Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor), Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor), Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor), Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K-9), Lalla Ward (Romana), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush).
|Written by||David Rodan|
|Directed by||Stuart McDonald|
|Produced by||John Nathan Turner|
The Rani is assembling a menagerie of sentient life-forms from throughout space and time, hoping to use them to gain control of all individual minds in the Universe. She requires only one more specimen, a human from Earth. Knowing that the Doctor will act to stop her, she creates a temporal trap to ensnare the Doctor in all his incarnations. The Rani has already captured the First and Second Doctors, and the Fourth Doctor attempts to send a warning to his previous and future incarnations, but is too late.
The renegade Time Lady seizes control of the TARDIS and the Seventh Doctor and Ace, en route to China, find themselves instead materializing in Cutty Sark Gardens in 1973. They then find themselves jumping time tracks between the years 1973, 1993, and 2013, in an area within a few miles of Albert Square in London’s East End. The Doctor is also changing back and forth between his Third, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh incarnations, while Ace keeps being replaced by various past companions.
Worse, the Rani has released her menagerie, all under her
The Rani has opened a hole in time, allowing her access to the Doctor’s timeline. She uses this to cycle through the Doctor’s lives, causing him and his companions to jump back and forth between past and present incarnations. Her intention is to capture all of the Doctor’s selves in a time loop, trapping him in London’s East End; she has already captured the First and Second Doctor in the time hole. This causes the Fourth Doctor to send a message to his remaining selves, warning them of the Rani’s plan:
Mayday! Mayday! This is an urgent message for all the Doctors. It’s vitally important that you listen carefully to me for once. Our whole existence is being threatened by a renegade Time Lord known only as the Rani! She hates me. She even hates children! Two of my earlier selves have already been snared in her vicious trap. The grumpy one and the flautist, do you remember? She wants to put us out of action, lock us away in a dreary backwater of London’s East End, trapped in a time-loop in perpetuity. Her evil is all around us! I can hear the heart beat of a killer. She’s out there somewhere. We must be on our guard and we must stop her before she destroys all of my other selves! Oh… Good luck, my dears!
The Seventh Doctor and Ace are confused when the TARDIS lands in Greenwich, near the Cutty Sark, thanks to the Rani’s attack on the TARDIS. The Doctor finds a newspaper showing the year to be 1973, but before he can make any more conclusions, the Rani causes time to jump. Ace finds herself in Albert Square in 1993 with the Sixth Doctor. Local resident Sanjay tries to sell Ace some new clothes from his stall, and when his wife Gita tells the Sixth Doctor that it is going to be all the rage in 1994, the Rani jumps time again.
The Third Doctor and Mel Bush appear from the time jump, and question an old Pauline Fowler and Kathy Beale on when they are. When Pauline and Kathy reply that it is 2013, another time jump occurs. In 1973, Pauline and Kathy remember the assassination of President Kennedy, while Kathy tells off a young Ian Beale. The Sixth Doctor and Susan Foreman appear, but Susan wonders what has happened to ‘her’ Doctor, the First.
After another time jump to 2013, Susan changes into Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor changes from the Sixth to the Third Doctor. They start to piece together what is happening to them, but the Rani lets loose her menagerie of specimens, including a Cyberman, Fifi (from The Happiness Patrol), a Sea Devil, an Ogron and a Time Lord from Gallifrey in the next time jump. In 1993, the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Peri are attacked by the Rani’s menagerie, and after they tried to warn Pat Butcher of the danger, the Rani stops them outside the Queen Vic.
In 1993, after the Fifth Doctor changed to the Third Doctor in the next time jump, with Liz Shaw, the Rani took control of Liz’s mind. As Mandy Salter tries to stop the Rani, Captain Mike Yates of UNIT comes in Bessie to save the Third Doctor and get him to The Brigadier who is waiting for them.
After another time jump, the Doctor changed to the Sixth Doctor and after he says goodbye to the Brigadier time jumps again. In 1993, at the Arches, Phil and Grant Mitchell find Romana looking for the Doctor, but they point her to Dr Legg. As Romana walks past the Queen Vic, the Rani captures her, in front of Frank Butcher.
Back in 1973, the Third Doctor explains to Victoria Waterfield who the Rani was and thinks that her control is breaking down, as they return to the TARDIS.
After the Seventh Doctor lands the TARDIS in 1993, Leela escapes from the Rani, after being cloned in the form of Romana. This results in an additional Time Lord brain imprint being left on the computer inside the Rani’s TARDIS instead of the human one she needed, which gives the Seventh Doctor, Ace, and K9 the edge needed to rig up a device to overload it, sending the Rani into the time tunnel where she had trapped the First and Second Doctors and freeing the Doctors’ other selves from the loop. As the Seventh Doctor and Ace leave in the TARDIS, the Doctor observes "Certainly, I — I mean, we — are difficult to get rid of."
- The Dimensions Of Time and 3-Dimensions Of Time were the working titles for this story. David Roden managed to convince producer John Nathan-Turner not to use either title, and instead settled on Dimensions In Time.
- An original draft of the script featured Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, meeting the Brigadier, Nicholas Courtney, en route to a UNIT reunion – and becoming involved in a battle with a crashed spaceship full of Cybermen. The script was entitled Destination: Holocaust, and featured the Seventh Doctor and Brigadier holed up in a burning church, trying to fight off the advancing hordes of damaged Cybermen. This original idea, written by David Roden, was vetoed by Nathan-Turner after it became apparent that Children In Need wished for the story to be a tie-in with EastEnders.
- Despite loving the originally proposed script, Nathan-Turner also had concerns about the cost, which would have included several lengthy night-shoots and a much larger special effects budget.
Anthony Ainley was initially approached by Nathan-Turner to play the part of the Master in this short story, but he turned it down. Michael Gough was later approached to re-create the role of The Celestial Toymaker, and again Nathan-Turner was turned down. Finally, Kate O’Mara was asked if she would like to reprise her role of the Rani – a request to which she readily agreed. O’Mara was joined by Sam West, who played her sidekick Cyrian.
- The special was one of several special 3D programmes the BBC produced at the time, using a 3D system developed by American inventor Terry D. Beard that made use of the Pulfrich effect. The technology required spectacles with one darkened lens and one transparent one; these were sold in shops to the public, with the proceeds going to Children in Need.
- The Daleks were also supposed to appear, but the segment was pulled after a dispute with Dalek creator Terry Nation over payments, the sequence was not ultimately shot. All actors and crew were working unpaid, with the only stipulation being that it could never be repeated or sold on a home video for profit. The Dalek segment would have seen Peter Davison facing up against them again in the streets seen in the 1984 serial Resurrection of the Daleks.
- David Rodan later went on to write and direct several plays for the theatre before directing and writing short films – including Beginners Please (2006) and the Cornwall Film Festival award winning The Resurrectionist (2006), both starring actor Guy Siner.
- David Rodan worked for the BBC Drama Department in London on the ‘Writers Academy’. During 2007 and 2008 he worked for the BBC Wales Drama Department in Script Development alongside the production team for Season 4 of Russell T Davies’ new Doctor Who. He contributed a short story to the ‘Doctor Who’ novel ‘The Story Of Martha’ (2008).
- Roden also wrote the Doctor Who BBC Audio Exclusive “The Nemonite Invasion” (2009) which was read by Catherine Tate. Roden now script edits for the BBC, most recently on Casualty.
- Jon Pertwees last televised role as the Doctor before his death in 1996.