07/02/07 Doctor Who: The mark of the Rani
Ancient contraception, 13th-century architecture, a 19th-century visual Euclid and other historic finds.
Southwest China, photographed in the 1920s.
Metafilter: South of the clouds
The brain, visualised in 1912.
BibliOddysey: Brain maps
Euclid, visualised in 1847.
University of British Columbia: Oliver Byrne's edition of Euclid
Architecture, pondered in the 13th century.
Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: Sketchbook of Villard the Honnecourt
University of Newcastle: Portfolio of Villard the Honnecourt c. 1230 - 35
Contraception, practiced in the ancient world.
Salon: Don't worry, darling, I have fennel
Catching up on the links thing.
Other stories from the war.
PBS: Author uncovers stories of Arabs helping Jews during Holocaust
Fathers, daughters, teddy bears and the soul of a new machine.
The language of autism.
Metafilter: In my language
Writing for the BBC.
BBC: Writers' room
Wikipedia: Doctor Who spoofs
We almost have a government, and we have a "regeerakkoord" (mission statement - well, sort of) for the new government. More about which later. In the meantime, why not have another Doctor Who review?
This is a two-part serial, first broadcast between 2nd February - 9th February 1985. A brief and somewhat spoiler-ish summary of the plot: the Doctor and Peri have planned an outing to Kew Gardens but get lost, as usual. They end up in the middle of the Luddite riots, where the Doctor meets two old enemies.
The setting for this story is promising. It takes place at the time of the industrial revolution, there's excellent location work, the costumes are as good as can be expected of the BBC and the performances from the characters that belong in the period range from adequate to good. There's also a very nice incidental score.
Unfortunately, the story that unfolds within this setting is something of a disappointment.
The main problem is the script. It soon becomes clear that this story is not supposed to be taken seriously - we get maggots that turn people into zombies, land mines that turn people into trees, a baby dinosaur that doesn't do much of anything, and two villains who seem to spend most of their time competing for the 'campest Doctor Who villain ever' tiara. There's no real tension and little action, most of which consists of attempts on the Doctor's life that are clearly doomed from the start. At the same time, the story doesn't really work as comedy either. There's one bit of dialogue that made me laugh out loud - when asked what he and Peri do inside the Tardis the Doctor replies, "Argue, mainly" - but, unfortunately, in this story we get "arguing, mainly" rather than actual wit.
The sixth Doctor still has that mostly unfunny 'oooh, aren't I funny' thing going on that also plagued 'Vengeance on Varos' but, to be fair, the script gives him little to work with. Peri doesn't get a lot to do in this serial, and she isn't helped by the unflattering and impractical Snow-white outfit she's wearing. The Master and the Rani, the two villains of the story, are making the most of a script that gives them little to do apart from developing ridiculous schemes and bickering endlessly.
The period setting and the production values keep this serial from being a total loss. Still, unless you're either a fan of the sixth Doctor or you really like the industrial revolution, you might want to give this a miss.
BBC Cult: episode guide
Behind the sofa: serial review
Outpost Gallifrey: serial review
Outpost Gallifrey: DVD review
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The mark of the Rani (1985)
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