21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE TRUE CLASSICS!!!
The Caves of Androzani is an example of Doctor Who at its very best. Penned by the late Robert Holmes, this story marked the end of the Peter Davison era as The Doctor. Like all the other great regeneration stories, the plot moves swiftly and intricately, twisting cleverly in a few places. The performances are very strong on nearly all counts, let down only slightly by...
Published on 16 Mar 2001 by John Cotroneo
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor send off
The caves of androzani is a very average ep of old who and unfortunately a poor send off for one of my fave docs in peter davison. It falls into a lot of trappings old who did - poor prodcution values and even poorer acting but normally with a good story you can forgive some of that but the story by Robert Holmes is so bad and boring you can't help but fall asleep whilst...
Published on 8 Aug 2010 by Mr. Russell C. Witheyman
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE TRUE CLASSICS!!!,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)The Caves of Androzani is an example of Doctor Who at its very best. Penned by the late Robert Holmes, this story marked the end of the Peter Davison era as The Doctor. Like all the other great regeneration stories, the plot moves swiftly and intricately, twisting cleverly in a few places. The performances are very strong on nearly all counts, let down only slightly by the occasional overacting of Robert Glenister as Salateen. Peter Davison provided a powerful last performance in what is arguably his most high-profile role to date. The supporting characters especially the villains are generally less stereotypical than those of the past as we are confronted by the more common-place motives of personal and small-minded greed and ambition rather than the cliched quest for planetary or universal domination. The special effects of course are typical of the series in general but for the most part they do not spoil the claustrophobic atmosphere of the story (the Magma Creature being the noticeable exception). Please don't allow the very limited and "unamerican" budget to dissuade you from experiencing Doctor Who. It offers a depth of storytelling and character development that belies its lacklustre appearance. The artists involved in its 26 year history have created a universe of fascinating characters and places. They achieved this with the aid of what is undoubtedly the least limiting format for a television series the world has ever seen.
The Caves of Androzani is a "must have" for any true fan of the series. For those of you out there who have never experienced Doctor Who, it would be an excellent place to start! I myself am keen to see this story enhanced even further by the superior clarity of DVD. Oh, and please...keep them coming.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Davison, Classic Doctor Who,
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)The Caves of Androzani is one of those Doctor Who serials where everything seems to fit into place and you get a fantastic story at the end of it.
Firstly, the setting for this story is fantastic. There's the epic dusty desert setting, the intricate well-lit cave setting and the futuristic Androzani Major setting. These sets (not wobbly at all) really place you at the scene drawn into the action. Perhaps my favourite is the Major, where you can see, from Morgus' window, the pink glow from an obviously alien planet. This is a great when compared to some alien planets in Doctor Who which look like rural England!
The Story is a gripping tale of corruption. From the start it is obvious that something is wrong when it becomes obvious that a mere citizen (Morgus) has the authority to control the military (General Chellak). The action in this story helps to keep things going - the first cliffhanger of the story (best cliffhanger ever?) is a good example of this - it doesn't detract from the story but meerly adds to the brilliance. Unsurprisingly this written by Robert Holmes - Doctor Who's most prolific writer - who also wrote the classic Victorian 4th Doctor tale "Talons of Weng-Chiang" and the 3rd Doctor's debut "Spearhead From Space".
The characters in this story are also very believable, a notable example is the ruthless Morgus. He is fabulously acted along with the other antagonist, Sharaz Jek, who you feel sorry for even though he comes across as a pretty barbaric type. Then there is Stotz who is played by Maurice Roeves to be a gritty, gun-running criminal who works for whoever gives him the best price.
And finally the directing in this story is excellent, very tightly done with lots of good shots of Morgus and Sharaz Jek and the spectacular, for its time, scene where Morgus talks to Chellak in his room on the projector screen. Another good moment is the regeneration scene which is fast paced and perhaps the best regeneration scene in Doctor Who history.
