Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: The Caves of Androzani

In the classic Doctor Who serial “The Caves of Androzani,” the Fifth Doctor and Peri get stuck in the caves on Androzani Minor and become caught up in a drug war that ends terribly for one of them. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

It’s great visiting these older episodes of Doctor Who because each of the Doctors have such noticeable and distinct character differences from each other. (Plus, even though it’s short, I get a great chance to see the sixth Doctor as well.) Peter Davison has a wonderful streak of humor and sarcasm to his VERY VERY VERY SERIOUS FACE. And the sprig of celery! I never knew why he had that so THANK YOU EPISODE FOR ANSWERING THAT.

I liked this episode a great deal, possibly more than the other two classic Who I’d seen. But let me start off with saying this: holy god, this serial was SO COMPLICATED. It’s not that it wasn’t pulled off well (it really was), but for at least the first two parts of the serial, all I could think was WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE and WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. There must have been 15 characters aside from the Doctor and Peri and many of them had very similar outfits and then someone else was introduced and my brain hurt but man, that beast thing was awesome, wasn’t it?

The main focus of “The Caves of Androzani” is the drug spectrox, found in the caves on Androzani Minor and created by the bats that lived there. (Did they poop it out? Or was it from the milk? That didn’t seem clear to me.) What I really liked about the dynamic of this particular serial was that the Doctor and Peri literally walked into a war of sorts. There was still a lot of the Doctor trying to figure out what was going on, but they stepped into a story halfway through it.

Peri’s role in this serial is probably not the best episode for me to get a handle on who she was as a companion, as she gets hit pretty hard with the spectrox toxemia fairly early into the story, so I felt that she was kind of out of it most of the time. From what I did see at the beginning of part one, Peri seemed to be one of the more playful companions we’ve seen yet; at this point, I don’t know how long her and the Doctor have been traveling together for. But they seem so comfortable with each other when I see them at the end of season 21. (21ST SEASON. HOLY FUCKING GOD THAT IS SO MANY SEASONS.)

I can see a lot of reasons why this particular serial was voted so highly by Doctor Who fans. First of all, all three of the cliffhangers that existed in the original format are goddamn fantastic. Actually executed? Crashing into Androzani Minor at a high speed? I think I would have peed myself if I watched these back when they originally aired. Wait…I probably was peeing myself, since I wasn’t even six months old at the time. Is that TMI? Whatever, I was a baby. Who cares.

It’s list time because I have a lot of thoughts and no way to organize them right now.

THOUGHTS

  • I think a lot of this section is going to be me asking questions because I did see this episode out of context and without a lot of the history of the show so YOU ARE TOTALLY WELCOME TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. So was this episode filmed on a soundstage? The only reason I want to know is that the opening scenes (and some of the others) on the surface of Androzani seemed so expansive. But there was a painted background. What. Please tell me more.
  • Another masked villain! Well…wait. He’s not really a villain…or is he? I appreciated the depth of Jek and the way that writer Robert Holmes kept me guessing about the man’s intentions. The thing is, he is never painted to either extreme. He does terrible things, but some are out of self-defense or revenge. And he helps the Doctor. Though he was kind of creepy to Peri, right?
  • One of the gunrunners looked like Che Guevara. He did. I’m sorry.
  • CREEPY ANDROIDS WITH NO FACES. There were so many bad people in this episode. MUD MONSTERS TOO!
  • I was taken completely by surprise when Morgus killed the President. Even better? Morgus’s secretary turning on him. YOU GO, GIRL.
  • Holy crap, so many people died in this episode. It’s kind of funny this came after “Voyage of the Damned” for me because that’s two episodes/serials with very, very high body counts.
  • Peter Davison is SO DAPPER.
  • I know that the Doctor can regenerate and of course he knew that, but I found it very noble that he still gave the bat milk to Peri first. His regeneration scene was kind of creepy, too. I assume those were past companions, but who was that last guy who kept telling the Doctor die?
  • “What do you say, Peri? We can go on nature walks, have picnics and jolly evenings ’round the campfire!”
  • “How is it you were able to walk past my androids?” “I don’t know. Maybe they just liked my face.”
  • COLIN BAKER!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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307 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: The Caves of Androzani

  1. PeterRabid says:

    <img src="http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs39/f/2008/364/0/1/Change_by_rantl.jpg/&quot; height="329" width="492">

    I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

    Well, this is it. I kept putting off this serial with the excuse that I wanted to watch more of Davison’s run before I saw his swan song. You’ve forced my hand, Mark. Apparently, I had seen enough and was plenty attatched to Celery Boy because I was reduced to a blubbering mess at the end of Episode 4.

    In my opinion, this is the best send-off any Doctor has received. I’m having a hard time putting it into words without tearing up.

    Hello again, BBC Quarry! Mark, this is where a lot of CLassic Who planets were filmed.

    One of the best parts of the Classic Series is that they can have much more intricate plots over the course of four to seven episodes. “Caves” is no exception. It creates an immersive world in which humans are powered by greed and desire for immortality. I seriously cannot think of one side character in this serial that can be classified as a “good guy.” This whole society is teetering on the brink of full-blown civil war, and of course when the Doctor shows up, it collapses. Quite explosively. With machine guns. Yay.

    Sharaz Jek is officially one of my favorite Classic villains. I’m not a huge Peri fan, but I couldn’t help yelling “Stay the hell away from Peri, you creeper with a leather fetish!” whenever he started ranting about ‘beauty’ and caressing her cheek when she was unconsious. Even so, you can’t help but feel sorry for Jek in a “Phantom of the Opera” sort of way. When Peri recoils from his face, he cries and hides underneath a table. Um… there, there?

    Did anyone else notice both Jek’s and Morgus’s scheming asides to the camera? That was almost… Shakespearean. Graeme Harper, I love your direction!

    In defense of Peri: she’s clearly not used to the whole being swept up in the local politics bit quite yet. That’s certainly forgivable, seeing as how this was her first proper adventure as a companion. The previous story was “Planet of Fire” in which the Doctor lost two companions (if Kamelion counts) and picked up Peri. Peri may be a bit of a whiner, but I think she works okay with Six in a bickering sibling sort of way, and that is how she spends most of her tenure. She’s not my favorite companion, but I do like her.

    …yes, her accent is about as convincing as a cockney Dick van Dyke (to steal a line from “Commentary! The Musical”).

    The Fifth Doctor’s such a woobie. He got a lot of crap thrown at him during his run. I can’t even count all the times he’s put in danger and imprisoned/tortured/slapped/shot at in this story alone. And all the time under the effects of spectrox toxaemia. He’s caught up in the politics of petty humans and all he wants to do is find a cure, at least for his companion if not for himself. Fivey is the bravest of them all.

    "I CAN FIND THE ANTIDOTE! I OWE IT TO MY FRIEND TO TRY BECAUSE I GOT HER INTO THIS! SO YOU SEE, I'M NOT GONNA LET YOU STOP ME NOW!"

    <img src="http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j396/ashyemarie/GIF/applause.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Applause 2 Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    Hell YEAH. (I am totally Gwen in that gif.)

  2. Neil says:

    The surface of Androzani Mnor was filmed in a traditional BBC quarry on location somewhere in south east England, with the caves and other interiors in studio. The mountain was a painted matt shot to enhamnce the background and make it a bit more alien looking and pobably to cover up the fact you could see the road if they hadn't put it on the shot

    Jek is one of the great Doctor Who characters. Many Doctor Who villains come accross as very black wearing shouty people, but Jek was a real person just dialled up a bit, with a great performance from the actor (an ex-ballet dancer in real life).

    and at the end of the regeneration, the great Anthony Ainley as the Master, the fourth actor in the role, but the second and third only did one story each whereas AInley is in the show on and off for a decade. His performace is a little OTT at times, but I've a great love of it due tomy age and thios being my era of the show.

