Doctor WhoMusic/Audio

Doctor Who: Rani Takes On The World by Joseph Lidster, James Goss and Lizzie Hopley (CD review).

Rani Chandra (Anjli Mohinda) is better known as friend and mentee of Sarah Jane Smith. It’s been a while since Sarah Jane died but it would be true to say that Rani is not dealing with her loss very well.

This new series takes the character of Rani and old friend Clyde Langer (Daniel Anthony_ into new and exciting areas. There are three linked adventures in this boxset.

1.1 Here Today by Joseph Lidster 

She’s been left Sarah Jane’s house but hasn’t been in it since the funeral. Kipping on Samira (Raghad Chaar), her best mate’s sofa is no way forward. She also produces Rani’s podcast that looks into the weird and weirder and the extra terrestrial.

Enjoying a vegan mocktail with Samira, she’s a little shocked when Clyde and his girlfriend, Phoenix (Tiegan Byrne), rock into Samira’s bar. There are more revelations and she’s reeling from her unacknowledged feelings for her old buddy.

Lucky then that a spaceship turns up on Ealing Common, drawing a line under speculation and launching them into an adventure, again and again.

A great start as we get to know Rani and Clyde all over again. The supporting cast of characters are also excellent

1.2 Destination: Wedding by James Goss 

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the hot tub, it’s time to get reacquainted with Rani’s mother. Gita Chandra (Mina Anwar) is made up because they’ve been invited to a lavish Caribbean wedding by old school acquaintance of Rani’s. Tiff (Rachel Fenwick) has invited lots of people and also a whole wodge of celebrities as this is an A list Hollywood wedding. It’s all very impressive but, of course, there is bound to be something fishy in the prawn rings.

Gita, as played by Mina Anwar, is full on and making notes should her daughter ever decide to let down her defences and marry someone. Rani is a wreck and keeps texting Clyde without any reply. The hotel receptionist is a calm and collected and happy to indulge every whim. Tiff is excited to be getting her ‘princess day’ but the same can’t be said about the groom.

Every dawn, all the guests are sent to the beach to have a photo taken and every day the photo is different but Rani and Gita can’t work out why.

If you’ve ever wanted a destination wedding just treat this as a salutary warning about being careful what you wish for.

1.3 The Witching Tree by Lizzie Hopley 

Rani gets a good lead for her podcast and she’s fully committed to winning the upcoming Poddy Awards. She’s invited to investigate a haunted restaurant. There’s a mysterious tree growing through the centre of the restaurant but it only appeared a couple of years ago despite everyone believes it to have been there for years.

As Rani gets increasingly disoriented, the links to her saviours are being eroded. Samira (Raghad Chaar) can’t make sense of her uploaded reports so it’s time for Clyde to step up and make the team Clani again. There’s a battle going on and he really shouldn’t miss it.

What a ride. The three stories manage to offer different angles to the new Rani adventures, firmly placing them in the ‘must listen’ category. The story arc is satisfying and script editor Matt Fitton has put together a cracking series of stories with three very strong writers. The dialogue fizzes and crackles, too, as we enjoy the to and fro of banter, friendship and mum issues. It’s all over too soon and I can’t wait until we next meet up with Rani and Clyde, they’ve proved to be an enduring and endearing combination.

Sue Davies

June 2023

(pub: Big Finish, 2023. 3 CDs 232 minutes. Price: (UK, $25.11 (US). ISBN: 978-1-83868-993-3. Digital: Price: £2.99 (UK), $21.34 (US). ISBN: 978-1-83868-994-0

cast: Anjli Mohindra, Daniel Anthony, Mina Anwar, Will Bishop, Tiegan Byrne, Raghad Chaar, Angus Dunican, Yvonne D’Alpra, Rachel Fenwick, Jonny Green and Robert Whitelock

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