Doctor Who: The Mark of the Rani (Story #139)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Like the Rani

Story doesn't have much bite to it


Now I’ll have my way with you and your afro

Technology is advancing in Killingworth, England in the 19th century and Luddites are protesting against it.  Using the protests as a cover, the Rani (Kate O’Mara) has attracted the attention of the Master (Anthony Ainley).  As a key meeting of the innovators of the time is preparing to meet, the Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) find their way to Killingworth.  Attracted to the temporal anomalies, the Doctor learns that he is facing his fieriest foes and is separated from his TARDIS.  The Doctor and Peri must stop the Rani and the Master from interfering with time and rescue their TARDIS before it is too late.

Doctor Who:  The Mark of the Rani aired during the twenty second season of the popular BBC series.  The serial aired in two parts on February 2, 1985 and February 9, 1985 and followed Doctor Who:  Vengeance on Varos.  The story has been collected as part of The Colin Baker Years as Story #140 (or Story #139 depending how you count the unaired Doctor Who:  Shada).  The DVD version of Doctor Who:  The Mark of the Rani is currently out of print.


It is fun to visit a new TARDIS, Peri

This is a pretty simple entry into the Doctor Who lexicon.  After the somewhat controversial Doctor Who:  Vengeance of Varos (which many felt was too violent and too dark of a Doctor), the story is a rather simple Master story combined with the arrival of the female Time Lord the Rani.

I have to say I kind of like the Rani and I wish that more had been done with her.  The character has the smarts of the Master but also opens up the potential for sexual tension for the characters.  She’s a manipulator and there is so much potential for her to use both the Master and the Doctor.  It isn’t seen much here, but I like the idea, and I think it is what this story is lacking.


Oh no! Now I can land on a tree mine thing…what?

I do like the occasional voyages to the past by the Doctor as well.  The rise of the industrial age is a great period for the Doctor to visit since he himself has a bit of a steam-punk feel to him.  I just wish he had been in a more industrialized area like in Doctor Who:  The Next Doctor.  The story is a bit lazy involving generic “take over the world” aspect and I did not like the Rani’s random “turn people into trees” minefield.

Doctor Who:  The Mark of the Rani is a rather average, but not horrible entry in a bad period of Doctor Who.  I don’t like the Doctor at this point and I don’t like his companion.  Doctor Who has hit a lull in the long running series and needs a bit of a jump which Doctor Who:  The Mark of the Rani can’t really provide.  The Rani unfortunately only appeared one other time in the twenty-fourth season episode Doctor Who:  Time and the RaniDoctor Who:  The Mark of the Rani is followed by Doctor Who:  The Two Doctors.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Vengeance on Varos (Story #138)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Two Doctors (Story #140)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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