Saturday 11 August 2012

627 The Caves of Androzani Part Three

EPISODE: The Caves of Androzani Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 15 March 1984
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Graeme Harper
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revisitations Box Set - Volume 1 (The Caves Of Androzani / The Talons Of Weng-Chiang / Doctor Who - The Movie)

The surviving gun runners retreat and are found by Sharaz Jek buit their negotiations are interupted by the Doctor's arrival and he is taken prisoner. Jek interogates him to find out Peri's location but the Doctor doesn't know, only that she is with Salateen. Jek deduces she must be on the army base and gives the Doctor to Stotz & the gun runners to be interogated by their master. The android Salateen detects the human Salateen and Peri concealed on the base but is sent on a fool's errand by Chellak while Chellak, the human Salateen & the troops raid Jek's lair. Jek has Peri abducted from the base and brought back to his lair. The Doctor is taken to the gun runner's ship which leaves for Androzani Major. Stotz contacts his boss, Morgus, who is suspicous that the Doctor is still alive. Wrongly deducing that Chellak faked the executions on the President's orders and thus that his own position is vunerable Morgus himself lures the President to his office and pushes him to his death down the lift shaft. Morgus decides to go to Androzani Minor, on the pretext of opening negotiations with Jek to end the war. The Doctor escapes from his bonds and turns the gun runner's ship back towards Androzani Minor. Halucinating as he aproaches the planet the ship hurtles towards it with the Doctor ignoring the gun runner's deamnds to abort the landing explaining to them that he must rescue Peri....

Stotz: You better turn this ship around Doctor!
The Doctor: Why?
Stotz: Because I'll kill you if you don't!
The Doctor: Not a very convincing argument actually, Stotz, because I'm going to die soon anyway, unless of course —
Stotz: I'll give you to the count of three!
The Doctor: Unless of course I can find the antidote… I owe it to my young friend to try because I got her into this —
Stotz: One,
The Doctor: So you see —
Stotz: Two,
The Doctor: I'm not going to let you stop me now!
That's some episode ending there! Everything's starting to warm up and get moving now: Morgus' scheming comes to the fore and Jek is exposed as item #1 on a long list of "Doctor Who characters lusting after Peri". There's a distinct element of The Phantom of the Opera about Jek and his desire for the Doctor's companion..... But he also owes something to Robert Holmes' earlier creation Magnus Greel, himself inspired by the Phantom, as "disfigured villain hiding in a lair". Come to think of it Holmes' Deadly Assasin also features a heavily disfgureds villain. We've also got several other Holmes features in this story in the gun runners who are actually working for the foes of the people they're supplying arms to (Power of Kroll) and the President's death falling down a lift shaft is similar to the demise of the Gatherer in the Sunmakers. Plus Holmes was in the Script Editor's chair for two of Doctor who's more famous doubles stories: Terror of the Zygons & Android Invasion.

Once again I'm forced to take issue with a particular element of the story that I feel crosses the line: The Androids torturing the Doctor by trying to pull his arms out. Grim, too grim in my opinion for Doctor Who. Worse will follow, and by pushing the envelope too far this and next year Doctor Who will pay the price and loose it's edge as a result.

Playing the masked Sharaz Jek is Christopher Gable, a former dancer who knew director Graeme Harper and took the role to work with his friend. John Normington, Morgus, was a regular face on television at the time. He'd go on to play Trevor Sigma in The Happiness Patrol. One of his last television roles was in the Torchwood episode Ghost Machine. Morgus' assistant Frau Timmin is played by Barbara Kinghorn who is the ex wife of Paul Jerricho, the Castellan in Arc of Infinity & The Five Doctors. Maurice Roƫves, who plays the gunrunner Stotz, had previously worked with director Graeme Harper on The Nightmare Man. He's one of the few Doctor Who actors to appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation as the Romulan captain in The Chase. He's the third Maurice to appear in this season following Maurice O'Connell, Cockerill in Frontios, and Maurice Colbourne, Lytton in Resurrection of the Daleks.

Salateen is played by actor Robert Glenister. Glenister's presence here may be a little nod to Peter Davison in his final story as the Doctor as they had both appeared in the sit com Sink or Swim right the way through the period when Davison was the Fifth Doctor. He's the son of director John Glenister and the brother of Philip Glenister who is now well known for playing DCI Gene Hunt in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. Shortly after this series was made Robert married actress Amanda Redman who then went to appear as Janet in the stage production of The Rocky Horror Show which featured Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) as the narrator.

His superior, General Chellak, is played by Martin Cochrane who's the brother of fellow Doctor Who guest star Michael Cochrane (Charles Cranleigh in Black Orchid & Redvers Fenn-Cooper in Ghost Light) and who in turn is married to the sister of Kate O'Mara.

Join us tomorrow for Peter Davison's final regular episode as Doctor Who!

1 comment:

  1. Definitely one of the all time greatest Doctor Who cliffhangers ever!