Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 11/25/16 10:52 pm
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One where I've just got to be a contrarian - call it personal bias blinding me to defects - but I just LOVE Mark of the Rani. For 90 or so minutes, I was taken back to childhood visits to Beamish (and, dare I say.. the panto?). MOTR is certainly not playing in the same league as anything like Genesis, or Enlightenment, but it's not trying to. In the same vein as City of Death as far as I'm concerned, it's a fun romp and nothing more. Insofar as it's romp-ish: 10/10!
Gorgeous locales, hilariously over-affected dialogue and brutally rammed in references and puns; it's less 'historical' more pastiche cramming. As a result it's clear, likeable, if not a one-note guest cast and of course, clear, likeable, if not certainly one-not guest villains!
The Rani as far as I'm concerned is simply and starkly characterised by her amoral scientism, perfectly clashing with the Master's by-this-point parodic meglomania. Save the sob stories of childhood psychoanalysis for Virgin & BBC Books - in isolation there's a simply wonderful double act that leaps off the screen. The same can be said for the Doctor and Peri and who at their most affable and playful in this story. Verbose pomposity and brashness, but also a sorely needed dose of compassion - Colin shines.
For two 45minute episodes we're treated to melodrama and flat-out bonkers twists and turns that are incredibly well handled. With the exception of the tree's arm; the Rani's dinosaur and an out of era chair in the village, production values are simply excellent. The very stating of the former two, being a testament in itself to the playfulness of this serial.
I've yet to research this serial, and it may well be a totally failed attempt at crafting a penetrating piece into labour-relations and the historical significance of great men in the age of capital... from where I'm sitting, it comes across as fun Saturday-night Who, trying to please and scoring full marks.
Take off the blinkers, and next time you're in a fowl mood - pop this on rather than City of Death. In the right mindset I can't for the life of me understand why no fan would do anything other than cheer the reappearance of the Master and rejoice in his seeming response to the urge of every viewer to TCE a rabid dog!
The fact that this can exist within months of the Caves of Androzani is why I love Doctor Who. My issue is when Doctor Who fails to achieve its goals - not whether those goals are to thrill or to terrify. Again, lump MOTR in with Pirate Planet and City of Death for your next 'sunday-afternoon-feeling' viewing of a classic serial, I reckon you may be surprised and come to love this underrated gem as much as I do!