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Time and the Rani

General Information

Also Known As: Strange Matter

Story code: 7D
Episodes: 4
ISBN: 0-426-20331-3

Writers: Pip and Jane Baker
Director: Andrew Morgan
First screened: 07/09/1987 to 28/09/1987

Scream tally: 33


This story is generally regarded as one of the very worst of the McCoy era. It features: quarries, rubber monsters, a stock megalomaniac, a Doctor still finding his feet, a group of natives who are apathetic, and Mel.

I rather like this story.

One day, I'd like to get a hold of the script and count how many times the phrase "Mel screams" is written. This story is largely responsible for Mel's image as a screamer: it contains more screaming than her other televised stories put together. A great deal of the screams are simply the same few, sampled and overdubbed by the sound technician. This is especially obvious in one scene where the screams don't match Bonnie's lip movements. The situation is not helped when several of the lengthier screaming scenes are at cliff-hangers and therefore repeated the following week.

The other thing Mel gets to do a lot of in this story is be manhandled. Having been knocked out when the TARDIS crash lands, she's carted out over Ikona's shoulder. After she witnesses Sarn's death, he binds her wrists and leads her towards the Rani's base. She manages to gain his trust by saving his life from a bubble trap. Determined to find the Doctor, she is caught in a trap herself, signalling what must be the sequence with the greatest number of screams in the show's history...

Having been rescued from the bubble, Mel finally finds the regenerated Doctor and they hold an impromptu wrestling match with the Doctor spinning her in the air and pulling her hair. They are eventually convinced of each other's identity. Mel leaves the Doctor at his request.

The Tetraps spring a trap, and get Mel with a paralysing sting. She is then carried like a store mannequin back to the Rani's base where she's hung upside down from the roof. Eventually they release her in order to monitor the Doctor's assimilation into the Brain of Doom.

By episode four, Mel should be collapsed in a heap on the floor. Nope, still going. She helps the Doctor free the Lakertyns from the Rani's Evil Death Bangles. When she and the Doctor are surprised by a Tetrap while escaping the Rani's lab, she manages to keep her wits about her (unlike the previous occasions) and use a web gun on the creature.

Could have been improved by trimming it back to 3 episodes and making a number of other changes, such as keeping the Doctor in the cabinet for the whole story and having Mel sort the whole thing out...


These are images taken from the BBC video release, all roughly 390x300.

[tatr1.jpg] [tatr2.jpg] [tatr3.jpg] [tatr8.jpg] [tatr15.jpg] [tatr17.jpg] [tatr23.jpg] [tatr26.jpg] [tatr27.jpg]


Some more good lines in this one.

  • risk.wav (41k) - "No matter what the risk."
  • hadenuf.wav (52k) - "I've had enough of this DRIVEL!" (Ah, the perfect sample for a killfile command)
  • raving.wav (38k) - "You're a raving loony!"
  • daftidea.wav (38k) - "Oh, that's a daft idea."
  • imposs.wav (33k) - "You're impossible!"


Doctor Who Programme Guide, ©1994 Jean-Marc Lofficier; Doctor Who: Time and the Rani ©1987 Pip and Jane Baker; The BBC video

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