Marc Platt’s story for this second return of the Doctor’s old classmate the Rani is told on a suitably large scale, with Siobhan Redmond tailoring her performance carefully to the requirements of the scene, and following a principle of less is more (rather than going overboard the whole time, which might have happened in the hands of a less experienced actor). It works well in scenes with Colin Baker’s more restrained version of the Sixth Doctor, and is particularly effective in her moments with Miranda Raison’s Constance Clarke, who’s fast becoming one of my favourite of the audio-created companions.
Platt blends in information we learn about Miasimia Goria from the Rani’s televised adventures, and builds on the relationship between the Doctor and the Rani that Justin Richards developed in last year’s story. Chris Porter’s Degoor is a suitably unctuous attendant (and there were times that I really thought I was listening to Peter Miles in the role) with James Joyce’s Raj Kahnu constantly full of surprises. Director Ken Bentley is thrown a number of curveballs by the script, having to create locations and unusual effects that would be comparatively simple to achieve in CGI, but are nowhere near as easy to do purely with sound (one character scuttling on the ceiling, for instance, or a constant stream of cockroach-like beings whose nature needs to be present but not dominant in the soundscape), and sells it well.
Verdict: A much better foil for Baker’s Doctor than the Master, the Rani’s renaissance continues to impress. 8/10