‘The Mark of the Rani’ (TV)

‘THE MARK OF THE RANI’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Lords and Luddites with the Master, the Rani, the Sixth Doctor and Peri

It’s time for the first pseudo-historical story to be featured in the Colin Baker era of ‘Doctor Who’. And it’s one where the Sixth Doctor and Peri confront the forces of the evil Master and the equally evil Rani, a brand-new Time Lord/Time Lady for the series. These are the elements of an exciting story. 🙂

The first time I purchased ‘The Mark of the Rani’ on DVD was back in 2007. I was still getting into the classic ‘Doctor Who’ series as a young fan from watching the new series. The first ‘Doctor Who’ story with the Sixth Doctor I ever saw was ‘The Two Doctors’. ‘The Mark of the Rani’ was the second story.

In contrast to the first two stories of Season 22 – ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ and ‘Vengeance on Varos’, this one is a little lighter and less violent. With that said, there are still some violent moments to be found in this TV story, which concern the Rani’s plan in the Industrial Revolution with Luddites.

In the story, the Doctor’s TARDIS gets drawn off course. The Doctor and Peri were meant to be going to Kew Gardens. Peri is dressed up for it. There was supposed to be a first TARDIS scene to establish this, but sadly it got cut from the final edit. Sadly, there’s no extended version of the story on Blu-ray.

Instead, the Doctor and Peri end up in the early 19th century in a mining village called Killingworth. Unfortunate name for a village, but still. The TARDIS duo find themselves caught in the middle of a Luddite rebellion where men are becoming hyper-violent. But it seems there’s more to this situation.

The reason for the once-peaceful men of Killingworth becoming hyper-active and overly violent is because they’ve been robbed of the power of sleep. The Doctor and Peri discover this, as they work out what’s going in Killingworth and soon find that it’s the evil Rani who’s responsible for all of this.

They also find that the Master has come back, as he helps the Rani with her plans and causes trouble during the Industrial Revolution on Earth. Will the Doctor and Peri be able to stop these two rogue Time Lords in their villainous plans and will they be able to restore the men of Killingworth to peace?

Like the first two stories of Season 22, ‘The Mark of the Rani’ is a two-part 45-minute episode story. The writers of this adventure are Pip and Jane Baker, a husband-and-wife team, who make their first contribution to the TV series. They both tried to contribute something to the Graham Williams era. 🙂

Thankfully, producer John Nathan-Turner took them on board and they contributed a pretty enjoyable ‘Doctor Who’ adventure involving the Sixth Doctor, Peri, the Master and their creation, the Rani. Pip and Jane Baker would go on to write a few more ‘Doctor Who’ tales in the classic series.

This includes the ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ segment and one episode of ‘The Ultimate Foe’ in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ as well as ‘Time and the Rani’. I wouldn’t consider those to be very good ‘Doctor Who’ stories compared to ‘The Mark of the Rani’, but they’re decent enough whenever I see them. 🙂

I think it’s unfair of some people to criticise Pip and Jane Baker’s writing in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not sure how script editor Eric Saward regards them as writers, but he didn’t initially select them for ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ season. Despite that, I regard ‘The Mark of the Rani’ as their best ‘Doctor Who’ story.

When they were commissioned to write a ‘Doctor Who’ story by producer John Nathan-Turner, Pip and Jane Baker were asked to introduce a new Time Lord character into the mix. This resulted in the evil Time Lady scientist called the Rani, played very wonderfully by film and TV actress Kate O’Mara.

Rani is the Hindu word for ‘queen’ or ‘princess’, I believe. It’s also the name given to Rani Chandra, one of Sarah Jane’s companions in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, played by Anjli Mohindra. At this point, I’m wondering if Rani Chandra will ever confront the evil Rani in an upcoming Big Finish audio.

The Rani has become a popular ‘Doctor Who’ character over the years. She would go on to appear in two more TV stories, including ‘Time and the Rani’, where Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor makes his debut, as well as ‘Dimensions In Time’, the 1993 Children-in-Need 30th anniversary story.

She’s also been in some audios, including the BBV audio ‘The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind’ by Pip and Jane Baker, where Kate O’Mara played the character. And there are the Big Finish audios ‘The Rani Elite’ and ‘Planet of the Rani’, where Siobhan Redmond portrays her, following Kate O’Mara’s death.

