The Caves of Androzani
Sharaz Jek: We shall become the best of companions!
The Doctor: What do you say, Peri? We can go on nature walks, have picnics and jolly evenings round the campfire!
Story Code: C21.6.
Production Code: 6R.
Story Number: 135.
Countdown week: 7…
One big reason is the dynamic camerawork from director Graeme Harper who also included many wonderful stylish moments like the Morgus soliloquy to camera. John Normington’s Morgus is another big reason; in a story full of great performances (Maurice Roëves, Robert Glenister, Davison) this is perhaps the greatest. The Holmes script full of witty lines and fascinating details of this Sci-Fi world another big reason among many. A complex script with many of his regular concerns from Holmes: a Phantom of the Opera figure; schemes unravelling (Morgus and Stotz); well-characterised duos Krelper and Stotz, Salateen and Chellak.
Similar to the later (Saward-scripted though again Harper-directed) Season 22 Revelation of the Daleks, the Doctor doesn’t affect the events of the plot that unfold – apart from as a catalyst (Morgus believes he is a government agent) and the Doctor’s focus is on trying to save Peri once their Spectrox-fates begin in Episode 1. Davison plays the Doctor here with a single purpose of mind – the cliffhanger to Ep 3 where the Doc is so determined to save his companion he will crash a spaceship into the planet is one of the greatest cliffhangers ever, the raw passion of the Fifth Doctor in this scene rare for this incarnation of the Doctor onscreen but all the more startling.
The idea that a “proper” regeneration story includes a noble sacrifice from the Doctor (e.g. Nu-Who thinks this considering The Parting of the Ways and The End of Time) begins here and the idea that a truly epic DW story is where “everybody dies” (The Waters of Mars) is reinforced.
All the elements of the production are just about as good as any other DW story, so, #1 on the 2009 DWM survey of the 200 stories seems only sensible.
The BBC have recently put the whole story on YouTube, click through for Episode 1…