A precious jewel, untarnished by the passing centuries

The 5th Doctor BFI 50th Anniversary panel - Graeme Harper, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Peter Davison

The story chosen to represent the Peter Davison era of Doctor Who at the BFI’s 50th anniversary screenings was Caves of Androzani. It’s an odd choice, as it is unlike other stories being produced at the time. It’s a excellent story, an excellent script and very well directed. But it’s not fun. The few quips and jokes in the script raised only muted laughter from the audience and, apart from the two leads, every character is flawed. There are no heroes in the story and almost every character dies, an ignominious end awaiting each of them. There are no blazes of glory here. The Doctor doesn’t influence events particularly, he doesn’t right any wrongs. He just wants to cure Peri and get out of there alive. Even then, he only half manages it.

The story was introduced by Mark Gatiss. Half way through. composer Roger Limb talked about his time at the Radiophonic Workshop. By a happy coincidence, the music from Caves of Androzani has just been released on CD.

The discussion panel afterwards was lively. To say the least. After his brief appearance at last month’s screening, I hadn’t expected to see Matthew Waterhouse this month, but there he was. The BFI even showed Adric’s death scene while the panel was on the stage. There was a fair bit of good natured ribbing between Peter and Janet, and some less good natured ribbing of Matthew. But things settled down and Matthew raised some interesting points. A refreshing number of questions from the audience were directed at Graeme Harper, and a fair few people who thanked Peter for being “their Doctor”.

Afterwards a small group of podcasters gathered in the by-now-traditional car park stairwell to review the story and the panel. It will be available from The Doctor Who Podcast Facebook page very soon. You can still download our review of “Robots of Death”, the 4th Doctor BFI screening.

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    5 Responses to A precious jewel, untarnished by the passing centuries

    1. simon Watson says:

      How have you got to so many of these? I’ve applied to all of them so far – and not one success.

    2. Tony says:

      Just luck! A mixture of other people offering me a spare, and getting lucky.

    3. simon Watson says:

      I hope I get at least one. It seems they only introduced a ballot system late on – I don’t think I will renew my BFI membership if this continues. They must have known the popularity they would attract.

    4. Tony says:

      The ballot system only started with the 5th Doctor screening. The previous screenings (Doctors 1-4) were all first come, first served. The tickets for those screenings were available to Champion Members first, then 24 hours later ordinary members. All of the tickets had been booked by members before they were released to the public.

      I think the ballot is a lot fairer, and they are limiting people to two tickets each which will help.

    5. It’s so great to see everyone together on stage. Would have loved to listen to them chat.
      I have to disagree though, I think ‘Caves’ has dated badly, unlike other ‘classic’ episodes. The score in particular, is rather cheesy and dare I say it, amateurish sounding, compared to say the industrial type ‘Cyber’ score of Earthshock which still holds up, as does the program itself.

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