Principal C.B. Wainwright
Place of Origin:
First Seem In:
Mark of the Rani (1985)
Kate O Mara
Main Voice Actor:
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Ushas, better known as The Rani and known more formally as Ushas of Miasimia Goria, or, in other accounts, as simply Rani, was a renegade Time Lady and member of the Deca. A brilliant but cold neurochemist, she knew The Doctor and the Master when all three were young, and became an enemy of the former and an unwilling ally of the latter.
YOUTH AND EXILE
The Rani was the same age as The Doctor. (Time and the Rani) As a Time Tot, she played hide and seek with the First Doctor, with the Ninth Doctor claiming that his skill at finding her “drove [her] nuts”. (Weapons of Past Destruction)
Some accounts gave The Rani’s original name on Gallifrey as “Ushas ” (Divided Loyalties, A Brief History of Time Lords) while another stated that the Scrolls of Gallifrey gave her true name as simply “Rani”: unlike The Doctor and the Master, who had already acquired their nicknames at the Academy, she was an exceptionally successful and well-behaved student. (The Legacy of Gallifrey)
Like all Time Lords, Ushas was taken from her family at the age of eight for the selection process in the Drylands. Staring into the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation rite, Ushas was reported by one Time Lord historian to have been driven mad by what she saw in the Schism. (A Brief History of Time Lords)
One account suggested that at the Academy, Ushas belonged to the Deca, (Divided Loyalties) being their most intelligent member. (The Rani Elite) She and her nine friends from the Deca were part of the Prydonian Chapter and attended the Prydonian Academy. (Divided Loyalties) In another, which agreed that she was the most skilled student of her group of friends, she belonged to the Patrex Chapter. (The Legacy of Gallifrey)
She was taught by Sendok, Borusa, Franilla, and Delox. (Divided Loyalties)
At the Academy, she was “good at everything”, but at chemistry especially, (The Legacy of Gallifrey) with neurochemistry being her specialty. (Time and the Rani) River Song suggested that The Doctor might have had a crush on The Rani at the Academy. (The Bekdel Test)
Ushas was on an Academy research project when The Doctor was expelled from the Academy. (Divided Loyalties) The Doctor was invited to her 94th birthday party. (The Death of Art) At The Doctor’s graduation, there was an incident involving Ushas and a giant rat. (Party Animals)
On the day that The Doctor left Gallifrey, Ushas and the Master were desperate to know where he went. When retired CIA agent Maris was hired to find The Doctor, they used a chronal mine to kidnap her. They interrogated Maris on the whereabouts of the Doctor and were displeased when she told them she didn’t know. They were about to kill her when her employer extracted her from the area. (Celestial Intervention – A Gallifreyan Noir)
The last of the trio she formed with The Doctor and the Master to turn renegade and leave Gallifrey, The Rani was forced into her exile as a consequence of her having conducted an experiment (The Legacy of Gallifrey) which resulted in some of her lab mice growing to an enormous size. The mice ate the Lord President Pandad IV’s pet cat. They also bit the President himself, triggering a regeneration, (The Mark of the Rani) and devouring Socra, Pandad’s Chancellor, and a CIA agent. (The Legacy of Gallifrey) Feeling that she would never be forgiven for the incident, Ushas opted out of Time Lord society, becoming a renegade. She took a TARDIS and settled on Miasimia Goria, (Divided Loyalties) under the name of “The Rani”. (The Mark of the Rani)
LIFE AS A RENEGADE
The Rani’s notoriety made her the second most wanted criminal in the galaxy, after The Master. (Requiem for the Rocket Men)
While The Rani certainly did not share The Doctor’s fondness for Earth, which she considered a “miserable planet,” it was the focus of several of her research projects. She was also disdainful of humans themselves and called them carnivores because they ate animals. At some point, she had visited Earth in the distant past and acquired several tyrannosaur embryos.
