The Caves of Androzani part 2

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    Craig @craig

    The Doctor and Peri find themselves prisoners of the mysterious Sharaz Jek and his android army. They also discover they are suffering from the early stages of spectrox toxemia, which is deadly.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    You have to love the streak of sarcasm in Five. Most Doctors have it, but with Five it always seemed to be at the forefront of his armoury as he goaded his adversaries into apoplexy. The “just imagine Peri, perhaps we can go on picnics” business is hilarious.

    The differences between the over the top Magnus Greel in Talons and the frankly disturbing portrayal of Jek here are really apparent. His obvious obsession with Peri is more than a little creepy. This is a guy who needs to get up to the surface once and a while to breath some fresh air, or take several cold showers. Christopher Gable really delivers a first class nutter in this one.

    Hats off as well to Maurice Roëves as Stotz. Boiling but controlled anger. His humiliation of his suborbinate with the suicide pill is really visceral stuff.

    Ultimately though – John Normington really carries those scenes as Morgus. The plotline about the mine disaster and the fact that the he proposes the unemployed get shipped off to “Eastern” labour camps to do the jobs that they have been doing for no money may ring true with more than a few people who have encountered … cough … workfare… spit.

    Morgus really could be a poster boy for a certain set of politicians.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    I’m enjoying this story more than the McCoy one.  However all the atmosphere which had built up in the episode was ruined by the rubber monster at the end – I’d actually forgotten about it so it was jarring when it made a reappearance.

    Rubbish monster aside, the ‘faces’ of Jek’s androids were very reminiscent of the TGWW handbots.


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Yeah, I was catching up on the comments of last weeks blog earlier and @jimthefish‘s comment caught my eye.

    Unfortunately this story also has one of the other perennials of Davison’s era — the crap monster. The Myrka, the Ergon, the Garm — Davison really got a lot of duff monsters.

    That really is a bestiary of ineptness right there. The magma beast is actually worse looking than the rat in Talons to a certain extent. The 80s were the era that the cheapness of certain effects really jarred. Kinda is a great story for its time, but that bloody snake at the end was ridiculous. Even as an 11 year old I went, “eh?”

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Davison’s Doctor is certainly working overtime on the sarcasm: “Nobody lives forever.” “He means it will seem like forever.”

    Christopher Gable is doing a genuinely excellent job – no facial expressions available, and he still manages to be as creepy as heck. He was dance trained, of course, so he knew how to use his entire body to play the necessary emotions. Maurice Roeves, as well – as @phaseshift says, his humiliation of his subordinate is gripping stuff.

    But the monster was so truly terrible, you wondered why they bothered. Seriously, it looked like a pantomime dragon. Mild spoiler: I think Graeme Harper wisely keeps it in the shadows for most of its appearances. Definitely one where – like the Rat in Talons – you wish they’d just CGI over it the next time they re-issue Caves.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip @chickenelly

    Just on CGI updates, Kinda had it’s own sorted for its DVD release. This clip compares the two side by side. Even the amount of video smearing they put over it in the original couldn’t hide the true awfulness of the prop (you may not get how truly awful the original was in such a small window).

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    @phaseshift – Oooh I’ve never seen a Lucas-a-like CGI replacement of a monster done on Doctor Who before.  I don’t know if it is heresy or not.  As @craig mentioned in the intro for the first episode of ‘Caves…’, the rubbish monster is part of the charm of BG Doctor Who.  Having said that, when you are enjoying a nicely atmospheric episode and a guy in a rubber costume turns up it does rather spoil the tension some what.

    I watched the ‘Stone Tape’ for the first time following @wolfweed‘s link on the TV forum and very fine it was too – shows you what can do with a limited budget and minimal visual effects.

    Anonymous @

    @chickenelly — I think the DVD versions of some stories — most notably The Dalek Invasion of Earth and more recently The Day of the Daleks had optional CGI effects on them. I personally think it’s a good innovation and should be extended to any stories that particularly need it.  And @phaseshift says, if there’s one story that needs it it’s Kinda — a well-acted, sensitively directed, strongly written story, almost entirely naffed up in the closing moments by a crap snake. (The new version isn’t exactly brilliant either but it’s a definite improvement.)

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @chickenelly – I’d argue that the ‘charm’ can be overrated. For Caves, for example, you’ve got a good script, good acting – and a monster so rubbish that it jerked me right out of my suspension of disbelief. That’s equally the case with ‘Kinda’, which is a pretty good story. Until, that is, you get the rubbish snake.

    On the whole, I’d say that when it was universally agreed at the time that the monster was rubbish, you’ve got a good case for CGI.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Another good CGI replacement would be the Skarasen in Terror of the Zygons – which looks like – well, this:


    chickenelly @chickenelly

    @bluesqueakpip the Skarasen truly takes the biscuit as the most rubbish monster I’ve seen yet.  I especially like the fact it is looking into the middle distance – did its eyes move at all?

    That’s what’s so handy with this Forum, people like yourself @JtF & @phaseshift having all this knowledge to pass onto to beginners like me.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    did its eyes move at all?

    @chickenelly – if they did, I have mercifully blotted it from my memory. 😀

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip @phaseshift

    Bluey – “the Skarasen in Terror of the Zygon” – that really is just a turtle/tortoise shot in extreme close-up, right?  (with added ‘monster teeth’  🙂  )

    I missed commenting on this part because I wanted to re-watch it along with part 3 which I’ve now done and commented over on that thread.  I really wish I had an 80s child to watch the ending of this part with, though, because I wonder if the rubber-suited Magma Monster would have been scary to such a child.  I would wager a hearty ‘no’ to a 2013 child, jaded by a short lifetime of the best of special effects.  But an appropriately-aged child of the original times?  Perhaps?

    Phase – “Morgus really could be a poster boy for a certain set of politicians.”  Unfortunately, that would be all of them, because [‘New’] Labour introduced workfare originally, didn’t they?  Con-Dems just deepened and widened the torturous cruelty of the idea.

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