Kate O’Mara was the Rani in two 80’s stories, and was touted as the female equivalent of the Master. She also returned in 1993’s ‘Dimensions in Time’. Here, she talks abouther near misses with ‘Doctor Who’ in the 60’s and 70’s, which included Douglas Camfield’s attempt to write a story about Amazon women, which might have been interesting!
“I was first offered the part of a scientist in ‘Doctor Who’ by Douglas Camfield back in Jon Pertwee’s run. Instead I did a couple of Hammer horror films but I think on reflection I should have done ‘Doctor Who’! Then Douglas said he was writing a story himself about Amazon women and he wanted me to play the queen! It turned out that ‘Doctor Who’ couldn’t afford to do it and that one was scrapped!
“Then a few years later, along came the Rani. I adored her the moment I first read it because she’s a lovely part. All those clothes and things – all butch with padded shoulders, boots and lots of hair. I want the Rani to be a real threat, a megalomaniac. She’s a bit of the ‘I Want to Rule the Universe’ type. First and foremost, she’s a scientist but she is totally unethical and has no morals. She believes firmly that the end justifies the means. She has to have her come-uppance, of course, not because she’s evil as such, but because of that amorality. Good must be seen to triumph over bad (and) the moral aspect is very important, which is why I try to make her as unleasant as possible. Ruthless but with a sense of humour – although it’s a very warped sense of humour.
“There’s sort of a twinkle there, but not too much because I don’t want her to be attractive. She must be hard because it’s a case of absolute power corrupting absolutely. I do find my work cut out on ‘Doctor Who’, though, because a lot of the dialogue is so technical and you don’t know what you’re talking about half the time.
“I had worked with Colin Baker when we were both in ‘The Brothers’, but I hadn’t worked with Sylvester McCoy before. But we all got on really well and it was just as much fun. Doing ‘Time and the Rani’ was very difficult because I had a lot of scenes with Wanda Ventham and Donald Pickering, both of whom are great gigglers. We all had extraordinary things to say and every so often their eyes would glaze over and you begin to laugh. I tried hard not to but it was very hard.”