When the test subjects on Miasimia Goria, a planet she had enslaved, became violently restless and uncontrollable as a side effect of her experiments on them, The Rani visited Earth at various points in its history to extract chemicals from the brains of select human specimens. Because the chemicals in question enabled the human brain to sleep, and because the absence of these chemicals made her victims as violent and uncontrollable as those from her previous experiments, The Rani deliberately chose periods of social unrest to visit, using the violence to conceal her presence and its consequences. She visited the Trojan War, the Dark Ages, the American Revolutionary War, and finally the Luddite riots in the village of Killingworth during the early 19th century where she used the local bath house as her base, posing as the old woman in charge of the premises. (The Mark of the Rani) Around this time, The Rani travelled to Shildon, where she encountered Panda. (From Wildthyme with Love)
The Master and, shortly after, the Sixth Doctor, interrupted her work. The Doctor sabotaged the navigational system of the Rani’s TARDIS, trapping The Master and the Rani inside as time spillage caused the tyrannosaur embryos to grow at a dangerous rate. (The Mark of the Rani)
ON TERRA NOVA
The dinosaur grew to such a size that it broke its neck on the ceiling, but The Rani had been left adrift in her TARDIS when The Master escaped from her by detaching the console room from the rest of her TARDIS. Shortly afterwards, from The Doctor’s subjective point of view, The Rani was also trapped along with the Sixth Doctor on Terra Nova, which the entity known as Iam had created. She had in the meantime tried and failed to manipulate the political situation existing between the three children of that reality’s version of Cleopatra VII. However, she did manage to escape Terra Nova, by using the entity to create a new TARDIS console room to replace the one The Master escaped in. (State of Change)
On the planet Tetrapyriarbus, The Rani made the acquaintance of and decided to employ, the Tetraps, led by Urak. With them, she invaded the peaceful planet Lakertya and put into motion a complex plan. The Rani abducted eleven scientific geniuses from across time and space, including Albert Einstein of Earth. Finally she decided to “collect” The Doctor and attacked his TARDIS, (Time and the Rani) with concentrated beams of a radiation lethal to Time Lords. (The Brink of Death) The Doctor was wounded as a result, triggering the regeneration into his seventh incarnation. The Rani channelled the intellects of the geniuses into a giant artificial brain which she believed could find the secret to manipulating strange matter, the key to making the planet of Lakertya into a Time Manipulator in order to correct what she considered to be errors in the universal timeline. Her first target was to be Earth, where she would prevent the extinction of the dinosaurs, creatures whose full potential she felt had never been truly realised. She considered the death of the native Lakertyans a small price to pay.
She used the artificial brain to find the answer as to how to create a lightweight substitute for strange matter since strange matter was incredibly heavy and could only be destroyed by strange matter. When it was devised she sent a missile containing the substance aimed at a strange matter asteroid. However, The Doctor destroyed the brain and redirected the missile. Urak betrayed her, leading the Tetraps against her, and they placed her under house arrest in her TARDIS on Tetrapyriarbus. The Rani was 953 years old when these events took place. (Time and the Rani)
After these events occurred, the Tetraps faced a food shortage crisis, while Urak managed to have The Rani put on trial, with the death sentence. She would have to solve the food shortage, otherwise, her sentence would commence. Two human and two alien prisoners were to be test subjects for the Rani’s experiments in an attempt at solving the crisis. The Rani, however, teamed up with the four “guinea pigs” and managed to escape the planet. Each then went their separate ways, with The Rani swearing to teach Urak a lesson and retrieve her TARDIS from him. (The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind)
On the planet of Koturia, The Rani went by the name of Lania. She was genetically modifying pterodactyls in order to take blood and tissue samples of Koturians for the purpose of learning about Phasing. She believed that she could learn of a way to control the outcome of a regeneration by learning how Koturians control their appearance when they Phase. She immersed herself in Koturian culture and became engaged to Jonos, an upper-class Koturian. However, their marriage ceremony was crashed by the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown, the former of whom was invited as an old friend of Jonos’s father, Evris Makshi. Although they were too late to stop the physical ceremony, it failed to result in Jonos completing his Phase because both bride and groom have to be in love with one another for the Imori stone to work and the Rani was only pretending to be in love with Jonos. Although The Rani claimed to be immune to emotion, The Doctor believed she felt some kind of emotional attachment to her work, as she did beg him to not destroy her research by saying “please.” (Something Borrowed)
THE RANI’S HOBBY
The Rani developed an affinity for Earth’s plant life and posed as a florist there to gather floral specimens. She experimented on them to make them stronger and thus able to survive on “her planet”. A slight error in the fertiliser (as she put it) soon resulted in at least two of her test subjects mutating into gigantic, carnivorous “plant monsters”.
