It’s the Rani. It’s always the Rani. Even when it definitely isn’t the Rani, well, it’s secretly the Rani.

That’s the running gag in the Doctor Who fandom every time it’s called upon to speculate about who or whatever is behind Something Mysterious and Evil happening on the show. If it’s not the Master, then it’s malevolent Time Lady the Rani. Monsters stealing time, cracks in the universe, milk going off even when kept in an adequately refrigerated container? It’s naughty scientist the Rani (even though it very rarely is).

As played by Kate O’Mara in season 22 and season 24, the character is a classic but little-seen Who villain whose reappearance on TV fans live both in eager anticipation and utter dread of. Four-part 1987 story “Time and the Rani” you see, is not popular.

“Time and the Rani” is not popular to the extent that Doctor Who Magazine’s 2014 poll ranking the show’s episodes (as they stood at that time) from worst to best, placed it at no. 239 out of 241. Three off the bottom – despite sounding like something Tom Baker might once have bellowed on a Wednesday lunchtime at a Soho pub – isn’t a great result.

So you can imagine the surprise of DWM’s Benjamin Cook when new companion Millie Gibson told him that she and Ncuti Gatwa had watched it. Or to be precise, Gibson told Cook as part of a cover interview in DWM 602 (out now, support print media) that she and Gatwa had watched an old Bonnie Langford episode featuring vampires.

“Bat people, yeah! The sky was pink! It’s mad!” I’ve interviewed Millie Gibson this issue, about what’s in store for Ruby Sunday in 2024 and ’25… and about 1987 classic (obv!) “Time and the Rani”. I also caught up with the nicest woman in showbiz, TV icon @ThisisDavina. OUT NOW!

— Benjamin Cook (@benjamin_cook) March 28, 2024

“It was a mad one,” said Gibson, who was impressed when Cook correctly identified the story following the mention of a pink sky. (What she took for vampires turned out to be giant bat race the Tetraps.)

When Bonnie Langford heard that her new young co-stars had watched the 1980s story, Sylvester McCoy’s first adventure, in which the Doctor is roped in to the Rani’s coterie of kidnapped historical geniuses to aid a maniacal plan, Langford’s response was understandable: “Why?”

Now fans are asking the same question. The only other classic episode we know that Gatwa and Gibson watched together is show premiere “An Unearthly Child” to see the similarities between their TARDIS and William Hartnell’s. So why that and “Time and the Rani”?

The only possible answer: they’ve have been set the episode as homework and she’s finally coming back to TV. Played by Indira Varma (even though she’s got feathers) in series 14’s Regency-set episode, or by Anita Dobson as Mrs Flood, or by Susan Twist, or newly announced series 14 cast member Siân Phillips or perhaps played by Russell T Davies himself in a wig… Time Lady baddie the Rani is coming back. She must be. She must be? She must be!

Or maybe it’s just time all have a little lie-down in a dark room? There. Much better.

Doctor Who returns at midnight on Saturday May 11 on BBC iPlayer and at 7 p.m. ET on Friday May 10 on Disney+ in the US and around the world.

The post Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson Spark Returning Villain Rumours By Watching Classic Who Story appeared first on Den of Geek.

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