Nu-View #5: Color Me Surprised

The Mark of the Rani  (Story #140, 1985)
Viewed 09 Aug 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Six, Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown
Stars:  Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant
Preceding StoryVengeance on Varos (Six, Peri)
Succeeding Story:  The Two Doctors (Two, Six, Jaime, Peri)
Notable Aspects:

OK - I'll admit it: I was really surprised by the reactions to Six. While jE was already familiar with him (in fact, he was the reason she stopped watching, back in the day - and despite not feeling well, I'm pretty sure that's her real excuse for missing this time), neither of the other two had ever seen him before.  I carefully picked my favorite of his stories in order to cast him in the best possible light.  Who knew - it worked!

First impressions were mixed. The credits were declared more '70s than '80s (and Six's smile garnered such adjectives as "creepy" and "psychedelic"), but the music was "totally '80s!" Then came the requisite disgust with Six's coat-of-many-colors, which for this story was closely followed by "what is she wearing?!" in reference to Peri. Finally, there was the general snarking about the supposedly American Companion ("gotta work on that accent, lady"), which actually continued through the whole show ("you're so incapable!" "I don't like her at all..."). So far, I was in familiar territory.

Then things turned weird.

"He kind of reminds me of [Eccleston]," declared jO. Wait, whut? Six? Like Nine? I was confused.  It was something about his particular reaction to a person/situation I can't even remember now, but at the time - if I squinted my brain really hard - I could see what she meant. But it didn't end there.

Soon my n00bs were singing the praises of this story compared to everything else pre-Hiatus we'd watched. Both thought it was more like post-Hiatus Who than the other Nu-View fare. In fact, jO even declared it the "best up to now," while jA observed that the show seemed to be "getting better with the science fiction" aspect. Given the attitude I'd first had about Six, I was reeling.

Once we turned to the Rani herself, I was back on track, though. Plenty of oohs! and ahhs! accompanied the first glimpse of her TARDIS's interior. "Hers is much nicer! ... except for those" (as the camera panned to the T. rex fetuses). We all felt firmly back in the '80s when the Rani stripped off her period costume to reveal shoulder pads and tight pants. By the end, with sarcastic comments about Peri's usefulness flying everywhere (like "oh yeah! You're definitely a match for them!" when she was left to guard both the Master and the Rani by herself), I had mostly regained my mental balance. I can't stay grumpy too long watching anything with the Rani in it.

General reactions:

  • jA - "his ego's not that bad" [based on my forewarning]
  • jE - [absent due to illness; previous experience with Six not positive]
  • jO - "I like this one; he held my interest the most" [re: One through Six]
  • mrfranklin - although this is my favorite Six story, I still like the Rani better than him

Our most "colorful" Doctor came across surprisingly (at least to me) well to the other neowhovians. While more enamored of his knee-to-the-groin-ready female antagonist myself, I'm still pleased that I managed not to let my own biases get in the way of the others' enjoyment. It will be interesting to see if my future selections fare equally well.

Verdict:  Thumbs up.

Looking ahead:  Remembrance of the Daleks



Colin Baker is one of my favourite Doctors. He was my second doctor and I much preferred him to Davison. I loved this story when it was aired and I'm very much looking forward to seeing it soon in my rewatch marathon.

By Mary (not verified)
mrfranklin's picture

I really didn't warm up to him until TOATL (and many other DVDs with many other Doctors). It was probably partly self-fulfilling prophecy, because I'd heard lots of trash talk before ever seeing him for myself. At any rate, I do like this story better than any of his others, so it was a natural choice to show the Ladies.  :)

By mrfranklin
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