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Episode Guide
Time and the Rani
Production Code: 7D
Season 24, Story Number 148
Written by Pip Baker, Jane Baker
Directed by Andrew Morgan
No episode stills are currently available for this story.

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

Part One
07 September 1987 | 24'44" | 5.1
Part Two
14 September 1987 | 24'36" | 4.2
Part Three
21 September 1987 | 24'23" | 4.3
Part Four
28 September 1987 | 24'38" | 4.9
Archive Status: All four episodes exist as PAL 1� colour videotape, always held by the BBC�s Film and Videotape Library; a 71-edit scratch print of all episodes also exists.
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush), Kate O'Mara (The Rani), Mark Greenstreet (Ikona), Wanda Ventham (Faroon), Donald Pickering (Beyus), Karen Clegg (Sarn), Richard Gauntlett (Urak), John Segal (Lanisha), Peter Tuddenham (Special Voice), Jacki Webb (Special Voice)
The TARDIS is attacked by a powerful force whilst in flight and the sixth Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Mel (Bonnie Langford) are both knocked unconscious. The ship then materialises on the planet Lakertya, observed by one of the natives, Ikona (Mark Greenstreet). The main doors open and the Rani (Kate O'Mara) enters � it was she who was responsible for the attack. She tells an unseen companion to leave the girl but to bring the Doctor. As she leaves, a lumbering, hair-covered creature (Richard Gauntlett) enters. The creature moves to the Doctor's side and turns his prone body over. The Doctor's face blurs and changes as he regenerates into a new form.

In her lair on the planet Lakertya, the Rani finishes supervising two Lakertyans, Beyus (Donald Pickering) and his daughter Sarn (Karen Clegg), as they store the kidnapped genius Einstein (unknown) in a sealed cabinet alongside a number of others. The Doctor meanwhile regains consciousness in the Rani�s laboratory. He seems manic and disorientated but recognises the Rani. Examining her equipment he sees an asteroid which he identifies as being composed of strange matter.

Sarn runs away and encounters Mel who has been rescued from the TARDIS by another Lakertyan, Ikona (Mark Greenstreet). Sarn panics and trips a wire which creates a transparent bubble, trapping her inside. The bubble bounces around before exploding, reducing Sarn to a smoking skeleton.

The Rani orders Urak (Richard Gauntlett), a bat-like creature known as a Tetrap, to reset the trap while she injects the Doctor with something to give him amnesia. When the Doctor comes round, the Rani pretends to be Mel in order to persuade him to repair a faulty machine in her laboratory.

Ikona believes Mel to be in league with the Rani. She saves him from another of the bubble traps and thus convinces him that she is friendly.

The Doctor is puzzled and confused and refuses to continue work. He and the Rani return to his TARDIS to fetch a radiation wave meter. There, the Doctor changes his clothes, trying on those of his fourth, third, fifth and second incarnations, amongst others, before settling on a new outfit for himself.

Mel sees Urak and stumbles into a bubble trap. She is caught inside the bubble, which bounces over a cliff and lands on a lake. Ikona rescues her and they retrieve some weapons before being attacked by another Tetrap. Escaping, they head for the Rani�s fortress where Ikona meets Sarn�s mother Faroon (Wanda Ventham). Faroon discovers her daughter�s skeleton and goes to speak with Beyus.

The Rani goes to fetch some vital material for the Doctor to use in the machine, but is captured by Urak who mistakes her for Mel. Mel meanwhile makes her way into the Rani�s control room where the Doctor believes her to be the Rani. The two travellers eventually convince each other that they are who they say they are by feeling each other�s pulses. Beyus helps them to escape by telling the Doctor the combination to unlock the control room door � it is 953, which is both the Doctor�s and the Rani�s age.

Outside the control room, Mel finds the cabinets containing the kidnapped geniuses and sees that one is reserved for the Doctor. The Rani returns and, while Mel, Beyus and Faroon escape, the Doctor hides in a dark Tetrap eyrie. The Rani locks the gate behind him and he finds himself surrounded by the awaking Tetraps (Mark Carroll, Lea Derek, Ian Durrant, Paul Goddard, Daryl Book, Ricardo Mulhall, Paul Page-Hanson).

Beyus rescues the Doctor and tells him to go to the Lakertyan�s Centre of Leisure, where the reason for his obedience to the Rani will be revealed. The Doctor takes a micro-thermistor from the Rani�s machine and leaves.

Mel is captured by the Tetraps and paralysed by a sting from the tongue of one of them. The Rani tells Faroon to give the Doctor a message that she will exchange Mel for the micro-thermistor.

At the Centre of Leisure, the Doctor and Ikona find that the Lakertyan people are indolent and apathetic. There is a new globe-like device suspended from the Centre, but no-one will tell the distressed Ikona what it is for. The Rani, using remote control, suddenly stops the globe from spinning, causing killer insects emerge from it. The Doctor, Beyus and the other Lakertyans run screaming from the Centre.

Faroon delivers her message to the Doctor, who agrees to the proposed exchange. The Rani tricks him, however, as the �Mel� she releases is revealed to be only a holographic projection. The renegade Time Lord reinserts the micro-thermistor in her machine, making it operational, but finds that the combined brain power of the kidnapped geninuses is still not sufficient for her purposes. Urak suggests that she link her own brain in. She refuses and orders that the Doctor�s cabinet be prepared.

