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Peter Davison
Time-Flight
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Synopsis


The Doctor and Kalid
The Doctor and Kalid
 The Doctor finally manages to deliver Tegan to Heathrow Airport, where he gets drawn into investigating the in-flight disappearance of a Concorde.

 Following the same flight path in another Concorde, with the TARDIS stowed in the hold, he discovers that it has been transported back millions of years into the past through a time corridor.

Source: BBC DVD


General Information

Season: Nineteen
Production Code: 6C
Story Number: 122
Episode Numbers:576 - 579
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"Zanadin", "Xeraphin" and "Time into Flight"
Production Dates: January - February 1982
Broadcast Started: 23 March 1982
Broadcast Finished: 31 March 1982
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC8)
Location: Heathrow Airport (Hounslow, Middlesex)
Writer:Peter Grimwade
Director:Ron Jones
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Script Editor:Eric Saward
Editor:Mike Houghton
Production Assistant:Joan Elliott
Production Associate:Angela Smith
Assistant Floor Manager:Lynn Richards
Designer:Richard McManan-Smith
Costume Designer:Amy Roberts
Make-Up Designer:Dorka Nieradzik
Cameraman:Peter Chapman
Incidental Music:Roger Limb
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Martin Ridout
Lighting:Eric Wallis
Visual Effects:Peter Logan
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Peter Howell
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 2The Companions: Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka) (Departs) Guest Cast: Anthony Ainley (The Master) Additional Cast: Richard Easton (Captain Stapley), Keith Drinkel (Flight Engineeer Scobie), Michael Cashman (First Officer Bilton), Peter Dahlsen (Horton), Peter McDermott (Sheard), John Flint (Captain Urquhart), Peter Cellier (Andrews), Judith Byfield (Angela Clifford), Nigel Stock (Professor Hayter), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Hugh Hayes (Anithon), André Winterton (Zarak)Setting: Heathrow Airport (circa 1982) and Earth (circa 140,000,000 BC) Villains:Plasmatons and The Master

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
576Part 123 March 198224'56"10.0PAL 2" colour videotape
577Part 224 March 198223'58"8.5PAL 2" colour videotape
578Part 330 March 198224'29"8.9PAL 2" colour videotape
579Part 431 March 198223'30"8.1PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 37 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 8.9
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)46.16%  (Position = 155 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)43.77% Lower (Position = 196 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)45.74% Higher (Position = 237 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


"Time-Flight" sees the second appearance of The Master during Season Nineteen and the supposed departure of Tegan Jovanka.

This story was written by Peter Grimwade, whose involvement with the show began when he was the Production Assistant for the 1970 Third Doctor story "Spearhead From Space". At the same time, he had some experience as a screenwriter, for Z Cars, and in 1979 became a director as well. His first job as a director, in Doctor Who, was for the 1980 Fourth Doctor story "Full Circle", but prior to this he had already begun discussing the possibility of writing for the programme with then-Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead.

Because Peter Grimwade had been hired to direct "Full Circle" and then Season Eighteen’s finale "Logopolis", this meant that work on this story had to be halted until the end of this season. Like previous stories in this season Peter Grimwade had to take into account the near total overhaul of the regular cast (the exit of Tom Baker and the introduction of Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding). The delay in writing this story did however give Producer John Nathan-Turner extra time to gain permission to film at Heathrow and on board a Concorde - neither of which a television had ever been allowed to do at that time.

It has been revealed that Producer Nathan-Turner actually secured the use of the British Airways’ Concorde in a bluff, when he dropped false hints that he was in similar discussions with Air France.

The TARDIS had previously visited Heathrow in the "The Visitation", but that visit was 300 years in the past. As for airports, the 1967 story "The Faceless Ones" was filmed, and took place, at Gatwick.

The Director for this story was to be Andrew Morgan, whose credits included Blake's 7. However, it has been revealed that he disliked the scripts and was subsequently offered work on another BBC programme. Because he declined the offer at short notice this left very little time to find a new director, John Nathan-Turner therefore turned to Ron Jones, who was just finishing up his first such assignment on "Black Orchid". Ron Jones accepted and so began work on this story immediately after finishing "Black Orchid".

