The Rani was originally played by Kate O'Mara in two stories shown in the 1980's, The Mark of the Rani and Time and the Rani. She was created by Pip and Jane Baker as a renegade Time Lord, an amoral scientist who sees no limit to her research.
The return was suggested by O'Mara who told Big Finish she would love to reprise the role for the company. Producer David Richardson says
Her agent contacted me and said that she would love to reprise the role with us, and when I mentioned this to executive producer Nicholas Briggs and script editor Alan Barnes they leapt at the opportunity. Justin wrote The Rani Elite for us, and we were just a few weeks away from recording when the terrible news reached us that Kate had passed away. At first, we were not sure what to do – until Kate’s agent again got in touch again, and said that it had been Kate’s wish that we proceed with a new incarnation of the Rani.The role will now be played by Siobhan Redmond, whose many leading television credits include Between the Lines, The High Life, The Smoking Room, Taggart and Holby City.
We’d worked with Siobhan a few months ago as a different character in Revenge of the Swarm, and we fell in love with her. She’s a smart, delightful person and also an amazing actress – she’s the perfect choice for this new, slightly different version of the Rani.The Rani's return comes at the end of a new trilogy of stories exploring what happened to Peri Brown during and after The Trial of a Time Lord. In the 1986 story Mindwarp, Peri was killed, but later in The Ultimate Foe it was explained that she actually married to the warrior Yrcanos.
So what really happened?
The mystery is addressed in an set of adventures starring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. It begins in October with The Widow's Assassin by Nev Fountain, which takes up Peri's story a few years after trial, as the Doctor and his former companion are reunited.
November's release is Masters of Earth by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, which, as the title hints, features the return of the Daleks and the Robomen, and is set during the Dalek occupation of Earth in the 22nd Century.
The trilogy ends in December with The Rani Elite, which sees the debut of Siobhan Redmond as the evil Time Lord.
The three stories are available to pre-order individually or as part of the discounted subscription deal.