| "The Androids of Tara"|
Season 16, Episode 13
|Airdate||November 25th, 1978|
|Starring||Tom Baker; Mary Tamm|
|Previous||"The Stones of Blood (Part 4)"|
|Next||"The Androids of Tara (Part 2)"|
"The Androids of Tara (Part One)" is the thirteenth episode of of the sixteenth series of the original British science fiction television programme, Doctor Who. It is the 492nd episode of the show overall and the first chapter in the "The Androids of Tara" storyline and features Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. It was directed by Michael Hayes with a script written by David Fisher. This episode aired on BBC One on Saturday, November 25th, 1978.
The Doctor is playing chess with K9 when Romana reminds him that the Guardian has sent them to recover the components to the Key of Time. The Doctor, in his ever-aloof way, pawns the mission off on Romana, who indicates that the fourth component is located on the planet Tara. While Romana gathers attire suitable to the environment, the Doctor decides that he would like to spend this time on Tara fishing. He feels that he has earned some fifty-years worth of relaxation.
The TARDIS materializes on Tara and Romana begins inspecting the region. She comes upon an ancient temple as well as a statue standing before it. It is here that she discovers the fourth component to the Key of Time. A wild, hairy beast emerges to attack her and Romana twists her ankle. She is saved by the presence of Count Grendel who drives the monster away with his sword, which emits an electrical discharge. The man introduces himself to Romana and takes a special interest in the oddly-shaped item she is holding. He tells her that all unidentified minerals must be registered at Castle Granach and he insists on taking her to his castle to have her ankle attended to.
When they reach the castle however, the Romana takes Romana prisoner and has her secured to an operating table in the laboratory of his personal surgeon, Doctor Lamia. It is at this point that Romana begins to realize that the Count believes her to be a malfunctioning android. Both Count Grendel and Doctor Lamia are equally surprised to discover that she is in fact a living being.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is fishing by a lake and dozes off. He awakens to the abrupt sensation of his scarf sizzling and looks up to find a soldier named Farrah holding an electrically-charged blade to him. The Doctor stands up, but becomes quite miffed when Farrah cuts a piece of his scarf away. Farrah works in the service of a swords-master named Zadek, who in turn, is loyal to Prince Reynart. The Doctor feigns excitement at hearing Reynart's name. They take him prisoner and bring him to a cabin where they meet Reynart.
Prince Reynart asks the Doctor if he knows anything about androids, to which the Doctor admits to having picked up some skills in his travels. This impresses Reynart who seeks to employ the Doctor's aid, though Farrah is eternally on edge and wants nothing more than to run him through. Reynart explains that he stands to inherit the crown of Granach, but Count Grendel seeks the throne for himself, and will attempt to assassinate Reynart prior to the coronation. To this end, Reynart has had a robotic duplicate of himself constructed to serve as a decoy. However, the android is in disrepair, and they do not have the skills required to fix it. The Doctor elects to help the Prince and repairs the robot.
Afterward, Prince Reynart, Zadek, Farrah and the Doctor sit at a table in the cabin and give thanks to the Doctor's efforts. They have a plan in motion now to insure that Reynart will inherit the crown. He pours them all a drink of wine, but they quickly discover that the wine has been poisoned. The Tarans fall unconscious immediately while the Doctor stumbles towards the door. Muttering the phrase, "...potent stuff", he collapses as well. The door to the cabin opens and Count Grendel stands there with a look of triumph upon his face.
Principal Cast Edit
|Tom Baker||Doctor Who|
Guest Stars Edit
|Peter Jeffrey||Count Grendel|
|Neville Jason||Prince Reynart|
|John Leeson||Voice of K9|
Notes & Trivia Edit
- Incidental music for this episode is provided by Dudley Simpson, with special sound by Dick Mills.
- The Fourth Doctor is the first character to appear in this episode.
Story notes Edit
- The culture of Tara is similar to that of Medieval Europe. People from this world dress in attire that reflects this culture as well.
- On Tara, the peasant class are known for their acumen at robotics, whereas the ruling class rely on very little in the ways of advanced technology.
- Soldiers and guards on Tara utilize swords equipped with an electrical discharge in the hilt.
- The Doctor duplicates a chess move that Capablanca made against Alekhine in 1927, though K9 is quick to point out that Capablanca lost to Alekhine in that game.
- K9 has been programmed with all championship chess games since 1866.
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