16th March 1984
Sharaz Jek : “You have the mouth of a prattling jackanapes. But your eyes… they tell a different story.”
Writer: Robert Holmes.
Director: Graeme Harper.
Producer: John Nathan-Turner.
Starring Peter Davison as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown; with Christopher Gable as Sharaz Jek, Maurice Roëves as Stotz, and Robert Glenister as Salateen.
Androzani Minor. The Doctor and Peri enter a world at war. And it’s a fight no one can win.
(Thanks to Sam Elliot of tardiselliot fame)
What they thought:
The Caves of Androzani is the best Doctor Who story of all time.
This isn’t merely my opinion of course; in 2009, it was voted Doctor Who Magazine readers’ favourite of 200 stories.
As Kasterborous’ James Whittington says: “Everything is just so right here. The acting is way above standard, the storyline compelling and deep and possesses a heroic ending befitting a fine tenure. Graeme Harper directs with heart and feeling, wringing every last emotion out of the Doctor and even Peri does more than just ask questions and whine.”
It even boasts some of the best cliffhangers in the show’s history. As SFX notes, the closing minutes of episode three “[show] a Doctor more desperate, more urgent, more willing to risk everything than ever before. Rarely had an actor playing the Doctor ever had to perform with such gritty determination; Davison is acting here with the dial set to 11.”
The Doctor has been kidnapped, on his way to Androzani Major – and away from his dying companion. So he hijacks the ship… and prepares for a bang. See for yourself:
And the next episode is even more shocking. Anyone who says Doctor Who in the 1980s was rubbish clearly has a lot to learn…
DVD (Region 2) Information:
- Released in June 2001 and in October 2010 as part of the Revisitations 1 boxset.
- Commentary by Peter Davison (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown) and Graeme Harper (director).
- 2001’s release includes extended scenes, news reports and behind-the-scenes footage.
- 2010’s revised edition has these Special Features: Chain Reaction (the making of the story); Directing Who: Then and Now – Graeme Harper talks about production changes – and interviews with Peter Davison and Colin Baker.
- In DWM’s2009 poll, the following story, The Twin Dilemma, was voted the worst serial of all!
- This was Graeme Harper’s credited directing debut on the series, but he has since worked on tales like Revelation of the Daleks, Rise of the Cybermen/ Age of Steel and Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday.
WATCH IT IF YOU LIKE… THE WATERS OF MARS.