You know as terrible as 1993’s ”Dimensions in Time” Doctor Who special is (and if you haven’t seen it you must if only for the camp factor), with the floating plastic heads of Hartnell and Troughton and all the Eastender cameos and the plots that don’t make sense (the idea that they had no time to make something good is jettisoned by something like the “Night of the Doctor” webisode starring Paul McGann which was wonderful and only about 7 minutes), it does have some redeeming value.
In a way it is systematic of John Nathan Turner’s entire decade plus tenure as Who producer. No accident that this debacle is the only Who adventure JNT is actually credited with writing. First we have the BBC meddling and cheapness which was a major factor of the JNT era, with this case being a proposed feature film for the 30th anniversary being reduced to a gimmicky 13 minute “3-D” comic crossover with Eastenders. Then we have JNT’s love of famous name “guest stars” (with the Eastenders in effect), then we have the unnecessary violence, the bad plotting and pacing and the horrible script (basically the Sixth Doctor era writ small).
On the other side we have some interesting ideas here. JNT had a good sense of his Doctors (Six’s costume aside which even Turner admitted was a mistake). Davison, Colin Baker and McCoy were perfectly cast and the personalities given to them fit each respectively. Except perhaps for Adric (though he has fans) and Mel (who could have worked with better writing as Big Finish has shown), even JNT’s companions were well cast.
In Dimensions in Time we have some interesting and potentially great match-ups that could have made entire stories each in itself.
Three with (a noticeably older) Victoria Waterfield.
Three with Sarah Jane post her Fourth Doctor adventures.
Three with Mel (I think this was actually a great combination since Mel was a very Jo Grant-ish character and Pertwee would have given Bonnie Langford something to do for once).
Six with the Brigadier and Susan and ACE (brilliant ideas, all, since Six had a lot of the arrogance of Hartnell and early Pertwee which the Brig and Susan would have identified with and we can only guess how Ace would have handled Six, who was much more bombastic than her “Professor”).
Seven with Leela (in a way they would be perfect together).
Five with Peri and Nyssa (interestingly Nyssa was Davison’s preferred companion and he didn’t like it when JNT wrote her out, while Peri and Five would go on post Dimensions to have several “new” adventures in Big Finish audios).
Romana II (future President of Gallifrey) vs The Rani. Time Lady vs Time Lady! Something we still have never seen in NuWho.
The Rani deciding to mess with the Doctor’s timeline, a great idea for a “good” multi-Doctor story.
The Rani having her own male “companion”in her Tardis, an evil version of the Doctor’s set-up.
All of the the Doctor’s greatest villains taking advantage of his weakness and the twisted time lines to team together to defeat him long before Davies and Moffat tried it.
All in all, such a wasted opportunity. The ideas were there. A lot of the blame of must lay with the BBC I think who have treated the franchise shabbily for decades before they suddenly realized how much money could made off of it.