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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old Colin Baker again!
This is a pleasant and watchable tale from Pip and Jane Baker (Space:1999), a pair who are noted for their reliable professional reputation, rather than for writing anything terribly Earth shattering. The result is a highly watchable and inoffensive script with solid research behind it, but a story which is less than the sum of its parts. The Master and new evil Time Lord...
Published on 9 Jun 2004

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp, very well-made
This is one of the most enjoyable Colin Baker stories. The idea that the Rani is simply trying to get on with her work and finds both the Doctor and the Master irritating nuisances is a small stroke of genius, and makes the story great fun to watch. As the Rani, Kate O'Mara is very good value, by being both larger-than-life and believably three-dimensional. The camerawork...
Published on 4 May 2009 by The Goose Loose


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old Colin Baker again!, 9 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This is a pleasant and watchable tale from Pip and Jane Baker (Space:1999), a pair who are noted for their reliable professional reputation, rather than for writing anything terribly Earth shattering. The result is a highly watchable and inoffensive script with solid research behind it, but a story which is less than the sum of its parts. The Master and new evil Time Lord the Rani make a good double act and their interaction is as enjoyable as that of the Doctor and Peri. Whatever Colin Baker did wrong in the eyes of audiences in 1985, he remains far more engaging than Sylvester MacCoy and his costume, while outrageous, is certainly eye catching and attention grabbing. His sheer energy makes him never less than entertaining to watch. This story is directed with real skill by Sarah Hellings, another example of the high quality contributions made to the series by women directors. The hostorical setting looks suprb, very authentic and gives great production quality to the story. Guest stars like Terrance Alexander add real class as well. It's a pity the plot is such a throwaway thing, because the dialog is amusing and whacky and the story holds the attention well. Overall a very good 90 minutes, just a little hollow in the middle. But I enjoyed it all the same.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treesy does it, 14 May 2009
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
One of Colin Baker's better serials in the role of The Doctor; the one negative here is that it introduced Kate O'Mara's awful camp villainess - The Rani. Fortunately, and unlike the other serial in which the character appeared, the adventure is good enough to compensate for The Rani's presence. The setting - 19th Century England during the Industrial Revolution - makes this an extremely evocative production, and the historical focus reminded me of what the show was originally perceived to do: Educate and entertain. The Doctor's other old adversary from Gallifrey - The Master, is also present in this story, and Anthony Ainley gives one of his more restrained performances in the role. Colin Baker seems much more comfortable playing the nomadic Timelord, and the scene where some unfortunate locals are turned into trees is memorable, if somewhat less impressive than I remember from twenty-odd years ago!
Despite their occasionally inappropriate fondness for language that would make Oscar Wilde scratch his head - who could forget the appalling "Fortuitous would be a more apposite epithet!" from The Doctor - Pip and Jane Baker wrote an atmospheric and gloriously humourous script, which was nicely played out by the story's three leads. Kate O'Mara's deliciously wicked Rani has not yet become the camp abomination that appeared in her second (and final) story, whilst Anthony Ainley produces what is probably his second best performance (after 'Survival') as The Doctor's nemesis, The Master. The only let-down for me is the atrocious North-East accents of the 'locals'; rooting the story firmly in an era when actors were generally expected to speak in RP; whatever the role they had taken on.

DVD extras on this release are also pretty good:
A commentary track featuring a typically charming Baker and Bryant, who are joined by O'Mara; Baker, in particular, shines here by giving a considerable amount of production information along with personal reminiscences.

Lords and Luddites" is a 43-minute featurette about the serial's conception and production (narrated by UK television personality Louise Brady) that's chock full of interviews with the cast and crew, including the Bakers and composer Jonathan Gibbs (who is also profiled in a short interview piece), who replaced John Lewis, who died during production (both composers' soundtracks are offered in isolated music tracks).

