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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.