- Actors: Peter Davison
- Format: DVD-Video
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Average Customer Review: 76 customer reviews
- ASIN: B009BOPXD0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,671 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Doctor Who - The Caves of Androzani Special Edition Double DVD Peter Davison Dr Who
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Doctor Who - The Caves of Androzani Special Edition stars Peter Davison as the Dr. Extras include commentary by Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and Graeme Harper, Chain reaction - cast and crew look back, Directing Who - then and now, Behind the scenes, Russell Harty meets Colin Baker and Peter Davison, News Reports , Coming soon trailer, Isolated score, Radio Times billings and photo galleries. Originally part of a DVD Box set.
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This is the best one he ever did; nothing like going out on a high. This script is first rate.
Cynical is the first word that springs to my mind; the corporate, bash the poor and start a war ethos of Thatcherism is writ very large. I don't know why people still vote for it.
First of all, give it up for Martin Cochrane, who plays General Chellak. Does he look a touch familiar? Well, he's the elder, much less famous brother of Michael Cochrane (Redvers in Ghostlight, now Oliver in The Archers), who has made a career out of playing pleasant, slightly wide-eyed Sandhurst types, so presumably, someone said 'Chellak should be a bit like Michael Cochrane only heavier and grimmer' someone else said, 'You mean like if he had a big brother?' He's very good.
And this is among a top-notch cast, with John Normington delivering pitch-perfect, fourth wall breaking villainy; this was apparently a result of his mis-reading a direction in the script, but it's lovely - Morgus turns to the camera and addresses the viewer - making us complicit in his schemes. Comparisons with Iago and Richard III are inevitable. It's the best thing I've seen Mr Normington do.
Following him, Maurice Roeves, again brilliant as a very Che Guevara looking gun runner, with a vicious streak of sadism - witness the peerlessly nasty suicide pill scene - he's so attractive, it's dangerously easy to find oneself liking him, and it's easy to appreciate why Krelper (against all wisdom) trusts him - for which he eventually pays with his life.
And Robert Glenister (elder brother of Phillip), previously doing comedy with Mr Davison in Sink or Swim, and now beautifully sinister as both versions of Salateen - human and android - an embodiment of the joke about the Auschwitz guard - you can tell it's his glass eye, that's the one with the kindly twinkle.
And Christopher Gable - they wanted a good mover, so they hired a dancer - a balletic, masked, leather clad phantom of space opera. He does a magnificent job; it's not easy to convey such a degree of psychotic, ego maniacal paranoia with a voice, a body, one eye and a mouth, but he does it so well (unlike another actor, who springs to mind, he lets the mask work its own magic, rather than playing overlarge because his face is hidden).
(Can see why David Bowie was also in the frame to play him, however).
And Roy Holder as the lumpen, brutish heavy, Krelper, through whose ears the wind whistles - and he has his own sidekick, who's so similar they could be brothers.
Good guys? Well, there's the ascetic David Neal as the president (though David Neal was often ascetic), he looks like he could have been a good man once, and Barbara Kinghorn as Timmin at least does the right thing by Morgus, though it's fairly obvious that her motives are hardly any better than his are. As I said, cynical.
Graham Harper directs with great flair for action, violence and menace - the machine gun chase is superb - no wimpy 'bloop' guns here, it's all bullets - and the numerous armed men all look deadly serious.
It's a bloodbath, with only Peri staggering out alive (oh yes, and Krau Timmin back on Major); the deaths are unashamedly violent, there is no pretence here that dying is easy or noble, war is, without a doubt, hell. The Fifth Doctor gives up his life for Peri; they've been dying pretty much from the start.
And it looks just right, from the sandy lifeless location work, then the killing grounds of the caves, to Morgus's pastel office. I like the androids too, and the image of the dead one with its head on fire is so good they use it twice (it would have been a shame not to get their money's worth...).
Shortfalls? No insignia on the troops, but huh. The Queen Bat? No idea what she looks like. The Magma Creature? Yeah, we all know what that looks like; it looks like a big plastic Welsh Dragon - nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it's in the right place (the right place might be in the middle of a traffic roundabout opposite the main doors out of Cardiff Airport) - the costume is just way too immobile to be credible. I guess that's where the budget ran out.
This is a very good story; Robert Holmes last great script, and Peter Davison at his very best, and Nicola Bryant is excellent too. If only it could have gone on like this, it could have been so good.
Didn't though... It's Colin Baker sitting up and delivering the last word 'Change my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon', and then it's his name first in the credits for another actor's curtain call.
What a very sly, spiteful and peevish thing to do, Mr Nathan Turner. After this courageous and noble end for the Fifth Doctor, those responsible for the conduct of the Sixth should hang their heads in shame.
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.
Almost from the very moment the Doctor and Peri arrive on Androzani Minor, they are taken prisoner by military forces who believe they are the gun runners aiding Sharaz Jek. On the way they encounter a raw Spectrox nest, and contract the lethal condition known as Spectrox Toxaemia. For the rest of the story, as they move from one dire situation to the next, the question becomes whether either or both of them will survive. Peter Davison's Doctor runs the gamut of emotions from compassion and defiance through hope, desperation and eventually to despair. His last moments in episode four carry a positively funereal atmosphere, aided by the sound of a bell tolling in the background of Roger Limb's excellent score.
An exceptionally strong supporting cast completes the picture. Christopher Gable perfectly conveys the insane Sharaz Jek's affection for Peri and eventually becomes one of the series' most sympathetic villains. John Normington oozes insincerity with every line as the corrupt Morgus, complete with shakesperian asides, and the mad-eyed Robert Glenister as Salateen effectively dupes Martin Cochrane's Commander Chellak. The gun runners led by Maurice Roëves' Stotz add a further unpleasant variable to the mix.
The only disappointment is the absolutely awful Magma Creature (a.k.a. man in a rubber suit who can't see where he's going), but that minor plot device is easily forgiven in the face of such an excellent whole.
The special features are somewhat average. There's a behind the scenes feature on the regeneration scene that really could have done with an optional commentary; a photo gallery; a few trailers; a couple of interesting 1980s news features on Davison's decision to leave the show; and an option to listen to the musical score as an isolated soundtrack. However, as ever with the Doctor Who DVD releases, there are excellent on-screen production subtitles and a full commentary. This time, the commentary is by Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and director Graeme Harper, which proves to be a particularly lively and entertaining mix (Davison's commentary on the regeneration scene is hilarious). Overall, better features than in the previous DVD releases.
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