  3. Starsea28 says:

    Peter Davison, ladies and gentlemen. PETER DAVISON. He is so awesome in this serial. Every little action on his face. The way when he's corrected, he says "Sorry" and you can see he's not sorry at all, he's actually very angry but he's not going to show it. He nails every single scene. The Fifth Doctor gets shot, poisoned, tied up, but he keeps on going and he sacrifices himself for Peri (who he hasn't actually known for very long).

    I love all of the cliffhangers in this serial (I was only 18 months when it was first broadcast). I'd forgotten that Peri and the Doctor get EXECUTED by FIRING SQUAD. Ah they just don't make kids' tv like they used to. *grin* Seriously, though, regeneration stories are never exactly fun but I honestly think this is one of the darkest in the show's history. You start out with the creepy 80s synth (I love the incidental music, sorry but I do) and then it gets creepier and creepier. Nobody is nice in this episode! Nobody is even decent! You can sort of sympathise with Jek, but everybody else? Especially Morgus and Stotz? Horrible, horrible people! And EVERYBODY dies apart from Peri! I don't object to the treatment of Peri as much as I normally would because I think Holmes makes it abundantly clear that Jek is mentally disturbed and that his behaviour is very wrong (I would love to make all the Twihards watch this serial).

    I assume those were past companions, but who was that last guy who kept telling the Doctor die?

    THAT WOULD BE THE MASTER. I know, people have already told you this but still, had to say it. Once you know, you just say to yourself, "Of course!"

    I know that the Doctor can regenerate and of course he knew that, but I found it very noble that he still gave the bat milk to Peri first.

    YES! It IS noble, isn't it?! He doesn't whine or moan or complain, he just gives her the drug and apologises and then finally stops fighting the toxins. The Fifth Doctor, the Doomed Youth.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      >THAT WOULD BE THE MASTER.

      Back when `he still had that rubbish beard`. 🙂

      • Starsea28 says:

        Yes! XD Probably because Ainsley!Master was too busy hitting on the Fifth Doctor in every possible sense.

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      Unfortunately, the villain being obsessed by Peri becomes a bit of recurring theme. I do wish they'd only done it here.

      It's part of the undertone of nastiness which is my real problem with the next season.

      • Starsea28 says:

        Sadly, it's the old chestnut of "Take a good idea and flog it to death".

        It's part of the undertone of nastiness which is my real problem with the next season.

        I understand what they were trying to do but coming after someone as nice as the Fifth Doctor, it really smacks you in the face.

  4. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    To answer your questions (again, since people replied while I was typing, but never mind):

    Peri has been with the Doctor since the previous serial, Planet of Fire. It's a shame she didn't get longer with five, since they work so well together. I'm assuming there are offscreen adventures – indeed there are a load of Big Finish audios set between the two.

    It was filmed on location and in studios (which was the general technique at the time). All the interior stuff was in studio, but the surface of the planet was a quarry:

    http://www.doctorwholocations.net/stories/cavesof

    If you look closely, you can see difference between the external shots which were done on film and the studio stuff which was done on video. The did add some matte painting to the quarry to complete the alien look, though. There's a detailed account of the production process here:

    http://www.shannonsullivan.com/drwho/serials/6r.h

    The people in the regeneration scene are all the fifth's companions: Nyssa (curly hair); Tegan (Australian); Adric (young man, black hair); Turlough (youngish man, red hair) and Kameleon (a shape-changing robot). The final person is dum dum dum… THE MASTER! (With that rubbish beard.)

    And the show managed 26 seasons before it was cancelled. I think The Simpsons is coming up to 22, Gunsmoke and Law and Order did 20. If you count both series together, we're about to get to the 32nd season/series plus a TV Movie and the specials.

    Edit: And Salateen is Robert Glennister, who you can also see in Spooks (aka MI-5) and Hustle and who is Philip "Gene Hunt" Glennister's brother.

    Also, it was directed by Graeme Harper, who did Time Crash as well as Utopia, 42 and the four Cybermen episodes from series two. He was part of the Doctor Who team as far back as the 70s and also directed Revelation of the Daleks and had a lot to do with Warriors' Gate.

    The synth score to Time Crash is a pastiche of this era. And the new variation of the theme that debuted with Voyage of the Damned lifts a motif from Peter Howell's version, which is the theme here (and was the first majorly different version from the 1963 original and was introduced in 1980).

  5. Spugsy says:

    This episode was pretty good. Though I literally could not stop laughing at the Magma 'monster' or whatever it was called!

    I think the guy laughing was a previous reincarnation of the Master (though that's probably already been answered above, sorry.)

    • Donald G says:

      To paraphrase Peter Davison in the DVD commentary for this story: "How do you get away from the lumbering Magma monster? You walk away from it, very slowly."

      • PeterRabid says:

        XP I need to get my hands on some DVDs, if only for the special features and commentaries.

        • Donald G says:

          Davison commentaries are some of the most fun to listen to, although he and Janet Fielding do have a tendency to talk over other, quieter participants and monopolize the discussion. Davison commentaries are like a live MiSTing of the story as you're watching it.

          • nyssaoftraken74 says:

            Yes, I seem to remember on one commentary the lovely Sarah Sutton politely starting to try to make a comment about 3 times – each time being overpowered by her louder co-stars. Not unlike Nyssa's experience in the TARDIS, it has to be said.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Yeah, the special effects were not good. But the serial rises above them!

      • Donald G says:

        The frightening thing is, those were good special effects for the BBC ca. 1984. One does not watch classic Doctor Who if one absolutely, positively requires passable special effects to enjoy it. <insert affectionate laughter here>

    • PeterRabid says:

      Though I literally could not stop laughing at the Magma 'monster' or whatever it was called!

      That's probably the one failing of this serial. If you have an embarrassingly bad Rubber Suit Monster, keep it dimly lit. It's actually creepier that way.

      Anyway, that's why I watch Harnois75 on Deviantart. They do amazing redesigns. Their magma monster: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/268/4/3/ma

  6. ScarecrowCeno says:

    Wonderful reveiw. I was worried there would be less impact without having seen more of the character first, but sounds like you had a blast.

    To answer your question the ranting "Die Doctor" fellow would be The Master. 😉

    I find it deeply emotional as a story, everyone has motivations and Morgus works as the central villain whose greed caused so much suffering.

  7. swimmingtrunks says:

    I still can't get these old episodes to hold my full attention like the new ones, and I'm sure it didn't help that I was trying to get a lot of work done while watching it last night. Still, I liked what I saw and heard of it. I've been getting into the Big Finish audio plays over the past couple of months, so I'm fairly well acquainted with Five, Six, and Peri through those. I don't know if it's because Nicola Bryant is older in the audio plays, or because I had a visual to ease the pain, but Peri's accent was a lot more bearable to me here than it's been elsewhere. (There was at least one line though, where it sounded like she missed America and landed in Australia.)

    This incarnation seemed a little cheekier here than what I've experienced in the audio plays, and I liked it. I can see why some have talked about this incarnation being the first of the more "modern" doctors. Not only was he younger than any of his predecessors, but he has a more human heart than what I've seen of Doctors One through Four. There were a couple of lines as he was flying the ship back that I could clearly hear coming out of the mouth of Ten or Eleven- so there's definitely something there in the writing that begins a more modern era of Who.