The Doctor notes that the Rani has a fixed trajectory rocket launcher and realises that she must be working to meet a specific deadline. Ikona distracts the Tetrap guarding the entrance to the Rani�s fortress and the Doctor enters. He is caught by Urak, paralysed and placed in his cabinet. The Rani then enters a sealed room, followed by Mel. Inside is a massive brain (voice: Peter Tuddenham, Jacki Webb). With the Doctor�s input, the brain is able to start carrying out the calculations that the Rani desires.

Urak and the other Tetraps leave the fortress to punish selected Lakertyans by placing around their leg a bracelet-like control device that will reduce them to a skeleton if removed.

The Rani finds that the Doctor is confusing the brain and orders him disconnected. The Doctor jumps from his cabinet, and he and Mel then trap the Rani inside it. In the control room, the Doctor finds that the Rani�s rocket is intended to strike the asteroid of strange matter. He and Mel watch a recording of a supernova on a screen. Mel realises that the Rani is using the brain to come up with a lightweight substitute for strange matter in order to detonate the asteroid.

The Rani escapes from the cabinet and explains her plan to the Doctor and Mel. She needs helium-2. This will fuse with the upper Lakertyan atmosphere to form a shell of chronons � discrete particles of time � and then the brain will multiply, filling the gap between shell and planet, thereby creating a time manipulator, a cerebral mass capable of dominating and controlling time anywhere in the cosmos. Urak overhears the Rani boasting that all life on Lakertya will be destroyed. The Doctor gives the brain the correct formula and it devises loyhargil as the substance required. As the production of loyhargil starts in the Rani�s laboratory, the Doctor and Mel escape from the fortress.

The Doctor helps remove the control devices from the Lakertyans, then returns to the fortress and places them around the brain. Beyus stays to complete this task as the Doctor, Mel and Faroon escape. The Doctor confronts the Rani, who detonates the devices. The brain nevertheless completes its countdown and the rocket launches, but because of the Doctor�s interference it misses the asteroid.

The Rani escapes to her TARDIS, but it has been commandeered by the Tetraps who take her prisoner.

The Doctor takes all the captured geniuses on board the TARDIS so that he can return them home. He also gives the Lakertyans the antidote to the killer insects, but Ikona pours it away as he believes they should solve their own problems from now on.

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

Production Team
Joanna Newbery (Assistant Floor Manager), Christopher Sandeman (Assistant Floor Manager), Ken Trew (Costumes), Geoff Powell (Designer), Keff McCulloch (Incidental Music), Lesley Rawstorne (Make-Up), Alastair Mitchell (OB Cameraman), John Hawes (OB Cameraman), John Nathan-Turner (Producer), Joy Sinclair (Production Assistant), Anne Faggetter (Production Associate), Andrew Cartmel (Script Editor), Dick Mills (Special Sounds), Henry Barber (Studio Lighting), Brian Clark (Studio Sound), Keff McCulloch (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Colin Mapson (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
A rather inauspicious start for the Seventh Doctor, "Time and the Rani" represents just about everything wrong with the series during this period, including a haphazard script and poor direction. The story features a pre-credits sequence (only the third time in the series history, after "Castrovalva" and "The Five Doctors") featuring the TARDIS crash-landing on Lakertya. Colin Baker, who had been sacked from the show, refused to film a regeneration sequence, and so the regeneration was completed using a computer effect over McCoy's face and a blond wig. The original broadcast featured an early version of the new opening titles on part four (but was corrected for the video release). The working title for the story was "Strange Matter". This was the second and final appearance in the series of the Rani (Kate O'Mara); the actress returned to portray the character in the "Dimensions in Time" 1993 charity sketch as well as the BBV audio adventure "The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind." This marked the first time Doctor Who's titles were created with a computer; in addition, much of the effects (such as the bubble Mel is trapped in) were done in the same manner. Keff McCulloch composed the new opening titles music, used until the end of the regular run of the series. "Loyhargil" is an anagram of "holy grail". There were additional sequences written that featured the scientists the Rani had captured, but were not recognized in the final edition. The witticisms of the Seventh Doctor, including the mixed metaphors, were ignored by future series authors. The Doctor tries on several earlier costumes including the Troughton fur coat, the Pertwee smoking jacket, Davison's cricket outfit and other costumes; he also wears the Colin Baker coat for much of the first two episodes.
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 "Time and the Rani" in the UK [July 1995] and Australia/New Zealand [September 1995] (BBC catalog #5617), US/Canada [October 1995] (WHV catalog #E1301); episodic format, cover illustration by Colin Howard.
Audio release
Music from this story was released by BBC Records in 1988 as "Doctor Who: The 25th Anniversary Album" with music by Keff McCullough (BBC REB 707), reissued as "Evolution: The Music from Doctor Who" in 1997.
In Print
Novelised as "Doctor Who - Time and the Rani" by Pip & Jane Baker (Target #128), first released in 1987 with photomontage cover. Rereleased in 1991 with cover art by Alister Pearson. The first edition is incorrectly numbered #127.
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.