A battery of deleted and extended scenes, a return jaunt to the production locations, related clips from the children's TV programs Blue Peter and Saturday Superstore, and the by-now standard photo gallery, text-only information track, and PDF files for the Doctor Who Annual and Radio Times listings round out the supplements.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp, very well-made, 4 May 2009
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
This is one of the most enjoyable Colin Baker stories. The idea that the Rani is simply trying to get on with her work and finds both the Doctor and the Master irritating nuisances is a small stroke of genius, and makes the story great fun to watch. As the Rani, Kate O'Mara is very good value, by being both larger-than-life and believably three-dimensional. The camerawork is imaginative and dynamic, with attractive location work nicely complemented by some very stylish sets. Despite all these plus points, it's not Doctor Who at its best: in the second half of the story, the storytelling becomes a little muddled. Instead of developing its initial premise into a really dramatic and satisfying climax, it goes off at some pretty random tangents - which are still fun, but don't reward the viewer by paying off the elements that were introduced at the start of the story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly intriguing, 17 Aug 2003
By 
Andrew Kyle "Fangg" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I always found this episode to be a bit of an enigma as before i had seen it i always associated the Rani with the Time and the Rani, her second appearance. When learning of another episode, i sought it out and to my surprise, its an entertaining piece that also includes the Master! The banter between the two evil time lords is in a class of its own and Colin's doctor is at his patronising, all-clever best. Some interesting ideas (mines that turn people into vegetation), a little bit of history (the Industrial Revolution) and some great sets (the Rani's Tardis) make this a memorable episode and almost make you wish we had seen more of Kate O'Mara's evil-in-a-sexy way Rani.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Double Trouble For The Sixth Doctor, 1 April 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Dedicated to Kate O'Mara who sadly passed away Sunday 30th March 2014, Gone but not forgotten.

Dvd Info.
Region 2, Running time 90 minutes approx, 2x45 minute episode's.

Extras.
Commentaries, Making of documentary, Photo Gallery, Trailer.

Trivia.
1)The late Kate O'Mara starred alongside Colin Baker in the seventies drama series The Brothers.
2)This story was viewed by 7.3 million viewers on original transmission.
3Terrance Alexander is better known for his role as Hungerford in BBC1 Jersey crime drama Bergerac.
4)Colin Baker said the actor's got a little carried away & actually hit his hands when he was hanging above the mineshaft holding on to a chain.
5)Colin Baker did his own stunts on the Minecart sequence in this adventure.

Synopsis.
The Master arrives on Earth in Killingworth a mining town in the 19th Century at a key point in earths history, Having followed the Sixth Doctor & Peri here the Master unwittingly discovers another Timelord is in Killingsworth named the Rani.

The Rani is a biochemist who uses parasites as a form of mind control absorbing the chemical that induces sleep from the brain eventually turning the host's extremely violent & aggressive as she seeks the chemicals to aid her diabolical experiments as they have left the inhabitants of Miasimia Goria a planet the Rani rules without the ability to relax or sleep.

The Master intends with the Rani help to allow the worlds greatest scientists & inventors to meet in the age of the Industrial Revolution to speed up earths development & build up a powerbase which he will control.

The Sixth Doctor & his companion Peri must battle not one but two renegade Timelords & discover what is the true intentions behind the Master's motives in wanting this meeting of the greatest minds of earth?

Timelord Thoughts.
Colin Baker gets undeserved criticism for his interpretation of the Sixth Doctor which I find unjustified as here he seems to have settled comfortably in the role of the Doctor & showcases the characteristics of his Doctor's strengths whos at his confident patronising best here.

Nicola Bryant gets more to do here as Peri who uses her knowledge in botany to treat the miners who have been inflicted by the Rani's recent experiments with the necessary herbs.

This story features the debut of another renegade Timelord named the Rani who is a wonderfully wicked character played by the excellent Kate O'Mara who delivers a fine performance in her Doctor Who debut story.

Anthony Ainley as usual hams it up as the Master but his chemistry with Kate O'Mara is a masterstroke & actually enhances the tone of his performance somewhat as Ainley gives one of his better performances as the Master in this adventure.

A decent written script by Pip & Jane Baker who deliver an interesting decent paced script as the husband & wife duo seem to capture the essence of the Sixth Doctor.