Kate O’Mara is amazing in making her debut appearance as the Rani in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series. It’s a shame she never got to reprise the Rani in the Big Finish audios, as she almost did before her untimely death. I’m pleased she was able to play the Rani here, following her extensive film and TV career.

I find the Rani more intimidating than Michelle Gomez as Missy in the new series. I don’t know if the Rani would have worked with or without the Master being there, but Kate O’Mara excels in the role, bringing a sense of charm and menace that was easy to enjoy and loathe whilst watching this story. 🙂

It was interesting to see how the Rani worked as a ‘Doctor Who’ villain compared to the Master. For one thing, the Rani isn’t intent on conquering the universe like the Master is. She simply wants to conduct her scientific experiments in order to improve the situation that’s on the planet she rules. 😐

That planet called Miasimia Goria would be explored further in ‘Planet of the Rani’ with Siobhan Redmond’s Rani. The Rani, particularly in her Kate O’Mara incarnation, has an amoral view to life, which is a contrast to the Master, who’s immoral and more power hungry than she appears to be. 😐

The Rani finds the Doctor and the Master a nuisance in her scientific schemes. The Doctor despises the Rani for what she does in her lives, despite admiring the scientific skills she has. Incidentally, a touch of the Doctor, the Master and the Rani’s early lives is explored in the book called ‘Divided Loyalties’.

Pip and Jane Baker decided to write a pseudo-historical adventure featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri when facing the Rani and the Master in tow. The Master is an interesting inclusion in the story, especially since he was supposed to have been killed off in ‘Planet of Fire’, but more about that later.

The story’s historical setting is the Industrial Revolution and takes place in the mining village of Killingworth in the early 19th century. I found this an interesting excursion into history. I know how much Sarah Sutton enjoyed watching ‘The Mark of the Rani’ in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ item on Blu-ray.

I also enjoy the historical adventures featured in ‘Doctor Who’, especially when they mix-in science fiction elements to make it interesting. Sometimes pure historical stories like ‘The Romans’, ‘Black Orchid’ and ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ can win me over, but most of them can be pretty hard-going. 😐

The historical or earthbound stories in ‘Doctor Who’ add a sense of realism as well as something unusual and weird, especially when the sci-fi and fantasy elements come into effect. I feel Pip and Jane Baker delivered a compelling pseudo-historical ‘Doctor Who’ adventure that is pretty satisfying.

I like how the story progresses throughout, especially when the Doctor and Peri uncover the Rani’s plan that’s being conveniently covered up by the Luddite riots going on at the time. I can’t claim to know everything about the Luddite movement during the Industrial Revolution, but it was intriguing.

I studied the Industrial Revolution when I did history at school. Therefore, I was familiar what with the period was about whilst watching this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. It makes me wish that I did watch ‘Doctor Who’ as a kid growing up, as I would’ve appreciated my history lessons at school a lot more.

The Luddite rebellions are also events that happened in real life; since the workers smashed up the machinery to oppose the progression of industry. The working men feared that their jobs would be taken over by the machines. Something that I’m sure is a commonly fair argument in today’s society.

I found it enjoyable to see how the Rani made use of the historical events that happened in the Industrial Revolution with the Luddite rebellions. She takes advantage of them when conducting her own scientific experiments by removing the chemicals to promote sleep in the male human workers.

It’s a pretty cruel endeavour on the Rani’s part and, as it’s unveiled in the story, it emphasises how she can be a pretty amoral character in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe. For her, she sees it as a side effect of her own experiments. Whereas for the Doctor and Peri, they see it as immoral and serious.

In some respects, this ‘Doctor Who’ story inspired me with how I developed my own stories in my Fifth Doctor series. The concept of removing the chemicals in human bodies to promote sleep is what I utilised to create and develop the villainous Dwaxi in some of the stories that they appeared in.

This includes ‘Doom of the Daleks’ and ‘Dawn of the Dwaxi’. Of course, there were drugs involved, but it’s that inspiration from ‘The Mark of the Rani’ that got me thinking into how I could create the Dwaxi as ‘Doctor Who’ monsters. Perhaps a meeting between the Rani and the Dwaxi should be in order. 😀

At this point in the TV series, audiences were still getting used to Colin Baker as the new Sixth Doctor. He was still considered to be the brash, arrogant and unlikeable Doctor that was established in ‘The Twin Dilemma’. He was like that through ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ and ‘Vengeance on Varos’.

