Thursday 29 March 2012

493 The Androids of Tara Part Two

EPISODE: The Androids of Tara Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 02 December 1978
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

When the Doctor comes round Swordsmaster Zadek & Farrah discover the prince is missing. The Doctor proposes using the android as a substitute at the coronation and summons K-9 from the Tardis at which point he realises Romana is missing. Zadek & Farreh surmise the count is holding her. The revived Romana is taken to the cells by Count Grendel and shown his captive, Princess Stella, Romana's exact duplicate. The Princess refuses to cooperate with Grendel's plan to marry her and gain her titles & position so the Count wants to use Romana as a substitute. He imprisons her with his second prisoner, the feverishly sick Prince Reynart. The Doctor's party gain entrance to the palace via a secret passage. Madmae Lamia begins to take an interest in the crystal that Romana had taken from her. The Doctor's party's presence is detected when a guard they strunned is found. Grendel has his guards assume duties at the coronation ceremony and tries the throne out for size. The hour aproaches and the prince has not arrived, to the worry of the Archimandrite, the Taran official in charge of the ceremony. The Doctor's party are ambushed in tunnels under the palace with Zadek sending the Doctor & Android on ahead. As the bell tolls at the apointed hour the party enters the coronation chamber and finds prince, which we know is the android duplicate, on the throne to Grendel's disbelief. The Archimandrite crowns "Reynart" as King. Princess Strella arrived to make her vows but as she kneels the Doctor attacks her with the royal sceptre!

Another fun little episode with Peter Jeffrey positively twirling his moustache as the evil villain Count Grendel of Gracht. Now we get to find out why everyone was so interested in Romana: She's the exact double of the Taran Princess Strella! Here we go again....

We've had duplicates of The Doctor in The Chase, The Massacre, The Enemy of the World and the Android Invasion with his companions duplicated in this last story as well. And don't forget the "mirror universe" versions of UNIT in Inferno as well! So it's well covered grounds for Doctor Who (and it's not done doing it by any means!) but the idea of doubles is embedded in the original source for the story, The Prisoner of Zenda, so we'll let it pass. Besides it has been three years since the Android Invasion so it's about time we had another go!

Location work for this story was conducted in and around Leeds Castle which, confusingly, is in Kent rather than Yorkshire. It's been used over the years as a location by a number of films & TV productions as well as playing host to a number of concerts.

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