Peter Davison’s Doctor leaves the TARDIS this week, as he makes his last regular appearance and we get a regeneration in The Caves of Androzani, one of the most popular Doctor Who stories ever.
Written by Robert Holmes and airing from 8 to 16 March, 1984, the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant) arrive on the seemingly desolate world of Androzani Minor, and soon find themselves embroiled in a war that sees both sides fighting over the valuable, but deadly substance called Spectrox.
Unfortunately, both the Doctor and Peri are poisoned by the spectrox, it’s killilng them slowly and painfully, and the Doctor may have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Peri.
And speaking of Peri, she is definitely a more eager, and joyous companion, though her ‘American’ accent slides occasionally.
Shortly after their arrival, they are almost killed by one side, before taken as prisoners by the other side, a group of androids run by the gimp-suited Sharaz Jek (Christopher Gable) who is using the androids to gather the spectrox and sell it off, while the army of Androzani Major fights him for it. Jek also seems to have a thing for Peri, and wants to keep her beside him, permanently.
The Time Lord and his companion learn they are infected, and that they have less than two days to live, and the cure is seemingly unreachable, but that has never stopped the Doctor before.
As the confrontation between the forces of Androzani Major and Jek escalate, the Doctor confronts the depths of the planet in search of the cure, confronting a strange and vicious beast, as well as Jek’s androids. Even as he tries to find it, both he and Peri continue to worsen.
I’m not sure this is my favorite story of the series, it is good, and of course, the sacrifice the Doctor makes to save Peri is poignant as it means we say goodbye to this regeneration of him, but it still doesn’t move as tightly and smoothly as it should.
The story also leaves us with a new Doctor (Colin Baker), a rather divisive regeneration for a lot of viewers, you either like him, or you don’t, and his Doctor didn’t care one way or the other, arrogant, loud and angry… Could be fun.
Davison was fine incarnation of the Doctor, but never got the best of companions to my way of thinking. I feel Peri would have been a great companion for him, and wish they had traveled together a little more before his regeneration. He did have some great moments, however, and he, like the regenerations that have gone before him, will be missed.
And Peri and the new Doctor don’t waste anytime, diving into a new adventure next week as they confront the Twin Dilemma, the final story of Season 21.