Time and the Rani


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Time and the Rani

Serial Code


First Transmitted

7 September 1987

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel)

Guest Cast

Kate O’Mara (The Rani), Mark Greenstreet (Ikona), Donald Pickering (Beyus), Karen Clegg (Sarn) [1], Richard Gauntlett (Urak), Wanda Ventham (Faroon) [2-4], John Segal (Lanisha) [3], Peter Tuddenham, Jacki Webb (Special Voices).


Written by Pip & Jane Baker
Directed by Andrew Morgan
Produced by John Nathan Turner


After being attacked by the evil Rani, the TARDIS crash-lands on the planet Lakertya. On the floor of the console room, The Doctor begins his sixth regeneration… In his post-regenerative confusion The Doctor is separated from his young companion Mel and tricked into assisting The Rani in her megalomanic scheme to construct a giant time manipulator.

Lost on the barren surface of the planet, Mel has to avoid The Rani’s ingenious traps and her monstrous, bat-like servants, the Tetraps. She joins forces with a rebel faction among the Lakertyans, desperate to end The Rani’s control of their planet. The Doctor must recover his wits in time to avoid becoming a permanent part of the Rani’s plan to collect the genius of the greatest scientific minds in the Universe…


  • This story was the first time The Doctor Who title sequence was created with a computer. Many of the effects, like the bubble Mel is trapped in, were realised in the same manner.
  • Keff McCulloch arranged the new opening theme. It was used until the end of the regular run of the series. A new logo for the series was also introduced with this story along with a new opening credits sequence that moved away from the “starfield” motif introduced in 1980. The new theme arrangement marked the first time since the First Doctor’s era that the theme’s”middle eight” section was regularly heard during the opening credits (the previous two arrangements used the middle eight during the closing credits only). As with the opening sequence from the Sixth Doctor era, the Seventh Doctor’s opening does not use a static image of the Doctor, but rather one with limited animation: the image starts as a scowl, then The Doctor winks and smiles. McCoy wears makeup that gives his face and hair a silver/grey appearance.
  • Although this was the first story to feature the Seventh Doctor, it was written in anticipation of Colin Baker returning as the Sixth Doctor. When he declined to even film the regeneration sequence, Sylvester McCoy instead wore his predecessor’s costume and a blond curly wig and filmed the sequence himself.
  • A number of Referencespin-off media have provided additional explanation for The Doctor’s regeneration including the Virgin New Adventures novels Timewyrm: Revelation, Love and War by Paul Cornell, Head Games by Steve Lyons, all of which speculate that the Seventh Doctor’s ‘essence’ drovethe Sixth Doctor to pilot the TARDIS into The Rani’s tractor beam to become Time’s Champion and prevent himself from becoming the Valeyard, and the Past Doctor Adventures novel Spiral Scratch by Gary Russell, which features the Sixth Doctor sacrificing much of his energy to prevent a pan-dimensional being from destroying creation, leaving him in a weakened physical condition before The Rani’s attack.
  • The Seventh Doctor tries on several earlier Doctors’ costumes: the Second Doctor’s fur coat, the Third Doctor’s smoking jacket, the Fourth Doctor’s coat and scarf and the Fifth Doctor’s cricket outfit, as well as other costumes. He also wears the Sixth Doctor’s patchwork coat for much of the first episode, the first example of a Doctor wearing his previous self’s clothes for a prolonged period rather than quickly changing after regeneration.
  • It is never explained how the Rani escaped the predicament in which she had last been seen in The Mark of the Rani (trapped with The Master in her TARDIS and a rapidly-growing Tyrannosaurus Rex embryo). The novelisation of Time and the Rani by Pip and Jane Baker claims that the rapidly-growing dinosaur snapped its neck on the ceiling of the Rani’s TARDIS and died instantly, while the novel State of Change reveals that The Master escaped the TARDIS by separating the console room from the rest of the ship, forcing the Rani to cannibalise other controls in her TARDIS to pilot it prior to the events of the novel, although the canonicity of this claim is unclear.

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