Dimensions In Time

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Ace find themselves in London’s East End (instead of their intended destination, the Great Wall of China). Soon they find themselves switching identities, as the Doctor flits from one incarnation to another and his companions constantly change. Behind it all is The Rani, who hopes to trap the Doctor so he can never interfere in her plans again…

written by John Nathan-Turner & David Roden
directed by Stuart McDonald
music by Keff McCulloch

Cast: Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Tom Baker (The Doctor), Peter Davison (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Kate O’Mara (The Rani), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), Louise Jameson (Leela), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell), Bonnie Langford (Mel), John Leeson (K-9), Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell), Philip Newman (Kiv), Mike Reid (Frank), Wendy Richard (Pauline Fowler), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Pam St. Clement (Pat Butcher), Nicola Stapleton (Mandy), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Gillian Taylforth (Kathy Beale), Deepak Verma (Sanjay), Lalla Ward (Romana II), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale)

Broadcast November 26 & 27, 1993

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey

Review: 1993 marked the thirtieth anniversary of Doctor Who. It was meant to be celebrated with a semi-big budget straight-to-video movie entitled The Dark Dimension. The special focused on an alternate version of the Fourth Doctor and featured all the other surviving Doctors in parts of varying size. Despite reservations on the part of the actors, they had all signed on and the special was all set to begin production, when it was shut down. Reasons given why the production was cancelled have varied. Some say that it was the objections of the less-featured Doctors that doomed it. Others say it was the BBC’s discomfort with the direct-to-video concept. It is known that Philip Segal, producer of the 1996 TV Movie (then in pre-prodcution) read the script and feared it would ruin his chances of selling Doctor Who to a US network. Whether it was the actors, the BBC or Segal that sealed its fate, The Dark Dimension was dead.

But former Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner (who was overseeing the Doctor Who video line at the time) still wanted to celebrate the anniversary. He came up with the idea of a special story that would air during the “Children In Need” appeal. This idea eventually came into being as Dimensions In Time, a two-part story that was shot in 3-D and crossed Doctor Who with the popular BBC soap opera Eastenders.

The performances are mostly better than the material deserves. Of the Doctors, only Tom Baker comes off poorly. (He actually seemed much more “Doctor-ish” in the New Zealand Superannuation commercials he made a few years later, proving he still had the chops. He just doesn’t use them here.) Kate O’Mara hams it up as usual, but that’s why we love her. Most companions don’t have enough screentime to really come across effectively. Still, some (like Deborah Watling and Nicholas Courtney) are quite solid. (Also, it’s nice to see the Brig finally get to meet the Sixth Doctor.)

Since I do not watch Eastenders, the many guest appearances and references to that show are lost on me. (Well, except for seeing Wendy Richard, since I’m a big fan of Are You Being Served?)

The “3-D” is rather weak, utilizing a style that requires camera motion and special glasses to trick the eye into thinking it is seeing 3-D. The glasses actually work with any high-motion footage, making its use come off as just a gimmick. Thankfully, using this method means that when one watches the show without glasses, it doesn’t look strange like the “red/blue” 3-D does.

There is little to say about the plot. It is nonsensical, but the value in watching Dimensions In Time is not in seeing gripping sci-fi entertainment. It is purely in the opportunity to see so many Doctors and companions in one adventure. From Susan to Ace, companions from all eras are represented, along with most of the series’ favorite monsters. Other than these things, Dimensions In Time has little to offer. Still, for fans they make it worth watching at least once, especially as it marked Jon Pertwee’s final appearance and maybe the last true “multi-Doc” story.