"Timelash is an ok story. The sets are at times cheap, (yes, that's tinsel in there), the acting of a highly variable quality (the regulars do give very good performances here, it's the guest cast that is, at times, the problem), and the script is average. But it is still a fun to watch story. The great thing about is the imagination carries it. So much of Doctor Who from this period is horribly derivative and obsessed with past continuity and villains etc. This story has very little of that. We are shown (rather cleverly I thought) that the Doctor in his 3rd incarnation has been to this planet before. But the story itself is a good traditional Doctor Who story that stands on it's own. We do have another ugly mad man leering at Peri, but oh well. There is also a bit of controversy about what happens to the Borad (this story's bad guy) in the end. It does contradict the 4th Doctor Who story Terror of the Zygons and it's information on the origins of the Loch Ness Monster. As for the DVD itself, this release is a bit light on extras. It features a commentary track by actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Paul Darrow. It also has a new documentary, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (dur. 25' 01"), which looks at the making of the story. It features actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Paul Darrow, David Chandler, Robert Ashby, script editor Eric Saward, writer Glen McCoy and journalist Paul Lang, and is narrated by Terry Molloy. It will also have a photo gallery, production notes subtitles, and the Radio Times listings in pdf format. I would agree with the first reviewer here, this is a great beer and pizza Doctor Who story. It certainly is not the strongest of Colin Baker's era (Vengance on Varros and Revelation of the Daleks are superior in almost every way to all other 6th Doctor stories), but it is still quite enjoyable and features many elements of strong traditional/classic Doctor Who."
"Turn off when I'm dead, it's boring"
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 04/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Timelash" has long been maligned as the worst story from one of "Doctor Who"'s weaker seasons. Everyone, it seems, has a different explanation as to why "Timelash" failed: the fault might lie with the guest actors, or with the director, or the writer, the producer, the set designer... Everyone, just this once, is correct.
"Timelash"'s script is a mess, and that's the fatal flaw. There's too much going on and the end result is less than the sum of its parts. There's an interplanetary war, a deformed dictator (part man, part plesiosaur), some no-nonsense rebels (played here by a pretty young woman and a bald fat guy), a bunch of squabbling Senators, a time corridor in space... and a young H.G. Wells. The characters are by and large one-dimensional, and the dialogue is mostly woeful. Nothing that happens on the planet Karfel ever really engages the viewer... except for Paul Darrow.
Best known for his role on "Blake's 7", Darrow came to this story expected to turn in a similar performance. Instead, he wanted to explore fresh waters by playing his character as Richard the Third. He delivers, in the end, a sarcastic, pompous, oily performance that would have worked really well... had any of the other guest actors been up to the challenge. Instead, he sticks out like a sore thumb. As Darrow says in the DVD's making-of featurette, the story really does get boring once his character exits, midway through the final episode.
The making-of documentary, by the way, is one of the DVD production team's liveliest efforts thus far. Several members of the production (cast and crew) spread the blame around. Script editor Eric Saward, as he always does, blames the producer, a man who's been dead for years. He does point some of the blame at the episode director, but then blames the producer for hiring said director in the first place. As a result, these 20 minutes are far livelier than anything that happens during "Timelash" proper.
"Timelash"'s strength is in the voice acting. Three men alone were up to the task of adding gravitas to their lines: Colin Baker (the Doctor), Darrow, and Robert Ashby (the plesiosaur), who reportedly wrote his own ripostes when the script failed him: "Another expedition into the realms of duplicity". Separated from its drab sets and heard only as an audio play, "Timelash" might offer some moments of true menace.
Unfortunately, apart from those three performances, the rest of the guest cast are just going through the motions, likely as confused by the story as were the script editor and director. "Timelash" winds up a dull misfire, not as bad its legend has grown, but certainly not worth the DVD cover price unless you're a completist."
Why I can't help but like Timelash
The Cougar | Australia | 12/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm in no way saying that this story is a masterpiece. It isn't. The acting is inconsistent, ranging from the best with the two regulars, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, (in a desparate bid to carry the story) to the worst with the actress playing Vena, who looks like she's being forced at gunpoint to do this, reading nearly every line in a monotone, the story ending is a cop-out ("I'll explain later" the Doctor says, when Peri asks him how he survived the Bandril's missile), and yes, the some of the set looks unusually cheap (But why should the last thing be a massive issue?)
Why do I like it so much then?
The whole H.G. Wells storyline is a massive plus for the story in my view. Every time I watch Timelash, I found my interest hitting high-gear. Just putting the naive, spirit-mad, writer wannabe young H.G.Wells before he became famous with the most angry, aggressive-eccentric, moody Doctor, and BAM! Fireworks.
Also deserving a mention is the Borad. Most reviews I've found for the VHS release I've seen just lump every part of this story in the "Horrible" category, but the Borad has to be one of the most well-realised monsters of the classic era, done so well on a small budget, like Colin says on the commentary, it's like a trick camera profile, with one side human, and one side Borad, and the two meld in to make it a VERY convincing monster. The scenes between the Doctor and the Borad are easily a highlight of the story
All in all, have another watch on DVD. Buy Timelash, Grab a beer, pizza, whatever, sit down on the couch, empty your mind of 2000's special effects, and enjoy. (If only to see the Doctor about to explode as Herbet winds him up more and more!)"
One of the most disliked stories in Doctor Who history
Dark Star-The Other One | The Bus To Never Ever Land | 05/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've never found this one as bad as some have made it out to be. NO, it isn't the best but it isn't the worst either. This is one of those stories that, if you keep a sense of humor, you may actually enjoy it. I've always thought that Colin Baker was a great Doctor but in a time when the production was going downhill. Colin does a very good job and once again makes the story. The scene where he's talking to HG Wells on the TARDIS is fun and it's nice to see all the 3rd Doctor references after having the 2nd Doctor turn up in the last storyDoctor Who - The Two Doctors (Episode 141)."
A love/hate for fans, but I like it.
Graves | Pennsylvania | 02/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Timelash is one of those Dr Who adventures that sharply split the fan base. People either love it or hate it with very little in between.
The basic idea is that in a dictatorship of the future, political opponents are thrown into the "Time Lash" a time machine that sends them into exile in medival earth. It comes to the Doctor's attention as the tardis inturupts one such rebel and diverts her to 19th century Scotland. there she, the Doctor and his companion along with a vacationing school teacher named Herbert set off to see who's meddling in time, only to discover this is a world the doctor, as Jon Pertwee visited years before. The Doctor needs little spuring on to oppose any dictator but to find a planet where he's known has fallen on hard times makes it double so.
This is Colin Baker at his best, a bar whose height is fiercely debated. He and the writing staff have grown comfortable enough to know what they are about. Baker is confident to the ppint of arrogant smugness, but pulls it off. Sure the f/x are cheesey, this is Doctor Who and that is part of the charm.
The two down sides: Paul Darrow as the pawn of the dictator is so over the top in his performance it's camp out of all scale. and Secondly the ending has a sort of double play, like they weren't sure how to end it, wrote two endings and then used them both. it is, clumsy, and also contradicts the known Dr Who sequence of events.
But it still remains one of my favorites from a bad couple of seasons, partly for the doctor's style, partly from Herbert. With him, depicted as an almost 'happy puppy' you get a very good example of how just a little time spent with the Doctor can influence a person's whole life."