The Two (Many) Ranis

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The Mark of the Rani is a strangely un-confident story.  A story with a more-than-generous dollop of location filming (which works very well…. more evidence, if any were needed, that Doctor Who always works better on film) and an intriguing new opponent for the Doctor, somewhere along the line the production team, perhaps including the always-amenable writers Pip and Jane Baker, felt that the Rani could not stand on her own as an opponent and, eschewing the henchmen option, shoehorned the Master into the proceedings.

All of which is a shame really because there’s more than enough of a germ of a story here to be told.  Certainly the Rani as a character is more interestingly drawn here than in the inexcusable follow-up story Time and the Rani which was capped awhile back, much of that down to Kate O’Mara’s performance.  And there were a number of elegant design choices, particularly the Rani’s TARDIS (a big improvement over the inverted color scheme of Masters rig in Planet of Fire) which you could argue laid the groundwork for the more expansive TARDISes to come from the 90’s onward.

But it’s no use wondering what might have been, The Mark of the Rani is another in a long line of that type of Doctor Who story in which the series excels, the pseudo-historical, using historical figures and events as a backdrop.  And it almost holds everything together, until the trees got a little too friendly.

As is usual the new caps vastly increase the breadth and quality than what previously existed in Tour confines.  The Classic Capitology wing of the Tour reports that, as far a caps go, the Colin Baker section is almost completely worked out.  Surely Classic Capitology won’t return so quickly to finish the job?

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