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Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 19
Story Number: 123
Doctor: Fifth Doctor
Writer: Peter Grimwade
Director: Ron Jones
Broadcast: 22nd March - 30th March 1982
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: Earthshock
Following Story: Arc of Infinity
"It's only imagination..."

Time-Flight was the seventh and final story of Season 19. Companion Tegan Jovanka left at the end of this story in order to tease viewers as to whether she had left for good. The story is notable for including the first direct reference to UNIT since The Seeds of Doom.



While investigating a vanishing Concorde at Heathrow Airport, the Doctor and his companions are thrown back in time millions of years, where a mysterious alien called Kalid is trying to control the ancient powers of the Xeraphin.



Part 1

Aboard the Concorde

On a standard flight from New York to London, a Concorde designated Golf Victor Foxtrot (GVF) is nearing Heathrow Airport when its signal begins to break up. Before long all trace of the aircraft is lost - the Concorde has disappeared. Arriving at Heathrow shortly afterward, though still grieving for the death of Adric, the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan, are enlisted by Department C19 to help in the investigation of the missing craft.

The trio board a similar Concorde, Golf Alpha Charlie, and follow the same flight path to try and discover the cause of the disappearing Concorde. The TARDIS is stowed on board. Stapley, the Captain of the Concorde, and his senior crew welcome them aboard. The Doctor finds traces of disturbance and, although they arrive safely at Heathrow, they discover that they have travelled 140 million years into the past. The crew believe they have landed in modern Heathrow until the Doctor and Nyssa urge them to challenge this perception and realise the reality of the empty landscape which has been distorted by huge amounts of psychokinetic energy. They soon spy Victor-Foxtrot on the empty plain, and an impressive citadel beyond it in the far distance, with the remains of an alien spacecraft nearby. When the Doctor and his friends discover the crew and passengers of the first Concorde they are moving his TARDIS toward the Citadel on the instructions of an alien entity, all totally immersed in the illusion of a modern Heathrow. All, that is, apart from one passenger, Professor Hayter, who has resisted the illusion. Andrew Bilton and Roger Scobie, Stapley's flight crew, are less lucky and succumb to the illusion, heading off for the Citadel with the TARDIS and the other confused passengers. Their progress is marshalled by the Plasmatons - blobs of protein agglomeration from the atmosphere assembled of random particles which are held together by the same kinetic energy.

Part 2

The face behind Kalid

The force in charge of this strange domain is Kalid, a seemingly oriental mystic who uses a glowing green globe to control vast amounts of psychokinetic energy and shape the prehistoric landscape of Earth. Nyssa too has a particular empathy with this energy and starts getting visions and voices in her head that are so unwelcome to Kalid that he tries to cut her off from the others with a protoplasmic shield. Tegan stays with Nyssa while the Doctor ventures on to the Citadel with Hayter and Stapley. There they find the crew of Victor-Foxtrot, blindly trying to remove the walls to a sealed chamber. Stapley and Hayter work on trying to free the others from the mental illusion while the Doctor heads to the heart of the Citadel and encounters Kalid. The green-tinged magician has evidently brought a slave force to prehistoric Earth, tapping into the already existent psychokinetic powers of the place. He then channels the energies into menacing Hayter, Stapley and the others to try and secure the Doctor’s cooperation in getting into his TARDIS.

This exertion has broken Kalid’s mental hold over the plasmatons around Nyssa and they disperse. Nyssa and Tegan follow the former’s instincts as they enter the Citadel and they are soon provided access to the chamber that has been closed to Kalid and the mentally deluded passengers. Nyssa acts on instinct and throws an artefact into the centre of a tank-like structure in the centre of the sealed room, and the results are immense. Kalid’s mental channelling is interrupted and he collapses in agony, his disguise falling away to reveal the Master.

Part 3

The renegade is trapped in this time zone looking for a way out and needs a new source of power for his TARDIS. The power in the closed chamber could provide an alternative source, but the Master is frustrated that the passengers are taking so long to break down the walls and access it. He forces the Doctor to give him the key to the TARDIS and steals the craft to try and enter the chamber another way, and the Doctor and Hayter race off to the Chamber to try and reach it first. Their arrival coincides with the Concorde passengers finally breaking through the wall.

Inside the sanctum the Doctor and Hayter are reunited with Nyssa and Tegan. The sarcophagus at its centre contains a being of immense power but a split personality which has let itself be used by the Master and Nyssa respectively. Nearby are small shrunken bodies which the Doctor identifies as a missing species, the Xeraphin, a race of ancient beings believed destroyed in the crossfire during the Vardon-Kosnax war. Instead, the entire race seems to have transformed itself into a single gestalt intelligence within the tank which has phenomenal psychic abilities. Hayter sacrifices himself to the creature to provide it with a means to communicate and is absorbed into the entity. The Xeraphin manifest itself in the being Anithon, who explains the entity came to Earth in the crashed spaceship on the plains to escape the war, but were so plagued with radiation they shed their bodies and became a single bioplasmic entity. The Xeraphin built the Citadel and planned to re-emerge from the sarcophagus once the radiation danger was over. The Master’s arrival disturbed the balance of the Xeraphin and has caused the gestalt to develop a split personality of good and evil, each side competing for their tremendous power while yearning to become a proper species once again.

