An alien demi-lizard in the future dispatches Blue Man Group androids to kidnap Peri, while exiling non-conformist subjects to 19th century Scotland
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On the planet Karfel, the despotic Borad rules the population of roughly 500 with an iron fist, forcing them to obey his every whim or face excommunication by way of the titular Timelash, a corridor through space and time that leads to almost certain death. Using political proxies and a TV avatar, Borad rules from the shadows and is not even above cutting off the grain supply to the neighbouring planet of Banderel. His hate-fuelled rule in turn fuels rebellion, however, and thus both in the Karfel high council and in the easily accessible caves not-below-but-sort-of-adjacent-to the main/only dwelling on the planet, a band of freedom fighters are forming a loose set of principles that vaguely amount to a plan.
Meanwhile, The Sixth Doctor and Peri are gaily travelling in the TARDIS when they get stuck in said time corridor, nearly buy the proverbial space farm, and even witness a Karfel rebel swooshing through spacetime, untethered from reality. Steering their way to the relative safety of Karfel, they soon become embroiled in the political goings-on and are forced to pick a side. Unsurprisingly, they pick the underdog. Slightly surprisingly, they are also joined by 19th century Earthling, Herbert, on their quest for justice. The pressure is on, though. Giant dragon creatures lurk in the caves, blue-faced androids roam inevitable corridors, and the Bandrils of Banderel are preparing an attack.
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Prepare the TIMELASH! AKA the Paul Darrow show…
Well, what have we here? Oh, look it’s yet another disfigured villain wanting to play hide the sausage with Peri!. How many times is that now?
So, some drab sets, far too much tinsel, some less than convincing acting from some of the guest cast and a less than sparkling script all add up to something of a totally forgettable story…….
I FUCKING LOVE IT!!! Take a bow Paul Darrow! Channelling his inner Richard III, he utterly makes this story for me. Without a doubt he outshines Colin Baker, he’s getting his own back when Colin did the same to him in Blakes 7 story City at the Edge of the World. Ok I accept it’s crap, but I DO NOT CARE, Timelash will always have a special place in my heart.
I award this 3.8 unexplained embroidered pictures of the 3rd Doctor buried behind a wall out of 5.
Colin is perfectly wonderful yet again. He and the epic Paul Darrow take turns chewing the scenery. This week however, the props go to the android and Peri. Honestly, which is more awesome, the android or the person who plays it? Wow, I loved the movements, the ticks, way to get into a role. Love the melodic voice too. Toppers, the guard is uncredited, no doubt the same actor. Androids haven’t been this good since The Visitation. Similarly, Peri’s totally sidelined and still manages to be amazing. Herbert is thoroughly enjoyable, as is Vena and the Borad. Overall a great effort by the entire cast.
The Timelash itself is cool, perhaps in conception a pre-cursor to the Weeping Angels. However in my reto-rewrite the Borad has the ability to “malfunction” the timelash and ages people as he sends them to random points in Earth’s past. Why? Because as-is it’s a wimpy punishment. In some ways, it’s almost a blessing. I also would have made a slightly better connection to the third doctor, filling in many plot issues along the way.
Unfortunately there’s a slightly minimalist approach to the set decoration. I guess they blew the budget on tinsel. The timelash itself is cool though. All the other effects were likewise addressed with care. Even the Morlok isn’t a complete disaster. Finally, the makeup department should’ve won awards for its perfection.
Overall, Timelash is better now than it was back in time when I was young. 3.6 giant crystal neck blings.
I’ve never really liked the saying, ‘so bad, it’s good’, but if I was forced to think of an example of this, then Timelash may be it. This story is horribly cheap, stuffed with way too many boring characters and is appallingly directed, however it doesn’t bore me like The Twin Dilemma or Vengeance On Varos do. There is some horrible acting on display with some of the cast literally looking like they were half asleep. The Bandril Ambassador is hilariously shite and comes complete with a silly voice! – in fact, it’s so embarrassing, it actually makes the Morlox creature look pretty decent (which it certainly isn’t!).
The performance of Tekker is outrageous but I really enjoy it! Paul Darrow is clearly determined to enjoy himself despite acting alongside a bunch of stunned slugs. I quite like the guy that plays Mykros too. At least he’s trying. Vena just about manages to stay awake long enough to have a few nice moments of comedy with Herbert but the standout for me is Robert Ashby as The Borad. He has a fantastic voice, and his make-up is marvellous. Not much to say about the Doc and Peri but they are much more settled into their roles now which is an improvement. Finally, the Timelash itself looks very Christmassy.
So, to sum up – it’s bad but I find it strangely watchable.