Thankfully, as Season 22 developed, there were hints of moral attributes of Colin Baker’s Doctor beginning to show more in the character. This is especially when he opposes the Rani’s views and her experiments and is shocked by the callous disregard of human life by the Master and the Rani. 🙂

I feel it’s a shame that Colin Baker never got to live his dream in outliving Tom Baker’s seven-year record of a ‘Doctor Who’ era. This was due to the behind-the-scenes tensions that went on in the making of the show as well as the BBC announcing an 18-month suspension to rethink the TV series.

It would’ve been interesting to see how Colin Baker’s Doctor developed from being brash and unlikeable to being compassionate and likeable, which the Big Finish audios have been able to develop upon and make up for. The Big Finish audios seem to form the rest of Colin’s 10-year stint. 🙂

That’s often a frustrating thing I find with the TV series as well as rewarding and invigorating through the Big Finish audios. Certain periods of the classic ‘Doctor Who’ series, including the Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras in the 1980s aren’t expanded on in TV as I’d like them to be. 😐

You think in retrospect what might have been had the TARDIS team of the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric been given two seasons instead of one, matching the extra Big Finish audios they’ve had compared to their TV adventures. The same thing applies to the Sixth Doctor and Peri’s stories here.

They could’ve had more than one season, thanks to the adaptation of the Lost Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish. It’s a relief when your favourite Doctors and companions that are overlooked in the TV series are given a second chance in the Big Finish audios so they can fulfil their true potential.

It’s one of the reasons why I think the TARDIS foursome set-up is better in the Thirteenth Doctor era compared to the say the First, Second and Fifth Doctor eras, as most of those TARDIS teams in the classic series had one season. The first Jodie Whittaker TARDIS team were given two full TV seasons.

Going back on topic, I found Colin Baker very good as the Sixth Doctor in ‘The Mark of the Rani’. There are times when his Doctor can be arrogant and brash to Peri early on. This is especially when he repeats “Malfunctioning!” three times in the TARDIS and he often displays his smug arrogance. 😐

Despite that, there are times when Colin Baker’s Doctor can come across as being very compassionate and caring, especially when he’s working out what’s going on with the hyper-active and violent miners. He also warns Luke Ward about confronting his father who’s being violent lately.

I liked it when the Doctor took a moral stance against the Rani and the Master and is disgusted by the Rani’s callous disregard of Luke becoming a tree once he walks into her minefield. It’s those aspects of the Sixth Doctor that I’d like to see more of in his TV era instead of being brash and arrogant.

With all these things said, the Doctor does stand out too much in his technicolour coat, as it doesn’t blend in well with his 19th century surroundings. I mean, surely someone would comment on how out-of-place he is. Mind you, other incarnations of the Doctor, including Jodie Whittaker, don’t help.

It was funny when the Doctor disguised himself with dirt to be one of the workers. The story that Colin Baker told in the ‘Lords and Luddites’ making-of documentary was amusing to listen to, as a certain canine (not K-9) left his or her deposit on a bucket of BBC dirt for Colin to put his hands in. 😀

Nicola Bryant is equally good as Peri in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. Like Colin Baker’s Doctor, Peri gets to wear an extravagant outfit that was meant for Kew Gardens. The dress she wore underneath the brightly yellow jacket is fine enough, as it makes her look like she’s in a Jane Austen production.

But the brightly yellow jacket itself is something I’m not a fan of. I know Nicola isn’t a fan of that costume either. It might have suited okay for visiting Kew Gardens, but in a mining village called Killingworth during the Industrial Revolution, not so much. I’m surprised it wasn’t far more subtle. 😐

I enjoyed how Peri interacted with the Sixth Doctor in this adventure. Again, the two tend to squabble with each other in the TARDIS and sometimes the Doctor does tend to get on Peri’s nerves when he ventures off into dangerous territory. But it’s clear that Peri truly cares about the Doctor. 🙂

The extent of how much Peri cares about the Doctor gets explored in a Big Finish audio called ‘The Reaping’, which takes place in-between Seasons 22 and 23. It’s interesting how Peri and the Doctor have a strange banter with each other, as it’s both affectionate and argumentative simultaneously. 🙂

As well as the Rani, Anthony Ainley returns as the villainous Master in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. It was nice to see the Master back and Anthony Ainley is one of my favourite actors to play the character. It’s amusing that the Master’s cheating death in ‘Planet of Fire’ is glossed over in this story.