As a result of the Doctor leaving the coordinate override switched on, and some sabotage by Captain Stapley, the TARDIS fails to take the Master into the central Chamber. His next gambit is to build an induction loop which he uses to remotely access the sarcophagus and exert his will over it. The bad Xeraphin responds and within moments the sarcophagus is transported into the centre of the Master’s own TARDIS to serve as a new power source.

Part 4

The Doctor and the Master trade

The Master attempts to flee in his ship, taking those passengers still deluded with him as a slave crew, leaving the Doctor and his friends stranded. But due to the earlier sabotage by the Captain, the Master is unable to leave prehistoric earth. After some to-ing and fro-ing over missing parts, the Doctor manages to gain the release of all the passengers and some parts stolen from his own TARDIS in return for the Master getting a new temporal limiter.

There is now a mass departure from prehistoric Earth. First, the second Concorde is made serviceable and transports Stapley, his crew and the passengers from the other Concorde back to Heathrow. The Doctor reverses the track of the time contour and brings the plane back to Heathrow along with his TARDIS. The Doctor programmed the temporal limiter that he provided the Master with to arrive after he did, so when the Master attempts to land, the Doctor's TARDIS is already in the spot. He 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.

In a rush to leave, the Doctor and Nyssa head off in his TARDIS, assuming that now Tegan is back in her beloved Heathrow she will be happy to stay. Her sadness as she sees the TARDIS dematerialise tells a different story.


Production Crew


Story Notes

  • Working titles for this story were Zanadin and Xeraphin.
  • This story is perhaps the only evidence of product placement throughout the whole of Doctor Who. Doctor Who was the first television story to be allowed to film at Heathrow Airport, and the first to be allowed to film in an actual Concorde aircraft.
  • Anthony Ainley is credited as 'Leon Ny Taiy' in Part One's credits to disguise who Kalid was.
  • The story follows on directly from the previous one, 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. In Part 2, Waterhouse makes a cameo appearance as an apparition version of Adric.
  • 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.
  • Episode 1 was the last episode till the New Series to have over 10 million viewers


  • Part One - 10.1 million viewers
  • Part Two - 8.5 million viewers
  • Part Three - 9.1 million viewers
  • Part Four - 8.3 million viewers

Episode 1 marked the last time the classic series exceeded 10 million viewers. By its final season, viewership will have dropped to the 3-4 million range. Discounting the 1996 TV movie, a rating exceeding 10 million viewers would not be achieved again until well into the 2005-present revival.


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • 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' (should be Pleistocene epoch), which wouldn't actually occur for another 138 million years. (He must surely have meant the Cretaceous Period, and the 'nip in the air' therefore cannot be the indication of an approaching Ice Age.) ("Far off" is a relative term - assuming he wasn't simply being flip, as he often is.)
  • A bird flies in front of Concorde when it takes off from Jurassic England. (There were birds in the Jurassic Period, particularly in the Late Jurassic Epoch.)



For the Doctor:

For the Master:

DVD and Video Releases

This story was originally released in a double-pack with Arc of Infinity in Region 2 and Region 4, but released singly in Region 1.

The R2 cover art of this story and Arc of Infinity shows the "Peter Davison Years" as 1981-1984. All other Davison-era 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's the period of time Davison actually worked on the programme. Like Jon Pertwee, Davison fell victim to the BBC's decision to push back the premiere of his first series to the start of the new calendar year. Neither actor is generally credited for their first year on the job, making their eras appear a little shorter than they actually were. While Pertwee only filmed about half of Season 7 in 1969, almost everything of Season 19 was filmed in 1981. Indeed, Davison's first work on the series — his regeneration scene — had been filmed on 9th January 1981, almost a full year prior to the release of Castrovalva. Ironically, the only part of Davison's initial year not filmed in 1981 was this lone story. All told, 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 he had been advised by Patrick Troughton to undertake.



  • Commentary by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and script editor Eric Saward.
  • Mouth on Legs - Actress Janet Fielding talks about playing Tegan Jovanka.
  • Deleted Scenes.
  • Jurassic Larks - Behind-the-scenes action from the studio recording sessions.
  • Out-takes - Fluffs and technical gaffs from the story's production.
  • Interview - A short interview with the story's writer, the late Peter Grimwade.
  • 1983 Doctor Who Annual (PDF DVD-ROM)
  • Radio Times Listings.
  • Programme Subtitles.
  • Photo Gallery.
  • Coming Soon Trailer.


See also


Main article: Time-Flight (novelisation)

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: Time-Flight
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Time-Flight
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Time-Flight
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Time-Flight
Season 19
Castrovalva  • Four to Doomsday  • Kinda  • The Visitation  • Black Orchid  • Earthshock  • Time-Flight
The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Time-Flight. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "Time-Flight" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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