Companion Tegan, played by Janet Fielding, is seen leaving the TARDIS for the first time at the end of this story. Peter Grimwade was asked to make it seem that Tegan was being written out of the show. It was intended that this would act as both a tease to keep viewers’ interest during the long break between seasons (now nine months due to the switch of the show to twice-weekly broadcasts) and to give a safety mechanism in case it John Nathan-Turner, and incoming Script Editor Eric Saward, decided the character wasn’t working. However, it was agreed before this scene was actually recorded that Tegan would return for Season Twenty. She actually returned in the second episode of the next story, "Arc of Infinity".

A late addition to this story was the cameo appearance of Adric, as a hallucination, in the second episode, even though Adric had been killed in the previous story. This was the final time that Matthew Waterhouse played the part of Adric in the show. Since leaving Doctor Who his acting career has been mainly confined to the theatre including a one-man version of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

In order to hide The Master’s involvement in this story, the first episode did not credit Anthony Ainley as The Master. Instead, the credits and Radio Times listed the part of Kalid as being played by a ‘Leon Ny Taiy". This is an anagram of ‘Tony Ainley’ - so continuing the tradition of The Master’s appearance being disguised by the use of either anagrams or synonyms for ‘Master’ as aliases.

Well known actor Nigel Stock appears here as Professor Hayter. His many notable roles included the lead in the BBC’s medical drama series Owen MD.

Michael Cashman, now better known for his appearances in EastEnders plays Concorde’s First Officer Bilton.

This story follows on directly from "Earthshock", at the climax of which companion Adric was killed aboard a space freighter which crashed into the Earth. At the beginning of this story, Nyssa and Tegan plead with The Doctor to go back and save him, but The Doctor refuses. The Doctor claims that he cannot go back in time to save Adric. It seems that there are some rules that cannot be broken, even with the TARDIS. Reference is also made to Varsh’s death in the 1980 Fourth Doctor story "Full Circle".

This story contains some continuity as The Doctor uses his UNIT connections at Heathrow Airport and is recruited to help deal with the missing aircraft situation as a result. UNIT does not otherwise feature in the story. This is the first direct reference to UNIT since the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Seeds of Doom".

When proceeding towards the heart of the Xeraphin citadel, as well as being confronted with an image of Adric, Kalid attempts to dissuade Nyssa and Tegan from entering the inner sanctum by conjuring up images of the Melkur (‘What comes from it killed my Father’) first seen in the 1981 Fourth Doctor story "The Keeper of Traken") and a Terileptil ("The Visitation").

Events of the 1981 Fourth Doctor story "Logopolis" are also referred to when The Doctor announces his plan to materialise his TARDIS around The Master’s.

During the recording of the third episode it became clear that this episode was desperately short on material prompting Director Peter Grimwade to script in seven minutes of additional material. This included extra TARDIS and corridor sequences, as well as extended scenes in the sarcophagus. He also renamed two pilots, as the original names (Rathbone and Irvine) were actually pilots for British Airways.

"Time-Flight" turned out to be a highly ambitious story which was mainly let down by its special effects. Namely stock footage of the Concorde aircraft badly intermixed with obvious models of prehistoric Earth, while the snake-like Plasmaton seen in the third episode is actually a hand-puppet.

This story features the last of the Xeraphin from the planet Xeraphas - a planet devastated by nuclear crossfire in the Vardon Kosnax war. (Vardon is a long lived civilisation, as it is mentioned in the 1984 story "Planet of Fire" with reference to Trion agents). They crashed on the Earth, hoping to populate the 'uninhabited' planet, but they were still ill with radiation sickness. They therefore became a single entity waiting for the contamination to pass.

The Master it seems managed to escape from Castrovalva (no explanation though is given), although his TARDIS’ dynormorphic generator has became exhausted, leaving him stranded on prehistoric Earth.