With great direction from Sarah Hellings who makes the most of her location filming which adds a bit of scope to this two part tv story especially the excellently shot minecart sequence with Colin Baker doing his own stunts.

A great Sixth Doctor story that delivers a decent story, Great direction, The debut of the Rani & wonderful performances by Colin Baker & Nicola Bryant.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome adventure in time!, 11 July 2007
By 
D. Chandler (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Mark of the Rani comes from midway through Colin Baker's first season and he is now settled in the role and flying with confidence. After the 'light touch' of Peter Davison's portrayal, Mr Baker brings a greater weight to the part and fills the screen at every opportunity, embracing every line with gusto. His cheeky sidekick, Peri Brown is full of witty one-liners and the pair of them make a great team. This adventure sees them travel to Victorian times to unravel a dastardly plan between not one but TWO rogue Timelords. The evil Master (played with real steel once more by Anthony Ainley) is joined by a diabolical LADY Timelord, The Rani (the lovely Kate O'Mara.) The villians make a great double-act and their witty interchanges add a real sparkle to proceedings. Also worth a mention is Gawn Grainger, who plays the real-life historial figure of George Stephen. Mr Grainger provides one of the great Doctor Who guest-star performances and really lifts the story into the ranks of the all-time greats. If you like the new series and stories like 'New Earth', then this one will not disappoint you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovingly crafted and then spoiled by an unwarranted intrusion, 9 July 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
A beautifully shot story, made with loving care and showcasing the Ironbridge Museum, it has superb performances, a wonderful villainess, fantastic guest stars... and the Master :(.

Plot: The Rani is an excellent idea, more so because she is the rare case of a female villain. Her motivation is solid, not out-and-out evil, but misguided - correcting one mistake by making another. The setting is well thought out (and apparently the Baker's wrote some of this 'on the fly' as the locations became apparent). Nicola Bryant gets well used with Peri's botany background coming to the fore. Where this story falls over is in the inclusion of the Master, whose motivation is lame and who seems to get in the way of a perfectly good story. To be fair to the Bakers, I get the impression that this was a requirement of JNT, but unlike say Robert Holmes being asked to add things in to The Two Doctors, here the join is not seamless. The Rani would have been better with a subservient foil, perhaps a member of the race that she is trying to help. This could have had some interesting tension of its own. Instead we get the Master simply acting like a bully.

Script: The Bakers aren't going to win awards for their scripting, but this isn't all that bad. Some good stuff for Colin and Kate to get hold of. The scripting for the Master, however is just poor.

Design: Who can fault the authentic feel of the location work (though apparently there are anachronistic gas lamps, not that I noticed). The small amount of studio work doesn't disappoint, especially Rani's excellent TARDIS. Costuming is very good, though Rani could have done with a costume that didn't somehow look like a lighter version of the Master's costume.

Acting: All of the guest stars put in solid performances, with accents and each character is given the feel of a real human being. That is except Anthony Ainley. The guy can act - see his performances in most of his other appearances, but here it is almost as though he was disappointed in sharing the limelight and having tacked-on lines and puts in a by-the-books performance.

Direction: Sarah Hellings does a fantastic job with this story. The use of the Ironbridge museum is inspired and she makes the most of the location in all of the outdoor scenes. One wonders if she could have chivvied Ainley into giving a better performance. Nevertheless, it is a shame that this is her only output for the series as I think she does a good job.