Despite being happy to see the Master again in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure, I do feel that he’s somewhat eclipsed, especially when the story is being balanced out to accommodate him and the Rani as villains. I’m not so sure how happy Anthony Ainley was to share this story with Kate O’Mara.

But at least Kate O’Mara found Anthony Ainley pleasant to work with, according to the ‘Lords and Luddites’ making-of documentary. It’s interesting how the two played out their characters in the story. It was good to see how the Master and the Rani interact with each other as fellow Time Lords.

The Master claims to be an admirer of the Rani’s, but the Rani is dismissive of his megalomaniac schemes. It’s interesting how Nicola Bryant compared the Master and the Rani’s bickering with each other to the Sixth Doctor and Peri’s bickering, according to the ‘Lords and Luddites’ documentary. 🙂

The two do mirror the Sixth Doctor and Peri rather well when watching them in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. It’s a good match of the Sixth Doctor and Peri being the goodies, despite arguing with each other, against the Master and the Rani being the baddies, especially when they argue with each other. 🙂

When revisiting this story on Blu-ray, the Master dresses up as a scarecrow before he reveals himself. It was funny when my Dad wondered whether it was Jon Portwee as Worzel Gummidge instead of Anthony Ainley’s Master. 🙂 Wendy Padbury said the same thing in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ item. 😀

Incidentally, I like the interior set design of the Rani’s TARDIS in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. The Rani’s TARDIS looks more impressive than the Doctor’s TARDIS in the classic series, especially with those twirly things on the time rotor for the Rani’s TARDIS. I still like the Doctor’s TARDIS interior though. 🙂

I know Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding criticise the bright white interior of their TARDIS in the classic series, but I can’t help have a soft spot for it. With that said, how come the ‘Doctor Who’ production team don’t allow the Doctor to have a new TARDIS interior in the series? 😐

There was only one time it happened and that was in Season 14 with Tom Baker’s Doctor, starting from ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ before it reverted back to the white interior in Season 15. Why can’t the Doctor have a TARDIS interior like the Rani’s to be more impressive as the show goes on? 😐

The TARDIS interiors in the new series through the Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker eras make up for that disappointment. Maybe it was due to budget reasons, but still. A new TARDIS interior for the Sixth Doctor era isn’t that much to ask, is it?

‘The Mark of the Rani’ was directed by Sarah Hellings, who makes her first and only contribution to the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series. Incidentally, I enjoyed her reuniting with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant in the ‘Location Location Location’ documentary on ‘The Mark of the Rani’ Blu-ray disc. It was lovely.

I enjoyed the period direction that Sarah Hellings undertook with this ‘Doctor Who’ story, especially with the usage of the Blists Hill Victorian Town and the Coalport China Museum, operated by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, as filming locations. She also utilised them for a ‘Blue Peter’ item. 🙂

You can see that ‘Blue Peter’ item on ‘The Mark of the Rani’ Blu-ray disc too. The story’s opening scene, which features the male workers at the Killingworth mines, was beautifully directed by Sarah Hellings for TV audiences to see. Jonathan Gibbs’ incidental music for the story helped in that regard.

The music is used to create the effect of beauty and melancholy in the opening scene. I find the story’s incidental music by Jonathan Gibbs to be one of the most memorable in the Colin Baker era and in the classic ‘Doctor Who’ show overall. Mind you, the incidental music could’ve been different.

Originally, Jonathan Gibbs wasn’t meant to score the incidental music for ‘The Mark of the Rani’. That position had been given to John Lewis, who sadly became ill and died before he could complete his work. 😦 Therefore, Jonathan Gibbs scored the music instead after finishing ‘Vengeance on Varos’.

It’s a shame that composer John Lewis died before he finished his work on ‘The Mark of the Rani’ music. Thankfully, an alternative soundtrack of John Lewis’ music for the story can be heard on the DVD (‘Part One’ only) and on the Blu-ray (both ‘Parts One and Two’), which must be a nice tribute to him.

The story’s guest cast also includes Terence Alexander as Lord Ravensworth. I’ve seen Terence Alexander before, as he played the first Malcolm in the BBC sitcom series ‘Terry and June’. Apparently, Lord Ravensworth is an actual historical figure, which I didn’t know about when watching this.

There’s also Gawn Grainger as George Stephenson, who’s also another actual historical figure. Stephenson is a civil and a mechanical engineer, but he only appears in ‘Part Two’ in time to rescue the Doctor. It’s hillarious to hear how Gawn Grainger got his role through his son on the telephone.

