Planet of the Rani (#205)

Big Finish Main Range

I consider the Rani to be as ruthless as the Master but more focused on the scientific angle of making plans happen. However in this story, she seems far less ruthless and only a scientist with plans that happen to end up being ruthless. She doesn’t have complete control of the situation. The story begins with Mrs. Clarke looking through the messages the Doctor has been ignoring for years. She finds one about the Rani getting parole from her prison sentence and he is concerned, understandably. So they head to the prison planet, which is now under her control. She just happens to need the Doctor to be the navigator for her plan and she kills a lot of the prisoners to return to her planet, Miasimia Goria. The planet she has ruled for years and brought to ruin. The Doctor manages to alter her landing time and she arrives much later than she returned.

So we meet the retinue of characters that remain. Somehow Raj Kahnu is feeding the frozen ones (with what? How? It’s never explained), experimenting with putting people inside of cockroach-like armor/machines (who are these people? It’s sort of explained. But do they ever come out of the armor?), and trying to salvage a life of sorts for the few survivors with his genius. It’s convoluted in general, though the story of Raj Kahnu is by far the most interesting of the piece. He transforms from cockroach back to human, in a way! Though the attempted assassination at the end makes zero sense. How the Rani tries to gain back control seems feeble and not well thought out. She almost believes more in the Doctor and his failed Ablative, which she did update a bit, more than in her own schemes and machinations.

And we get little of the Doctor and Mrs. Clarke working together – this doesn’t seem like the first story after she joins the TARDIS crew as things are moving along nicely inside already. So we just don’t really get to see them start to work as a team! She seems fine but nothing exceptional as a companion for the 6th Doctor – yet. There are some high standards to live up to with Evelyn Smythe and Peri. Even Mel is a computer genius type whose smarts are “instilled” by the TARDIS to be just what the Doctor needs. Mrs. Clarke and the 6th Doctor need to interact more please, before they barely spend a story in each other’s company (except for her intro story). I found this story to be one thing to start and ends up as a bit of a mess.

Colin Baker(The Doctor),Miranda Raison(Constance Clarke),Siobhan Redmond(The Rani),James Joyce(Raj Kahnu/Guard),Olivia Poulet(Pazmi),Dominic Thorburn(Brejesh/Security Leader),Tim Bentinck(Chowdras/Governor),Chris Porter(Degoor/Montain)

Writer: Marc Platt

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: October 2015

Laura Vilensky 2019