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Recap: Doctor Who 30th AS "Dimensions in Time"
It's a nostalgic tour de farce! (Wait...)

"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, since William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton had passed on by then). The Fourth Doctor 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 their encounter with the Cheetah people of doom, land in the middle of the EastEnders soap opera — quite literally — and meander about.

Somehow, thanks to the Rani's plans, the Doctor starts shuffling through his Third, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh incarnations with Ace randomly being replaced by a randomly selected companion... including Sarah Jane, granddaughter Susan, 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. UNIT shows up as well in the middle of all that, including the Brigadier in a helicopter. In the end, the Doctor and Ace return to their TARDIS and ride off.

And the Rani is still not very good at her job.

This is 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 the internet.

The Brigadier's actor 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 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?)


Tropes:

  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Mike Yates does this to the Rani's gun when he arrives in Bessie to rescue the Doctor.
  • The Bus Came Back: Briefly for many of the Doctor's past companions, including Susan, Victoria, Liz Shaw, Mike Yates, The Brigadier, Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, K9, Romana II, Nyssa, Peri, and Ace. Can also apply to the past Doctors who make a return appearance, including the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth.
  • Canon Discontinuity
    • Later authors have declared this one of the Doctor's many nightmares — along with a similar story and the TV Comic stories for the First Doctor. Also, EastEnders is considered a TV show in the Whoniverse.
    • EastEnders also tosses it out of continuity, as characters who actually have long since died after this special aired are seen in the "future" presented by the Rani. Also, as with Doctor Who, the science-fiction program is just that in the universe of EastEnders. Which makes this just one hell of a mess for everyone involved.
    • According to the special's page on the official BBC site for Who Classic, the entire thing's just a Rani-induced hallucination of the Seventh Doctor.
    • Leela's bootless, Colin's abandoned his silly eighties perm with a tamer hairdo, outdone by the fact Tom Baker's hair curls are long lost relics, along with many other costume snafus.
  • Children in Need: The first Doctor Who episode made specifically for the charity, and the second one in the classic series, the first being "The Five Doctors", which aired during the 1983 appeals.
  • Fanservice: Of the non-sexual kind. Why else would numerous Doctors and companions be brought together?
  • Intercontinuity Crossover
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Newspaper Dating: Right after the TARDIS lands, the Seventh Doctor checks a newspaper in a rubbish bin to see what year they've landed in.
  • Reunion Show
  • Three-Dimensional Episode


Doctor Who S26 E4 'Survival"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who TVM 'The TV Movie"

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