According to Colin Baker on the ‘Lords and Luddites’ making-of documentary, Gawn Grainger’s agent phoned him to offer him the role of Stephenson in ‘Doctor Who’, but his son answered and he said “He’ll do it!” whether his father liked it or not. 😀 Thankfully, Gawn Grainger agreed to play the role.

Peter Childs guest stars as Jack Ward, one of the Rani’s victims who has his sleep chemical removed, making him go hyper-active and violent. It’s a pity that we never got to see Jack Ward and the other Killingworth workers cured of their hyper-active violence once those sleep chemicals got recovered.

There’s also Gary Cady as Luke, Jack Ward’s son, who suffers under the Master’s influence for a time. It was disturbing when the Master made him eat a maggot, belonging to the Rani, that got him under hypnotic control. Luke ends up being a sad-looking tree inside the Rani’s minefield in a forest.

There’s a moment where Peri gets groped by Luke as the tree in the story. Peter Davison found that funny when watching the story in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ item on Blu-ray. 😀 At least Luke saved Peri’s life before the Rani got her out of the minefield. I wonder if Luke ever lived long enough as a tree. 😐

Killingworth’s other inhabitants include William Ilkley as Tim Bass, Hus Levent as Edwin Green and Kevin White as Sam Rudge. There’s also Martyn Whitby as Drayman, Richard Steele as a guard, ane Sarah James as the young woman and Cordelia Ditton as the old woman who become concerned about Killingworth’s workers.

Sarah James as the young woman becomes concerned about her husband Josh, played by Nigel Johnson, who’s in the Rani’s service. There’s also Alan Talbot as Tom and Nick Joseph as an unnamed miner. Some of these Killingworth folk, particularly the males, become the victims of the Rani’s experiments here. 😐

The Master and the Rani are defeated when the Doctor does something to the Rani’s TARDIS and her ship goes out of control. The specimens of the Tyrannosaurus Rex that the Rani collected in the TARDIS soon begin to break out. Sadly, the dinosaurs don’t look like the ones from ‘Jurassic Park’. 😀

But they must be better than the ones in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’. Incidentally, when the time rotor of the Rani’s TARDIS moved about, there was often a loud noise made during the filming. Hence why the Rani shouted or raised her voice to the Master in the scenes when things were going wrong.

The story concludes with the Doctor and Peri leaving in the TARDIS and Stevenson and Ravensworth saying goodbye to them. I wonder how they were able to recover the TARDIS since it fell into a mining pit in ‘Part One’. A lot of people must have helped to get the TARDIS out of that mining pit. 😐

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was the making-of documentary called ‘Lords and Luddites’, featuring behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There was the ‘Now and Then’ featurette that looked into the filming locations of ‘The Mark of the Rani’, deleted scenes of the story, a ‘Playing with Time’ interview with composer Jonathan Gibbs, and an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was also a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story; a 1985 ‘Doctor Who Annual’ PDF; a ‘Saturday Superstore’ item which featured Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant being phone-called by Anthony Ainley as the Master ( 😀 ); a photo gallery of the story; and the ‘Blue Peter’ item from 1978 that featured the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust locations, which is directed by Sarah Hellings. There were audio options, including a mono sound audio mix option for the story; an audio commentary with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Kate O’Mara; an isolated music option by Jonathan Gibbs to enjoy; and the alternative soundtrack for ‘Part One’ with original music composed by the late John Lewis to enjoy. There was an Easter Egg to look out for on the DVD via the main menu, which happened to be BBC trailers and continuity announcements of the story.

On Disc 4 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 22’ Blu-ray, the ‘Lords and Luddites’ making-of documentary, the ‘Now and Then’ featurette, the story’s deleted scenes, the ‘Playing with Time’ interview with composer Jonathan Gibbs, the ‘Blue Peter’ item from 1978, the mono sound audio mix option, the DVD audio commentary and the isolated music option can be found on there. The info-text commentary option, the photo gallery and the BBC trailers and continuity announcements of the story have been updated for 2022 on the Blu-ray. The alternative soundtrack with original music composed by the late John Lewis has been updated for 2022 on the Blu-ray to cover for both ‘Parts One and Two’ and not just ‘Part One’.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Mark of the Rani’ with Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Terry Molloy (Davros) as well as Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) as well as Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor) and Wendy Padbury (Zoe). There’s the ‘Location Location Location’ documentary, which features Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant revisiting the locations of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, ‘The Mark of the Rani’ and ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ with directors Matthew Robinson, Sarah Hellings and Graeme Harper. There’s a ‘Breakfast Time’ item, which features a preview of ‘The Mark of the Rani’; a female villains featurette called ‘Those Deadly Divas’ (taken from the ‘More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS’ DVD); and the ‘Rogue Time Lords’ featurette (taken from ‘The Armageddon Factor’ DVD).