Despite deciding that the Xeraphin nucleus would provide an excellent substitute for his generator (hinting that the original, like so much of the TARDIS, is semi-living), The Master has to 'run in' his TARDIS, following the time contour back to Heathrow. This process involves some form of calibration, and is similar to the First Doctor’s desire to pinpoint his location such as in the 1963/64 story "The Daleks".

In this story The Doctor activates a feature in the TARDIS to shift the interior so it is the right way up. Nyssa mentions that she wished that they knew about this feature back on Castrovalva.

At one point The Doctor is heard wishing he had brought his scarf, a piece of clothing he wore predominantly in his previous incarnation.

When Nyssa and Tegan see the image of Adric, they realise he is just an illusion as he is still wearing his badge that The Doctor had destroyed in the previous story.

When The Doctor mentions UNIT he name drops Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and wonders if he is a General by now. Clearly The Doctor is unaware of The Brigadier’s retirement (see the 1983 story "Mawdryn Undead"). At this point, The Brigadier hasn’t been seen since the 1975 Fourth Doctor story Terror of the Zygons.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely: As The Doctor correctly indicates, landing some 140 million years ago puts them towards the end of the Jurassic period. However, he then says that they can’t be ‘far off’ the Pleistocene 'era', which wouldn't actually occur for another 138 million years. [He must surely have meant the Cretaceous period, and therefore the ‘nip in the air’ therefore cannot be the indication of an approaching Ice Age; A bird is seen flying in front of Concorde and Heathrow airport is clearly visible in the background when it takes off from Jurassic period; Despite the claim for being one of the busiest airports in the world in this story Heathrow’s air traffic control consists of two men in a tiny room; Strangely Angela Clifford disappears halfway through the story.

Interestingly Golf Victor Foxtrot (the call sign of Concorde) is left behind on prehistoric Earth.

Listen out for when the TARDIS first lands in the terminal building at Heathrow, the voice of a woman announces over the speaker system that Air Australia apologises for the delay of one of its flights. At the end of the story when Tegan is seen walking through the terminal, the same woman announces that the Air Australia flight is ready for boarding.

The Doctor does eventually get to the Great Exhibition in the Big Finish Productions audio story "Other Lives".

It is believed that sometime after this story, the Fifth Doctor gets to meet the Tenth Doctor (see the 2007 Children In Need special "Time Crash").

The first episode of this story marked the last time, until the show was revived in 2005, that an episode was watched by at least 10 million viewers. Sadly by the time the show reached the end of its original run (discounting the 1996 television movie "Doctor Who: The Movie"), viewership had dropped to the 3-4 million range.

The cover for the DVD release of this story, and also "Arc of Infinity", shows the "Peter Davison Years" as being from ‘1981-1984’. All other Fifth Doctor releases have claimed the years as ‘1982-1984’, in deference to the January 1982 broadcast of "Castrovalva". However, there is justification for calling the era ‘1981-1984’, as that wass the period of time Peter Davison actually worked on the programme. Like Jon Pertwee who played the Third Doctor, Peter Davison fell victim to the BBC’s decision to push back the premiere of his first season to the start of the new calendar year. Neither actor is generally credited for their first year on the job, making their time in the show appear a little shorter than they actually were. While Jon Pertwee only filmed about half of Season Seven in 1969, almost everything of Season Nineteen was filmed in 1981. Indeed, Peter Davison’s first work on the show - his regeneration scene - had been filmed in January 1981, almost a full year prior to the release of "Castrovalva". Ironically, the only part of Peter Davison’s initial year not filmed in 1981 was this lone story. All told, Peter Davison’s time in front of the cameras as The Doctor lasted from 9th January 1981 to 12th January 1984 - almost precisely the three-year tenure, that it has been revealed, that he had been advised by Patrick Troughton, who played the Second Doctor, to undertake.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first time companion Tegan Jovanka stops travelling in the TARDIS.

 The first direct reference to UNIT since the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Seeds of Doom".

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Peter Grimwade.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last story of Season Nineteen.

 Matthew Waterhouse's last story as Adric.

