‘Time-Flight’ (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

Flight of the Concorde

The ‘Time-Flight’/’Arc of Infinity’ DVD box-set contains two amazing stories with Peter Davison! Yes I know, you think I’m bonkers!

But I honestly enjoyed these two ‘Doctor Who’ stories when I bought this DVD box-set on holiday in Torridon, Scotland in August, 2007. Crikey, is it that long ago? These are two fine stories with Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and I’ve met her at conventions since she’s my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion

I’ve had the DVD covers of ‘Time-Flight’ and ‘Arc of Infinity’ signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘Cardiff Film and Comic Con’ in March, 2014. I cherish this DVD box-set always. I can’t help enjoy both these stories with Peter Davison’s Doctor, Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa and Janet Fielding’s Tegan. Really! Honest!


Poor ‘Time Flight’! This is an uncherished; unloved story from Season 19. But I like ‘Time-Flight’!

The story has the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan having to rescue a Concorde plane zapped back in time. It has the ingredients of a good story and it’s a shame the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ aren’t well executed enough.

This four-part story by Peter Grimwade (who directed ‘Earthshock’) is pretty ambitious and required a lot of time and effort. More money was spent on ‘Earthshock’, and less was spent on ‘Time-Flight’.


There are some interesting concepts in this story. I liked how Grimwade introduces the Xeraphin as an alien race with a split personality and the power to create illusions and to hypnotise their subjects.

I liked the opening scene with Nyssa; Tegan and the Doctor in the TARDIS as they lost Adric in ‘Earthshock’. I found it a tense and moving scene when the Doctor tells Nyssa and Tegan why he can’t go back to save Adric.

I liked the Heathrow Airport scenes in the story. I felt sorry though for Sarah and Janet who braved through the bitter cold in those scenes. I wanted to put my arms around them and keep them warm.

Nyssa - Time-Flight5 - Copy

I love Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. I’ve chatted to Sarah about ‘Time-Flight’. I told Sarah that I was convinced by her amazing performances. I don’t think Sarah believed me but she was pleased and glowed at my compliment.

This story contains some really good Nyssa moments. Nyssa’s latent psychic abilities get touched upon in the story. I found Nyssa to be a stronger character when she’s prepared to sacrifice her life for the Doctor.

Janet Fielding is also good as Tegan and has managed to get back home to Heathrow Airport by the Doctor. She’s willing to help out in this adventure and gets to show off her air stewardess skills.


One of the sequences I liked is when Nyssa and Tegan encounter visions of Adric and past monsters they’ve met. The monsters included the Melkur from ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and a Terileptil from ‘The Visitation’.

Peter Davison delivers an energetic performance as the Doctor in this story. I liked his scenes with Kalid and the ‘new series-like’ moment the Doctor has when he reacts to Captain Stapley’s sabotage of the TARDIS.

The story’s villain is conjuror Kalid who happens to be Anthony Ainley as the Master. The Master is on top form in this story, although I don’t know why he had to disguise himself as Kalid in the first two episodes.


The TARDIS trio are joined by three air pilots. They are Richard Easton as Captain Stapley, Michael Cashman as Bilton and Keith Drinkel as Scobie. They’re also joined by Nigel Stock as the sceptical Professor Hayter.

The Doctor defeats the Master and brings everyone home. But Tegan gets left behind and it’s too late for her when she tries to head back to the TARDIS. I really felt for Tegan as she had tears in her eyes.


The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a ‘Mouth on Legs’ interview with Janet Fielding; deleted scenes; outtakes; a ‘Jurassic Larks’ featurette and a brief Peter Grimwade interview.

There’s a commentary with Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Sarah Sutton and script-editor Eric Saward; an info-text commentary option, a photo gallery; and two PDFs including a ‘Radio Times Listing’ of the story and a ‘1983 Doctor Who Annual’.

There’s a ‘coming soon trailer’ for the ‘The Time Warrior’ DVD with Jon Pertwee and Elizabeth Sladen.


‘Time-Flight’ isn’t a great ‘Doctor Who’ story. The story is complex and hard to follow, but I like ‘Time-Flight’ as it features some lovely moments in it, especially for Nyssa. For me, it’s a decent finale to Peter Davison’s first season as the Doctor.

For an extended review on the TV story, please see Defending ‘Time-Flight’.

Check out a Nyssa painting by Timelord007

‘Time-Flight’ rating – 7/10



Please feel free to comment on my review.

A Wing and a Prayer

‘Doctor Who – Time-Flight’ has been a fascinating book to read.

This is the novelization of the TV story ‘Time-Flight’ by Peter Grimwade. I purchased this book and the novelization of ‘Castrovalva’ at the now-deceased ‘Doctor Who’ Up Close Exhibition in Cardiff back in August 2009. I remember reading this whilst on holiday and was keen to find out about this story.

‘Time-Flight’ is not a highly regarded story by ‘Doctor Who’ fans. In fact, it’s poorly rated. But I have a certain fondness for ‘Time-Flight’ and I wanted to explore more about what went on in this story with all the scientific explanations and concepts running throughout the plot and what was behind them.