On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of ‘The Mark of the Rani’, there are production documents; scripts for the story, including two rehearsal scripts, two camera scripts and one draft script); and an alternative music score cue sheet. The 1985 ‘Doctor Who Annual’ PDF isn’t included on ‘The Mark of the Rani’ Blu-ray. The ‘Saturday Superstore’ item from ‘The Mark of the Rani’ DVD isn’t included either and that’s included in the complete ‘Saturday Superstore’ item from the ‘Vengeance on Varos’ DVD, which isn’t on Blu-ray either.

‘The Mark of the Rani’ is a well-written and well-directed ‘Doctor Who’ story. I enjoyed the historical period setting involving the Industrial Revolution and I greatly enjoyed Colin Baker’s Doctor, Nicola Bryant as Peri, Kate O’Mara as the Rani and Anthony Ainley as the Master. It’s good work all around!

This must be the best out of Pip and Jane Baker’s ‘Doctor Who’ stories in the series. The next ‘Doctor Who’ TV story in Season 22 would see the Sixth Doctor and Peri go somewhere hot for a change. They would also bump into one of the Doctor’s past incarnations, joined by one of his companions. 🙂

‘The Mark of the Rani’ rating – 8/10


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For Peri was

  • ‘Exclave’ (ST)
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For Peri is

  • ‘Mardi Gras Massacre’ (ST)
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6 thoughts on “‘The Mark of the Rani’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Superb review Tim, i remember watching this season & being one of the few who enjoyed it, at the time Robin Of Sherwood was on ITV which stole some of the Doctor’s ratings & was the in show that was cool at school, video recorders were becoming more common so people could record the show & watch later.

    However i remained loyal to Doctor Who & got a lot of flak at school for not liking Robin Of Sherwood, this is a excellent story, Colin Bakers starting to get grips with the character & i remember loving this season because it was unpredictable which i liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this story as well as Season 22 in general. Glad you enjoyed my review.

      Yeah I can imagine ‘Robin of Sherwood’ would’ve got high attention compared to ‘Doctor Who’. I suppose ‘Doctor Who’ was getting tired by that point and that the general public were getting less interested in the series and wanted more exciting stuff. I suppose ‘Robin of Sherwood’ provided that.

      I’m glad you remained loyal to ‘Doctor Who’. I’m sorry you got ridiculed at school for not liking ‘Robin of Sherwood’. Each to his/her own really. I’m glad you enjoyed Colin Baker in this story. I especially enjoyed it for the introduction of the Rani and the return of the Master as well as Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. I also found the Rani an intimidating villainess compared to Missy.

      Many thanks, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

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      Reply
  2. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I really enjoyed ‘The Mark of the Rani’. So far, it’s my favourite story of Season 22. I liked the setting, especially when done on film and at the start where it looked like a feature film. I liked the portrayal of George Stephenson since I was rather familiar with his work and the steam engines he built. Have you ever been to the National Railway Museum in York? I’ve been there on three occasions.

    Kate O’Mara put in a good performance as the Rani. I’m glad the story itself is a better outing for her than ‘Time and the Rani’. Anthony Ainley was good as the Master as well. Peri was expecting to be at Kew Gardens so it comes at no surprise that she wore that yellow coat since she didn’t know until she exited the Tardis that they were in a North-Eastern village. Maybe the Doctor should wait until the Tardis lands and he sees where they are before he and his companions decide on their attire. 😀

    Instead of commenting on ‘The Two Doctors’, since I haven’t watched it yet, I will be sharing my thoughts on ‘Robot’. Soon I’m hoping to purchase my copy of ‘Forty’ volume 2. It will be the first time I’ve heard Turlough on audio.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my updated review on ‘The Mark of the Rani’. I’m pleased you enjoyed the story and that it’s your favourite out of Season 22 so far. I actually have been to the National Railway Museum in York back in 2011. It’s been a while, but I enjoyed visiting the place. I’m glad you enjoyed the portrayal of George Stevenson in this ‘Doctor Who’ story since you’re familar with him and his work.