 The last time an episode, in the original run of Doctor Who, was watched by at least 10 million viewers.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Destination Heathrow
Destination Heathrow

On a standard flight from New York to London, Concorde Golf Victor Foxtrot is nearing Heathrow Airport when it vanishes. Meanwhile inside the TARDIS, The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka are still grieving for the death of Adric (see "Earthshock"). The Doctor decides to head for Earth in 1851 in the hope of visiting the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.

However due to spatial convergence, however, he has to materialise more quickly than intended and finds that the TARDIS is on the same flight path as the vanished Concorde. He activates the co-ordinate override and the TARDIS appears on the concourse at Terminal 1, Heathrow. When the airport police arrive, the Time Lord suggests that they speak to Department C19 - and specifically to Sir John Sudbury of UNIT. When they do this, they are given instructions to brief The Doctor on the disappearing plane.

The TARDIS is loaded onto another Concorde, which is crewed by Captain Stapley, First Officer Bilton and Flight Engineer Scobie. The plane takes off on the same flight path as the first one, and it too vanishes from the skies. On board, the occupants at first notice nothing wrong as the plane apparently arrives back at Heathrow. Then Nyssa sees decaying corpses. They all concentrate and, breaking the perception induction, find that they are actually in a different time zone, around the Pleistocene era, 140 million years ago. Tegan sees the other Concorde in the distance and sets off for it.

The Doctor
The Doctor

Unknown to The Doctor events are being controlled by a being called Kalid, who resembles an oriental sorcerer. He calls into being Plasmatons - protein agglomerates made from the atmosphere - to restrain The Doctor and to bring Bilton and Scobie to him. The TARDIS is carried off by a group of hallucinating passengers from the first Concorde.

From within a Plasmaton bubble cocoon, The Doctor hears someone calling for help. The cocoon then vanishes and The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Stapley meet Professor Hayter, a passenger from the first plane who is able to resist the hallucinations. They all head for a citadel-like building in the distance. Nyssa is overcome and possessed by some force which speaks to her and tries to warn the group off. Kalid sends another cocoon to prevent Nyssa from talking.

Tegan and Nyssa with The Doctor
Tegan and Nyssa with The Doctor

Having reached the citadel, Stapley and Hayter try to free the other passengers from their hypnotically-induced hallucinations. The Doctor finds the TARDIS and meets Kalid. Nyssa, freed from the cocoon when Kalid redirects the force to stop Stapley and Hayter, is prompted to find the centre of the citadel. With Tegan, she penetrates the structure and enters the inner sanctum, even though Kalid throws up a number of images - Adric, the Melkur and a Terileptil - to try to dissuade them from going on. Kalid threatens The Doctor with a conjured snake creature, but Nyssa throws a rock at the centre of the sanctum and thereby causes the power to drain away. Kalid is revealed to be The Master. He escaped from Castrovalva and has since used components from his TARDIS to build a focusing device and capture the Concordes.

The Master removes components both from Kalid’s control sphere and from The Doctor’s TARDIS, unaware that Stapley has interfered with the latter after realising what he was doing. He sends Stapley and Scobie off in The Doctor’s TARDIS on their own. Meanwhile the passengers are trying to break into the inner sanctum from outside. When they succeed, The Doctor and Hayter enter. Within stands a sarcophagus containing an intelligence at the centre of a psychic vortex. Hayter finds some miniaturised figures and The Doctor identifies them as Xeraphin, creatures whose planet Xeriphas was devastated by the Vardon-Kosnax war. The Time Lord realises that the entire Xeraphin race is a single organism and that The Master intends to use this as a dynamorphic generator in his TARDIS.

Two Xeraphin creatures materialise by taking power first from Nyssa and then from Hayter. One of them, Anithon, is good, but the other, Zarak, is evil. Anithon explains that the Xeraphin travelled to Earth but had radiation sickness. They collected together into a single entity to wait for the sickness to pass, but The Master arrived at the moment of their regeneration and destroyed the first of the new race of Xeraphin. He then contacted the base element of the race and caused them to become divided. The evil side intends to take over the universe and now tries to call forth other evil Xeraphin. Tegan, Nyssa and The Doctor will the dark Xeraphin not to appear, and they are successful. Hayter, however, has apparently been killed, absorbed into the Xeraphin. Suddenly the sarcophagus vanishes. The Master has completed his induction loop and transferred the Xeraphin to the centre of his TARDIS.

