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The Caves of Androzani

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Peri find themselves on Androzani Major, a world embroiled in a bloody war over the drug spectrox, which prolongs the human life span. While exploring some seemingly uninhabited caves, the Doctor and Peri fall into a foreign substance which has the immediate effect of causing an unpleasant rash, and are then captured by a platoon of soldiers who accuse them of smuggling weapons. While awaiting summary execution for this crime, the Doctor and Peri are then rescued – or perhaps kidnapped – by Sharaz Jek, a disfigured madman who hoards the planet’s supply of spectrox and oversees the real weapons smugglers. The soldiers, Jek, the gun-runners and a treacherous corporate mogul with an eye on the presidency are all battling for control of the spectrox supply, and none of them will let anything stand in their way – especially not two innocent bystanders who are dying anyway.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Robert Holmes
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Roger Limb

Guest Cast: Christopher Gable (Sharaz Jek), John Normington (Morgus), Robert Glenister (Salateen), Maurice Roeves (Stotz), Roy Holder (Krelper), Martin Cochrane (Chellak), Barbara Kinghorn (Timmin), David Neal (President), Ian Staples (Soldier), Colin Taylor (Magma creature), Keith Harvey, Andrew Smith, Stephen Smith (Androids), Anthony Ainley (The Master), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Gerald Flood (voice of Kamelion)

Broadcast from March 8 through 16, 1984

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Happiness Patrol

Doctor WhoThe Doctor brings Ace to the planet Terra Alpha, a planet whose dark secrets are barely concealed by a thin coat of bright, playful colors. The megalomaniacal Helen A keeps her subjects happy by enforcing happiness itself – any public display of grief, doubt or disapproval are punishable by summary execution. Ace, with her almost permanent scowl, is quickly arrested by the Happiness Patrol, while the Doctor meets a fellow alien named Earl Sigma and has a near-fatal encounter with the robotic, psychotic Kandyman. A census representative from Earth has uncovered evidence that Helen A’s regime has caused the unspecified “disappearance” of thousands of people. The Doctor has one night to stir a revolution in the streets of Terra Alpha…but Helen A’s downfall may be caused by someone closer to her than she expects.

Order the DVDwritten by Graeme Curry
directed by Chris Clough
music by Dominic Glynn

Guest Cast: Sheila Hancock (Helen A), Ronald Fraser (Joseph C), David John Pope (Kandy Man), Harold Innocent (Gilbert M), Lesley Dunlop (Susan Q), Georgina Hale (Daisy K), Rachel Bell (Priscilla P), Richard D. Sharp (Earl Sigma), John Normington (Trevor Sigma), Tim Barker (Harold V), Jonathan Burn (Silas P), Philip Neve (Wences), Ryan Freedman (Wulfric), Mary Healey (Killjoy), Steve Swinscoe, Mark Carroll (Snipers), Tim Scott (Forum Doorman), Annie Hulley (Newscaster)

Broadcast from November 2 through 16, 1988

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Ghost Machine

TorchwoodGwen and Owen are in a foot pursuit of a petty thief who, according to sensors at the Torchwood hub, is making off with some kind of alien technology. Gwen grabs him, but he gets away, leaving her clutching his jacket, but Toshiko insists that Gwen’s snagged the alien tech. The device is found in one of the pockets, and when it activates, it instantly transforms Gwen’s surroundings – she’s still standing in a train station in Cardiff, but no one else is there except a terrified schoolboy, wearing a name tag and wandering alone…and then the experience ends. The name is tracked down to a man who says that the scene Gwen describes did happen to him – as a child, when he was evacuated to Cardiff to escape the Nazi bombing of London in World War II. The next time the device activates, it’s in Owen’s hands, but he witnesses a scene even more terrifying, in which a young man corners a terrified teenage girl. Again, Toshiko is able to narrow down the name of one of the people in Owen’s vision: a girl who was raped and murdered on the very spot where Owen stood. Knowing the identity of the victim, Owen becomes obsessed with finding out who the killer is. Doing so brings him into contact once again with the thief from whom the alien item was recovered, and a curious link between him and a killer who has never been brought to justice for his crime emerges.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Helen Raynor
directed by Colin Teague
music by Murray Gold and Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Gareth Thomas (Ed Morgan), Ben McKay (Bernie), Llinos Daniel (Eleri), John Normington (Tom Flanagan), Emily Evans (Lizzie Lewis), Christopher Elson (young Ed Morgan), Christopher Greene (young Tom Flanagan), Julie Gibbs (Bernie’s mum), Ian Kay (Snooker Player), Ryan Conway (Kid in arcade), Kathryn Howard (Woman in shop)

TorchwoodNotes: Welsh actor Gareth Thomas holds a legendary place among fans of British SF; he played revolutionary leader Roj Blake in the late 70s/early 80s space opera Blake’s 7. He has also guest-starred in a Big Finish Doctor Who audio play (Storm Warning, which reintroduced Paul McGann as the Doctor) and starred in the first two “seasons” of Big Finish’s spinoff series Dalek Empire. John Normington also has a long history with Doctor Who, with guest appearances in The Happiness Patrol (1988) and especially his turn as the treacherous Morgus in 1984’s Caves Of Androzani.

LogBook entry by Earl Green