    Jek was totally Phantom of the Opera-esque. I kind of wish they'd never revealed his face, because honestly the effects could not live up to what my imagination was filling in- and imo wasn't really worth those screams!

    It was sad to see him first on screen in his last story, but what a story for a timelord to go out on. The floating heads were a bit trippy, but everything else about his regeneration from the way he had handled himself nobly in the story to the idea that he might not regenerate and only the thought of his friends really carrying him through was well done. In comparison, certain other regenerations seem…. unintentionally cheap. (And I'm not talking special effects.)

    PS: Oh Six. <3 This is how you do asshole Timelord.

    • Donald G says:

      I always get a little worried when people come to the older stories by way of the new because the BBC's television production style has modernized so much within the last 20 years that it's a bit of culture shock when you go back to one of the older programs.

      The modern viewer has to make allowances for the slower pace, constant repetitive of exposition, and seeming lack of incident… not to mention the videotaped production of primitive special effects.

      Fortunately, Mark seems to have found something to like in everything he's seen so far.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yeah, what I pictured was much more gruesome than what we got, lol. (Of course, I also had the same thing happen with the Phantom of the Opera movie, bleh.)

      I noticed that too about Five's dialogue in the ship. It's very interesting to look back and see this stuff, it really makes me want to watch more of the old show.

  8. Albion19 says:

    "Do try to speak English hmm?"

    LOLOL! The fifth Doctor gets unfairly branded as "beige" but honestly he's so polity condescending and sarcastic that I can ever see him a being bland.

    I love Five so much, he's just met Peri a story before but he'll risk his life for her, no qualms about it. Oh the cliffhanger to part three is so intense! I mean shit, Five was fighting off regenerating at that point. (that's what those wavy white lines were.)

    I wish you had seen some stories with Tegan and the other companions. Peri was always Six's companion in my mind, while Tegan was Five's.

    • PeterRabid says:

      "Do try to speak English hmm?"

      As opposed to American or whatever it was she was trying to speak.

      Tegan was brilliant. Honestly, I love all of Five's companions (yes, even Adric). They were a family, with all the bickering that family comes with, and he was their father figure. Plus, they were all really young. Adric and Nyssa were teenagers! It seemed like he had little ducklings following him around. 🙂

      • Albion19 says:

        Loved Tegan so much, a know people think she's whiny but I think she's realistic, especially at the start when she just wanted to get on with her own life. lol Five would get so exasperated with them (though Nyssa was always more accommodating.)

        • Hypatia_ says:

          Tegan is awesome. As I recall, she'd known the Doctor for all of about 30 seconds before she started bitching at him. And he's looking at her like, "Who the hell are you, how did you get on my ship and WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?"

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      The fifth Doctor gets unfairly branded as "beige" but honestly he's so polity condescending and sarcastic that I can ever see him a being bland.

      Davison's a much subtler actor than Tom Baker so if you're not really paying attention then it can look like there's not much happening. Also, there was a conscious effort to tone things down and make them more serious in the early 80s, at least – but that has nothing to do with Davison, you can see it in the final Tom Baker season. Sometimes things can be a bit drab, especially if the story is a bit weak but there's no compensating weirdness to make it enjoyable.

      My memories from watching were that the Davison era didn't make as much of an impression but it may be that I was growing out of it a bit (I was 14 when this aired) and needed some more time to grow back into it. When I rewatched from Pertwee (a lot of those for the first time) through to the end I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Davison's run and I think his performance is brilliant.

      I think Moffat says he's the first of the modern Doctors and I think he sets the template for the emotionally involved Doctor, more of a character study than a performance. I love Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee, but I can't easily imagine them playing a post Time War Doctor – I think Davison could do it easily.

  9. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    I think we have to mention what Peter always says about his regeneration…

    "There I am, acting my socks off, and all you can see is Nicola Bryant's cleavage!"

    That's probably one reason why New Who has so far done standing-up regenerations.
    (Note I say `so far` to avoid spoilers.)

    That aside, though, I think the regeneration and other FX on this show are brilliant for 1984! Don't know if you noticed, Mark, but the FX while the Doctor started the spaceship hurtling are the same pattern as the regeneration. This was a decision by Graeme Harper, intended to be the Doctor holding back his regeneration.

    Re the Magma creature, I know what Peter says about the scene, but watching it again, I think it makes sense. The Magma creature appears AND THE ARMY START SHOOTING AT IT! So naturally, it attacks them, ignoring the Doctor, who is clearly no threat. In the confusion, the Doctor is able to slip away quietly. I think walking away slowly is very much the key – as opposed to running which might attract the creature's attention.

    Disappointed that Mark still hasn't mentioned the titles theme arrangement.

    Oh, and kudos to Peter Davison for being the only person in the history of the world to say, "I'm not going to let you stop me now!" and make it sound awesome. Potential cheese trap successfully avoided. Bravo, sir!

  10. psycicflower says:

    This was also my first time seeing this episode and I loved it.

    I love how well they handle a pretty complicated plot with the various groups of characters and what their motives are. I really like how it's slowly revealed just how much of a bad guy Morgus was. His factories in the west closing down which conveniently meant that those workers would work unpaid in his labour camp factories out east, the explosion and destruction of one of his copper mines that stopped over production leading to a price increase and then the reveal that he's playing both sides of the war for spectrox. He's a master manipulator.
    Sharaz is interesting in his ambiguity. On the one hand he was double crossed and nearly killed so it's understandable that he wants revenge but then again he's being so very creepy towards Peri. Although when everyone was acting so horrified by his appearance all I thought was 'well that's not so bad.'

    ‘Curiosity’s always been my downfall.’
    I love Five and it's so sad to see him go, especially since you spend a large part of the four episodes watching him slowly die. It's a great way for a Doctor to go though, saving the life of a companion. I'm glad I still have most of his stories to watch.

    And yes more power to the secretary. You expose corruption and take control.
    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/2w73h53.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  11. flamingpie says:

    I just skimmed this because I've yet to see it, and while I don't mind spoilers with old Who, I won't understand any of the references.

    However… COLIN BAKER. <3 <3 <3 <3 PLEASE ACTUALLY PUT UP A BLOG FOR VOTING FOR YOUR NEXT OLD WHO SERIAL BECAUSE I NEED TO SUGGEST A SIX ONE!!! XD

  12. Donald G says:

    Ahh, yes, with Tom Baker as Puddlegum.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Yep! I first knew Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge and Tom Baker as Puddleglum! 😀 I loved him as Puddleglum, I should say. It would be hard to find a more different character from the Fourth Doctor. He's like the Eeyore of Narnia (though apparently TOO CHEERFUL according to the others!).

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Seriously? I didn't know that.

      I have watched the BBC versions of both 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' and 'Prince Caspian' but I had to stop watching because of the acting. Yeesh, it was bad.

  13. jennywildcat says:

    I have prepared remarks for this occasion. And it's long.

    For the past little while, I'd been working my way through the Peter Davison era (Mark, if you ever get the chance to do so, it's worth your time – seriously). I absolutely adore Five (I think it's the celery – never in the history of anything has a vegetable been made of so much awesome) and I was dreading his regeneration because REGENERATION IS SO SAD! (That's probably the only thing I hate about "Doctor Who" – you get attached to one Doctor and he's wonderful and you love him… and then he regenerates. And it's not enough that he regenerates, but they have to do it in the most heartbreaking way possible). I still had a few episodes to go, but I wasn't going to finish in time for Mark's review of "Caves of Androzani," but I decided to skip ahead and just get it over with.