Captain Stapley and The Doctor
Captain Stapley and The Doctor

Hayter appears in The Doctor’s TARDIS and pilots it back to the sanctum before vanishing again. The Doctor picks up Bilton and they all return to their Concorde. Stapley prepares the plane for take-off while Tegan and The Doctor check that The Master has taken everyone else with him. The Doctor explains that the other Concorde is in fact The Master’s TARDIS, which has been materialised around the crashed plane. However, due to Stapley’s fiddling with the components taken from The Doctor’s ship, The Master is now trapped.

The Doctor bargains with The Master, offering him a temporal limiter in return for the freedom of the passengers and the return of his own components. The Master agrees, and the exchange is made. The Master then leaves in his TARDIS, but The Doctor assures the others that their adversary will arrive after they do owing to the way the limiter is programmed.

The Concorde arrives safely back at Heathrow, as does The Doctor’s TARDIS. The Master’s TARDIS however, cannot materialise as The Doctor’s TARDIS is already occupying the co-ordinates for which it is programmed. This bounces The Master’s TARDIS away from its intended destination, and the evil Time Lord is sent back to modern-day Xeriphas, where The Doctor hopes the Xeraphin will exact their revenge.

To avoid awkward questions, The Doctor and Nyssa are forced to quickly depart in the TARDIS, assuming that now Tegan is back in her beloved Heathrow she will be happy to stay. They are not aware though that Tegan arrives back, from a nostalgic wander round the airport terminal, just too late to go with them.

 
Aboard Concorde
Aboard Concorde
Meeting Kalid
Meeting Kalid
Kalid
Kalid
The Master Revealed
The Master Revealed
 
The Doctor and The Master
The Doctor and The Master
The Xeraphin
The Xeraphin
The Plasmatons
The Plasmatons
Dealing With The Master
Dealing With The Master




Quote of the Story


 'The illusion is always one of normality.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
Time-FlightJuly 2000BBCV 6878Photo-montage
Video
DVD
Time-FlightAugust 2007BBCDVD 2327Photo-montageBox Set Released along with "Arc of Infinity"
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 19 (Limited Edition)December 2018BBCBD 0446Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 7 specially restored stories
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 19 (Standard Edition)May 2021BBCBD 0527Photo-montageBlu-Ray Standard Edition boxed set containing 7 specially restored stories


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Time-FlightApril 1983Target No. 74Peter GrimwadePhoto-montageISBN: 0-426-19297-4
Novel
Novel
Time-Flight1983Target No. 74Peter GrimwadeBook: Photo-montage
Box: Photo
Re-released as part of The Fourth Doctor Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19430-6
CD
CD
Time-FlightApril 2021Target No. 74Peter GrimwadePhoto-montageAudio version of the Target Novel Read by Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor)
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 61 (Released: November 1995)
Doctor Who Monthly - PreviewIssue 63 (Released: April 1982)
Doctor Who Monthly - ReviewIssue 66 (Released: July 1982)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 294 (Released: August 2000)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 378 (Released: January 2007)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 472 (Released: May 2014)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 135 (Released: March 2014)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Peter Davison
The Fifth Doctor

   

Sarah Sutton
Nyssa
 
Janet Fielding
Tegan Jovanka
   




On Release

VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The Collection Season 19 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 19 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The Collection Season 19 Standard Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 19 Standard Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The Fourth Doctor Who Gift Set
The Fourth Doctor Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
BBC Books Target CD Cover
BBC Books Target CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 61
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 61

CMS
Doctor Who Monthly - Preview: Issue 63
Doctor Who Monthly - Preview: Issue 63

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Monthly - Review: Issue 66
Doctor Who Monthly - Review: Issue 66

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 294
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 294

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 378
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 378

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 472
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 472

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 135
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 135

GE Fabbri


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