Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor

‘Doctor Who’ audio story review: ‘The Rani Elite’ (Big Finish 194)

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Concluding this trilogy of post-Mindwarp adventures for Peri and the Sixth Doctor, we are on familiar ground again when poor Ms Brown finds her mind is not her own.

Reeled in by the Rani, who tries to play on the Doctor’s vanity by organising for him to be awarded with an honorary degree, the TARDIS arrives at the prestigious College of Advanced Galactic Education. This ‘space university’ is where the best and the brightest come to learn, and also where the rogue Time Lady has chosen to give birth to her latest deadly scheme.

Arriving a day early, the Doctor and Peri encounter a desperate student named Lizzo who claims people are trying to hurt her. The Doctor concludes that someone has tried to steal her brain and his investigations promptly lead him to the door of Professor Baxton, the faculty member who nominated him for his honour.

Siobhan Redmond’s new incarnation of the Rani is as ruthless as her predecessor and equally single minded of purpose, with a nice line in sarcasm. She spars nicely against the Doctor when they meet, but what really fascinates is the notion that they have come together out of sequence.


While the recasting was a matter of sad necessity, due to the recent death of Kate O’Mara, it adds an extra dimension in terms of story; the Rani intended to ensnare “the little chap with the hat and the umbrella” and happily crows that she has already had a hand in this incarnation’s death.

Justin Richard’s tale is pleasingly traditional in tone and the Rani’s latest scheme is appropriately bonkers in both concept and scale. As well as all the mental shenanigans, we enjoyed the idea of the flexible magna-struct geometry within buildings and particularly laughed at the notion of the Doctor maintaining a post office box in Reigate!

While the two Time Lords face off, he adds throws in a connection to the BBC Books range, with the Doctor calling the Rani by her real name of Ushas and name checking some other members of their old student group, the Deca.

Putting Peri through the mental wringer again, a persistent theme through this run of stories, grants Nicola Bryant the chance to play another role which she does entertainingly. Her rapport with Colin Baker’s enthusiastic Doctor is, as ever, spot on and it has been great to have this particular TARDIS team reunited.

Extras: There are nine minutes of music, along with more than ten of interviews featuring with the regulars, the writer and the new Rani.


Released in December 2014 by Big Finish Productions Ltd.

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