'NO TIME TO LOSE'
by Francis Moss and Ted Pedersen
Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Dr No, Spoiler.
van speeds out of a government research laboratory with an accompanying
convoy of two cars and a helicopter. But the convoy is being pursued by
the forces of S.C.U.M. As two agents on a hillside fire a winch from a
cannon in order to pull the helicopter crashing to the ground, the road
vehicles are chased by Spoiler and his goons. As the drivers leap from
the vehicles, Spoiler fires a missile at the van, sending it crashing
onto its side. As the two other cars are destroyed by laser blasts,
Spoiler retrieves a briefcase from the back of the van, blasting it
open with his laser, and removing a file marked 'Top Secret', before he
and his boys make a hasty retreat.
Academy, I.Q. is showing off his latest gizmo - a multifunctional
remote for the Warfield van. While he plays around with it, the gang
hears on the van radio about the theft. No mention is made of who was
responsible or what they stole, but MI6's Q Branch is said to be on the
scene. I.Q. hopes it won't stop his grandfather coming to the Warfield
Science Club banquet, and goes to ring him. Milbanks turns up, and
reminds everyone they have a physics exam coming up. After the banquet
that evening, he tells them they're confined to Warfield for revision.
As Trevor examines I.Q.'s remote starter in the hope that he can copy
it and score points with Milbanks, I.Q. catches him in the act - but
plays dumb, promising to bring the plans to the banquet that evening
for Trevor to look at.
In a mountain lair somewhere nearby, Spoiler returns the contents of
the file he stole to Doctor No - they're instructions to build a
terrifying, impenetrable airship called The Vulture,
which has been designed by I.Q.'s grandfather, Major Boothroyd. No
plans to use it to take control of a major city, so his S.C.U.M.
henchmen can loot it - but he's furious to realise that an essential
part of the plans, the thermocouple diagnostics, are missing. Rather
than stealing the second set of plans, he orders Spoiler to kidnap Q
himself, telling him he's scheduled to visit the Science Club banquet
this evening. Spoiler fakes a phone call for 'Mr Boothroyd' to lure Q
out of the restaurant where the banquet is being held, but Q hasn't
turned up yet - and the restaurant owner passes the message to the
wrong Mr Boothroyd, I.Q.!
As I.Q. goes to the phone
box outside, the booth is wrapped with chains by Spoiler's biker boys
and literally dragged off its foundations and down the road - despite
James's best efforts to stop them. I.Q. drops his remote starter out of
the booth for James to find; it features a homing signal which allows
James to track his whereabouts. Together with Sarah, a Q Branch
investigator who turns up after the kidnapping, he sets out to rescue
his friend. At No's lair, the villain is furious that Spoiler has
grabbed the wrong Boothroyd. But No gets the mistaken idea that I.Q.
knows something about the Vulture too, and ties him to a laser machine,
trying to force him to talk. Realising he'll have to fake knowledge of
the craft in order to survive, I.Q. agrees to talk - and No sets him up
in a laboratory to recreate the thermocuple plans. I.Q. sets about
sabotaging the place instead.
Some time later, a furious No finds I.Q. has made a mess of his
facilities, without producing any results on the thermocuple. He sends
Spoiler to steal the plans instead, telling I.Q. that if the bikers
return with the plans before I.Q. completes his, it will all be over
for him. As James and Sarah follow I.Q.'s signal towards No's lair,
they spot Spoiler and his gang heading in the opposite direction, back
to the research centre, where Spoiler forces a scientist to hand over
the thermocouple plans and sends them back to No by computer link. But
as the S.C.U.M. scientist prepares to install the thermocouple, James
and Sarah are spotted on CCTV, poking around outside the secret
entrance. No orders his men to seize them, while he goes to deal with
I.Q., whom he now knows has been broadcasting a homing signal.