      I greatly enjoyed Kate O’Mara as the Rani in her debut ‘Doctor Who’ story as well as Antony Ainley as the Master. It is strange to see Peri in that yellow coat which doesn’t blend in well with a rural Industrial Revolution society, but I’m glad it makes sense to you when she was about to visit Kew Gardens. Yeah, the Doctor has a habit of venturing out of the TARDIS without checking where and when he and his friends are first. This is both in the classic series and the new series.

      I hope you enjoy ‘The Two Doctors’ when you get to see it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on ‘Robot’. I won’t do a quick review on ‘Forty 2’ as I did with ‘Forty 1’, as I’ll combine both when it comes to doing in-depth reviews on the stories for the upcoming ‘Nyssa Challenge’ review season in December this year, which I hope to make a start on soon after I come back from my holiday in Amroth, West Wales next week.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Wolfie

    We’re on holiday! I know we’ll eventually visit Seville with the Doctor and Peri, but to me, “The Mark of the Rani” feels like this production block’s vacation story. Largely down in part to how far away from the knife-play, torture, and uncertainty that dominates everywhere from Telos to Necros. Here, we’re instead in a quiet bit of Killingworth (an excellent pun) exploring a familiar premise in an unfamiliar way.

    It’d be easy to make comparisons with “The Visitation”, only a couple of years earlier, but “The Mark of the Rani” shares an awful lot in common with “The Time Meddler”. Unusual interference in a historical era of England, linked to one (or, in this case, two) of the Doctor’s own people. The First Doctor gets an opportunity to establish his Doctorishness for the first time away from his original three companions (Ian, Susan, and Barbara) and the Sixth Doctor, here, feels quite a lot more like the Time Lord we’d come to know over years of audios. I do like his fussing over Peri here and there. It feels very brotherly or like an older guardian looking after his ward. However much they bicker, there’s never a question in “Mark” that they care about one another. In hindsight, it makes an ideal season closer.

    The story does a good job of balancing the Doctor, Rani, and Master together as a trio of troublesome Time Lords’ temerarious trifling with a rather treacherous time period. The idea of the riots being a side-effect, rather than the intended cause is rather clever. It sidesteps all the logistical problems you could have in the tale *and* tells us something about the Rani. I rather like the character. I would’ve liked to see her step into the breach as a regular side character for the Sixth Doctor. The way she’s presented here, if it weren’t for the Master, the Doctor and her might have inadvertently ended up in accord with one another (“Leave.” / “That’s just what I was doing.”). There’s something rather interesting about a character who has no vested interest in the hero one way or the other. To help or hinder, it’s irrelevant, as long as the Rani gets what she wants. That’s rather compelling.

    And as for competition from “Robin of Sherwood”, judging from the transmission dates, “The Mark of the Rani” would have been smack dab just before Series 2 of the former series. Honestly, I think the production values of “Doctor Who” very easily hold their own against “Robin of Sherwood”. Shropshire and Bristol both make a matched pair and the location shooting for “Mark” feels like some of the show’s best in this period. Director Sarah Hellings goes to a great deal of effort to enliven the environment with little touches like the Doctor and the cobweb, and the Redfern Dell sequence is a great piece of danger.

    I think my only real problem with the story is that it starts a little slow at the beginning and ends rather abruptly. However, both could very easily be fixed in editing. The final two scenes of the Rani and the Master’s comeuppance function rather well as their own “The Time Meddler”-style pseudo-cliffhanger for the villains.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Wolfie,

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘The Mark of the Rani’. I greatly enjoyed reading them. Interesting how you compare this story to ‘The Time Meddler’ rather than ‘The Visitation’. I’m looking forward to revisiting that ‘Doctor Who’ story when it comes out in the Season 2 Blu-ray box set. I would like to check out the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘Mark’ to see how Pip and Jane Baker did things differently in prose compared to the TV story.

      I enjoyed your thoughts about the Sixth Doctor and Peri’s relationship as well as how the Rani works as a ‘Doctor Who’ villain compared to the Master. Interesting how you found the opening slow and the ending abrupt. I would have liked to have seen the actual first scene with the Doctor and Peri in the TARDIS before it got cut from the final edit to establish why Peri was dressed up for Kew Gardens.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

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