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Doctor Who: Timelash (Story 142)

Colin Baker , Nicola Bryant , Pennant Roberts    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Doctor Who: Timelash (Story 142) + Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks + Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen
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Doctor Who:Timelash (Story 142)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Turn off when I'm dead, it's boring" April 7 2008
By Jason A. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Timelash" has long been maligned as the worst story from one of "Doctor Who"'s weaker seasons. Everyone, it seems, has a different explanation as to why "Timelash" failed: the fault might lie with the guest actors, or with the director, or the writer, the producer, the set designer... Everyone, just this once, is correct.

"Timelash"'s script is a mess, and that's the fatal flaw. There's too much going on and the end result is less than the sum of its parts. There's an interplanetary war, a deformed dictator (part man, part plesiosaur), some no-nonsense rebels (played here by a pretty young woman and a bald fat guy), a bunch of squabbling Senators, a time corridor in space... and a young H.G. Wells. The characters are by and large one-dimensional, and the dialogue is mostly woeful. Nothing that happens on the planet Karfel ever really engages the viewer... except for Paul Darrow.

Best known for his role on "Blake's 7", Darrow came to this story expected to turn in a similar performance. Instead, he wanted to explore fresh waters by playing his character as Richard the Third. He delivers, in the end, a sarcastic, pompous, oily performance that would have worked really well... had any of the other guest actors been up to the challenge. Instead, he sticks out like a sore thumb. As Darrow says in the DVD's making-of featurette, the story really does get boring once his character exits, midway through the final episode.

The making-of documentary, by the way, is one of the DVD production team's liveliest efforts thus far. Several members of the production (cast and crew) spread the blame around. Script editor Eric Saward, as he always does, blames the producer, a man who's been dead for years. He does point some of the blame at the episode director, but then blames the producer for hiring said director in the first place. As a result, these 20 minutes are far livelier than anything that happens during "Timelash" proper.

"Timelash"'s strength is in the voice acting. Three men alone were up to the task of adding gravitas to their lines: Colin Baker (the Doctor), Darrow, and Robert Ashby (the plesiosaur), who reportedly wrote his own ripostes when the script failed him: "Another expedition into the realms of duplicity". Separated from its drab sets and heard only as an audio play, "Timelash" might offer some moments of true menace.

Unfortunately, apart from those three performances, the rest of the guest cast are just going through the motions, likely as confused by the story as were the script editor and director. "Timelash" winds up a dull misfire, not as bad its legend has grown, but certainly not worth the DVD cover price unless you're a completist.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most disliked stories in Doctor Who history May 22 2008
By Grateful Jerry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I've never found this one as bad as some have made it out to be. NO, it isn't the best but it isn't the worst either. This is one of those stories that, if you keep a sense of humor, you may actually enjoy it. I've always thought that Colin Baker was a great Doctor but in a time when the production was going downhill. Colin does a very good job and once again makes the story. The scene where he's talking to HG Wells on the TARDIS is fun and it's nice to see all the 3rd Doctor references after having the 2nd Doctor turn up in the last storyDoctor Who - The Two Doctors (Episode 141).
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent for 80's Dr Who Jan. 19 2008
By B.V.R. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Timelash is an ok story. The sets are at times cheap, (yes, that's tinsel in there), the acting of a highly variable quality (the regulars do give very good performances here, it's the guest cast that is, at times, the problem), and the script is average. But it is still a fun to watch story. The great thing about is the imagination carries it. So much of Doctor Who from this period is horribly derivative and obsessed with past continuity and villains etc. This story has very little of that. We are shown (rather cleverly I thought) that the Doctor in his 3rd incarnation has been to this planet before. But the story itself is a good traditional Doctor Who story that stands on it's own. We do have another ugly mad man leering at Peri, but oh well. There is also a bit of controversy about what happens to the Borad (this story's bad guy) in the end. It does contradict the 4th Doctor Who story Terror of the Zygons and it's information on the origins of the Loch Ness Monster. As for the DVD itself, this release is a bit light on extras. It features a commentary track by actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Paul Darrow. It also has a new documentary, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (dur. 25' 01"), which looks at the making of the story. It features actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Paul Darrow, David Chandler, Robert Ashby, script editor Eric Saward, writer Glen McCoy and journalist Paul Lang, and is narrated by Terry Molloy. It will also have a photo gallery, production notes subtitles, and the Radio Times listings in pdf format. I would agree with the first reviewer here, this is a great beer and pizza Doctor Who story. It certainly is not the strongest of Colin Baker's era (Vengance on Varros and Revelation of the Daleks are superior in almost every way to all other 6th Doctor stories), but it is still quite enjoyable and features many elements of strong traditional/classic Doctor Who.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Underrated! March 23 2011
By Jero Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Okay, so maybe "Timelash" does have its faults, but so did every other Colin Baker story. In fact, this one in many ways is a lot better. It's certainly my favorite Colin Baker story along with "Vengeance on Varos" and "The Trial of a Time Lord: Parts 1-4".

