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13 of 13 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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13 of 13 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
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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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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
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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
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
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Historical adventure with science fiction thrown in, 6 Jan 2008
By 
D. Evans "dantheman95" (Southport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Filmed in and around Ironbridge in Shropshire, Mark of the Rani is the only Colin Baker adventure to feature an historical setting and is indeed one of only a handful of stories during the 1980s to feature an adventure set in the past rather than the present or the future. In the story, written by husband and wife team Pip and Jane Baker, The Doctor attempts to take Peri to the Great Exhibition of 1851, but instead the Tardis lands in North East England during the 1810s at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Although he may have missed the great exhibition, there is still an important gathering taking place in the area where the Tardis has landed, as a group of the finest scientific minds of the period have gathered to discuss their discoveries. However, a renegade Timelady The Rani has also shown up along with The Doctor's old enemy The Master.
With all these ingredients Mark of the Rani should seemingly be a classic story, however the inclusion of The Master is unnecessary and he actually comes off second best to Kate O'Mara's The Rani. The success of the Rani character is demonstrated by the fact that she is still remembered some 21 years after her last appearance in the show and indeed there was recent press speculation that the character would reappear in the new series. Anthony Ainley however reverts to his usual characterisation of The Master which always threatens to go into pantomine. Other familar actors in this story include Terence Alexander of Bergerac fame and Peter Childs who is best remembered for his role as DS Rycott in Minder.
Colin Baker actually did many of own stunts in this serial, included a good scene in which Childs character attempts to push The Doctor down a mine shaft.
In many ways the first 45 minute episode is the best of the 2 part story, with the story plodding a little in episode 2. Episode 2 also features an infamous sequence in which a character is turned into a tree, which is not the best effects every seen in the programme. In contrast to this scene however, The Rani's Tardis is extremely impressive and the use of Ironbridge by director Sarah Helling's adds much to the serial.
Pip and Jane Baker seem to write more for the younger audience of the programme, in contrast to Eric Saward who wrote for adults and dealt with adult themes in his serial later in the same season. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it adds variety to the season and certainly does not give much substance to the argument that the programme had become stale by this stage of its history.
There are some good commentaries and documentaries on the disc as well including contributions by Eric Saward and Colin Baker. As an added bonus there is also an old Blue Peter segment featuring a trip to Ironbridge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beaten All The Odds, 3 Sep 2008
By 
AH "AH" (West Midlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani [1985]
Although this story was set in the dreadful time of those 50 minute episodes which could make you fall asleep and want the episode to end as quickly as possible, this story was something different. Throughout the whole story, I was entertained and I enjoyed the appearance of the Master and the appearance of a new rogue time lord - The Rani. Plus this is Colin Baker's only historical story in his role as the Doctor and is well worth buying.
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