Doctor Who – Mark of the Rani

Yes, it’s another DVD from the original series. This one stars Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri, and was first shown in February 1985. I don’t recall seeing this particular story before, which is always a bonus.

En route to Kew Gardens, the Tardis is pulled off course, and materialises in the mining village of Killingworth in the early 19th Century. As ever with Doctor Who, all is not as it should be. Normally peaceful men are erupting into savage violence, smashing machinery and not averse to breaking a few heads as they do it.

We soon learn that the trouble is being caused by the Rani, another renegade Time Lord, played with superb style by Kate O’Mara. She’s extracting a chemical from people’s brains which she needs for her own purposes. She doesn’t really care about the consequences, namely that her victims can’t sleep and become irrationally violent. As if that wasn’t enough, the Doctor’s old adversary the Master (Anthony Ainley) also shows up. In his usual manner, he wants to destroy the Doctor. He also concocts a typically deranged plan to use the people of Earth to build a power base that will let him dominate the galaxy. The Rani reluctantly goes along with him, at least as far as it suits her purposes.

And so the Doctor has to save the world again. And with a great deal of help from a certain George Stephenson (yes, that George Stephenson), everything is sorted out quite nicely, and the Rani and the Master are left with a nasty problem of their own to deal with.

It’s all good fun. Not classic Doctor Who, really, but still very watchable. Extra features include:

  • Lords and Luddites: a quite nifty “making of”, with recollections from cast members, production people and writers Pip and Jane Baker.
  • Now and then: a brief look at the principal location – the Blists Hill museum at Telford
  • Deleted scenes
  • TV clips: A nicely silly phone-in from Saturday Superstore and an old piece from Blue Peter showing the location (made some years before this Doctor Who story was filmed there.
  • The ubiquitous production subtitles, which are always worth watching.

There will be another two DVD releases over the next couple of months, which will nicely fill in the time before the Series 2 box set is released. :bouncy: