Saturday 30 June 2012

585 Time-Flight Part Four

EPISODE: Time-Flight Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 30 March 1982
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity

The part of the Xeraphim that is Professor Hayter projects himself into the Tardis control room taking it to the sarcophagus chamber to rescue The Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan. The Doctor moves the Tardis outside the chamber and dispatches it with Nyssa & the Concorde crew to prepare the aircraft for take off. He and Tegan attempt to recover the pieces of the Tardis the Master has stolen but discover the Master has gutted the Kalid's control room. The Master discovers he cannot leave this time period because he stole the wrong component from the Doctor's Tardis and bargains the lives of the original Concorde's crew & passengers for the correct circuits. The Doctor cobbles together a replacement using it to get the Tardis and Concorde back to Heathrow where the Master's Tardis appears and is deflected into the time vortex by the Doctor's toward the present day planet of Xeraphas. In some confusion with security guards the Doctor is forced to make a quick exit in the Tardis resulting in Tegan being left behind.

Takes deep breath........

I missed the first few minutes of this on the original broadcast and it didn't make sense. I've watched it all the way through now and it still doesn't. I'll accept that maybe the Xeraphim are powerful enough to be able to project Hayter into the Tardis but to suddenly control it with that much precision? How is the Doctor able to cobble together replacement circuits to enable his Tardis to move in time when the Master couldn't & didn't? Just how does the "knocking the Master's Tardis back into the Time Vortex" work? and how does the Doctor know where he'll end up? I suppose he may have hard coded both the Heathrow co-ordinates and those for Xeraphas into the component before giving it to the Master but really I just don't care cos it's an awful mess from start to finish that is going straight on the "I don't have to watch you again" pile with The Sensorites, The Space Pirates and Underworld. (Plus Face of Evil now it's on DVD). The gap from the superb Earthshock to here is HUGE.

Actually having looked the transmission times for the episodes up I discover *why* I missed the start. In general odd numbered Season 19 episodes, on a Monday, aired at 18.55 and the even numbered episodes, on a Tuesday, aired at 19.05. Confusing to start with I know, you'd have thought they'd be on at the same time. Well for some reason this episode aired at 18:50 an entire 15 minutes earlier than normal.

Still Tegan being left behind is quite a clever little touch which got the series a few column inches in print as people threw there arms up at another companion vanishing. as we'll see that may be another slight bit of misdirection....

Thankfully, later that summer, the BBC provided a repeat season of earlier stories to wipe away the memory of this tosh. My memory has it that Doctor Who & The Monsters came into existence when the the BBC's Monday night American import series (possibly Bret Maverick) ended early. Three stories were chosen to represent each of the Doctor's major monsters and each edited into two 50 minute compilations. On the 12th to 19th July the recently recovered colour copy of the Curse of Peladon (representing the Ice Warriors) was aired followed by Genesis of the Daleks on 26th July & 2nd August and finally Earthshock (for the Cybermen) on the 9th & 16th August. There were no summer repeats of other stories from season 19 shown that year, but two would be shown during the summer of 1983 and another during the summer of 1984.

Later that autumn, in the penultimate weekend of October, two science fiction landmarks occurred on ITV. On Saturday 23rd the first episode of Star Fleet, the English translation of X-Bomber, aired. Then on the Sunday Star Wars aired on UK Television for the first time.

Time Flight was novelised by the story's author Peter Grimwade in 1983. It was released on video in July 2000 and on DVD on 6th August 2007 as part of a boxset containing Time-Flight and the following story Arc of Infinity.

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