OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 662
STORY NUMBER: 149
TRANSMITTED: Monday 21 September 1987
WRITER: Pip & Jane Baker
DIRECTOR: Andrew Morgan
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time and the Rani
Ikonan leader Beyus helps the Doctor escape, but the Doctor takes a vital component from The Rani's machine. Mel is captured. The Doctor is taken to where the Lakertyans live and witnesses the Rani releasing killer insects from a sphere hanging in their main chamber. The threat of releasing all the insects keeps Beyus and the Lakertyans subservient. The Doctor is forced into returning the component for Mel, but is tricked with a Hologram. The Rani has the real Mel put to work maintaining the computer equipment which holds her geniuses captive. The Rani discovers she can't reach the asteroid of strange matter approaching Lakertya in time so has the Doctor captured and added to her collection of geniuses. His brain power, and knowledge of time, is added to them and pooled in a huge brain that the Rani reveals hidden in her lab.
Some of that wasn't too bad, BBC micro insect effects, proverb mangling and yet more sparkler guns aside. Didn't seem to make much sense though..... The guns appear to be firing bits of metallic paper. Now I can understand that confusing the bat like Tetraps (far too cuddly to be scary) if they were relying on a bat like radar sense. However the Tetraps are repeatedly shown to have multiple eyes with a 360 degree field of vision so....
A big cheer for Mr Peter Tuddenham providing some of the Voices in this episode. He'd previously been a computer voice in Ark in Space and the voice of the Mandragora Helix in Masque of Mandragora but since then he'd been in Blake's 7 providing the voices for Zen, Slave & Orac!
Location filming for this story took place in Frome, Somerset, which my wife tells me is pronounced F Room when my best instinct says F Rome makes more sense. The 3 locations used are Cloford Quarry, Whatley Quarry & Westdown Quarry with filming taking place from the 4th - 8th April 1987. Filming was attended by new script editor Andrew Cartmel who came on board long after the story's commission by producer John Nathan-Turner and has little to do with the shaping of it. He was recruited from a software company in Cambridge, allegedly telling the producer that his aim as Doctor Who script editor would be to "overthrow the government". He found working on revising the script with Pip & Jane Baker a difficult task as he relays in his book Script Doctor: The Inside Story of Doctor Who 1986-89 which will prove an invaluable resource for me over the next 3 years worth of episodes. He found he Bakers writing style old fashioned and didn't use them, or any other writer that had previously written for Doctor Who, again. Instead he found himself turning to people he'd met through workshops run by the BBC Television Drama Script Unit and others who'd submitted scripts, pointing them towards Watchmen and The Ballad of Halo Jones, both comic strips written by Alan Moore, as inspiration.