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"Doctor Who" Time-Flight: Part Four (1982)

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Overall one of the worst ever Doctor Who serials.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
28 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Doctor Who: Time-Flight: Part Four starts as the ghost of Professor Hayter (Nigel Stock) appears in the TARDIS & pilots it to land inside the Xeraphin sarcophagus where the Doctor (Peter Davison), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) & Tegan (Janet Fielding) are trapped. Returning back to the stranded Concorde using the TARDIS the Doctor has to devise a plan to stop the Master's evil scheme & get Concorde with all the passengers & crew safely back to the 20th Century...

Episode 26 from season 19 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during March 1982, directed by Ron Jones one has to say that I personally think Time-Flight is the single worst Doctor Who story I have seen to date & I don't say that lightly since it's up against some distinguished competition with the likes of Timelash (1985) & Delta and the Bannermen (1987). The script by Peter Grimwade is truly awful, from the terrible opening where the Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan get over the death of Adric very quickly to the fact that I thought the idea of getting rid of Adric in the first place was to free up Tegan & Nyssa to become more involved in stories but for some reason Time-Flight introduces two British Airways pilots who act like companions & again both Tegan & Nyssa are left standing around in the background waiting for something to do. The whole concept is awful with the nonsensical idea of a Concorde being thrust back 140 million years in a time vortex just doesn't work on any level. Large chunks of the plot are explained with over elaborate rubbish technobabble scientific explanations that I presume were meant to sound convincing, explain the unexplainable & paper over the cracks in the script but when all said & done they sound confusing & you never feel like you know whats going on or why. The end of this episode also sees a cliffhanger ending in which Tegan is seemingly left behind at Heathrow by the Doctor but it was always planned to bring her back in the opening story of season twenty Arc of Infinity (1983). The character's are awful as well with terrible awkward sounding dialogue. Everything about Time-Flight sucks, it's an embarrassment from start to finish & I consider myself a Doctor Who fan when I say that.

The story sucks but so do the production values & how the Doctor Who production team thought they could convincingly depict special effects of Concorde landing & taking of from prehistoric England is beyond me, a multi million dollar big budget Hollywood flick would have had trouble making it look convincing. The shots of Concorde on the ground are achieved with a model toy, you know the sort of thing that you buy in airport souvenir shops! It looks terrible. The stock footage of Concorde taking off & flying also looks awful & obviously doesn't match the majority of the events on screen. At least the makers only used the two head snake sock puppet once & the blocks of cement on legs a couple of times although the cocoons made up of washing up liquid bubbles are hilariously bad. The sets are awful as well, even the studio bound jungle from Kinda (1982) looks better than this.

Time-Flight: Part Four is terrible but than again so are Parts One, Two & Three so it's no real surprise. Time-Flight: Part Four not only ends this story but season nineteen as well, there has been some excellent stories like Earthshock (1982) & Black Orchid (1982) to the entertaining The Visitation (1981) & the average Castrovalva (1981) & Kinda (1981) to Time-Flight which is absolutely awful. Overall I will give Time-Flight a lowly two stars out of ten across it's four episodes.

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