‘THE ANDROIDS OF TARA’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘The Androids of Tara’ by David Fisher is the fourth story of ‘The Key to Time’ series. It is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. This is my third favourite story from ‘The Key to Time’ season. It’s full of swashbuckling proportions; humour and adventure.
This story is based on the classic novel ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ by Anthony Hope. I’ve not read the book or seen the film, but I was instantly captivated into this swashbuckling adventure with androids.
The Doctor and Romana visit the planet Tara, where Romana finds the fourth segment of the Key to Time easily. But they’re soon caught in a power struggle, as Count Grendel intends to be King of Tara.
The fourth segment of the Key to Time happens to be a stone statue of an animal’s head.
This is a story about double trouble, as androids get used in a medieval-alien setting to duplicate another person. This story focuses on Mary Tamm’s Romana, as Grendel uses her in his evil schemes.
The story is well-directed by Michael Hayes, who makes his first contribution to the series. The sunny atmosphere for Tara fits well to the action-packed plot and the beauty of this medieval world.
Mary Tamm delivers a wonderful performance as three characters. She plays Romana; Princess Strella and android copies of Romana and Strella. The android Romana is serious and quite creepy.
Tom Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor with his eccentric humour and ‘bonkers’ manner. He gets involved with the power struggle of Tara, when he knows how to mend androids.
K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) gets a huge amount in this. As well as tracking Romana at Grendel’s castle, K-9 helps the Doctor when he detects the android Romana and cuts through a wall to escape.
The story’s guest cast includes the great Peter Jeffrey as the villainous Count Grendel. Peter clearly relishes playing Grendel and is great delivering the balance of menace and humour in the character.
There’s Neville Jason as the charming and heroic Prince Reynart. Neville also gets to play an android copy of the Prince that becomes the King, whilst the real Prince gets locked up in a dungeon with Romana.
There’s also Simon Lack as sword-master Zadek and Paul Lavers as swordsman Farrah. Paul as Farrah shamefully cuts up the Doctor’s scarf with his electric-powered sword. Gasp, shock! That’s sacrilege!
There’s Lois Baxter as Lamia, Grendel’s android-maker and Martin Matthews as Kurster, Grendel’s captain of the guard. There’s also Declan Mulholland as Till and Cyril Shaps (who I’ve seen in an episode of ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Them’ as well as ‘Doctor Who’) as the Archimandrite.
There’s a marvellous sword-fight between the Doctor and Count Grendell. I was thrilled to see Tom Baker’s Doctor do some sword-fighting and you can see where the Tenth Doctor got his sword-fighting from.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a making-of documentary called ‘The Humans of Tara’; the ‘Now and Then: The Androids of Tara’ featurette and the ‘Double Trouble’ documentary.
There’s a photo gallery of the story and a commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and director Michael Hayes. There’s also an info-text commentary option and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.
There’s a coming soon trailer for ‘Planet of Evil’ with Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen.
‘The Androids of Tara’ is a fantastic story in ‘The Key to Time’ season. I enjoyed every minute of it with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 as the heroes and Peter Jeffrey as the villainous Count Grendel.
‘The Androids of Tara’ rating – 10/10
|The previous story
For the Fourth Doctor was
For Romana was
For K-9 MkII was
|The next story
For the Fourth Doctor is
For Romana is
For K-9 MkII is
|Return to Doctor Who Reviews|