    Now that I've had a day to grieve and rant and freak out, this is how I see this story – all the other characters surrounding the Doctor and Peri are pretty much all bad guys. The focus on this story is not the events on Androzani and how the Doctor can fix their issues . The focus is the Doctor and Peri are in trouble and they've got to get the antidote and get out of there. There is NO fixing the problem between the government and the rebels – better to leave them to duke it out amongst themselves. The Doctor and Peri have no allies (maybe Salateen, but even his reliability is dubious) and they are completely on their own – even more so when they get separated from each other). This is such a shift from how other "Doctor Who" stories are set up and everything about it is beyond brilliant. Peri is so adorable, Jek is the epitome of creepy, and even poisoned, the Doctor is badass awesome. And the CELERY – I think I was okay in the eye-moisture department until the Doctor pulled out the celery and tried to revive Peri with it – THAT is where you know the Doctor has no idea what to do. And when the Doctor is clueless… it's time to crawl into the corner with the blankie and hide. I can definitely see why this ranks even higher than "Blink" as a fan favorite…

    …BUT WHY DOES IT HAVE TO KILL MY SOUL????

    (cont.)

  14. who_cares86 says:

    It's been a long time since I've seen this so I can't really comment. The only thing I really remember about it is it being a very dark story. Peri's fake American accent really gets on my nerves though.

    It may seem like fun to meet a new Doctor but really with the introduction of 6 the whole show just fell apart. Ultimately Colin Baker (not related to Tom) ended up being the only Doctor ever to get fired from the role because they considered him unlikeable. The sad fact being that it wasn't his fault. He did the best he could with the terrible material he was given, nowadays Colin Baker himself is well respected by the fandom.

    • flamingpie says:

      I may be in the minority but I don't think the material was even that bad. It wasn't great, and Colin Baker deserved better, but it really wasn't that bad at all. The first old Who serial I managed to sit through in one sitting was one of Six's.

      • who_cares86 says:

        I actually quite like revelation of the daleks. On the whole though there's no question that Colin Baker's era is at least very disappointing. Some of it is just terrible, most of it is mediocre and at it's best it doesn't get much better than OK. YMMV

        • flamingpie says:

          Yeah, I can see where you would feel that way, I tend to like them a lot though. I personally LOVE Vengeance on Varos and Mark of the Rani. It's probably pretty telling of my taste that almost all of my favorite classic Who serials come from Colin Baker or Sylvester McCoy's years.

          • who_cares86 says:

            If anything the pacing gets a lot faster as the 80's progress making it easier to watch for a modern viewer despite the often mediocre plots. I mean at least it's not boring like some of the older "better" material. It's one of the reasons I actually like Delta and the Bannerman. (seriously it's just a fun romp, and is actually very similar to new who in a lot of aspects.)

            Random note: Seven and Ace is one of the best Doctor and Companions match-ups in the shows history.

            • LittleCaity says:

              This. SO MUCH THIS. Ace is awesome, and I think I'm one of the only fans of "Battlefield" around.

              (Brigadier Bambera, I love you for being a badass black woman who takes no shit from anyone. Keep on being awesome!)

              • Donald G says:

                < Face of Boe >

                You Are Not Alone.

                < / Face of Boe >

              • __Jen__ says:

                I just moved Battlefield up to number one on my Netflix queue, because from what I've heard it sounds like a blast. I'm excited for it. 😀

                • Donald G says:

                  This is one that gets a lot of abuse within British fandom. If you approach it in the right nostalgic spirit, it's fun. You'll have to overlook some particularly hammy acting (you'll know the scenes in question when you come to them) and an unfortunate musical score. Being forewarned is fore-armed.

                  I'm not a subscriber to Netflix. Do they have the movie format special edition available for streaming, or is it merely the four part episodic version.

                  "Battlefield", like "Curse of Fenric", is one of the rare stories that actually benefits from its Special Edition re-edit.

                  • __Jen__ says:

                    I love B movies so I'm all good with hammy acting and unfortunate scoring. I've been wanting to watch a Seven/Ace serial and I love almost all takes on Arthurian legend so, this one sounds right up my alley, even if it isn't objectively great.

                    All of the streaming episodes I've seen so far have just have just been the episodic versions, but I'm getting this one on actual DVD, which they have in the special edition. Sadly they only have one McCoy serial available for streaming- The Curse of Fenric, but it's not clear if it's the re-edited version.

            • flamingpie says:

              Random note: Seven and Ace is one of the best Doctor and Companions match-ups in the shows history.

              Correction: THE best. XD Mark needs to see an Ace episode!

              Back on topic, I do adore a lot of older episodes, Pyramids of Mars is wonderful, and I loved the whole of the Key to Time arc, for example. I think for me, it comes down to companions. Annoying as Peri's fake accent is, I actually adore her, and I love her give and take teasing/insulting with Six. Seven and Ace absolutely MAKE their episodes. My preference for newer classic Who comes a lot more from the experimentation with companion roles than it does from pacing.

              • who_cares86 says:

                Ace is the first modern companion. The groundwork for Rose and Martha, etc was laid down by Ace where they made a very conscious decision to make her the main character and give her to most character development. (In fact she's the first companion to get any real character development) which in turn allowed McCoy to become much darker and much more mysterious and thus way more awesome.

                • flamingpie says:

                  Exactly what I love about her and the storylines during McCoy's run.

                  Also, I think new Who needs moar Ace.

                  • PeterRabid says:

                    YES. I doubt Sophie Aldred would decline the offer.

                    • flamingpie says:

                      Exactly! And if Sarah Jane could come back, why not Ace? Come on new Who, you already had one uber popular companion show up! Bring back the girl who the Crowning Moment of Awesome page on tv tropes was MADE for!

                    • PeterRabid says:

                      Ace has a baseball bat. —> Dalek calls Ace 'small.' —> Dalek gets pwned.

                    • who_cares86 says:

                      Well if we're talking tropes the Brigadier is actually the trope namer for "the Brigadier"

                    • flamingpie says:

                      Ace quite literally is the original Crowning Moment of Awesome.
                      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=d7pg

                      spoiler behind that link for anyone who hasn't seen Ace's run I guess.

                    • who_cares86 says:

                      I knew that. I was just pointing out that the Brigadier is also a trope namer. (well he started a few) apart from his own name there's Five Rounds Rapid and Immune to Bullets.

                  • who_cares86 says:

                    I'd say her appearing on the Sarah Jane Adventures is more likely. I think it's a good thing that after School Reunion they haven't shoehorned more old characters into the current Doctor Who it needs to move on and make new material for today's viewer instead of bringing stuff back just to please a small portion of the viewers. The Sarah Jane Adventures is a much more natural home for nostalgia.

  15. kytten says:

    Haven't got to this serial so far in our rewatch of Oldwho, so can't comment much. Just wanted to say: I appreciate your five love, as I also love five. Jos' Dr was Four, and he really struggled to acclimatise to Five, and I think Five gets a bad rap from a lot of fans because Davison is SO different to Baker.

  16. kaybee42 says:

    This was the first Classic Who I watched! I missed the first one and I was SO confused. And I didn't realise it wasn't simple, like NuWho so I didn't really pay much attention…so I had no idea what was going on! But I still enjoyed. it 🙂 And I watched it for only the second time yesterday so it was still very exciting.
    Oh Peri, you aren't my favourite companion, but this really wasn't your episode was it? And PETER DAVISON! *MY* classic doctor (Not that I've seen much of most Doctors…) sobs all round!
    Turlough, just fyi, is totes awesome:D

    • flamingpie says:

      so I had no idea what was going on! But I still enjoyed it.

      Not gonna lie, that's my reaction to 90% of old Who.