Passing by, the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler saw the creatures escaping from the florist shop and made their way inside. The Doctor was stunned to come across The Rani once more, while she, for her part, readily recognised The Doctor and began to deride this latest regeneration of his, which she described as “a scrawny little thing”. The Doctor retaliated by finding the fact that The Rani had essentially adopted gardening as a “hobby ” utterly adorable.
While The Doctor formulated a plan and explained it to Rose, The Rani created an antidote for her overpowered fertiliser, curbing the plant monsters’ aggressive tendencies and shrinking them to a small enough size to fit inside her TARDIS. When The Doctor announced this exact same plan as his own idea, only to realise that The Rani had already done it, he was momentarily stunned, but also impressed. As The Rani left the timezone with the tamed plant monsters, The Doctor bid her a fond goodbye. His subsequent, outspoken admiration of the Rani’s intelligence was shortly followed by an assurance that he “couldn’t stand her” to a jealous Rose. (Untitled)
A NEW INCARNATION
The Rani later regenerated. In her new incarnation she once again encountered the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown, although she had expected his seventh incarnation. She masqueraded as Professor Baxton at the College of Advanced Galactic Education a foremost authority of Moral Philosophy. The Doctor questioned her about her theories in one of her lectures. She tested the students and used the tests to find suitability for her experiments. Some of the students she experimented on were Lizzo and Reev, and she tried to experiment on Miklev. The students were experts in their fields. She was making a biodigital interface controller. She was using a Sidelian Brain Scanner in her techniques, which was moving memories from one brain to another. The Rani then used Peri in her experiments, due to Miklev being concussed. She also killed her accomplice, the Vice Chancellor. The real Professor Baxton was used as the overseer of the network of the students’ brains. She was using the students’ minds in order to calculate the minor events she would need, in order to create the massive events she wanted, in effect reverse engineering chaos theory. She hated The Doctor calling her Ushas and reminiscing about the Deca. When The Doctor tricked her she fell down through the floor on the way to her TARDIS. She gloated in her part in The Doctor’s next regeneration. (The Rani Elite)
She was sent to Teccaurora Penitentiary, a prison for her misdemeanours. 97 years after her imprisonment, she became the governor of the prison. Using the prison as her base of operations, she used the prisoners to power a time corridor to Miasimia Goria. She took Constance Clarke with her and was appalled at the state the planet was in, but was delighted that Raj Kahnu became a success, the only one of her experiments to work correctly. She showed some emotion when she thought that Kahnu was dead, but was put on trial by her subjects on Miasimia Goria, where The Doctor said he would take her back to Gallifrey. She pleaded with Kahnu to show some compassion in sentencing her but instead tried to kill him. She escaped in a TARDIS survival pod that her previous incarnation had left there. (Planet of the Rani)
In the War in Heaven, the Lord President reintegrated several barely-reformed renegades into Gallifreyan society. One former renegade Time Lady, who was known for her engineered creatures, became a tutor to newly-loomed soldiers. Holsred remembered a lecture in which she connected an artron energy generator to a white rat’s brain and then let the rat use the energy to kill a hungry Gallifreyan cat. (The Taking of Planet 5)
Father Kreiner had the heads of the Rani and the Master as trophies; however, at least one of them was a clone created in the High Council’s hatchling projects. (Interference)
In a alternative timeline, The Rani cooperated alongside The Master, The Monk and Drax to try to destroy the world using a DNA recombinator, turning the human race into a gestalt consciousness that could be used as a weapon to conquer the universe. (The Quantum Archangel)
In Theta Stigma’s universe, The Rani was a psychiatrist who gave him advice for 5 cents. (The Glorious Dead)