Ultimately the worst thing about this story is Peri's role in it. All she does in it is scream, get threatened by monsters and madmen, get yelled at by the Doctor, and told to stay out of the way of things. I rather felt bad for actress Nycola Bryant when I watched this. Now I woundn't blame her if this was her least favorite story. But I'm surprised that a lot of other people hate it too. The only other bad thing about this story is the alien ambassador in it. He looks like a sock puppet. He looks absolutely dreadful.

But other than those things, I can't see any other bad things about this story. The plot is actually quite good and engaging. There's never a dull moment. And apart from the alien ambassador, who only appears in a few scenes, I thought the special effects were pretty good too. They certainly weren't the best - but it's "Doctor Who"! For "Dr. Who" standards they really weren't that bad, and some of the sets were very imaginative and impressive... especially the Timelash. The story echoes a lot of the earlier stories in the series. This story has a lot of the themes in it that earlier stories had. A lot of those themes are what made "Dr. Who" so great and enjoyable, and is what made a lot of the earlier stories so popular. It also echoes some of H.G. Wells' writings. I feel that this story deserves a lot more credit than that which is given to it. And I thought the scenes between the Doctor and Herbert were very enjoyable. I also like the idea of H.G. Wells traveling with the Doctor in the TARDIS.

Highly recommended!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I can't help but like Timelash Dec 18 2007
By The Cougar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I'm in no way saying that this story is a masterpiece. It isn't. The acting is inconsistent, ranging from the best with the two regulars, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, (in a desparate bid to carry the story) to the worst with the actress playing Vena, who looks like she's being forced at gunpoint to do this, reading nearly every line in a monotone, the story ending is a cop-out ("I'll explain later" the Doctor says, when Peri asks him how he survived the Bandril's missile), and yes, the some of the set looks unusually cheap (But why should the last thing be a massive issue?)

Why do I like it so much then?

The whole H.G. Wells storyline is a massive plus for the story in my view. Every time I watch Timelash, I found my interest hitting high-gear. Just putting the naive, spirit-mad, writer wannabe young H.G.Wells before he became famous with the most angry, aggressive-eccentric, moody Doctor, and BAM! Fireworks.

Also deserving a mention is the Borad. Most reviews I've found for the VHS release I've seen just lump every part of this story in the "Horrible" category, but the Borad has to be one of the most well-realised monsters of the classic era, done so well on a small budget, like Colin says on the commentary, it's like a trick camera profile, with one side human, and one side Borad, and the two meld in to make it a VERY convincing monster. The scenes between the Doctor and the Borad are easily a highlight of the story

All in all, have another watch on DVD. Buy Timelash, Grab a beer, pizza, whatever, sit down on the couch, empty your mind of 2000's special effects, and enjoy. (If only to see the Doctor about to explode as Herbet winds him up more and more!)

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