The Rani - whose scruples are as substantial as a hologram!
Andy: The Rani, created by Pip and Jane Baker back in the 80s as an alternative to the villains of the time. Simply a female Master, or more than that? Personally, I'm not a fan. She was the antagonist in two stories, in the first of which she did little more than bicker with the Master as if he were an irritating sibling. She is a supposed genius, a bio-chemist of some renown, yet her plans are easily derailed by the Doctor. When she reappears she has the quite bonkers idea of dressing up as Mel, the Doctor's companion, and taking advantage of him in his amnesiac, post-regenerative state. To do what exactly? Strange matter? Loyhargil? She's nuts, as crazy as the Master and without any of his amusing character traits. Ok, so she does attempt to disguise herself, but she's a poor imitation.
Joe: But she's so much fun! At this point the return of the Master is simply dull, darling! What we needed was a new villain to usurp him, which she does beautifully in her first story, taking the piss out of his crazy schemes and his endless attempt to entrap the Doctor before finally kicking him in the nuts! Frankly The Rani says exactly what the audience want to say to the Master - you're rubbish! Plus she has been getting along fine in several time periods before the Master turned up - it is only his interference that sees her masterplan foiled. As ever, the Master is a loser and he drags the Rani down with him. Plus (and I might not be popular for saying this) but Kate O'Mara is ten times the actor Ainley was and she infuses the character with a great deal of energy and sly charm. She might not be in the best two stories but by God does she make the two of them worth watching!
Andy: Fun! She's a pantomime character! McCoy's opening story is a whole lot of nonsense, and she's no small part in the blame stakes there! Why make her another renegade Time Lord? Another character with history with the Doctor? Please! That's the last thing we need! I know the JNT era wasn't awash with originality, but this takes the biscuit. If she'd had any other background she'd have been marginally more interesting, but she doesn't and isn't. She’s also in the travesty that is Dimensions in Time. And why? Because it's a joke and so is she. I can never understand why people keep harping on about her return. She's in two less-than-great stories whose sole connection is her presence. She's best left to the past, like the relic she is.
Joe: How dare you insult the priceless gem that is Time and the Rani? Surely one of the greatest travesties of science fiction that we should be thankful was made! The Rani is absolute gold in her second story, even better than she was in her first. Yes she is a pantomime character but we have had panto villains before and we will again and at least she is funny which can cover a multitude of sins. Let’s take a look at the evidence...Audiences at the time must have been appalled at the Rani’s panto addresses directly at them but in retrospect it is so damn watchable! ‘I’m sure you must have the same sweet nature’ – she makes me die with her overdone Mel impression! In the TARDIS she goes from squeaky voiced faux Ms Bush to super butch Rani in a second. I almost had to go to the loo when she slapped the Doctor into the mirror – when I finished laughing I cheered! Well somebody had to knock some sense into McCoy for such a horrendous performance in his first story! ‘I’m overwhelmed’ she tells the audience. ‘Why was the Rani dressed like you Mel?’ ‘Perhaps she’s fashion conscious’ – the Rani gets one gem after another. She's simply divine to watch, playing up a dreadful story for every single laugh she can get. We need villains like The Rani because otherwise they would all be deadly dull. And as for Dimensions in Time - another lost classic!
Andy: Few would agree that Time and the Rani is a "priceless gem" and even fewer that Dimensions in Time is a "lost classic". If you'd have attempted to defend her using The Mark of the Rani as your best example, it would at least have had some merit, but using these two farces (and I use that in the worst possible sense) is ludicrous! Time and the Rani is so much technobabble accompanied by performances so over the top they'd make Brian Blessed blush! I certainly wasn't laughing through either Time and the Rani or Dimensions in Time, or if I was it would have simply been because I couldn't believe what I saw was actually happening. Of course there are room for comedic villains, but they have to be funny, otherwise what's the point? The Rani is over earnest and saddled with some of the worst dialogue known to man or beast. Season 17 is far more amusing (intentionally or not) and I'd far rather have seen the return of Soldeed than this ill-judged venture into Time Lord villainy. At least he was an original character. The Rani doesn't have an original bone in her badly written body.
Joe: Oh you are too harsh on the Rani and far too harsh on Time and the Rani, that story has given me hours of pleasure over the years! Besides I don't care what 'few would agree' - fan opinion and my own often differ widely! The Mark of the Rani sees the Rani at her serious best but Time and the Rani sees her going for the comic jugular and shining. Kate O'Mara plays the part with the right degree of silliness to make it enjoyable - I adore her 'You imbecile!' as she punches the air at the end of her second story! Bad dialogue? I think not! She gets to rip the piss out of the Master, the seventh Doctor and Mel - three of the least successful characters the show has ever served up! Frankly I think the Rani should have killed Mel and hopped into the TARDIS at the end of Time and the Rani and commented dryly on every one of his (mostly pretty dull) adventures! She would have brought some life to Silver Nemesis and Battlefield! Soldeed? Original! Hahaha! Don't be silly...he's just another power crazed nutter with delusions of grandeur! The Rani wants to create a time manipulator so she can rewrite the whole of time to her design! Not many villains have that level of scope! Even Louis Pasteur will be deleted! Plus which other villain dressed up as Bonnie Langford? That's what I call original! In the end of the day - she is genuinely enjoyable to watch regardless of the merits of the story around her, she gets some quality lines and Kate O'Mara delivers them with some style. She's definitely one of my favourites because of her dispassionate view of the universe! She even made me worry about the lesser species when I sunk my teeth into a lamb chop!
Andy: "Going for the comic jugular and shining"? Not sure what story you were watching, but it clearly wasn't the same copy of Time and the Rani I've got. Maybe send it back to 2Entertain, I'm sure they can correct whatever fault has ruined your disc. Rewriting time is hardly an original claim - the Daleks and the Cybermen have both tried that before, along with several others...that Master fellow for one. Lots of villains have that level of scope, it's hardly a commendable or original trait. I can laugh out loud at Soldeed too, but the Rani leaves me cold. Her dialogue is shocking! All this talk of Loyhargil (a ridiculous anagram anyway) and using several genius humans to gain power over an asteroid composed of 'strange matter'. It's so unrealistic that even Doctor Who fans are embarrassed by it! And that's saying something. No matter what you use to try to defend the Rani, nothing will ever convince me she's a worthwhile character. And God knows, if she ever turns up in the new series I'll swear Mr Moffat has completely lost the plot.
Joe: With reasoning like yours you'd get dizzy if you walked in a straight line!