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The Mark of the Rani was the third serial of season 22 of Doctor Who. A new Time Lord villain, the Rani, was introduced in this serial. She would later return in Time and the Rani.

Synopsis Edit

In 19th century England, the Sixth Doctor finds himself facing two competing enemies: his old adversary, the Master, and the Rani, another Time Lord with a sinister plan. The local population is turning violent and unpredictable. With a major meeting of the brains of the Industrial Revolution due to happen in the village soon, the Doctor must work out what exactly is causing all the problems. Only the Doctor can stop the Master and the Rani's evil plans.

Plot Edit

Part 1 Edit

Something is amiss in the mining village of Killingworth in early 19th century England. Miners are being gassed in the bathhouse and turned into thugs and vandals, attacking men and machinery, seen as Luddites by other locals. The Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown witness this when they arrive in Killingworth looking for the cause of some sort of time distortion. They also notice one of the rampaging miners has a strange red mark on his neck. With his usual audacity, the Doctor foists himself upon the local landowner, Lord Ravensworth, who is concerned at the ferocity of the attacks, with the most passive of men suddenly turning violent and unpredictable.

The answer lies in the local bathhouse. The Master has turned up at this key point in human history. He forces his way into the presence of the old woman who runs the bathhouse, in reality, another Time Lord, the Rani. She is a gifted chemist and is using the set-up of the bathhouse to anaesthetise the miners and distil from them the neuro-chemicals that enable sleep. This is what causes the red mark on the victims. These chemicals are synthesised for use back on Miasimia Goria, a planet she rules and which the Master has visited, where her other experiments have left the inhabitants without the ability to rest. He persuades her they need to deal with the Doctor together. He also steals some of the precious brain fluid she has collected to ensure her collaboration. It is a rocky partnership, full of half-truths and deceptions. The Master goes to deal with the Doctor, egging on local miners to attack his enemy and persuading some to throw the Doctor's TARDIS down a mine shaft.

The Doctor has meanwhile dressed as a miner and entered the bathhouse. He soon deduces the Rani's schemes. She traps him but he challenges her ethics. She reveals she has been coming to Earth for centuries to harvest her precious chemicals. The Master convinces the Rani to let him deal with the Doctor. He has the TARDIS pushed down a mine shaft. The angry Luddites put the Doctor in a cart to ensure that he follows it.

Part 2 Edit

The Doctor is saved by inventor George Stephenson. He and Peri return to Lord Ravensworth's, where Stephenson has planned a meeting of scientific and engineering geniuses in the village. The Doctor is worried about the wisdom of such a meeting in the current circumstances, but the Master is so desperate to see the event take place, he uses mind control of Stephenson's young aide, Luke Ward, telling him to kill anyone who tries to prevent it. The Master wants to use the finest brains of the Industrial Revolution to speed up Earth's development and then use the planet as a power base. He strikes a deal with the Rani; she may return to Earth at any time to harvest more brain fluid if she helps him achieve this.

While the villains are away, the Doctor returns to the bathhouse and dodges booby traps to enter the Rani's TARDIS. Her control room holds jars of preserved dinosaur embryos. She summons her ship to the old mine workings with a remote control device, with the Doctor still inside. He hides while his adversaries talk. The Rani has also set land mines in nearby Redfern Dell. When the coast is clear, the Doctor slips away to report back to Ravensworth, Stephenson and Luke, who is behaving strangely.

Peri is making herself useful by using her botanical knowledge to make a sleeping-draught for the afflicted miners. Her quest for herbs leads her to Redfern Dell. The Doctor surprises the Master and the Rani, who are lurking at the edge of the dell. Soon after he does, he sees Luke step on a mine and get turned into a tree. The Doctor takes the other two Time Lords prisoner with the Master's own Tissue Compression Eliminator. Peri takes charge of them but the Rani's deviousness outstrips the Master's and she is the one who enables them to escape. The Rani and the Master flee in her TARDIS, but the Doctor also has a trick or two:

Doctor Who - Will the Master and the Rani escape? - Mark of the Rani - BBC

Doctor Who - Will the Master and the Rani escape? - Mark of the Rani - BBC

The Doctor having sabotaged the Rani's TARDIS, the Master and the Rani are defeated.

he has sabotaged the navigational system. The ship is out of control. In the destabilised condition, one of the jars holding a Tyrannosaurus Rex embryo falls on the floor and the creature, affected by the time spillage, starts to grow.

The Doctor and Peri make a swap with Ravensworth, who has retrieved the TARDIS. He gets the phial of brain fluid, which he is told to give to the affected miners. Before the eyes of an astonished scientist and his financier, the TARDIS departs...

Cast Edit

Uncredited cast Edit

Crew Edit

Uncredited crew Edit

References Edit

Biology Edit

  • An embryo of Tyrannosaurus Rex is in the Rani's TARDIS. The Doctor imagines she took it from the Cretaceous.
  • Peri Brown goes and searches for valerian (Valeriana officinalis), a herb to cure the Rani's victims.
  • The land mines of the Rani turn animal beings into conscious vegetable beings.
  • Talking about ecology and the difference with the 1800s, Peri says that in her time, some species of butterfly and birds are almost extinct.
  • The Doctor says that the Master would probably turn into a laburnum if he stepped on one of the Rani's mines since it is a poisonous tree.
  • The Rani blames the Earthlings for being carnivores.
  • According to the Rani, a tree has four times the life expectancy of a human being.
  • Peri Brown is afraid of rabies and guesses Time Lords are immune to it.
  • The Rani uses impregnated worm parasites to take over the minds of her victims and turn them into slaves, which is her version of hypnotism. When the parasites take hold, the eyes of the victim glow a blue colour briefly.