In her first incarnation, (Time and the Rani) The Rani was slim, with tanned skin, and big hair that was sometimes curled. She dressed lavishly, wearing knee-high boots, tight leather trousers, and voluminous patterned tunics. With each outfit, she wore colour-coordinated nail varnish and eye shadow, and various rings and bracelets. (The Mark of the Rani, Time and the Rani) When meeting the Tenth Doctor, The Rani wore a long blue floral-patterned dress. (Untitled)
The Rani’s next incarnation wore her hair in shoulder-length ginger curls, and spoke with a Scottish accent. Leaving behind her previous incarnation’s penchant for flamboyant clothing, this Rani dressed in period-appropriate clothes based on her location. At the CAGE, while disguised as Professor Baxton, she wore a black trench coat over an orange shirt patterned with teacups, paired with glittering slingback shoes. (The Rani Elite, Planet of the Rani)
The Rani was a brilliant scientific genius whose villainy came not from the usual variety of lust for power and suchlike, but from a mindset that treated everything (including morality) as secondary to her research. She was highly intelligent but extremely arrogant, narcissistic, ruthless, powerful and intensely cruel. She was known to enslave entire worlds in order to have a ready supply of experimental subjects and a place to carry out her experiments uninterrupted. Her major interest was in altering the biochemistry of other species. She was also capable of linking a remote control to a TARDIS, something that other Time Lords had not been able to manage themselves.
While she did appear evil, she found The Master to be truly evil and therefore stupid. She also said that his plans were so overcomplicated that if he walked in a straight line he would get dizzy. She didn’t have a good impression of either of her old classmates when she encountered The Master and the Sixth Doctor. What evil she did she felt was necessary to her work. When The Doctor tried to convince her not to experiment on humans, she called them carnivores and asked if they ever thought of the lesser species when they sunk their teeth into a lamb chop; she had a conscience of some kind, as she was later willing to destroy her test subjects intending to kill The Doctor. (The Mark of the Rani)
According to the Seventh Doctor, The Rani had nothing but contempt for all other Time Lords since her banishment from Gallifrey. However, after hearing this, The Rani laughed and stated that her contempt started long before her banishment. (Time and the Rani)
The Rani reacted negatively when addressed as “Ushas ” by The Doctor, demanding he refrain from calling her by her former name and dismissed his mentions of Drax, Mortimus, and the Deca. (The Rani Elite)
BEHIND THE SCENES
Kate O’Mara portrayed The Rani in all of her television appearances including the 1993 special Dimensions in Time. In this story, The Rani traps all seven of the Doctor’s incarnations and fellow companions in the East End of London.
It was never made clear on-screen as to whether Kate O’Mara was the first Rani or simply the first one covered by the series. However, Pip and Jane Baker’s novelisation of Time and the Rani confirms that The Rani is still in her first incarnation.
In August 2012, Steven Moffat stated that “he had no reason to bring back The Rani”, thus putting an end to the rumours of her return to the television series.
Russell T Davies has said that if he had brought back The Rani, he would have cast actress Ruthie Henshall in the role.
Plans were underway to bring back Kate O’Mara as The Rani for new Big Finish Productions audios, but O’Mara passed away a few weeks before recording. Upon being assured by O’Mara’s agent that she’d wished them to continue the project without her, Big Finish cast Siobhan Redmond as a new incarnation of the Rani.
Redmond had never seen Doctor Who prior to being cast as The Rani, though she familiarised herself with O’Mara’s work in the role. Before her in-character photoshoot as the new Rani, she curled her hair as a small homage to O’Mara. (VOR 70)
Redmond’s portrayal of the Rani with her own native Scottish accent, closely following as it did the premieres of the first Scottish-accented Master and the Twelfth Doctor on televised Doctor Who, led Vortex to comment “Scottish Time Lords are like buses. You wait ages for one to appear, and then suddenly you get three at once!” (VOR 70)
In the commentary for Last of the Time Lords, Russell T Davies jokingly termed the hand seen removing The Master’s ring from the ashes of his funeral pyre “the hand of the Rani”. He would later write it being the hand of a disciple of Harold Saxon’s in The End of Time.