"Curiosity's always been my downfall." Captured for arms-running on the mining planet of Androzani Minor, the Doctor and Perry are under sentence of death. Then a mysterious masked intruder comes to their aid. But is Sharaz Jek, master android creator, really their saviour? The rulers of the planet are certainly desperate for his head. But then, he does control Androzani's supply of spectrox and it's a substance men are prepared to die for. Originally transmitted 8-16 March 1984, this four part adventure marks the end of the Peter Davison era for Doctor Who and the timelord's sixth regeneration.
Audio Commentary:by actors Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant and director Graeme Harper
Documentaries:on creating Sharez Jek and regeneration sequence
Production Notes:Optional caption stream
Peter Davison's final adventure, "The Caves of Androzani," pulls out all stops to give this Doctor an unforgettable farewell. Deep within the titular caves, the disfigured, masked antihero Sharez Jek (Christopher Gable) and his regiment of androids are locked in conflict with an army unit and a group of smugglers for control of the life-extending Spectrox. When the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant) enter this labyrinth, they immediately become victims of deadly Spectrox poisoning. The story's numerous subplots involve espionage, betrayal, and revenge, as well as big-business corruption, political assassination, and silly-looking reptilian monsters. And the first episode has one of the best cliffhangers ever: our heroes are executed by a firing squad armed with submachine guns.
Robert Holmes (who wrote the more satirical Doctor Who story "The Sun Makers") here concentrates on delivering a breathlessly paced action thriller, with relentless death and destruction unfolding like in a Sam Peckinpah film, making Davison's heroic pacifism all the more effective. --Gary S. Dalkin