Caves of Androzani is by far the best Davison story, and perhaps one of the best DW stories to date. The Commentary on this DVD is a good one (sometimes you get slow ones where little is said) although I don't think Nicola Briant gets to say as much as she could have done. And the features about Davison leaving are quite interesting as well.
If you are a Doctor Who fan this DVD is a great buy, if you are thinking about getting into, Doctor Who buy this one.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly superb piece of 1980's television drama,
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)Forget this is Doctor Who. Forget it - because its just not relevent. This is a fine piece of television that contains the crowd-pleasers for the Dr Who fans, but works on a much broader level that sets it apart from the majority of Dr Who episodes which tended to be cheap, nasty or both.
The Caves of Androzani opens with a sweep across the bog standard BBC quarry, but in the way that the director Graeme Harper loads this scene with mood (the disembodied voices, the steady camera), it transcends the visual house-style of the usual tacky quarry-based BBC science fiction of its era. Just that bold stylistic flourish sets the tone that is maintained throughout the piece - we get uncomfortable close-ups, Jacobean-style asides directed at the camera, cinematic brushes across landscapes and a mood of mounting pressure and claustrophobia. We don't know who to trust. We are invited to be reviled at the arch treachery of Morgus - a free-market capitalist gone mad on thirst for revenge and power - invited to favour his loyal assistant Timmin, until we discover that her motives and flaws are the equal of Morgus's. We recoil at the grotesque Sharaz Jek, but sympathise due to the act of treachery that engineered his also dubious and troubling motives.
Throughout, the measure of suspense builds in such a way by three quarters of the way through, Harper has presented his audience with such a bleak and ultimately intractable dilemma that the urgency of the Doctor's attempt to turn from pawn to king in some hideous and vile power game becomes the focus. He has to suceed not because he's the Doctor, but because he seems to be the only vague conduit for redemption in this cesspool of amorality.
Harper works some superb performances from his cast who deliver the intelligent script with utter conviction. Peter Davison is astonishing as the condemned man - dying from an accidental brush with a deadly toxin from the moment he sets foot on the planet. He elicits total compassion for his Doctor - how on earth did he find himself mixed up in this set of ghastly events which he is utterly helpless to avoid. Christopher Gable is magnificent portraying the graceful but twisted horror of Jek.
This is edgy, pacy and bold television that perhaps more than any other example, really stretches the format within which it operates. An outstanding piece of 80's drama that has aged surprisingly well and carries the same morality message nearly 20 years after it was made. It's much pricklier than you may expect, but the series of shocks and aftershocks that tremble through it make it really thrilling television.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark but entralling swansong for the Fifth Doctor,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)Story: 5/5 - Extras: 3/5
Watching this story with a critical eye makes you realise just how well-crafted veteran Who writer Robert Holmes' The Caves of Androzani really is. Peter Davison's final appearance as the Doctor, accompanied by Nicola Bryant as Peri, carries an air of desperation almost from the very beginning, aided by strong direction from Graeme Harper.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most adult Doctor Who you'll ever see...,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)Peter Davison was my Doctor, he was in the role when I was five years old and he imprinted on me as what the Doctor should be. Celery in the lapel, it may not make sense to adults, but to a kid it's pretty cool.
Looking back, Davison's take on the role is solid. He's not as out there as Baker or Hartnell, he's a more human Doctor, irritable, sarcastic, aloof but a good man who will fight for his friends and he's vulnerable, not some indestructible hero like Pertwee or Baker or Tennant. It's just a shame that the stories are never as classic in Pete's era in comparison to his predecessors or indeed Mr McCoy. However there are gems in the Davison era, and Caves of Androzani is the crown jewel. Voted the best Doctor Who story ever once over, it is without doubt, one of the most mature pieces of writing in Doctor Who ever, a Shakespearean tragedy in which all the Doctor can hope to do is save his companion.
The quality of acting in this story is excellent, from the sleazy Morgus, to the black humour of the mercenaries, to the Grand Guignol of Sharaz Jek, there's not a performance that let's the production down. Okay, maybe the lava beast, but it's only there for five minutes.
