The Mark of the Rani (TV story)

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The Mark of the Rani was the third serial of season twenty-two of Doctor Who. A new Time Lord villain, the Rani, was introduced in this serial. She would later return in Time and the Rani.

Synopsis[[edit]]

In 19th century England, the Sixth Doctor finds himself facing two competing enemies: his old adversary, the Master, and the Rani, another Time Lord with a sinister plan. The local population is turning violent and unpredictable. With a major meeting of the brains of the Industrial Revolution due to happen in the village soon, the Doctor must work out what exactly is causing all the problems. Only the Doctor can stop the Master and the Rani's evil plans.

Plot[[edit]]

Part 1[[edit]]

Something is amiss in the mining village of Killingworth in early 19th century England. Miners are being gassed in the bathhouse and turned into thugs and vandals, attacking men and smashing up machinery, seen as Luddites by other locals. The Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown witness this when they arrive in Killingworth looking for the cause of some sort of time distortion. They also notice one of the rampaging miners has a strange red mark on his neck. With his usual audacity, the Doctor foists himself upon the local landowner, Lord Ravensworth, who is concerned at the ferocity of the attacks, with the most passive of men suddenly turning violent and unpredictable.

The answer lies in the local bathhouse. The Tremas Master has turned up at this key point in human history. He forces his way into the presence of the old woman who runs the bathhouse, in reality, another Time Lord, the First Rani. She is a gifted chemist and is using the set-up of the bathhouse to anaesthetise the miners and distil from them the neuro-chemicals that enable sleep. This is what causes the red mark on the victims. These chemicals are synthesised for use back on Miasimia Goria, a planet she rules and which the Master has visited, where her other experiments have left the inhabitants without the ability to rest and are now rebelling. He persuades her they need to deal with the Doctor together. He also steals some of the precious brain fluid she has collected to ensure her collaboration. It is a rocky partnership, full of half-truths and deceptions. The Master goes to deal with the Doctor, egging on local miners to attack his enemy and persuading some to throw the Doctor's TARDIS down a mine shaft.

The Doctor has meanwhile dressed as a miner and entered the bathhouse. He soon deduces the Rani's schemes. She traps him but he challenges her ethics. She reveals she has been coming to Earth for centuries to harvest her precious chemicals. The Master convinces the Rani to let him deal with the Doctor. He has the TARDIS pushed down a mine shaft. The angry Luddites put the Doctor in a cart to ensure that he follows it.

Part 2[[edit]]

The Doctor is saved by inventor George Stephenson. He and Peri return to Lord Ravensworth's, where Stephenson has planned a meeting of scientific and engineering geniuses in the village. The Doctor is worried about the wisdom of such a meeting in the current circumstances, but the Master is so desperate to see the event take place, he uses mind control of Stephenson's young aide, Luke Ward, telling him to kill anyone who tries to prevent it. The Master wants to use the finest brains of the Industrial Revolution to speed up Earth's development and then use the planet as a power base. He strikes a deal with the Rani; she may return to Earth at any time to harvest more brain fluid if she helps him achieve this.

While the villains are away, the Doctor returns to the bathhouse and dodges booby traps to enter the Rani's TARDIS. Her control room holds jars of preserved dinosaur embryos. She summons her ship to the old mine workings with a remote control device, with the Doctor still inside. He hides while his adversaries talk. The Rani has also set land mines in nearby Redfern Dell. When the coast is clear, the Doctor slips away to report back to Ravensworth, Stephenson and Luke, who is behaving strangely.

Peri is making herself useful by using her botanical knowledge to make a sleeping-draught for the afflicted miners. Her quest for herbs leads her to Redfern Dell. The Doctor surprises the Master and the Rani, who are lurking at the edge of the dell. Soon after he does, he sees Luke step on a mine and get turned into a tree. The Doctor takes the other two Time Lords prisoner with the Master's own Tissue Compression Eliminator. Peri takes charge of them but the Rani's deviousness outstrips the Master's and she is the one who enables them to escape. The Rani and the Master flee in her TARDIS, but the Doctor also has a trick or two:

he has sabotaged the navigational system. The ship is out of control. In the destabilised condition, one of the jars holding a Tyrannosaurus Rex embryo falls on the floor and the creature, affected by the time spillage, starts to grow.

The Doctor and Peri make a swap with Ravensworth, who has retrieved the TARDIS. He gets the phial of brain fluid, which he is told to give to the affected miners. Before the eyes of an astonished scientist and his financier, the TARDIS departs...