      "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT JUST HAPPENED BUT DAMN WAS IT FUN"

      • Hypatia_ says:

        ROFLMAO, that is EXACTLY IT. The stories really aren't the point most of the time. The point is the Doctor and really, really bad special effects.

    • LittleCaity says:

      Turlough is very much win. We should TOTES recommend Frontios to Mark! One of Five's crowning moments, IMHO, along with The Awakening right before it. (WHY ARE THESE EPISODES NOT ON DVD YET, BBC?)

  17. jackiep says:

    There's much to enjoy in this one. And yet it is a bit of an oddity.

    This was the adventure when Peter Davison really felt that the script understood what he wanted to do with the character (he's subsequently said that if he'd had more scripts like Androzani, he'd have stayed longer). Ironically, the writer hadn't seen much of the Fifth Doctor so had the Fourth Doctor more in mind as he wrote it.

    The direction is fantastic. Graeme Harper understood what to do with a rather dodgy monster – keep it in the dark and never let the audience get a good look at it (the Fifth and Sixth Doctors' eras were characterised by overlit scenes, which exposed any such flaws all too cruelly).

    The cliffhangers were genuinely jawdropping. The Doctor's been in front of many firing squads before, but the musical sting for the credits usually happened on the word "fire". This time, the guns actually started shooting, the spaceship really seemed to be crashing.

    And what an appalling World was created in a few lines of script. The President noting that closing down the factories in the West meant that the newly unemployed workers would end up getting conscripted as slave labourers in the East, but did nothing to stop it. He reacted to an unjust execution with a complaint that the red blanket was too honourable for people like that. The General, Chalek seemed the most reasonable of the people in this story, but he sent one of his officers to a certain death so that nobody would learn that he'd "executed" androids – in orther words, just to stop people sniggering at him in the Officers' Mess. Every supporting character was appalling in their own particular way, suggesting a society where life was cheap and survival was for the fittest only.

    Spectrox itself? Judging by the President who didn't look much younger than his 84 years, seems to be the ultimate snake oil. Honestly, a decent moisturiser would have worked better.

    The number of survivors? Three. The unnamed agent who went off to blow up a copper mine to improve Morgan's profits, the Secretary who took over and Peri. Technically, even the Doctor died in this one.

    Looking at the last scene, it's easy to see why Peter Davison thought that his death acting was (ahem) overshadowed in that nobody was looking at his face, but at Peri's cleavage. Small wonder that his next persona seemed rounder and more in your face! At the time, I was taken aback as the series hadn't ended yet and changing a Doctor before the season end took me by surprise. (Putting Colin Baker's name above Peter Davison's in the end credits though was plain disrespectful to the superb acting job that Peter had done throughout).

    By the way, a negative recommendation. It is a cruel thing that Androzani was followed by The Twin Dilemma. Seriously, do not add this one to your list. Just… Don't. In the fan polls, that's the top of the list followed by the second bottom one of the entire series.

  18. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    Well, I'm going to suggest that Mark watches a classic Who after 4.13 and then another after the end of the handful of Specials before Series 5.

    • PeterRabid says:

      Mark, please do this. We'd like as much Classic Who as we can get!

      • flamingpie says:

        He should totally just constantly watch Classic Who from the moment he catches up to us until series six airs.

        • who_cares86 says:

          I doubt there'd be that much time between when he catches up and when series 6 starts. Counting only workdays and accounting for a classic who story after each series. He'd catch up in early april which is right about the time when series 6 should start.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          I won't do it constantly (as I'll be starting Avatar), but I will continue to watch classic Who after I catch up.

          • PeterRabid says:

            I'm so glad you'll keep watching Classic Who! Almost as glad as I am that you're watching Avatar! 😀

  19. Albion19 says:

    Just gonna spam some Fifth Doctor era, hope that's all right…

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/243ksxv.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/k9f9c9.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/24fd7y9.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/2ynnnt0.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/rrle1s.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  20. Anon says:

    I'm definitely going to have to watch more of Five serials, Peter Davison just seems to have this quiet heroism about him.

  21. Fusionman29 says:

    Well first production errors.

    A. Nicola Bryant, or her stunt double, bounces after slipping down the cliff-face in episode one, obviously hitting a safety cushion of some kind. Yeah…
    B. When the Fifth Doctor said his last word his mouth did not seem to move.
    C. When Stotz eventually cuts through the door the polystyrene is visible on the fake door.

    Now trivia.

    A. This is the first time since Patrick Troughton became the Doctor that the regeneration has not occurred in the final episode of a season.
    B. Colin Baker previously appeared in Arc of Infinity. Trust me Davison made jokes. Even Baker made jokes.
    C. Christopher Gable was not the first choice to play Sharaz Jek; among the actors offered the role were Tim Curry and David Bowie. I want that universe!
    D. This story had the working title of Chain Reaction.
    E. The maps of the caves shown on screen bear an uncanny resemblance to the video game Dig Dug. Heh.

    • Starsea28 says:

      "Of course, everyone knows I shot Peter to get the job." XD

    • Hypatia_ says:

      "B. When the Fifth Doctor said his last word his mouth did not seem to move."

      Huh, I always assumed that was just his last thought, not his last word.

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        I seem to remember the novelisation said something like:

        It felt different, this time. Had he said that out loud?

        So it's kind of ambiguous.

        Anyway, here's another fact: When Peter Davison was first cast, Doctor Who Monthly #61 made the faux pas of misspelling his name on the cover. `Peter DAVIDSON is The Doctor`. Fast forward almost 26 years and over 300 issues, Doctor Who Magazine #389 corrected the error on their cover to celebrate Time Crash.

        This misspelling of Peter's surname is still quite common in certain internet circles and has since been joined by `Christopher Ecclestone`.

        • Fusionman29 says:

          To understand why this is funny I should explain that Peter Davidson is also an actor who was in movies like the 1980 Elephant Man documentary.

          So both are actors making this a bit understandable.

    • Donald G says:

      Additional trivia: Robert Glennister had co-starred in a sitcom with Peter Davison concurrent with Davison's tenure as the Doctor entitled "Sink or Swim". Glennister played the brother of Davison's character. During recording of "Caves of Androzani", neither actor could look at the other without cracking up. Apparently, at no time in their scenes together in this story do the Doctor or Salateen make eye-contact with each other.

  22. who_cares86 says:

    Random fact: Graeme Harper who directed "Caves of Androzani" is the only director to have directed both on Classic who (this and "Revelation of the Daleks") and on the new series. Episodes directed by Graeme Harper on the new series include "Rise of the Cybermen", "The Age of Steel", "Army of Ghosts", "Doomsday", "42", "Utopia", "Time Crash" and 6 more I can't mention now because of SPOILERS.

  23. carma_bee says:

    In the Doctor Who confidential that goes with Blink, David interviews a lot of the main crew, and in one part of it, he and Steven Moffat visit the BBC Television Centre in London and they go to one of the studios where they filmed classic Who episodes. It's really cool to see that they just used a huge room to film the episodes in. And I found a youtube video, hurray.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz4CWenoUqM

  24. arctic_hare says:

    Rewatching Time Crash made me decide that this was going to finally be my first taste of Classic Who, and I quite enjoyed it! I need to see more in general, and I really like what I saw here of Five. <3

  25. Elliott Mason says:

    Two major comments.

    Peri: I do not get why she put up with the Doctor (either of them). They're both dismissive of her. They treat her like a brain-damaged child, and more than that, they say so to her FACE, often repeatedly in the same episode. SRSLY? Way worse than anything Martha ever had done to her.

