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Episode Guide
Production Code: 6Y
Season 22, Story Number 142
Written by Glen McCoy
Directed by Pennant Roberts

Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.

Part One
09 March 1985 | 45'00" | 6.7
Part Two
16 March 1985 | 44'36" | 7.4
Archive Status: Both episodes exist as PAL 1” colour videotape, always held by the BBC’s Film and Videotape Library; also held in four 25-minute format episodes by BBC Enterprises.
Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Paul Darrow (Tekker), Eric Deacon (Mykros), Jeananne Crowley (Vena), David Chandler (Herbert), Neil Hallett (Maylin Renis), Robert Ashby (Borad), David Ashton (Kendron), Peter Robert Scott (Brunner), Dicken Ashworth (Sezon), Tracy Louise Ward (Katz), Martin Gower (Tyheer), Christine Kavanagh (Aram), Steven Mackintosh (Gazak), Denis Carey (Old Man), Dean Hollingsworth (Android), James Richardson (Guardolier), Martin Gower (Bandril Ambassador)
The once prosperous and peaceful planet Karfel stands on the brink of destruction. It is ruled by a ruthless dictator, the Borad (Robert Ashby), whose insane leadership has brought the Karfelons to the edge of a war they cannot win against their former allies, the Bandrils.

Some of the citizens within the Citadel cannot understand why their mysterious leader, whom they only ever see on the video screens, should want to provoke a war. Any spark of unrest amongst the people is however quickly crushed by the blue-faced androids which do the bidding of their cruel ruler.

When Maylin Renis (Neil Hallett), the current second-in-command to the Borad, is killed for insubordination, his daughter Vena (Jeananne Crowley) is horrified. Her fiancé, Mykros (Eric Deacon), tells her that the Borad's power lies in the symbolic amulet worn by the Maylin. When Tekker (Paul Darrow) announces himself as Renis's successor, Vena rips the amulet from his neck and, in doing so, accidentally falls into the Timelash. This is a kontron tunnel – a time corridor – into which the Borad banishes those who would fight his will, and which the Karfelons fear more than death itself.

The TARDIS has been caught in the Timelash and Vena passes through it as she travels down the time corridor. The corridor originally terminated in the year 1179, but the TARDIS's presence has the effect of diverting her to 1885.

The Doctor materialises on Karfel to see what is going on and is warmly welcomed by Tekker. He is remembered with affection here from a visit he made during his third incarnation, when he saved the Karfelons from a disaster. While she and the Doctor are being entertained by Tekker, Peri is surreptitiously given a cryptic message: 'Sezon at the Falchan Rocks.' Tekker, unaware of this, suggests that she take a look around. When she has gone, he uses threats against her in order to blackmail the Doctor into going in search of Vena in the TARDIS.

Vena arrives safely at the end of the time corridor and finds herself in a small cottage in the Scottish highlands near Inverness. The cottage is currently the residence of a young writer called Herbert (David Chandler) who, although startled by her sudden appearance, is enough of a gentleman to try to help her when she collapses. The Doctor then arrives in the TARDIS, scaring the writer even more, and persuades Vena to return to Karfel with him. Having noticed that there are no reflective surfaces in the Citadel, he also appropriates a hand-mirror.

Peri meanwhile is chased by Guardoliers – the Borad's force of guards – and finds herself in the caves under the city. She is rescued from a Morlox – a reptilian creature with a long, snake-like neck – by Katz (Tracy Louise Ward) and Sezon (Dicken Ashworth), rebels who explain that the Borad plans to wipe out all the Karfelons by instigating a war with the Bandrils. If the Bandrils strike the planet with a benalypse warhead, all life with a nervous system will be destroyed, although the buildings will remain intact, as will the Morlox. The rebels are attacked by Guardoliers and taken prisoner. Peri is confined in a cell while the others are sentenced to death by Timelash.

The Doctor returns to Karfel with Vena, the amulet and also Herbert, who stowed away on board the TARDIS. Once Tekker has the amulet he orders that the Doctor be thrown into the Timelash. The Doctor, however, uses the hand-mirror to distract the android guard (Dean Hollingsworth) and the rebels attack the Guardoliers, seizing and securing the Timelash control room. The Borad orders an attack using the power from his time-web.

The Doctor determines that he needs some kontron crystals and, attached to a rope, enters the Timelash to obtain them. He gets two crystals and converts one into a ten second time break: it slips the Doctor ten seconds into the future while projecting an image of him in the present. The other he uses to create a device which will reflect any weapon's power back to its source.

The control room comes under attack from the Guardoliers and from the Borad's android, but the android is destroyed and the Doctor's time break sends it into the past. During the battle, a section of wall panelling is smashed, revealing underneath it a large painting of the Doctor in his third incarnation.

The Bandrils have meanwhile launched an attack on Karfel.

