Saturday 31 March 2012

495 The Androids of Tara Part Four

EPISODE: The Androids of Tara Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 16 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)

Romana is returned to Castle Gracht where the count intends to marry her to the Prince, kill the Prince, marry Romana, kill her and inherit the throne. The Doctor, Farah & Zadek plan an assault on Castle Gracht. Grendel has one last attempt to persuade the real Princess Strella to cooperate telling her she has become dispensable. Grendel uses the Princess' life to blackmail Romana into cooperating. Under cover of darkness the Doctor crosses the castle moat in a boat with K-9 who begins to cut their way into the castle. Romana & The Prince are taken to their wedding ceremony as the K-9 breaks through the wall, being left in the boat by the Doctor. As the wedding ceremony begins the Doctor searches the palace finding the Key To Time segment that Romana had confiscated from her. At a crucial moment the Doctor interrupts the ceremony and engages the Count in a sword duel, allowing Romana & Reynart to escape admitting Zadek, Farah & the Prince's troops to Castle Gracht. Romana saves Strella from one of the Count's guards. The sword duel takes in much of the castle, finishing on the battlements with Grendel diving in the moat to escape promising that next time he will not be so lenient. Strella is reunited with Reynart as the Doctor & Romana take their leave, suddenly remembering that poor K-9 is still stuck in the boat!

Another fab episode, albeit one with a very slow start to the sword fight. But it's a decent end to the story and of all the fourth Doctor tales I've seen so far this one has been the one that's stood out as being better then I was expecting..... which is a little odd as I recall it quite fondly from when I saw it twice as a child! The story is competent enough, there's decent acting, especially from Peter Jeffrey who's obviously having the time of his life. It's the first time I've seen it episodically for a bit and I'm guessing this is one of those that work better one episode at a time rather than watched all the way through like we tend to do with videos or DVDs.

Androids of Tara was the second story from this season, after The Pirate Planet, to be repeated during the summer of 1979, broadcast for a second time on Thursday at 6.55 from the 9th to 30th August that year. Androids of Tara was novelised by Terrance Dicks and released in April 1980. Androids of Tara was released on video in May 1995 on the same day as Stones of Blood to form the second pair of stories from the Key to Time season released, with The Ribos Operation & The Pirate Planet coming out the previous month and Power of Kroll & Armageddon Factor the next. The Key To Time season was a set of releases which came with a specially designed spine picture that ran over all six title. While there has never been a video boxset release of the Key To Time, it's only ever been available as a boxset on DVD. In October 2002 all six Key To Time stories were released in Region 1 with minimal extras & restoration to help satisfy the American demand for Tom Baker stories. The Key to Time was then released as a special edition, numbered & limited to 15,000 with brand new extras in Region 2 on the 24th September 2007, which sold out very quickly with this set commanding a premium price on eBay for quite some time. The Key to Time Box Set was reissued in a non limited edition in November 2009 and can now be had for a very reasonable price.

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