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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Planet of the Rani


Starring: Colin Baker
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 549 2
Release Date: 31 October 2015

Miasimia Goria was a quiet planet, an ancient world of bucolic tranquillity… until the Rani arrived with ideas of her own. She planned to create a race of new gods – gods that she could keep on her leash – but those plans went horribly wrong. Now, she languishes in the high security of Teccaurora Penitentiary, consigned there by her arch enemy and old student colleague, the Doctor. But the Rani, always resourceful, ever calculating, knows things about the Doctor’s past that he would rather forget. She wants revenge, even if it takes a hundred years and costs as many lives… and then she has other unfinished business. The ruins of Miasimia Goria await…

Unlike last year’s The Rani Elite, which was originally written with the late Kate O’Mara in mind and then adapted for the incoming Siobhan Redmond regeneration, this one was created specifically for Redmond. She comes across all the better for it. Hers is a deceptively more softly spoken Rani, but don’t make the mistake of thinking she’s any less dangerous – as her ruthless means of escape from prison proves…

I was surprised to realise, after having listened to Planet of the Rani, that it was written by Marc Platt. It’s an unusually direct and straightforward narrative for him, even though it takes in two distinct locations – moving from the Teccaurora Penitentiary to Miasimia Goria.

It’s a long overdue visit to that world, which we first heard about it The Mark of the Rani but have never seen and knew precious little about. Rani creators Pip and Jane Baker took us to the planet of her other subjects, the Tetraps, in the BBV audio drama The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind (which coincidentally also put the villain in prison), but never to Miasimia Goria. We know from The Mark of the Rani that its people are suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation as the result of a botched experiment, and Platt builds upon that, presenting us with a civilisation that has been devastated by social unrest. He also creates a more surprising consequence, in the form of a peculiar stone forest…

The title of Rani is a Hindu word for queen, which leads Platt to the logical conclusion that Miasimia Goria is an Indian-based culture. As such, a new leader, a Raj, has risen to fill the power vacuum left by the absence of the Rani. Youthful actor James Joyce is impressive as the mercurial Raj Kahnu – and an unexpected development is the precise nature of this young pretender. Cue lots of metallic skittering, courtesy of sound designers Richard Fox and Lauren Yason.

New companion Constance Clarke (Miranda Raison) copes surprisingly (one might even say unconvincingly) well with the space-age marvels of the Teccaurora Penitentiary and the alien environment of Miasimia Goria, even electronic mail aboard the TARDIS, but her wartime pragmatism comes in useful for confronting Raj Kahnu and standing up to the Rani as Redmond reaps the whirlwind.


Richard McGinlay

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