Doctor Who Reactions: "The Androids of Tara" (SPOILERS)

1)The exteriors for this story were filmed at Leeds Castle, which, oddly enough, is in Kent.

 

2)Mary Tamm claims to have designed the outfit she wore in this.  Not sure I'd brag on that, myself. Generally, the costumes in this were pretty good. As with "The Ribos Operation", it's the sort of thing the BBC does well. This Tamm's favorite story, as she got to play Romana, Strella and Mecha-Strella. She does a pretty good job if it, too.  I liekd the bit with her yelling "Start!" at the horse - it made me think of Yosemite Sam yelling "Whoa, camel!"  It's not often she makes me think of Yosemite Sam.

 

3)I like how Romana finds the fourth segment - disguised as a statue - right away.  I get the impression that David Fisher wasn't all that interested in the Key to Time, and was content to concentrate on his knock-off of The Prisoner of Zenda. Never read that book, actually, must try to dig up a copy.

 

4)The Wood Beast or whatever the heck it is is the one truly lame thing in this.

 

5)Peter Jeffrey is quite good in this as Count Grendel, really rather a likable heel.  Really one could imagine that he'd make a more effective king for Tara than oily pretty-boy Reynart.  Jeffrey had a long, varied career. He was also the pilot in "The Macra Terror."

 

6)I liked Lois Baxter as Madame Lamia - a real tragic character, devoted to Grendel even thought she knows he's only using her. She also had a fairly lengthy career.

 

7)Neville Jason is OK as Reynart - one does get the feeling that he could be replaced by an android without much of anybody noticing.

 

8)Zadek was played by Simon Lack, a veteran actor who had also played Professor Kettering in "The Mind of Evil".

 

9)Grendel's servant Till was played by Declan Mulholland, who also played Clark in :"The Sea Devils". Apparently he wa sgoing to play Jabba the Hutt in a scene that was cut from the original Star Wars.

 

10The Archimandrite was played by Cyril Shaps, another verteran actor, who 's played John Viner in '"Tomb of the Cybermen", Dr. Lennox in "The Ambassadors of Death" and Prof. Clegg in "Planet of the Spiders".

 

11)Nice of the heels to give the Doctor so much time to escape from the pavilion.

 

12)I can never quite buy into the idea of these societies that are half-medieval, half-futuristic.  My rationale is that some future Earth-based or Earth-derived empire set up Tara as a sort of uber-resort where the elite could go play at being medieval overlords, the way the French royals used to play at being "shepherds" at Versailles.  Anyway, the plague came and wiped alot of them out, and for whatever reason. no help came from outside - maybe the planet was quarantined, maybe the rest of the galaxy was happy to be rid of them all.  Anyhow, a "play" kingdom became a real one, and they retained enough technology to product androids and electro-swords and such.

 

 

13)Some fun quotes:

  • "After a journey of 400 years and 12 parsecs, I'm allowed a rest of 50 years."  It took you 400 years to go only 12 parsecs?
  • "Would you mind not standing on my chest? My hat's on fire."
  • "A swordsman does not fear death, if he dies with honor." "Then he's an idiot."
  • "Funny thing, some androids feel like that about humans."
  • "It's funny - they always want you to go alone when you're walking into a trap. Have you noticed that?"
  • "You see before you the perfect killing machine. As beautiful as you and as deadly as the plague. If only she were real, I'd marry her."
  • "Liar!"  I loved that bit.
  • "A hamster with a blunt penknife could do it quicker!"
  • "Well, I have no wish to kill a man without a weapon in his hand."  Fool!
  • "Doctor, he's the best swordsman on Tara."  They should of had him say, "But I'm not from Tara, am I?"
  • "I'm a Gracht. We never surrender."  They do run like rabbits, however.
  • "Next time I shall not be so lenient."  Awesome.
  • "Strella! You're safe..and you're real." And she's fantastic.

 

14)Cliffhangers:

  • Part One: Grendel has drugged the wine!
  • Part Two: The Doctor attacks Princess Strella!
  • Part Three: The Count kidnaps Romana!  I thought that was a bit shaky. I don't like to see Romana get captured that easily.
  • Part Four: K-9 is adrift! And the Doctor finds it way too amusing!