    Retro-Awesome: How cool is it that the bad guy's super-high-tech corridor monitoring system looked like a level of DigDug?

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      To be fair, if we take the TV series alone, Peris didn't exactly get much time with Five, so we can't read too much into their relationship. Plus Five is very, very English and Peri is a bit too brash American for him to instantly take to.

      If we take the audios into consideration, then it's much more balanced.

      As for her adventures with Six, things did gradually improve over the course of S22 (Timelash aside) and by Trial of a Timelord, the bickering was much more just friendly sniping.

  26. redheadedgirl says:

    I haven't had a chance to watch this (it's been kind of a day) but I did see Peter Davison in Legally Blonde (he played the creepy law prof) in the West End this summer. HE. WAS. AWESOME.

    Sadly, they said no autographs that night, so I didn't get a chance to meet him at the stage door. 🙁 My life is SO HARD.

  27. virtual_monster says:

    I see that there is much love here for Five and his brilliant swansong and quite right too. But I would like to draw your attention to the brilliance that was ROBERT HOLMES, probably old Who's best writer and ceratinly one of the more nuanced and thought provoking. Bob Holmes was the master (but not the Master) of the double-act, almost always writing a pair of characters to bounce off each other and drive exposition as naturally as possible.

    RTD has stated several times that Bob Holmes was his favourite Old Who writer and personal hero, and that he was the only one of the classic series writers he'd have invited to write for the revival had he still been alive.

    Of course, the excellent direction by Graeme Harper helps enormously. This was Harper's first stint as director on Doctor Who and an excellent directorial debut it is too! He had been involved in other capacities, such as floor assistant or production assistant, going as far back as Two's first story (Power of the Daleks in 1967). The fact that he is the only Old Who director to be asked back says a lot too, although of course his work speaks eloquently for itself.

    The Caves of Androzani aired at an odd time for Doctor Who when that variability in quality we've remarked on before was at its most alarmingly binary. You could see something as brilliant as Androzani one week and the next be wondering where, to adapt an unexpectedly successful metaphor from yesterday, they had found such a sickly cat.

    At least some of this inconsistency lies at the door of the producer John Nathan-Turner, about whom I'm profoundly ambivalent at best. On the one hand he believed in strong, 'hard' science fiction and he kept the show going through relentless politicking and promotion when it would otherwise have been shelved. And he had a double-barrelled surname, as I do, so I shall irrationally give him extra points just for that. Just because.

    On the other hand, he had no concept whatsoever of story structure and appeared to believe that stunt casting from light entertainment shows was a substitute for little things like getting story right or hiring actual actors. On balance, I don't care too much for his tenure but there were admittedly some real gems like this serial, which is definitely one of those high points that we sit through the low points for.

  28. __Jen__ says:

    So this was my first serial with Five (if only Netflix Instant had more), and I had been spoiled for the regeneration long before watching it but it was still so amazingly effective! I have to say that Peter Davison is great as the Doctor and I’m definitely going to seek out more of his run. While my favorites so far have been the more obviously strange and alien Doctors, I love his sarcasm and understated humor. Five really is given a lot of great one-liners in this serial- the dialogue in this serial seemed a lot more reminiscent of NuWho than the OldWho I've seen. Another thing to love about Five? He really was wonderfully brave. He gave his life for Peri (after trying to revive her with celery! :D) in such a beautiful way. This was truly a great send-off for a Doctor.

    I liked Peri as well, even though she didn’t get a chance to do much due to the poisoning. She was great at acting sufficiently creeped out by Sharak Jek’s attentions, though. :\ Jek was an interestingly complex character, but he was at least very clearly one thing- a master-class creeper. (It’s funny that this is a show where I have to clarify that I don’t necessarily mean The Master. It’s an OTT name for a fabulously OTT character.)

    The plot of this episode involves one of my favorite types of sci-fi. I love stories with political machinations and behind-the-scenes treachery and complex social/political systems and conflicts. Within the genres of science fiction and fantasy, these types of stories are a great way to immerse the viewer/reader into an entirely new world. The addition of the outsiders (generally audience POV characters) who try to help but are eventually swept up in the chaos is one of my favorite fictional tropes. Stories like these are actually why I’m so fond of the Star Wars EU, particularly on the prequel side of things. The Jedi were always getting dropped into worlds on the verge of war and told to just fix things.

    Morgus was such a fun villain, and this was enhanced by the gradual way the true extent of his villainy was revealed. That moment where his secretary (a BAMF) takes him down, his moment of true defeat, totally rocked. Even if he had escaped unscathed, he was done. All that he had worked, well manipulated, so hard for was stripped from him in a non-violent but satisfyingly treacherous manner. 😀

    The interplay between all of the factions in this conflict made this one of the first OldWho I’ve seen where I was fully swept up in the plot of things, entirely aside from the Doctor and his companions. I knew it probably wasn’t going to end well, but I have to admit I didn’t expect the whole ‘nearly everybody dies’ ending. It continues to blows my mind that this was a family/kids show. I wish we had more family entertainment with this level of respect for the audience today.

    Lastly, and entirely unrelated to this episode- my only Five gif.
    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/ab70b5.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    He makes great faces.

  29. Angie says:

    So, I rewatched Caves of Androzani last night, and I wrote some thoughts down in Notepad. Again, I apologize for cold-induced incoherency and tl;dr.

    First of all, I just love Peter's voice. It's very, very nice to listen to. And he's very nice to look at, for that matter. And then there's Peri. This was my introduction to her, and it was obvious that "American" wasn't her natural accent ("Make some glahss"). But she seemed fun and cute, and had an easy relationship with the Doctor. I believe the only adventure they've had together before now was the one where she was introduced. But, of course, we don't know how many trips they made together offscreen.

    "Is this wise, I ask myself… oh well." And off she trots to catch up with Himself.

    "I don't remember. Pretty sure it's not the future."
    "You're a very confusing person to be with, Doctor, I hope you know that."
    "I tried keeping a diary once, not chronological, of course. The trouble with time travel is… one never seems to find the time."

    Uhoh, man in a rubber monster suit time! (Whatever, I guess I'm a big old sucker for cheesy retro effects.) Also, I'm not sure firing weapons upward in a cave is a very wise idea.

    "It's not edible, by the smell of it" There's a parallel for you – both the Fifth Doctor and the Tenth like to taste things.

    And we find out why he wears a celery in his lapel!
    "Doctor, why do you wear a stick of celery in your lapel?"
    "Does it offend you?" He explains that he's allergic to certain gasses, and when in the presence of those gasses, the celery turns purple.
    "Then what do you do?"
    "I eat the celery. If nothing else, I'm sure it's good for my teeth."

    *Yeah, Doctor, I'm sure those guys won't see you and Peri crouching behind those rather small boxes.
    *Sharaz Jek. What a name. I like it. Also, he dresses in black leather. More points. And what is it about men in masks that is intriguing?

    DOCTOR: "Curiosity has always been my downfall" and, I believe, one of his greatest strengths.

    *God bless the '80s. The hair, the props, the costumes…
    *Aha – spectrox is a veritable fountain of youth.
    *Oh holy shit, they killed the Doctor! And Peri! Aaaaaaaaaand end episode, see you next week, kids! Really, how excruciating it would have been to have watched those last few seconds and have to wait until next time.
    * And we segue into Phantom of the Opera zone.
    *That gunrunner guy is a bad, bad dude.
    *The Docter, ever protective, insinuates himself between the girl and the man in leather.

    "You have the mouth of a prattling jackanapes, but your eyes.. they tell a different story." The Doctor smiles and turns away.

