It's a nostalgic tour de farce
! (Wait...) note
"I, I mean we, are difficult to get rid of!"
— The Seventh Doctor
As 1993 approached, the fanbase of Doctor Who
slowly worked themselves into a frenzy. The BBC
started re-airing certain specials of the old series (no new ones, though, as it had been can— er, put on extended hiatus four years earlier). Books came out to discuss Doctor Who
and a fantastic movie-length special was announced that would involve all the still-living Doctors and a villain's plot to throw the Whoniverse out of whack — resulting in a "Dark Dimension" where the Fourth Doctor somehow never regenerated into the Fifth at the end of "Logopolis"
.This is not that story
. This is what happened instead.
The start of this little special, aired in two less-than-10-minute parts, begins rather innocently enough — the Rani brags about doing awesome things with time and has already captured the first two Doctors (now infected with Floating Head Syndrome
; said crappy head models are in 3D, modeled with 1993's finest-quality computer graphics, to make this extra-gimmicky). The Fourth Doctor, now inexplicably short-haired, decides to send out an SOS to his other selves, begging for them to listen to him "for once". The Seventh Doctor and Ace, apparently fresh from the Cheetah Planet of Doom
, land in the middle of the EastEnders
soap opera — quite literally — and meander about.
Somehow, thanks to the Rani's machinations, the Doctor starts shuffling through his Third, Fifth, and Sixth incarnations, with Ace continually being replaced by a corresponding companion: Sarah Jane, Susan Foreman (okay, scratch that "corresponding" bit), Peri and
Nyssa, Mel, Liz, Victoria, Romana II, and so on. The Rani gloats to the Doctor (pick one; she does it at any point, and the Doctor doesn't miss a beat when he shifts, apparently) as she summons up old enemies. Time in the EastEnders
set shuffles around between 1993, 20 years ago, and 20 years later. Things pick up the pace, the audience gets really confused, and then the Rani captures Leela while she's in the form of Romana II. This somehow screws up the Rani's machine by having two Time Brains in her computer, with the Seventh Doctor commenting that it'll explode. Fair enough.
UNIT shows up as well in the middle of all that, including the Brigadier in a helicopter. In the end, the Seventh Doctor and Ace return to their TARDIS and ride off.
And the Rani is still not very good at her job.
This is all somehow tied in with the EastEnders
soap opera. Oh, and then this was supposed to be a little longer, but the guy hosting the second half of the serial demanded it be cut down because... well, he never gave a reason
. Was aired on the basis that it could never be released on VHS. However, fan recordings proliferated
This was Jon Pertwee
's last appearance as the Doctor in an official setting before his death three years later, RIP. His final performance as the Doctor in a filmed Doctor Who
story, sets, location shoots and all, was technically in 1995, for the fan production Devious
. As a point of trivia, this is also Tom Baker's first reprisal of his role (barring the unearthed "Shada"
) since departing the series in '81, and he won't be back again for some twenty-odd years. Scared away, no doubt. Nicholas Courtney
finally gets to be featured alongside Sixth Doctor Colin Baker — meaning that he's the only
actor to be featured alongside all seven original Doctors at any point in time in the TV show (He was also almost-companion Bret Vyon
), and alongside all the original eight if you count Big Finish Doctor Who
However, this special has been considered non-canon by the official sources because of its comparatively nonsensical premise to the rest of the series proper (a sigh of relief for some fans who take continuity seriously
). The New Adventures
novel First Frontier
drops a mention of this special as a nightmare the Seventh Doctor once had
, which is probably the best definition of this episode. (No, not a nightmare
- a weird dream! You're reading a bit too much into this, aren't you?)
If you are curious, a dedicated group of fans made "The Dark Dimension" a reality as "Lost in the Dark Dimension"
21 years later on YouTube
. And though the animation is quite limited, the writing itself is splendid. We finally got what we asked for and not a pile of rub...bery
plot lines strung together to make a rather strange byproduct akin to farfetched fan fiction
. See, we don't have any problems with this special at all!
What? You think we were going to say "rubbish"? No, we were reminded of Joseph Rubeish
, a bumbling professor from "The Time Warrior
" who was written loads more competent compared to the writing in... that dreaded work called The Star Wars Holiday Special
. What a mess that debacle was!
See- we have NOTHING
against this story, really!...Okay, maybe we do. note