On Androzani, gunrunners are working with Sharaz Jek, a man in a mask, a terrorist and genius, who wishes to take down Trau Morgus, a businessman who trades in spectrox, a drug that retards aging. Into this blunders the Doctor and Peri, who quickly succumb to poisoning. More than one person will die before it all ends...
There's a lot to chew on here. There's strong drama, some nice humorous moments (mostly black humour) and the Doctor shows real grit. You feel his desperation. And he hasn't got a sonic screwdriver to make everything better.
As for the extras, the documentaries are all great. The commentary by Davison, Nicola Bryant and Graeme Harper is full of great trivia and has a knockabout anarchic feel. This is the package! If you only watch one Davison story, watch this one!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Who,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)Peter Davison was the best Doctor.He never gave a bad performance no matter what rubbish the writers gave him.He was always there.Struggling to keep up with the twists and turns in the plot and trying not to fall into the massive holes in it.He was in a word,Superb.The Caves Of Androzani features maybe his best performace.The script for once is perfect.Graeme Harper directs well in his Who debut.
Davison is not the only actor who gives a great performance in this story though.Nicola Bryant is great as his companion Peri and Christopher Gable is fantastic as Resistance leader Sharaz Jek.
The story itself features the Doctor and Peri first being convicted of gun running to the rebels and then slowly being killed by a raw chemical.
At the end of the episode Davison himself leaves the show[after a criminally short three years] and regenerates into Colin Baker.
This disc has no discernible faults.Buy it whether a Who fan or just a conisseur of TV drama.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the original series,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)1984 The Caves of Androzani failed to win the best story in the annual season survey conducted by Doctor Who magazine, particularly surprising as this story is now consider by many to be the best one of the original series and certainly of any broadcast during producer's John Nathan Turner somewhat maligned period in charge of the programme. In his final appearance in the series, Peter Davison gives his best performance as The Doctor. It is a shame that the actor chose not to stay, perhaps if he had more scripts of this quality, he would have done a fourth year. One criticism of the Peter Davison era was that The Tardis was somewhat overcrowded, with 2 or 3 companions regularly appearing alongside The Doctor. Here there is just The Doctor, and new companion Peri, and the pair have an excellent chemistry in their second and final story together.
The story itself is set as the title implies, on the planet Androzani, were a war is being fought over a product found on the planet, Spectrox. Spectrox is a substance that offers up to twice normal lifespan for those that drink it. However raw spectrox that has not been refined, is deadly to anyone who comes into contact with it, as The Doctor and Peri discover to their cost. It is then a race against time for The Doctor to find a cure, but in the meantime he has to find a way of avoiding execution after being wrongly accused of gunrunning, and Peri finds herself in the grasp of a madman living in caves under the planet and obsessed with her beauty.
The character of Sharez Jek in the serial has often been compared to that of The Phantom Of The Opera, but the serial also has the feeling of a Shakespearean tragedy.
From the moment, this the most innocent of all The Doctor's, arrives on the planet, he is in trouble. With the exception of The Doctor and Peri there are no nice characters in the serial, everyone is flawed in someway,from the hopelessly incompetent army Chief, General Chellak to the evil and manipulating Morgus. Although every actor is superb, particularly memorable are Maurice Roeves as Stotz, and the late Christopher Gable as Sheraz Kek. JOhn Normington is equally believable as Morgus and his regular asides to the camera, actually work. The only criticism of the story is the Magna creature, although its appearance is kept to a minimal.
This is an essential purchase.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another dark tale from the Davison era,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)Poking nosily around a dusty planet as he so often does, the fifth Doctor manages to contract a deadly virus, get himself arrested as a gun runner and sentenced to a far quicker death than that mysterious Spectrox would deal him. That is, of course, before the most unlikeliest rescuer comes to his aid.
At first look just another visit to the gravel pits, this quickly turns into a very dark tale, just like the best Davison story, Resurrection Of The Daleks. This is a story where the only good guys remain the Doctor and Peri, and everyone else is either mad, ruthless, a soldier or robot under the command of mad or ruthless people, or a dodgy man-in-suit monster. A product very much of the Thatcher era, evil here is big business and selfishness. The story's all the better for not banging this anti-corporate drum too loudly. The Doctor's a quiet anarchist, and in that way most effective.