This would have gotten another star if the Master hadn't been thrust into the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bad News in Black Leather", 11 April 2008
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
That's how Colin Baker described the appearance of Kate O'Mara's Rani in the "Colin Baker Years" video and she is the highlight of the story. A marvellous character, who as stated many times before is amoral rather then evil. She never kills for its own sake but has no qualms stealing a fluid, the absence of which prevents people sleeping. She knows all about the Doctor and Master's battles and finds it all really rather dull. Great performance, costume and a fantastic tardis (for once not just the Doctor's tardis redressed a little). Shame she would turn into the Master in drag in the next story.
Colin relishes his scenes with Kate and Gawn Grainger's Stephenson, which are a treat to watch. His chemistry with Ainley's Master is less impressive, including a ridiculous moment where he apepars to brandish his fist at the Master.
Anthony Ainley is not well served by a script which has him wait in a field dressed up as a scarecrow-no it really happens! He is clearly secondary to the Rani but at least has fun with the Master fancying her-the Doctor seems quite keen on her too.
Nicola Bryant is at her most covered up in a period dress and shows some botanic skills.
The story is frequently bonkers e.g Master and Rani planning to harness the genius of Stephenson, Faraday et al. What is this diabolical plan they must have involving steam trains and lightbulbs?
A truly appalling bit of FX sees a man turned into a tree and then using his branch to pull Peri out of danger-looked pathetic then and still does.
A really fun romp despite a few deficiencies.

A great documentary has Colin, Nicola and Kate among others telling how the story got made and how odd Mr Ainley could be. There's a chance to hear a mournful original score for part one and a commentary with Colin, Nicola and Kate discussing being beaten up by extras & the importance of good annunciation among other things-very jolly.

A great package for Classic Who fans, but only for those current series fans who really love visits to the past. Show it to the wrong person and you'll never hear the end of "that tree"!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated if bizarre period piece, 10 May 2007
By 
M. Wilberforce "mwilberforce" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
I have a great if somewhat irrational fondness for Pip and Jane Baker's "The Mark of the Rani", probably arising from its incredibly evocative setting within an early Victorian mining village, created with extensive location filming in and around the Blists Hill Open Air Museum near Ironbridge, Shropshire. The village of Killingworth is organic, dirty and probably the most convincing period setting the show has ever created. Overall the story, including its interior sets, gives the appearance of having high production values (and features an evocative score).

The plot, of course, is a bit of a mess, overburdened with rogue Time Lords. The Rani (Kate O'Mara) is a great creation: amoral rather than immoral, seeking only to accomplish her own objectives and regarding human beings with nothing more than the nonchalance of a scientist exploiting a lesser species rather than any particular malevolence, using the Luddite rebellion as cover for her own experiments, which are turning ordinary people violent. The Master (Anthony Ainley), however, is quite the opposite, turning up at the same time and place for no particular reason (back from the dead with no explanation, I might add), chuckling evilly to himself and apparently deciding that Killingworth is the perfect base from which to entrap and destroy the Doctor, before embarking on a mission to hijack the development of the human race's industry to serve his own ends, apparently giving him the key to ultimate power. It's an irrational set-up, for sure, but essentially one has to shrug and accept this fact and get on with enjoying the story, which, aside from its lack of logic, is quite fun.

The fractious relationship between the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and his companion Peri (Nicola Bryant), so often cited by fans as a reason to dislike the series' twenty-second season, has calmed down somewhat by this stage and the Doctor and Peri genuinely seem to care about one another beneath the bickering. In a season often further criticised for its violent content, the Doctor also gets a welcome chance to underline his essential abhorrence of violence on more than one occasion. It's a good outing for the Doctor and Peri, and the supporting characters from the village are likeable, too. The cliff-hanger between parts one and two is a little goofy, but is an impressive piece of stunt work none the less.

"The Mark of the Rani" was a rushed DVD release, but still comes with an excellent array of special features, including an illuminating commentary by actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Kate O'Mara, a comprehensive making-of documentary, a "Now and Then" featurette showing the Blists Hill Museum as it is today, and some interesting bits and bobs from the archives. A strong release of a somewhat underrated story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit Odd! But Enjoyable, 28 April 2007
By 
DB (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
The Doctor and The Rani are both very good. The Master on the otherhand, clearly has some big plan, only it is never really discovered. The Rani is a great character and her TARDIS is pretty amazing! I feel the Master was great to see as ever, but his character was outdone by the Rani, not very natural! Quite why the Master was needed I don't know, it makes much more sense for the Doctor to have discovered the Ranis plans and then the Rani go back for revenge! Saves the Master, who didn't really do much, just run around following the Rani and forcing her to attack the Doctor. While good to watch, I don't think its up to that much! Probably best to get it cheap and then see what you think!
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