It’s perhaps a little strange, considering my aversion to new “Doctor Who”, that most of my “Doctor Who” posts are on the modern era of the show! I suppose it’s easier to criticise something than to praise it but I do, genuinely, mourn the programme’s loss of innocence that has transpired from the intervening years while the series was off-air. “Doctor Who” used to be fun. A fine example of this is the 1985 story “Timelash”. Not fine in the sense that it’s a particularly good story. It isn’t. But fine in the sense that it’s good fun to watch. It’s entertaining, if only to laugh at the monster which “terrorises” Peri for most of the story’s duration or cringe at “Blake’s 7” star Paul Darrow’s hammy acting, who seems to think he’s in “Richard II”!! He plays Tekker who has one of the best, scenery-chewing, lines in the whole piece as, threatening the Sixth incarnation with almost-certain fatal-death, he exclaims “Save your breath for the Timelash, Doctor. Most people depart with a scream.” Now, if that ain’t a hoot, what is?!! And, Paul’s performance in the story is by no means the worst. That honour must go to Dicken Ashworth who plays Sezon. He delivers some of his lines as if he’s only just learnt how to read!!!
I presume “Timelash” is being made available on DVD, from today, because it features an encounter with a famous author and, in this respect, ties in with the reinvention of the series. Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor criticised Charles Dickens while David Tennant’s upstaged William Shakespeare and, in this new budget-price release, Colin Baker has a close encounter with a young man called Herbert. It’s only at the end of the story that Herbert is revealed to be none other than H. G. Wells, assuming that you haven’t already guessed it by then! But, at least this writer gets a trip in the TARDIS and thus it’s explained how the great social novelist came to script “The Time Machine”. Ironically, this is the novel which inspired Terry Nation’s original Dalek serial where Wells’s leisure-driven Eloi became the pacifist Thals and the underground-dwelling Morlocks were reimagined as “The Daleks” themselves. “Timelash” also suggests that the villain of the two-part story, the Borad, played to great effect by Robert Ashby, ends his days as the often poorly-photographed monster of a certain Scottish Loch! He, no doubt, joins the cyborg weapon of the Zygons, from the earlier Tom Baker serial, which was the original explanation for Nessie in “Doctor Who”!!