Thursday, 9 August 2012

625 The Caves of Androzani Part One

EPISODE: The Caves of Androzani Part One
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 08 March 1984
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Graeme Harper
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revisitations Box Set - Volume 1 (The Caves Of Androzani / The Talons Of Weng-Chiang / Doctor Who - The Movie)

The Doctor & Peri land on the planet Androzani Minor and while exploring the cave system Peri has to be rescued by the Doctor from a web like substance that she becomes trapped in. They find a base recently abandoned by gun runners and are apprehended by the army troops. General Chellak wishes to interrogate them but is ordered by Trau Morgus to execute them. Morgus heads the Spectrox corporation on Androzani Major which owns Androzani Minor & funds the army's operations against Sharaz Jek on the planet, who in turn has seized control of the planet's supply of the anti ageing substance Spectrox. Events in Chellak's bunker are monitored from afar by a masked man. The Doctor & Peri are taken into the caves by the army, blindfolded and shot.

That's a very grim episode ending, the Doctor & Peri being mown down by machine gun fire. Of course you don't see their bodies here so all sorts of escape methods are suggested by the ending, the soldiers shooting at something else or their targets being teleported away so I suppose that not for one minute do we think they're actually dead. But even so.... Someone likes machine guns behind the scenes at the moment: we've had them in Resurrection of the Daleks now we've got them here. What wrong with good old fashioned laser effects? Plus using guns in the studio generates an effect called Microphony inducing the horizontal line distortion in the picture when they're fired.

Who thought they could get away with Morgus using a TV remote control in his office? It looks horrid!

Location filming in this story, mainly used in the first & fourth episodes, was undertaken at Masters Pit in Dorset. The same sandpit is, according to The Caves Of Androzani DVD the same location that Douglas Camfield used for the BBC Classic Serial's (Barry Letts/Terrance Dicks) adaptation of Beau Geste. Our old friend Harry 'Aitch Fielder recalls his experiences working on that job on his website. But on the same road we have two other Doctor Who locations Binnegar Plain quarry used in Death to the Daleks and Binnegar Heath Sand Pit used in Destiny of the Daleks. Nicola Bryant is wearing the same costume that she wore on location for the previous story, filmed in Lanzarote. While bare arms and legs may have been fine in the Canary Islands, perhaps something warmer might have been appropriate for England in mid November! Her experiences during the location recording necessitated a trip to the Doctors afterwards for pneumonia and frost-bite!

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