Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 12/4/15 11:14 am
3 out of 3 found this review helpful.
This story was born from Kate O'Mara contacting Big Finish wishing to return to the role. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and Big Finish had already obtained the rights from Pip and Jane Baker. Siobhan Redmond is like a Paul McGann version of the renegade Timelady, her performance is assured but laid back, perhaps a little too much.
When the Rani originally appeared on our screens she simply wanted to conduct unethical experiments, not engage the Doctor in a battle of wits. The next time we saw her she wanted revenge, a vague motivation but valid nonetheless. I am not sure what she wanted this time, she had a plan, and I understood what she was trying to achieve, but what was her motivation exactly? She lured the Doctor to The College of Advanced Galactic Education under the pretence of receiving an honorary degree in Moral Philosophy, and he was a necessary part of her plan, so revenge? However, what would she have done with the fruits of her plan? I am being deliberately vague there so not to spoiler it.
When I started listening to the story I was wowed by the performances and production values. After a while, it digressed into a series of captures and talks at gunpoint. The Doctor and Peri are left in a room that they are able to escape from because the walls are designed to be moveable; that applies to the whole building. So, the genius Rani didn't think that perhaps the Doctor might work out a way to engage that feature and she didn't attempt to block it? Not exactly left in the room with a key, but hardly reinforces the idea of a tough opponent.
The Rani is using technology to remove the consciousness of students and supplant them with the minds of her aged clients. Slight Problem. The old minds are causing the young bodies to age - not keen on that idea, myself. The people who have taken over the bodies of the students have second thoughts when the Doctor holds up a mirror to their actions. OK, makes sense, but again a rather loose motivation to ascribe. One minute they are fine with body hijacking and now they are not.
It's a real shame that Justin Richards poor characterisation and the stilted plot held this back because apart from that it's really quite enjoyable. The music is superb and the direction flawless. I would have liked it if they would have filled the Rani's back story a little more like they did with the Valeyard in 'Trial of the Valeyard'. Do we need another mysterious Timelord? Instead, the Doctor calls the Rani by her true name, which I didn't catch or care about, and we find out the Doctor's test scores from the academy. Double Gamma, if anyone cares. A real missed opportunity here; I do hope 'Planet of the Rani' is better. There wasn't much that was, 'Elite' about this.