    • Angie says:

      OH CRAP SORRY ABOUT THE HUGE LONG COMMENT ABOVE D:
      More "thoughts":

      *"Your sense of humor, Doctor, will be the death of you. Probably quite soon."
      *Peri wonders what's under that hood. Ah yes, definitely Phantom of the Opera time.
      *Yay! Another good opportunity to giggle at the Monster of the Week. I love the 80s.

      I… kind of forgot to note things for a while here.

      *<s>The main bad guy in brown with the ponytail</s> Morgas keeps breaking the fourth wall.
      * Then the Doctor freed himself, and then he stopped to look at something and we got a Tristan Farnan smile. 😀
      * That's really a very bad man.
      *So let's see: The Doctor has spectrox toxicity, has been beaten, shot at, almost had his arms pulled off, and burned.

      SELF, NO YOU WILL NOT FIND THE MAN IN BLACK LEATHER AND A MASK SEXY AT ALL, STOP IT RIGHT NOW. And the way he moves is graceful. WTH STOP IT,

      *The Phaaaaaantom of the Opera is here… inside your mind
      *"I am mad." We're aaaaaaall mad here.
      *"Now I can feast my eyes on your delicacy" Oh shit, Peri.
      *The Doctor absolutely will never give up.

      *"These aren't the droids you're looking for." I just felt like saying that. It looks like Tatooine.

      *lol okay then General, that wasn't exactly a manly scream there, seeing Jex's face.
      *Phaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantom of the Operaaaaaaa
      *Aw, he makes use of the celery.
      *I feel sad for Sheraz Jek.
      *On top of the things that have happened already, plus oxygen deprivation, he's now running and carrying Peri in his arms. Made it to the TARDIS just in the nick of time.

      *Oh Doctor… :'( brb, crying
      *Peri's cleavage is trying to upstage the Doctor.
      *brb, not done crying.
      *And so begins the era of the Sixth Doctor.

      I love this episode. I wish Davison had more scripts like this during his run as The Doctor. I've read that if he had more like Caves, he probably would have stayed longer. I love each incarnation of the Doctor, but the Fifth is definitely one of my favorites. I love spotting parallels between Doctors.

    • Starsea28 says:

      First of all, I just love Peter's voice. It's very, very nice to listen to.

      Did you know he sings, too? I saw him in the West End as King Arthur in "Spamalot". 😀

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      *Oh holy shit, they killed the Doctor! And Peri! Aaaaaaaaaand end episode, see you next week, kids! Really, how excruciating it would have been to have watched those last few seconds and have to wait until next time.

      In Tom Baker's final season the show got slaughtered in the ratings on Saturday nights (in terms of chart positions it was the worst it ever did, even the seasons leading up to cancellation). This was largely because ITV had Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as competition. For Davison's run, then they moved the show to weeknights and showed it twice a week, on Mondays and Tuesdays. So those of us who saw it on transmission only had to wait a day to find out what happened after the episode one and episode three cliffhangers.

      • Angie says:

        Oh well that's not quite so bad then. But still, I am not a patient person and it would probably have half-way killed me.

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        Oh yes, I remember that episode 1 cliffhanger from the first time. It may have been only a day til the next episode, but I'm sure it *felt* like a week! It's such a brilliant cliffhanger and then the start of episode 2 makes it even more mind blowing when the shrouded forms of the Doctor and Peri slump forwards, clearly dead.

        I mean, there have been plenty of `the Doctor is going to be shot` cliffhangers and `gunshots are fired, but it turns out to be a rescue` cliffhangers. But to see the actual guns blazing and straight into the scream of the Howell theme tune, followed by `they really, definitely have been killed!` is something unique and brilliant.

  30. CJBadwolf says:

    When I met the Doctor, he was hanging around with Romana II and a dodgy tin dog, so while this isn't "my Doctor", he's the one I got to see from first episode to last in one run and he was a pretty good role model for a young man. Where 4 was witty and awesome and all that, he was also very alien in a way that no one was again until Eccleston. 5 has this absolutely wonderful humanity, decency, and hope.

    Alright, so we're hurtling towards Partners in Crime? Awesome. Let's see…what's in that again. Right. yes. that too. Wait, wasn't there…OH! OH YEAH! HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA You, sir, are NOT FUCKING READY.

  31. Guest says:

    I definitely see the appeal of this approach and the upcoming series will apparently not start before mid-April, so there should be some time for classics, if Mark is interested. I am however concerned that Mark might not manage to avoid the most basic information about the upcoming series when it comes closer to transmission and that might already spoil the previous one for him. So I think he shouldn't watch too many classics until he has caught up.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      That's a good point about about news for S6 possibly spoiling S5. I think the classic before and after the Specials just essentially treats that run of 5 episodes as a mini series. It keeps the same pattern, just obviously shorter.

  32. who_cares86 says:

    Took a while to find but Star Trek has started more and Star Wars has probably even started more than Star Trek. The king of trope names is probably the Bible. (apart from real life that is)

    • flamingpie says:

      Yeah, I ended up looking for myself as well! Who is definitely the second though, in terms of TV. The only one that comes close after is MST3K.

  33. Karen says:

    I actually haven't seen this one, so I have nothing relevant to say other than Peri is definitely not my favorite old school companion. And while I don't dislike Five, he's not my favorite of the old school Doctors either (I stan for Four and Seven pretty hardcore, and I love Three too). heh. That's probably why I haven't gotten around to watching this serial. But perhaps I should change that.

    P.S. I am Team The Happiness Patrol for your next bit of Classic Who because I rewatched it earlier today and I was reminded of how AMAZING it is.

    • flamingpie says:

      Team Happiness Patrol for me, as well! That or Ghost Light. I would be perfectly content with either. XD

  34. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Did anyone else giggle when Sharaz Jek said that he "can't even bear to touch [himself]?"

    Apparently the role of Jek was offered to Mick Jagger, Tim Curry, and David Bowie, but none of them were available at the time. The person who was cast instead, Christopher Gable, was a ballet dancer who was originally being considered for the role of Salateen.

    • kaybee42 says:

      YES! I laughed! I forgot that till you reminded me but I definitely found it hilare!

    • fakehepburn says:

      DAVID BOWIE
      TIM CURRY
      MICK JAGGER
      ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???
      OH MY GOD
      ANY ONE OF THOSE HAVE BEEN AMAZING
      I AM FLAILING THE FLAILS OF "WHY DIDN'T THIS HAPPEN?"

    • ArrogantSage says:

      I admit to giggling like a child on that one. Other than that, I had to fight to stay awake throughout. I've tried a couple of Classic Who and it really just doesn't suit me. 🙁

  35. Selthia says:

    Last guy telling him to die was the Master.

    The talking to the camera was the best thing ever, you almost felt like Salateen was either talking to you or that you were a fellow plotter. ;p

    Jek was delightfully creepy and not too over the top, but menacing enough to really have a presence, so he's a favorite classical villain so far. I also enjoyed how much of the story was spent wondering who was going to double cross who and how, or if it was a triple cross. Salateen's moment of getting screwed over and Five's stepping out into a droid that might fire on him? Crowning. Moment. Of. Awesome.

    I admit, I would have liked to see more focus on how hard it was for Five to get TO the bat and get the cure from, more like a trial than it was shown to be. He just seemed to pop in and get it. So it would have been nice to see it as more trying than it was, to make that hardship even more personal for him and the audience.

    I liked how they handled a lot of the sets, very effective for limited sets. Pacing was pretty great for old school, it didn't feel like it dragged on and on. As for the regeneration: I think this is my favorite regeneration so far too, there is just something so wonderful about the fact that Five went and sacrificed himself for one person. I found Six's line RIGHT after regeneration a little dickish after what Five went through, but I might be reading too much into it.