Cultural references from real world Edit

Individuals Edit

  • The Rani was exiled from Gallifrey because her giant mice ate the Lord President's cat and took a bite out of the President himself according to the Master. She now rules Miasimia Goria, where she controls a race of aliens. The Rani had come to Earth for centuries, unnoticed; she has extracted brain fluid from people in the Trojan War, the Dark Ages and the American War of Independence. She is also aware of the Master's failed plan on Sarn and had thought he was dead.
  • The Master briefly disguises himself as a scarecrow.
  • The Doctor refers to Stephenson's "Rocket" in a pun. Peri tells him his puns are getting worse.

TARDIS and time travel Edit

Weapons Edit

Story notes Edit

  • This story had working titles of Too Clever by Far and Enter the Rani.
  • The music score for this story was provided by composer Jonathan Gibbs. John Lewis was originally hired to compose the score, but a sudden illness — which ultimately resulted in his death — prevented him from finishing the work and forced the production team to give the assignment to Gibbs just after Lewis had scored the first episode. Lewis' score for the first episode was included on the DVD release.
  • The following credit appeared in both episodes: "The BBC wish to acknowledge the cooperation of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum."
  • This was the last story of the original series of Doctor Who to be directed by a woman. The next such occasion was TV: Blink, directed by Hettie MacDonald, in 2007.
  • The Mark of the Rani was shown in four twenty-five-minute episodes in the USA, Canada, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Rani was conceived as a new, ongoing villain, but the character only appeared once more in the series, two years later in TV: Time and the Rani. Kate O'Mara reprised the role for the charity special TV: Dimensions in Time (which is considered to be a non-legitimate story by many fans and this wikia) and the spin-off audio production AUDIO: The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind. The possibility of the Rani returning to the revival series has been a source of fan speculation since 2005, with virtually every female character from Rose Tyler to Donna Noble to Lucy Saxon to Missy being considered possible Ranis-in-disguise.
  • With the appearances of George Stephenson and Lord Ravensworth, this was the first televised Doctor Who story to feature an historical figure as an onscreen character since TV: The Gunfighters in 1966.

Ratings Edit

  • Part one - 6.3 million viewers
  • Part two - 7.3 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • John Nathan-Turner cast Kate O'Mara as the Rani because of her starring role in the popular American soap opera Dynasty. (O'Mara had yet to begin work on Dynasty when she was cast as the Rani. She was well known for her appearances in UK soap operas, including for the BBC The Brothers - opposite Colin Baker - and Triangle. Her appearances on Dynasty were filmed between the production of this story and her later return in Time and the Rani.)

Filming locations Edit

  • Most of the location filming, including the village scenes, was done at Blists Hill Open Air Museum in Shropshire.
  • Granville Colliery Spoil Heaps (now known as Granville Park), Lodge Road, Donnington Wood, Telford, Shropshire (Scene of the TARDIS landing)
  • Coalport China Museum, Coalport, Telford, Shropshire (Lord Ravenworth's offices)
  • Blists Hill Victorian Town, Madeley, Shropshire
  • Park Wood, Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex (The tree scenes)
  • BBC Television Centre (TC6), Shepherd's Bush, London

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Peri enters the bathhouse, she locks the door with the wooden bar. When the Rani and the Master return, the wooden bar is unlocked.
  • When they discover Peri, she stands at the foot of the Doctor. In the next shot, they come from the other room.
  • When the Doctor dangles above the pit, one of his three attackers falls in. A moment later there is a close-up of three pairs of hands aiming weapons at him. This shot belonged to an earlier part of the sequence before they arrived at the pit.
  • When the Doctor first dangles above the pit, he barely fits. When the TARDIS is thrown down, it also fits but is much bigger than the Doctor.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Mark of the Rani.



  • Commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Kate O'Mara
  • Lords and Luddites - Actors and crew recall the making of The Mark of the Rani in this specially-shot documentary, featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Kate O'Mara and Gary Cady, writers Pip & Jane Baker, script editor Eric Saward and composer Jonathan Gibbs
  • Deleted Scenes - Nearly ten minutes of additional material from an early edit of Part 1
  • Now and Then - A short film featuring the Blists Hill Victorian Town location
  • Playing With Time - An interview with the story's composer, Jonathan Gibbs
  • Blue Peter - A short film from 1978 exploring the history of Ironbridge Gorge and Blists Hill
  • Saturday Superstore - An extract from 17 March 1984 featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Anthony Ainley
  • Alternative Soundtrack - The option to view Part 1 with the partially-completed original music score by John Lewis
  • Isolated Music Score - Clean synchronous music is available for both episodes
  • Radio Times Listings (DVD-ROM)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Production Subtitles
  • Easter Egg- Navigate down to Special Features on the first menu and press the left arrow to highlight a hidden Doctor Who logo. Press select to see continuity clips from the original BBC1 broadcast


It was released as issue 63 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.

VHS releases Edit

  • This story was released on VHS in July 1995.

Digital releases Edit

  • The story is available for streaming in the US through Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant Video in the UK.
  • It is also available to download through iTunes.

Novelisation Edit

Mark of the Rani novel
Main article: The Mark of the Rani (novelisation)

External links Edit

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