 

Overall:

I quite liked this. Somewhat ephemeral nonsense, but amusing ephemeral nonsense.  Baker has some good moments in this, although the Doctor seems a bit sluggish at first.  Maybe the Doctor really did need a break!

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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"Grendel's servant Till was played by Declan Mulholland, who also played Clark in :"The Sea Devils." Apparently, he was going to play Jabba the Hutt in a scene that was cut from the original Star Wars."

He did. I've seen part of it. Mulholland was standing in for a to-be-inserted stop-motion creature, but the scene was cut. In a later edition, a CGI Jabba was inserted into the scene.

Oddly enough, for many years, the only version of "Prisoner of Zenda" I ever saw (before this one) was the GET SMART episode! Many years later, on TCM, I finally got to see the "classic" film version, with Ronald Colman in the dual role.  (And I finally realized just who Don Adams had been doing a parody of.) It was remade in color with Stewart Granger not that many years later, but I'd say Ronald Colman is the one to see.

Although I'd seen Peter Jeffrey in several things over the years, the role that first really stuck in my mind was of the Russian spy "Perov" in THE NEW AVENGERS episode, "House Of Cards".  He fails to kidnap a defecting scientist, and decides to commit suicide. Except he faked his own death, and then sets into motion a complex scheme utilizing a long-forgotten plan of his involving "sleeper" agents trained to become British citizens, but who would instantly revert to being assassins when they received one-half of a torn playing card in the mail. Jeremy Wilkin (who was in "Revenge of the Cybermen") also had a key role in the story, as did Annette Andre (my favorite SAINT girl).

Jeffrey was in 3 earlier AVENGERS episodes as well-- "Room Without A View", "The Joker" and "Game".  He was also in both DR. PHIBES movies, as the beleaguered Inspector Trout, hopelessly trying to stop the insane Vincent Price.

It never occured to me until this year, but it seems to me, if they'd ever really wanted to bring back The Master (not the insane version seen in "The Deadly Assassin"), Peter Jeffrey could have been much better in the role that Anthony Ainley ever was.  (Of course, Jeffrey got better writing here than Aniley ever did later on.)

4)The Wood Beast or whatever the heck it is is the one truly lame thing in this.

The Key to Time overall had issues with the monsters. Kroll from The Power of Kroll is more comical than threatening due to the split screen puppetry.

 

  • "After a journey of 400 years and 12 parsecs, I'm allowed a rest of 50 years."  It took you 400 years to go only 12 parsecs?

And how fast do YOU cover that distance, hmm? I took it as kind of like a car warantee "400 years or 12 parsecs whichever comes first". Keeping in mind that, if it hadn't a great load of codswollop, most Time Lords don't do a lot of travelling so they MIGHT only go 12 parsecs every 400 years.

  • "A swordsman does not fear death, if he dies with honor." "Then he's an idiot."

Apparently we NOW know The Doctor's true name: Doctor Gregory House ;)

 

I found it and still do, nice, light entertainment, but not one of the classics

Henry R. Kujawa said:

It never occured to me until this year, but it seems to me, if they'd ever really wanted to bring back The Master (not the insane version seen in "The Deadly Assassin"), Peter Jeffrey could have been much better in the role that Anthony Ainley ever was.  (Of course, Jeffrey got better writing here than Aniley ever did later on.)

 

Thanks to the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and Mississippi Educational Television (METV), I was fortunate enough to see Tom Baker's run in order shortly after I first began watching Doctor Who in 1983 - Peter Davison was my first Doctor, beginning with "Castrovalva." By the time we got to "The Androids of Tara," my brother and I knew who the Master was, and we, for a bit, thought that Peter Jeffrey's character here was the Master.

AETN showed Doctor Who in episode form on weeknights, and METV showed it Saturday evening in feature form. One of them, if I recall correctly, also showed the feature form late Sunday nights.

It's probably that Jeffrey made such an impression on me as "Perov" that it just never occured to me before, just HOW MUCH he reminds me of Roger Delgado (except, without the Spanish looks).

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. played the baddie in the 1937 movie. He actually wanted the dual role, but his father told him getting the villain role was a blessing in disguise.

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