I.Q. spots the crooks running towards James on a screen in the lab, and
decides to slow them down by programming doors, water valves etc in the
base to open and close, creating chaos as S.C.U.M. agents run around in
panic. He then escapes in what he's really been working on all this
time: an ultralight aircraft. He rejoins James and Sarah outside the
mountain; however, they're all soon horrified to see that No has
completed the Vulture. It blasts out of the roof of the mountain and
begins firing at them - but No soon tires of that, flying the craft off
to attack bigger targets. After Sarah phones the authorities to inform
them the Vulture is in flight, the trio head back to Warfield to work
out a plan to stop him. Meanwhile, No demonstrates the Vulture's
superior firepower and impenetrable forcefield by picking off an entire
RAF squadron, before piloting the Vulture over the town of Havisham,
and ordering all its residents to hand over their money to him within
one hour - or he'll destroy the town.
After making some modifications to the ultralight, I.Q., James and
Sarah fly towards where the Vulture is hovering, approaching in No's
blind spot so he doesn't see them. I.Q. temporarily shorts out the
Vulture's forcefield with his remote device, and the three leap onto
the craft's roof, entering via a trapdoor and setting the ultralight on
autopilot so they can escape afterwards. After a brief encounter inside
the craft with Spoiler and his boys, which leads to the bikers driving
headlong into a massive pit, they reach the craft's central control
room. I.Q. disables the forcefield permanently, while James turns the
Vulture's laser cannons on the craft itself. James and the others
escape as the Vulture is destroyed - though No and his goons flee in
built-in escape pods. Back at Warfield, Trevor demonstrates his remote
device to Milbanks, having plagiarised the plans I.Q. showed him. As
I.Q. planned, Trevor's remote doesn't activate the van at all, but
turns on the lawn sprinklers - soaking Milbanks and getting Trevor into
Review: No Time to Lose is a real rollercoaster-ride of an episode, combining the fast-paced plot and shifting settings exemplified in episodes like Barbella's Big Attraction, with the action-packed antics of the likes of The Eiffel Missile. Relatively
unusually, it's all based in England, and features a fairly nondescript
guest girl in the form of Sarah. But apart from her there's very little
to complain about. Doctor No is deliciously fiendish as ever, while the
replacement of his usual ninjas with Spoiler and his bikers is a rather
refreshing move which suits the more technological theme of the
episode. Speaking of technology, the Vulture itself makes an excellent
centrepiece. Scenes in which it picks off an RAF squadron and blows a
high-street newspaper stand to smithereens are effective in raising the
stakes. Meanwhile, the particular focus on I.Q. is very welcome; his
fearless ingenuity as he brazenly sabotages No's lab brings an
enjoyable twist to an often nervous and passive character. It wouldn't
be unfair, indeed, to say that I.Q. rather steals James's limelight in
this episode - he's involved in all the major action scenes and claims
a high proportion of the dialogue, often acting as a commentator to
ongoing events in scenes where he is thinking or has been left on his
own by Dr No. The final verdict? A late gem, and a series highlight.
Vulture, of course. It may not exactly be representative of the
security services' real-life work, but it has quite a claim to the
title of ultimate boys' toy.
gains access to what appears to be a S.C.U.M.-branded FTP site, simply
by pressing two buttons on a standard computer keyboard at the research
Lines to Remember: Spoiler, justifying his abduction of 'the wrong Boothroyd': "How am I supposed to know? They don't come with labels on 'em!"
Gadgets & Gizmos: I.Q.'s
remote starter is capable of everything from receiving homing signals,
to neutralising force-fields, to, erm, turning on radios. Whereas
Trevor's can only turn on the sprinklers. Meanwhile I.Q.'s ultralight
is constructed from an electric motor, plastic framework and leather
wings - all apparently accessible within Doctor No's mountain lair.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface?: Yes (see 'Lows' above). Spoiler and his gang also drive motorbikes bearing the logo.
Notes: This is Doctor No's final appearance in the TV episodes.