Cast[[edit]]

Uncredited cast[[edit]]

Crew[[edit]]

Uncredited crew[[edit]]

Worldbuilding[[edit]]

Biology[[edit]]

  • An embryo of Tyrannosaurus Rex is in the Rani's TARDIS. The Doctor imagines she took it from the Cretaceous.
  • Peri Brown goes and searches for valerian (Valeriana officinalis), a herb to cure the Rani's victims.
  • The land mines of the Rani turn animal beings into conscious vegetable beings.
  • Talking about ecology and the difference with the 1800s, Peri says that in her time, some species of butterfly and birds are almost extinct.
  • The Doctor says that the Master would probably turn into a laburnum if he stepped on one of the Rani's mines since it is a poisonous tree.
  • The Rani blames the Earthlings for being carnivores.
  • According to the Rani, a tree has four times the life expectancy of a human being.
  • Peri Brown is afraid of rabies and guesses Time Lords are immune to it.
  • The Rani uses impregnated worm parasites to take over the minds of her victims and turn them into slaves, which is her version of hypnotism. When the parasites take hold, the eyes of the victim glow a blue colour briefly.

Cultural references from real world[[edit]]

  • The Rani's TARDIS is covered with a work by Turner.
  • The Doctor calls a dog "Fido".
  • The Doctor and Peri were originally headed to the Kew Gardens.
  • The scientists Thomas Telford, Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy and Marc Brunel are expected to attend the meeting.
  • The Doctor quotes Battle of the Baltic by Thomas Campbell: "There was silence deep as death".
  • The Doctor quotes Julius Caesar - "Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once".
  • The Doctor paraphrases Hamlet: "Now perhaps you'll accept there are more things in heaven and earth than are ever dreamed of in your barren philosophy".
  • The Doctor paraphrases The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt: ""Will you come into my parlour?" said the spider to the fly".
  • Peri misquotes Henry IV Part I: "Discretion is the better part of valour". The actual line is "The better part of valour is discretion," but Peri's is the more popular version.

Individuals[[edit]]

  • The First Rani was exiled from Gallifrey because her giant mice ate the Lord President's cat and took a bite out of the President himself according to the Master. She now rules Miasimia Goria, where she controls a race of aliens. The Rani had come to Earth for centuries, unnoticed; she has extracted brain fluid from people in the Trojan War, the Dark Ages and the American War of Independence. She is also aware of the Master's failed plan on Sarn and had thought he was dead.
  • The Master briefly disguises himself as a scarecrow.
  • The Doctor refers to Stephenson's "Rocket" in a pun. Peri tells him his puns are getting worse.

TARDIS and time travel[[edit]]

Weapons[[edit]]

Notes[[edit]]

Ratings[[edit]]

  • Part one - 6.3 million viewers
  • Part two - 7.3 million viewers

Myths[[edit]]

  • John Nathan-Turner cast Kate O'Mara as the Rani because of her starring role in the popular American soap opera Dynasty. (O'Mara had yet to begin work on Dynasty when she was cast as the Rani. She was well known for her appearances in UK soap operas, including for the BBC The Brothers - opposite Colin Baker - and Triangle. Her appearances on Dynasty were filmed between the production of this story and her later return in Time and the Rani.)[source needed]

Filming locations[[edit]]

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Peri enters the bathhouse, she locks the door with the wooden bar. When the Rani and the Master return, the wooden bar is unlocked.
  • When they discover Peri, she stands at the foot of the Doctor. In the next shot, they come from the other room.
  • When the Doctor dangles above the pit, one of his three attackers falls in. A moment later there is a close-up of three pairs of hands aiming weapons at him. This shot belonged to an earlier part of the sequence before they arrived at the pit.
  • When the Doctor first dangles above the pit, he barely fits. When the TARDIS is thrown down, it also fits but is much bigger than the Doctor.

Continuity[[edit]]

Home video and audio releases[[edit]]

DVD releases[[edit]]

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Mark of the Rani.

Released:

Contents:

Notes:

It was released as issue 63 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.

VHS releases[[edit]]

  • This story was released on VHS in July 1995.

Digital releases[[edit]]

  • The story is available for streaming in Canada & the US through BritBox or Amazon Instant Video in the UK.
  • It is also available to download through iTunes.

Blu-Ray[[edit]]

The story was released on Blu-ray as part of The Collection: Season 22 on 20 June 2022

External links[[edit]]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 DWM 217[which?]
  2. INFO: The Mark of the Rani