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Doctor Who: The Mark Of The Rani [VHS]

4.1 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Anthony Ainley, Kate O'Mara, Terence Alexander
  • Directors: Sarah Hellings
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CQND
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,851 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

The Tardis arrives in Killingworth in 19th Century England, where the Master is plotting to kill some of the key figures of the industrial revolution. Also present is the Rani, a Time Lord biochemist who was cast out fomr Gallifrey and is now dictator of the planet Miasimia Goria. The Rani has altered the metabolism of Miasimia Goria's populace to heighten their awareness, but in the process has inadvertently lowered their ability to sleep. In order to correct this she has been drawing a fluid from the brains of humans at various points in Earth's history, unconcerned that this leaves them aggressive and unable to sleep themselves. Now she is adding to the unrest caused in England by the Luddites. She as also planted some land mines that turn people into trees. The Doctor sabotages the Rani's Tardis and she and the Master are sent spinning into the vortex at the mercy of a rapidly growing tyrannosaurus rex embryo - a specimen collected on one of her visits to Earth.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
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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Format: 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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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