The Doctor goes to confront the Borad and discovers that he is the mutated form of a scientist named Megelen, whom he had previously reported to the inner sanctum for unethical experimentation on the Morlox. Megelen admits that he had been experimenting further when he was accidentally sprayed with a substance called Mustakozene 80; this excited a Morlox into attacking him and resulted in spontaneous tissue amalgamation, forming the combined mutant creature which he has now become. The Borad explains that he now intends to wipe out all mammalian life on Karfel. When Tekker, who has been listening, objects, the Borad kills him.

Peri has been tied to a stake within the tunnel system with a canister of Mustakozene 80 strapped to her, to await the approach of a Morlox.

The Borad reveals Peri's fate to the Doctor – she is to be transformed into a Morlox mutant like him and become his mate. The Doctor uses the kontron crystal first to avoid the Borad's ageing time-web ray, then to reflect it back at the Borad, killing him. Herbert, who was left by the Doctor to watch the confrontation from a nearby window, is told to go and rescue Peri. He arrives just in time to frighten off a Morlox with a burning torch.

Karfel still faces destruction as the Bandrils have fired a missile at it. The Doctor leaves in the TARDIS, with Herbert as an uninvited passenger, and positions the ship in the missile's path, thereby saving the planet.

The Karfelons, who believe the Doctor and Herbert to have been killed, contact the Bandrils and start peace negotiations. The Bandrils agree to send an ambassador to Karfel. While everyone is indulging in mutual congratulations, Peri is suddenly grabbed by the Borad. The Doctor had not killed him after all, but merely disposed of one of his clones.

The Borad wants the Bandril ship captured but is distracted when the Doctor and Herbert return, having survived the missile attack unscathed. The Doctor smashes the painting of himself on the wall, revealing a mirror beneath it, and the Borad recoils in horror at the sight of his own reflection, causing him to release his grip on Peri. The Doctor then quickly activates the Timelash and pushes the Borad into it, surmising that he will arrive on Earth in the twelfth century and live for a thousand years or so in Loch Ness. The Doctor tosses his kontron crystal into the Timelash, which blows itself up.

With Karfel safe, the Doctor prepares to return Herbert to Earth. He shows Peri one of Herbert's calling cards. It reads 'Herbert George Wells.'

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Sixth Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.

Production Team
Abigail Sharp (Assistant Floor Manager), Alun Hughes (Costumes), Bob Cove (Designer), Liz Parker (Incidental Music), Vanessa Poulton (Make-Up), John Nathan-Turner (Producer), Jane Whittaker (Production Assistant), Sue Anstruther (Production Associate), Eric Saward (Script Editor), Dick Mills (Special Sounds), Henry Barber (Studio Lighting), Andy Stacey (Studio Sound), Peter Howell (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Kevin Molloy (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
Inspired in some capacity by the works of H.G. Wells, "Timelash" actually features the one and only appearance of the futurist (in his early life prior to writing). The story is actually a sequel to an untelevised Third Doctor & Jo adventure (likely with others, perhaps the UNIT crew?) as the Doctor returns to face the actions that led to Karfel's current condition. Paul Darrow, familiar to millions as the anti-hero Avon, star of "Blake's 7," plays Tekker (returning to Doctor Who for the first time since an early appearance in the 1970's); meanwhile, actor Denis Carey ("Shada," "The Keeper of Traken") plays the face of the Borad. The Third Doctor's visage is seen in a painting behind a wall on Karfel, the work of American fan artist Gail Bennett; meanwhile, an image of Jo Grant (Katy Manning) was seen in a locket. This adventure suggests it is the inspiration for much of H.G. Wells' books: Vena and the Morlox (Weena & the Morlocks of "The Time Machine"), invisiblity ("The Invisible Man") and the hybrid man/beast Borad ("The Island of Doctor Moreau"). Much of the dialogue was softened by Eric Saward; in the original scripts, there was a more antithetical relationship between the Doctor and Peri. The story was originally submitted as a Dalek adventure; it was rejected, but Saward asked author Glen McCoy to resubmit it without them.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide.
Additional, more detailed information about the production of this story can be found at Shannon Patrick Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel).
Video release
Released as "Timelash" in the UK [January 1998] and Australia/New Zealand [March 1998] (BBC catalog #6329), US/Canada [September 1998] (WHV catalog #E1274); episodic format, photomontage cover.
Audio release
Music from this story was released in 1993 by BBC Records as "30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop" (BBC CD 871)
In Print
Novelised as "Doctor Who - Timelash" by Glen McCoy (Target #105), first released in 1985 with cover art by David McAllister.
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target.
Screencap Descriptions
Descriptions of each story screen capture above right, top to bottom:
  • The Borad (Robert Ashby) -- the real Borad -- makes his presence known
  • the Doctor (Colin Baker) prepares to leap into the Kontron tunnel
  • Vena (Jeananne Crowley) and the android (Dean Hollingsworth) examine a casualty
  • the Bandril ambassador (Martin Gower)
  • the Doctor tangles with Tekker (Paul Darrow)
  • Herbert (David Chandler) is a man with an important destiny