    You know what was distracting?

    The fact that he went and MILKED a BAT.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      The bat didn't seem to mind. 😉

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      To get the full initial impact of Six, you need to watch the next serial, The Twin Dilemma, which finished off season 21. They made some pretty brave character choices and paired them with a dodgy script, two of the worst guest performances in the history of the show and a budget that had obviously run out. I think the idea was to intrigue people and make them want to come back. It was the moment I went from catching every episode to not being particularly bothered.

      It's available on the BBC Worldwide YouTube site here:

      http://www.youtube.com/show?p=Ps0e32nFzs0&s=2

      It's an interesting watch, but not always that enjoyable. If you watch both of Six's full seasons you get an idea of where they were going, but it can be tough at times. And they were asking a lot of the audience to stick with it. After the first season the BBC tried to cancel the show and ended up putting it on hiatus for 18 months. After the second they sacked Colin Baker.

      I still think this was unfair as his acting was always great and the underlying nastiness of the first season is mainly in the writing of the guest roles and the situations (but the character choices they all made for the Doctor don't help). Despite its huge flaws (and a hastily written ending caused by Robert Holmes' death and a dysfunctional production team) I'm really rather fond of The Trial of a Time Lord and I wish he'd be given longer. People speak very highly of his audio adventures, but I haven't found the time to check them out yet.

  36. MowerOfLorn says:

    That was fun! It didn't blow me away, but I certainly enjoyed it. It was good to see more of Five (I've only see 'The Five Doctors', 'Time Crash' and a couple DW comics with him before) but I liked him. He was sweet, but a nice side order of snarky British wit on the side. Good fun.

    My favourite part would have to be the episode one cliff hanger. I was seriously watching this thinking 'Okay. Seriously. The Doctor's good, but how is he going to get out of this one?!?' Of course, afterward I had to wonder, 'How can they get robot duplicates which have their exact personalities in under an hour?'

    Peri- well, I'm torn. On one hand she was very upbeat and playful, which I liked, but she was also rather whiny. I mean, I suppose feeling down-hearted when you've been captured, but onto death row, imprisoned by a guy dressed from an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical who wants to shag you, poisoned, forced to escape a exploding underground base and then your friend turns into a snarkly, slightly psychotic version of Joseph from the Amazing Techni-Colour Dream-Coat…but then, I require a little more decorum from my companions.

    *sighs* Oh, well, she better hang in for the post regenerative weirdness. Which, I must say, was particularly hard on Six.

  37. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    Just one random point – isn't it great to be able to read the credits, instead of them rushing by at 100mph with a truncated version of the theme tune? I remember those days in the 80s, when the episode ended, you didn't move or speak until that final `BOOM!` had faded.

  38. fakehepburn says:

    "[…]but who was that last guy who kept telling the Doctor die?"

    I'MMA GIVE YOU ONE GUESS.

  39. nextboy1 says:

    I really enjoyed this one, I've only seen a couple of Peter Davison eps but there's something amazing about his character.

    You can see great examples of him being David Tennant's doctor here as well, particularly in episode three. The way he crouches down and grins at the light that cuts his cuffs at around 14:50 (I'd love to screencap but can't) is pure 10, as is the brilliant speech at the end as he's crashing towards the planet. LOVED that!

    I've seen that regeneration before, but I've still not seen any more of Colin Baker. His costume puts me off but I love the idea of an arsey doctor

  40. dcjensen says:

    "No beard this time…Well, a wife."

    comes back after seeing the Master in that death scene.

  41. mkjcaylor says:

    So, second Classic Who episode I've seen. I didn't get around to watching The Three Doctors, so that will have to come some other time.

    I really liked this episode. It was well thought out, intricate, and most of its monsters were people and not … well, monsters. I vastly prefer grey-area evil rather than black and white evil.

    Peter Davison kept reminding me of someone. In his facial expressions, his eyes, and his deadpan. And his accent. It took me until the end of the first episode to figure out what I was picking up, and it was Cary Elwes. Peter Davison reminds me a hell of a lot of Cary Elwes. So much so that I immediately tweeted, "The Doctor is The Dread Pirate Roberts!" Which would have been so damn cool, right? I mean, he does come back from the dead, doesn't he? Well, the mostly dead.

    I found that the pace of this episode was much better than the The City of Death, which despite having an interesting Doctor was an episode I didn't really like very much. I'm pretty sure this is because of its age, so I forgive it a bit, but I definitely think that The Caves of Androzani is much better.

    It actually took me a bit to figure out Peri had an American accent, although I immediately liked her because of it. I think it took me so long because it isn't that good, but it is good enough for me to figure out that's what she was going for. (SO glad John is really American.)

    • Starsea28 says:

      Actually John's Scottish-American. He lived in Scotland until he was 9 and he still talks in a Scottish accent with his parents.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtDg23G1uc8

      • mkjcaylor says:

        Yea, I looked him up before I said that, but I still think he qualifies as American. It's sad though, that he felt he needed to change his accent to fit in. All I can remember is absolutely loving those with British accents in school, and we had an exchange program where an entire soccer team visited from England in 8th grade and they probably all had a line of girls within a matter of minutes. 😉

  42. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    For funny, try `The One Doctor` – The Doctor and Mel in a brilliant parody of Doctor Who itself.

    `Davros` is definitely still one of the best audios ever. It was the very first Big Finish plays I ever heard and the chilling pre-titles track immediately convinced me I had to buy them all!

    `Doctor Who and the Pirates` is awesome, but should be preceded by `Project: Twilight` for maximum benefit.

    `The Condemned` is worth it just for the amazing performance of Anna Hope as D.I. Patricia Menzies.

    For something completely different, check out `…ish` – a story that celebrates the English Language itself, words as weapons and uses Peri's Americanisms in a really clever way. Just be prepared to watch with a Dictionary handy!

    Speaking of Peri…Away from the main range, I can recommend the Lost Stories 1.1 `The Nightmare Fair` set in Blackpool Pleasure Beach funfair (which is literally down to road for me!) where wierd stuff is going on, under the control of a certain villain from the Doctor Who's early days! (Won't say who – spoilers!)

  43. Araniapriime says:

    Hey, it's good to be back! I confess that I haven't been reading the New Who posts because the emotional impact of these eps is still too fresh. Yeah, I'm a wuss. So it's great to be able to read a Mark Watches post again! (Hugs to all the Watchers!) Especially since I've never seen this story. I will now!

  44. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    Oh I don't know, I reckon Ace could fit right into the Torchwood team. I can just picture her standing up to Captain Jack.

    "Oi! Captain Flapjack! If you EVER call me Dorothy again, I'll shove this can of Nitro 9 where the sun don't shine!"

    • LittleCaity says:

      …I would pay, actually PAY, to see that. XDDDD And she so would, too, before teaming up with Gwen for some badass women of win moments before nicking off to cause chaos somewhere else.

      Such a pity Children of Earth pretty much nixed that ever happening. (CoE was DAMN AWESOME, mind you, but I still have nightmares more than a year on.)

    • flamingpie says:

      Oh I agree, she would fit in just fine, I'm just not sure I want her in torchwood, owing to some… things I won't say in case Mark ever plans to watch it?

      XD

  45. Francesca says:

    For a high body count and grey area morals, watch Doctor Who and the Silurians. Besides, it'll give you a third of the background to The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood.

    Also, http://www.deviantart.com/download/64594854/Caves… because it makes it very clear that Robert Holmes felt that Five had had it too easy during his tenure and needed to be tortured.

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