Miasimia Goria, once a quiet planet, now the remnant of the Rani’s failed experiment to create a race of new gods. Decades later, as the Rani languishes in a high security jail chosen specially by the Doctor as the most suitable containment for her, her mind remains free, and plotting. By the time the Doctor returns to speak about her parole hearing, he finds to his cost the dangers of underestimating the Rani’s resourceful, ever calculating nature. Now the captive is the captor, and the Doctor will learn that there are things in his past that won’t be forgotten. The only thing that could save him is that the Rani’s desire to finish her experiment may just be greater than her thirst for revenge. But on the ruins of Miasimia Goria, the Rani’s unexpected legacy may prove too much for both of them…
I’ve always felt a bit mixed about the Rani. Her first adventure set her up as an interesting female villain, but her next tale was a lacklustre affair. She had the potential to be great, but risked being turned into a low budget female master if handled badly.
Marc Platt thankfully keeps her far more high-brow and puts more emphasis on science rather than the TV show’s madcap schemes and pantomime performances. Siobhan Redmond, the new face of the Rani, is given some good material to work with – and she dives in head first, creating an interesting and unique take on her character and making it her own. Not completely different from what was before, but different enough to be fresh and exciting.
The story is split in two with a slightly predictable prison set up that leads to her escape and return to her planet. The second half is more complex, and gives us the chance to look at the legacy of the Rani many years after her experiment failed. Both halves allow plenty of time to get to know new companion Constance Clarke (the sublime Miranda Raison), and thankfully they don’t overplay the fish out of water aspects. She works well with James Joyce’s Raj Kahnu, her inexperience of her surroundings being a good reflection of his, with both of them keen to reach out to other places their backgrounds would normally prevent them from seeing.
It’s an interesting tale with a lot of interesting ideas and many fun characters. Above all, it’s a great introduction to the new Rani, and it’ll undoubtedly leave you eager for her next appearance – it did me. Well worth checking out.
Written By: Marc Platt
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Cast: 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)