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Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani (Story 136)

4.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"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.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:by actors Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant and director Graeme Harper
Biographies
Deleted Scenes
Documentaries:on creating Sharez Jek and regeneration sequence
Production Notes:Optional caption stream

Amazon.com

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


Special Features

  • News items
  • Behind-the-scenes featurettes
  • Pop-up production notes
  • Photo gallery
  • Music-only option
  • Special effects enhanced for DVD

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant, Anthony Ainley, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse
  • Directors: Graham Harper
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Worldwide
  • DVD Release Date: April 2, 2002
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y6XH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,036 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani (Story 136)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Swanson VINE VOICE on October 30, 2011
Format: DVD
When the Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison, decided to call it a day, he did so with what is, to date, the best of the "regeneration" stories, and one of the best stories period from either the old or new series.

The story focuses on the Doctor and Peri arriving at Androzani, where they find out that, as per usual for places they visit, things aren't going well. There's a bit of a war on between rebels and the corporation that controls the planet. This was in the 1980s, you see, when corporations controlled everything, unlike now where...uh...actually, I don't know how to finish that. Moving on. The Doctor inserts himself into the middle of things, but this time does so at the cost of his own life.

It's an excellent story, and directed by Graeme Harper, who has since gone on to direct several new series episodes. It's really great, and I'm pleased that it's getting a special edition version, as it was one of the earlier DVD releases and was somewhat bare-bones.

Here's what you get (lifted from a review on Amazon's UK website):

Disc 1

· 4 x 25 min colour episodes with mono audio.
· Commentary with actors Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and director Graeme Harper.
· Isolated Music - option to view the episodes with isolated music scores.
· Behind the Scenes - The Regeneration (dur. 7' 53") - a look inside the studio during the shooting of the climactic regeneration scene. Features an optional commentary track with Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and Graeme Harper.
· Behind the Scenes - Creating Sharaz Jek (dur.
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Format: VHS Tape
The Fifth Doctor and Peri's trip to the sandy Androzani Minor turns out to be a fateful and intensely eventful one in this Dune meets The Phantom of the Opera story. They explore a cave mouth and encounter a cache of arms enough to equip a small army. There, they are caught on the scene by the soldiers of General Chellak and condemned to death as gunrunners.
Here's the situation: Spectrox is a drug that can increase twice the ordinary lifespan. Demand for the drug shoots up when Sharaz Jek, a robotics expert who is lusting for revenge against Morgus, the man who'd betrayed him, seized the spectrox mines with an army of androids. The military under Chellak and his subordinate Salateen have been fighting a losing battle against androids, gunrunners led by Stotz, and a carnivorous monster that looks like something out of a Godzilla movie. Public demand has put pressure on the Androzani president to possibly capitulate to Jek's demands and negotiate an armistice. Jek's terms? "I want the head of Morgus at my feet. I want the head of that perfidious treacherous degenerate congealed in its own evil blood."
Well-picked words by Jek, because Morgus is exactly that. A cold-hearted businessman on Androzani Major whose conglomerate controls the spectrox mines as well as other holdings offworld, and speaks in a cold, low, level, emotionless tone. His profitmaking goes as far as sabotaging his own mines when an increase in production leads to lower prices and even closing down plants, leaving many unemployed workers being shipped off to labour camps in the East.
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Format: DVD
I'm pleased to announce that the uniformly high quality of the first three States-side "Doctor Who" DVD releases was not a fluke. The newly-offered "The Caves of Androzani" is another highly-regarded story given a glossy new, features-packed look.
It's the final story for Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor, and is notably gloomy and dark. Roger Limb's militaristic score, replete with a rattlesnake motif, and Graeme Harper's inspired direction -- full of cross-fades, matched dissolves, and Shakespearean soliloquies to the camera -- is light-years beyond the dull visual look for which so much "Who" is unfortunately remembered. The script is Robert Holmes at his darkest: a planet run by a mega-corporation is involved in a bitter war against a deformed mad scientist and his android army over supply of a life-preserving drug. Into this picture stumble the Doctor and Peri, who both contract fatal poisoning within minutes. The acting is superb, from John Normington's evil-CEO Morgus, who delivers chilling asides to the camera, to former dancer Christopher Gable as the mad Sharaz Jek, stalking the camera (and Peri) in skin-tight leather and a memorable black-and-white mask.
The features are a slight decline from those in the first set of DVD releases. The raw studio footage of Peter Davison's regeneration scene is tolerable only with Davison and Harper's voiceover commentary -- but the DVD doesn't inform that this track exists over the featurettes as well as over the story. Similarly, the extended scene (featuring just 20 seonds of new material) works best with this commentary. The photo gallery and TV trailer strike of tokenism.
Better is a featurette narrated by (the late) Gable, describing the creation of Sharaz Jek: possibly the best original featurette on a DW disc thus far.
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