Marc Platt’s Planet of the Rani is interesting for many reasons, not least as it gives us the second appearances (in the monthly Main Range) for two important characters. Not only is Siobhan Redmond back as the merciless Time Lord scientist the Rani, but Miranda Raison gets her second outing as the newest companion to Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor, Mrs Constance Clarke.
The plot is a good example of something Big Finish does very well – fitting an entire story into a small piece of classic continuity; in this case the planet Miasma Goria, referred to in the TV story Mark of the Rani. Starting there would be too simple; first she needs to escape from the Teccaurora Penitentiary where she has been imprisoned, thanks to the Doctor.
The first part of the story pairs the Rani with Constance as the Rani escapes from Teccaurora Penitentiary, heedless of the damage she causes on the way. The Rani is back on Miasma Goria, but things are not as she had hoped; there is a new ruler, one Raj Kahnu (James Joyce). The Doctor is on the Rani’s tail, in the company of another convict, on Pazmi (Olivia Poulet) whose mission in life is to destroy the Rani. Pazmi is from Miasma Goria and wants revenge for the years of experimentation the Rani subjected her people to.
There is plenty of interest on Miasmi Goria, and Raj Kahnu is a fascinating creation. Raj is the result of the Rani’s experiments and brings out some interesting angles of Constance Clarke’s character a no-nonsense get on with things and look past the superficial. The whole story has some odd pairings of characters that work well in bringing out the personalities of all the main players in a very natural manner. Expert craftsmanship from Marc Platt indeed.
Ken Bentley’s direction is spot-on as ever, and the soundscape helps paint the scenes deftly. Even the music bonus track makes a decent listen in its own right.
This is an entertaining outing for the Sixth Doctor and Constance Clarke; the addition of the Rani adds to the enjoyment without become the focus of the story. Heartedly recommended.
PLANET OF THE RANI (DOCTOR WHO) / AUTHOR: MARC PLATT / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: COLIN BAKER, MIRANDA RAISON, SIOBHAN REDMOND, JAMES JOYCE, OLIVIA POULET / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW