The Lakertyan leader Beyus sacrifices his life to destroy the brain and delay the launch long enough for the rocket to miss the asteroid. The Rani escapes in her TARDIS, but finds it overrun with Tetraps who 'invite' the Rani to accompany them to her homeworld.
- The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
- Mel - Bonnie Langford
- The Rani - Kate O'Mara
- Ikona - Mark Greenstreet
- Faroon - Wanda Ventham
- Beyus - Donald Pickering
- Sarn - Karen Clegg
- Urak - Richard Gauntlett
- Lanisha - John Segal
- Voices - Peter Tuddenham, Jacki Webb
- Assistant Floor Manager - Joanna Newbery, Christopher Sandeman
- Costumes - Ken Trew
- Designer - Geoff Powell
- Incidental Music - Keff McCulloch
- Make-Up - Lesley Rawstorne
- OB Cameraman - Alastair Mitchell, John Hawes
- Producer - John Nathan-Turner
- Production Assistant - Joy Sinclair
- Production Associate - Anne Faggetter
- Script Editor - Andrew Cartmel
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Henry Barber
- Studio Sound - Brian Clark
- Theme Arrangement - Keff McCulloch
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Colin Mapson
- Loyhargil is an anagram of 'holy grail'.
- Working title for this story was Strange Matter.
- This is the first story to feature computer generated images (CGI) for the titles and many of the effects (including the TARDIS's flight through space in the pre-title sequence).
- The story's 'problems' can be partly explained as Pip and Jane Baker (the writers) in that they had no idea who would be playing the new Doctor or how he would be characterised - and, at least when they started work on the project, the series had no script editor for them to discuss things with.
- Colin Baker refused to participate in the filming of the regeneration sequence. As a result, Sylvester McCoy donned a wig and the Sixth Doctor's costume and briefly appeared as the Sixth Doctor, making him the only Doctor actor to play two different incarnations. McCoy also spends much of the early part of the story clad in the Sixth Doctor's outfit.
- io9.com ranked the Sixth Doctor's death as the second weakest death in science fiction history.
- Sylvester McCoy protested wearing a jumper with questions marks on them. [source needed]
- During the regeneration, the exercise bike the Sixth Doctor rides in Terror of the Vervoids is visible in the TARDIS control room. In Issue 409 of Doctor Who Magazine, in an article on regeneration, the writer suggests that the Sixth Doctor's "mortal" injury may have been caused by him falling off the bike.
- While trying on clothes, the Seventh Doctor briefly wears the outfits of his fourth, third, and fifth incarnations, and also the fur coat of his second incarnation.
- The Doctor refers to his new regeneration as his 'seventh persona'. This would seem to settle the question of the Doctor having other regeneration before the First Doctor. In The Brain of Morbius there had been strong suggestions that there were previous Doctors.
- Part 1 - 5.1 million viewers
- Part 2 - 4.2 million viewers
- Part 3 - 4.3 million viewers
- Part 4 - 4.9 million viewers
to be added
- Cloford Quarry, Cloford, Frome, Somerset (Exterior of Rani's base)
- Westdown Quarry, Chantry, Frome, Somerset (Location where the TARDIS lands)
- Whatley Quarry, Whatley, Frome, Somerset
- BBC Television Centre (TC1 & TC8), Shepherd's Bush, London
Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors
- Sylvester McCoy pronounces "Princeton University" as "Prince Town". Since he has just regenerated the Doctor might be having difficualty pronoucing words.
- The Doctor is wounded enough to regenerate during The Rani's TARDIS shoot-down, but Mel is barely stunned. They are on different sides of the console. Perhaps he was 'zapped' by a peice of equipment on his side that did not affect Mel. Alternatively, maybe the Rani's sabotage caused the TARDIS doors behind the Doctor to open a crack, exposing him to the lethal forces of the vortex (e.g. the time winds: see 'Warriors' Gate'). Again this may have missed Mel, who was on the other side of the console room.
- How can the Doctor not realise that Mel's face is different from the real Mel's face? He is suffering from post regenerative trauma
- The Rani appeared last in DW: The Mark of the Rani.
- The final portion of PDA: Spiral Scratch leads into this story as (paradoxically) does that of Craig Hinton's novel, Time's Champion
- The Rani's fate is followed up in BBV: The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind.
- In NA: Timewyrm: Revelation, Love and War and Head Games the reasons why the Doctor regenerated are further explored.
- The Doctor states that he is 953 years old (although this number is later contradicted by the 2005 revival).
- Time and the Rani occurs after: PDA: Spiral Scratch
- Time and the Rani occurs before: DWM: The Useful Pile
DVD, Video and Other Releases
Confirmed to be released March 1st 2010
- Main article: Time and the Rani (novelisation)
to be added
- BBC Episode Guide for Time and the Rani
- Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - Time and the Rani
- A Brief History of Time (Travel): Time and the Rani
- The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - Time and the Rani