Rating – 1.9
I’ve got mixed feelings on this one so to make this easier here are a few lists:
Things I hated:
Things I liked:
While I enjoyed this story I feel it had some really awful moments. I also think it would have benefited from actually being a sequel to something shown on screen (though this is far from the first time this has been done, see “The Abominable Snowmen” and “Face of Evil”)
Also I legit thought they were calling him Borat the entire time so that was a bit funny.
Overall this story earns 3.5 spooky scary skeletons out of 5.
Steven From Canada
Ah, we get to this one. Widely considered very bad, this and The Twin Dilemma are normally placed at the bottom of the list of stories, not a great claim to fame is it? And particularly not for the Sixth Doctor’s era for two of the ‘worst’. A lot of crap in this one. Dull sets, either lots of overacting or very poor acting. Colin and Nicola felt this is one of their poorest performances, not helped by JNT distracting them with PR stuff throughout production. They particularly disliked the opening tardis scenes. Once again the Doctor and Peri are delayed until over 20 mins into the first ep when they get properly involved in things. And Peri continues to have a shit time of things. Will she ever not? (I know the answer but spoilers…).
Paul Darrow gives a very over-the-top performance here returning the favour for Colin’s OTT performance on Blake’s 7 a few years earlier. So that’s two B7 actors in two stories after Jacqueline Pierce last time. There were lots of crossover in props, actors and crew between them.
The second part feels heavily padded with the borad fake out death plotline. In fact it is padded out as it underran and the tardis scenes were lengthen. Also the closing plot point has a weird subtext of that appearances matter more, which feels strange.
I just find this very bland with no real saving graces 0.8/5 Alien sock puppets
Doc arrives on Karfel and they thankfully already know him, sparing us the typical “Who are you? Why should we trust you? This only started when you showed up!” plot-line.
It has now been taken-over by some of the stupidest villains ever. Tekker could only be a more obvious Bond-villain if he came in stroking a cat. Borad even paraphrases Goldfinger’s “Choose your next witticism carefully, it may be your last.” line.
These villains get rid of their rebellious elements by throwing them in a time-corridor that leads to.. THEY DON’T KNOW! Who does that?! It could be sending them back 100 years, where they can merrily murder your ancestors, or to a more advanced society who seeing how weak you are, have already despatched their invasion fleet. They get-away with it, as it actually goes to Earth in 1179. We never hear from these poor people again, as they can’t be rescued from the past, because no-one can navigate time and its relative dimensions within space… wait a minute!
Doc makes no mention of saving them and presumably leaves people with knowledge of advanced technology in the time of Henry II; who’s that? Father of famous nice-guys Richard the Lionheart and King John. What could possibly go wrong?
We’ve gone from “You can’t change history, Barbara, not one line!” to “Maybe Saladin wanted a plasma-rifle, Peri? Did you ever consider his feelings?”
Sorry I’ll do a proper one next time … LOCH NESS MONSTER?!
Greetings Leon & Jim!
Seeing the writing on the wall that Doctor Who might be cancelled, producer John Nathan-Turner threw everything he could at season 22 to keep the show alive. For the first time in one season, the Doctor fought Cybermen, the Master, Sontarens, and the Daleks. He introduced a new Time Lady villain in the Mark of the Rani. The Second Doctor and Jamie returned in a non-anniversary serial. He had Lytton return, and introduced the returning character Sil. He changed the show’s format from 25 minute episodes to a more contemporary 45 minutes. He even let the Doctor fix the Chameleon circuit (briefly). About the only thing he didn’t try was adding a new companion.
Timelash was an interesting mixed bag of plots. While I enjoyed the serial overall, I wasn’t sure where it was going.
My score: 4.3 time-aged skulls bouncing off the floor out of 5.
Well this is a fantastic serial! And I will forgive a couple of minor faults in the 2nd episode ( Time filler anyone ? )
I particularly like the world building on this one, with deadly plants, and an Ambassador from a neighbouring world whom with they are about to have a war.
Paul Darrow, playing “Tekker”, is the 2nd “ Blakes Seven” Alumni in consecutive serials to guest star, and his convincing smarminess added to the story.
And David Chandler as Herbert was genius! It’s the Adric we wanted all along! Oh why couldn’t we have had him instead??
There a lovely throwback to Katy Mannings character ( My childhood crush from 80s repeats ) and of course to the 3rd Doc ( also my favourite )
Colin Baker is superb, and even Peri puts in an adequate performance. As for the Borad, this is a solid villain, evoking vibes of Sharaz Jek
It’s got it all!! Time corridors, lasers, blue androids with daggy voices, not 1 but 2 puppet aliens, model spaceships, spying cameras, an HG Wells homage, mirrors, time acceleration beams, poison plants, a 10 second time slip, throwbacks to the past, cloning and distorted voices!!
They just nailed this production and writing.
Rating: 4.8 cute pics of the wonderful Jo Grant