The character of Sharaz Jek is where much of the interest in this story lies. At first he appears the villain of the piece, and indeed, his kidnapping of Peri later on confirms this, but we can't help but feel sorry for this man made to suffer by the murderous corporations. He is manipulative and amoral, but he is driven by great loneliness and affection for Peri. He is an antihero in the best possible way.
This is a well-written story, terse and cogent. It's one of those four parters which doesn't feel too rushed, nor too short. Interlocking subplots about the Spectrox virus the Doctor and Peri are dying from, the on-going power struggle between the distant corporations, the gun runners and Sharaz Jek, plus the obligatory reptilian monster showing up at the end of episode two gel together well.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Not Enough Time !",
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)This story really was a good as it got for Doctor Who. Peter Davison is a wonderful actor and his doctor has always been my favorite. The on screen chemistry between him and Nicola Bryant was excellent and I doubt she ever gave a better performance in the series than in this story in respect where her character was instrumental to the sequence of events which would end so badly for virtually all concerned.
In this final 5th doctor adventure, the quality of Robert Holmes script, supporting cast and especially Graham Harper's enthusiastic direction were terrific. This and the fact that it was his doctor's last adventure causes Peter Davison to raise his game and the performance he delivers here is as powerful as anything the series has ever seen. It has dated incredibly well and given the usual BBC budgetary contraints, what was acheived on screen is almost astonishing. On a less positive note, it set the benchmark so high and what followed it for the rest of the decade was so often risible, that it really does mark for so many the beginning of the end of the regular televised series. The extras on the DVD are also excellent and it is highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Major to Minor,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  (DVD)This fan favourite from 1984 marks the final appearance of the Fifth Doctor as played by a boyishly enthusiastic Peter Davison. The Doctor and his forever whining lycra-clad companion Peri, decide to visit the planet Androzani Minor, and naturally become caught up in an interplanetary conflict; this time involving a valuable commodity known as Spectrox. Hideously disfigured rebel Sharaz Jek and his android replicants have taken over the Spectrox mines, but the military, under orders from ruthless politician Morgus, are locked in a grim battle with Jek in order to quash the uprising.
The Doctor's sixth sense alerts him to the danger, but of course he still blithely drags his young companion into an adventure that will prove fatal for at least one of them...
Like many long-time fans of Doctor Who I think that this story is excellent; fast-paced, well acted, exciting, and containing moments of real pathos; Professional dancer Christopher Gable is superb as the rebel leader Sharaz Jek, who in the style of the reclusive Phantom of the Opera, skulks in his underground lair growing more and more insane every hour; while his androids attempt to infiltrate the enemy camp and destroy it from within. Of course, after 25 years these episodes still look dated; however like the show's best serials, it transcends the budgetary limitations and costume deficiencies with a strong cast (as well as Gable we have John Normington as Morgus, Robert Glenister - brother of Philip - as Salateen, and Maurice Roeves as mercenary Stoltz); great direction from Graeme Harper, and an intense and claustrophobic atmosphere.
DVD extras are fair to good; these include an audio commentary featuring Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant (Peri), and Graeme Harper. Davison's affectionate respect for director Harper is evident, and it is easy to see why he remains the only director from the `classic' series to be involved in the same capacity with the revived version. There is also a brief documentary entitled `Behind the Scenes: The Regeneration', which gives insight into how the final scene was filmed. Next up is an extended scene featuring Stoltz and his mercenaries, and the fascinating `Creating Sharaz Jek'; narrated by Chris Gable who waxes lyrical about the difficulties with his makeup and costume, as well as the inspiration for his interpretation of the character. With the obligatory continuity announcements, and photo gallery, this is a worthy release and a vital addition to any fan's collection.
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Doctor Who - The Caves Of Androzani  [DVD]  by Peter Davison (DVD - 2001)