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Ghost Canyon

'Doctor Who - Time-Flight (Episode 123)'
(Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, et al / DVD / NR / (1983) 2007 / BBC Video)

Overview: All is not well aboard the TARDIS - in an attempt to cheer up Nyssa and Tegan after the recent death of fellow companion Adric, the Doctor plans a trip back to the year 1851 and a visit to the Great Exhibition in London. However, the journey is unexpectedly interrupted and the TARDIS mysteriously appears in Terminal 1 of Heathrow Airport in modern-day London. At the same time, a routine incoming Concorde flight disappears without a trace... Are the two events connected?

DVD Verdict: As you may or may not know, this Episode 123 was / is not appreciated by the Who "fandom". Take it for what it is. A light-hearted, fun way to end the season, after the death of a companion in the emotionally heart-wrenching, watershed story that preceded it, Earthshock. Not to knock Earthshock, as it is also a five-star story.

Keeping the basic premise of Doctor Who, Time-Flight involves ... well ... time travel. A concorde is hijacked and teleported roughly about 140 million years into the past by Kalid, who is later revealed to be the Master. Incidentally, in order to keep the Master a secret from the audience in episode one, the credits list the actor playing Kalid as Leon Ny Taiy, an acronym of Tony Ainley. Clever. I don't think I'm spoiling it for anyone, as most of you reading the review already know the Master is the main villain in the story!

It's interesting to note, too, that Kalid sounds like an Arabic name. I wonder if this is the production team's shot at all the airline hijackings pulled off by Islamic terrorists in the 70s and early 80s. The concorde, for all intents and purposes, is hijacked, to a place full of sand, caves, and more sand and caves. Almost like... the middle east? Too political you say. Consider that the companion Leela, a knife-wielding savage (appropriate!) was named after Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, and you'll see that this wouldn't be the first time Doctor Who has gone in that direction. Wait a minute!!! This is too intriguing too pass up. Kalid...Khaled!!! I don't think we can dismiss the similarity of the names as merely a coincidence.

Ok, so maybe I went somewhere I shouldn't have, but you gotta admit it is suspicious. Back to the story, it is a welcome relief after being dragged through the emotional wringer by Earthshock. After all, isn't that the original intention of Doctor Who? Light-hearted entertainment. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary by actors Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, and script editor Eric Saward
Mouth on Legs - Actress Janet Fielding talks about playing Tegan Jovanka
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes - Fluffs and technical gaffs from the story's production
Interview - A short interview with the story's writer, the late Peter Grimwalde
The Doctor Who Annual 1983 (DVD-ROM Feature)
Radio Times Listings
Program Subtitles
Production Subtitles
Photo Gallery

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