This is a slim Target novelization of the story by Grimwade. The book was published in January 1983, a year after the story’s original broadcast. The story is divided into 10 chapters, which is unusual as four-episode stories tend to be divided into 12 chapters with 3 chapters to comprise each episode.

I must admit I found the Target novelization rather disappointing. It wasn’t as detailed as I hoped. I was expecting this novel to be in-depth with the likes of ‘Black Orchid’. But I found as I was reading it, each chapter went swiftly by and there wasn’t enough information to absorb about each event.

Grimwade has a tendency to be brief and to the point when writing the book. For example, the lines of dialogue in certain scenes were removed and paraphrased to describe the action of the story. This was unsatisfying as I like to hear the characters’ lines in the novelization than have them removed.

The aftermath scene of Adric’s death in the TARDIS following ‘Earthshock’ was rather rushed in my opinion, as some of the dialogue was cut from the transmitted episode into the novel. The scene didn’t have the emotional impact it should have had, especially between the three major characters.

Also Grimwade fails to include the ‘deleted scenes’ that were on the ‘Time-Flight’ DVD that I remembered. These scenes included Sheard’s conversations about NATO and Whitehall in his office and also the missing line in the Sanctum when the Doctor explains the Xeraphin in the sarcophagus.

Also the scenes where Nyssa and Tegan journey to reach the Sanctum aren’t well-realised in the novel as they were in the TV version. The scene where they encountered the ghost of Adric is well-handled, but the bits where they encountered the Melkur and the Terileptil are briefly mentioned.

An interesting point is when Stapley breaks Bilton out of his hypnotic state by mentioning Tegan. This occurs also in the TV version of the story. I wondered why Tegan’s name-mentioning should have helped Bilton remember where he was. Sadly this isn’t dealt with properly in Grimwade’s novel.

The Master holding some Concorde passengers hostage until he gets the temporal limiter from the Doctor is also removed in the book. Also the preparing for take-off in Concorde between the Doctor and party is hazy and poorly structured as there’s no clarity for the scene set-up between characters.

The good points about this book though are that the story isn’t hampered by dodgy effects and set design. The plot works well in print as you can imagine the visual prehistoric landscape and the interiors of the Citadel with the vivid descriptions given by Grimwade in the novelization of the story.

Saying that however, it has been known Peter Grimwade likes to use elongated works that are pretty complicated and wouldn’t be understood by the average reader. Words like rotunda and protoplasm aren’t defined in the book as one would have hoped for as I myself am not familiar with the terms.

I liked it when Grimwade describes the phone call scene between Sheard and Sir John Sudbury of C19 at U.N.I.T. Although we don’t have Sir John actually speaking to Sheard in the novelization of the story, the tense reactions that Sheard has in his conversation with Sir John are well-described and felt.

Both Sheard and the air traffic controller Horton are given first names in the story. Sheard is called Douglas and Horton is called Clive. This was interesting for Grimwade to give both men these names.

Grimwade does well describing the perception induction scenes. Not just with the Doctor and party arriving in pre-historic Earth, but also with the passengers under hallucination. Examples include Angela seeing Hayter as a difficult passenger and Bilton in the cockpit with Stapley whilst they work.

The reasoning behind the Master disguising himself as Kalid is better handled in the book compared to the TV story. In the book, it’s described that Kalid is a Plasmaton version of the Master and also it’s a disguise to hide not just the Master but to hide also the evil Xeraphin that are in the Sanctum.

For me, Nyssa’s psychic abilities are well-handled in the story. In the book, the reader is able to home in on Nyssa’s thoughts and intuition especially when she and Tegan make their way into the Sanctum; when Nyssa is sacrificing herself and when she senses Hayter in the Xeraphin life-force.

In terms of the structure of the book, the earlier chapters are pretty brief and most of the book covers the first two episodes. The third episode is compressed in one chapter (Chapter 8), making it the longest chapter in the whole book. Also the fourth episode is divided into the last two chapters.

The exit of Tegan is pretty well-handled. I liked how in the book, the scene that depicts Tegan at Terminal One shows her desperate to be on her way and without saying goodbye to the Doctor and Nyssa. In the last scene, Tegan is terribly upset when losing her chance to re-join the TARDIS team.

As I understand it, plans were made by AudioGo to produce an audiobook of the ‘Time-Flight’ novelization. Matthew Waterhouse (interestingly) was considered to be the narrator of the audiobook. However when AudioGo went into bankruptcy in 2013, the production was abandoned.

I would like this novelization/audiobook to be resurfaced again someday. Sarah Sutton read an extract of the ‘Time-Flight’ novelization for the ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Peter Grimwade on DVD. She was a very good and lovely narrator. You can buy that DVD from the ‘Galaxy 4’ shop online.

‘Doctor Who – Time-Flight’ has been an interesting read. It’s not the best Target novel I’ve read and is rather disappointing lacking in detail and consistency. But it’s interesting how Peter Grimwade novelizes his TV story into prose. I’m wondering what his novelization for ‘Mawdryn Undead’ is like.

‘Doctor Who – Time-Flight’ rating – 6/10

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