Romana quickly locates the Fourth Segment of the Key to Time while the Doctor indulges in a little fishing, but they fail to leave the planet Tara before becoming embroiled in its complex political intrigues.DVD Features:
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"The search for the Key to Time is half over. The Doctor, Romana and K9 have recovered the first three segments and, unhappily, the best three stories of the season are over. The last half of the Key to Time quest is definitely the weaker. This is not to say, though, that "The Androids of Tara" is bad. It's quite fun, even if it feels a little inconsequential. The criticism it has attracted from most fan circles is that it draws too heavily upon the one source, Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda" and displays this quite blatantly. However, most of Doctor Who (like the works of William Shakespeare) is plagiarised from one source or another. How stylishly it is done is the best indicator of how it succeeds. With the case of Doctor Who, it succeeds most of the time. "The Androids of Tara" is a fun, swashbuckling adventure. The villain, Count Grendel, is a wonderfully over the top cad, scoundrel and all round baddie. The usual ingredients for the genre - Princes, Princesses and swordsmen - are all here. There's also the obligatory swordfight at the end. The story is low key - it revolves around the political machinations of the world of Tara - there is no planet to save from invasion or destruction, no populace to save from alien oppression. This story will never be regarded as a classic; it won't be in any all time top 10 lists - but it is a breath of fresh air. It's a nice diversion, however unoriginal. (There's an awful monster, so it's not really that different from the rest of Doctor Who!) Sure, it feels inconsequential. But it has the usual charm that the program always succeeds in pulling off."
Kids love it...
Brian May | 09/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have yet to play this video to a group of kids OR adults who don't love it. K-9 enthralls youngsters, and the number of riotous one-liners is great. This one just never gets boring. Sure it's cheesy, but it's more FUN that way! Of course Tom Baker hams it up, eyes wide and hair wilder. And for once, just once, the planet is not at risk, let alone the universe, galaxy or time and space itself..."
"Would you mind not standing on my chest? My hat's on fire!"
Brian May | 05/12/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Landing on the planet Tara, Romana believes that she can find the fourth segment of the Key to Time without getting involved with the locals. She couldn't be more wrong. "Androids...", with many Graham Williams' Who stories, is very cheap looking. The Taran beast in the opening doesn't help. But Fisher's story is so charming, and filled with great characters, such as the Count, that you almost forget about the silly acting, and lazy direction. Mary Tamm seems a little relaxed in her acting(especially as the Princess). There is loads of humor. The swordfight at the end of episode 4 is a little long winded, but enjoyable at the same time. At least we don't have a story where the villian wants to take over or destroy the universe, a typical "Prisoner of Zenda" story, incorporated in the Doctor Who universe."
Cheeky mock-historical swashbuckling fun
Brian May | 08/26/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Next time, I shall not be so lenient!"One of the most enjoyable Doctor Who stories, with no pretensions to be anything other than good clean fun. Several times 'Avengers' villain Peter Jeffrey guest-stars (and steals every scene) as the wicked Count Grendel of Gracht, plotting to usurp the throne of Tara in the series' cheeky re-make of 'The Prisoner of Zenda'.Tom Baker is good value as the Doctor, Mary Tamm's beautifully outfitted Romana is one of the great companions, and the story rattles along at a splendid pace, with some great swordplay with electronic swords and android doubles.One to simply sit back and enjoy - it also inspired the best Doctor Who spin-off from Vigin Books, the 'Decalog 2' short story 'The Trials of Tara', which manages to be even camper than this video version. END"
"Next time, I shall not be so lenient!"
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 12/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't be fooled by the lack of buzz, or by all the reviews declaring "The Androids of Tara" to be the weakest of "Doctor Who"'s Key To Time season. Granted, the DVD may be the weakest in the new six-disc box set, but the story itself is remarkably witty and something to be enjoyed again and again.As the production notes are sure to tell the viewer several times, this story is "Doctor Who"'s homage to "The Prisoner of Zenda", following the plot twist by twist, and adding only a few modest sci-fi elements (two androids and some electric swords). As Tom Baker points out on the commentary track, visiting guest stars used "Doctor Who" as an opportunity to "do a turn" (or, as the fans say, "chew the scenery"), and this serial's guest villain Peter Jeffrey (playing the aptly-named Count Grendel of Gracht) gives a delightful performance as the scheming nobleman who doesn't kill a soul and is allowed to swim away at the end of the story, uttering the famous face-saving line above.The DVD production is bare-bones, unusual for the high-quality "Doctor Who" line. The text commentary is notably weak, perhaps because it's not written by Martin Wiggins, who did the notes for the first three DVDs in this set. Now authored by Richard Molesworth (who did notes on a few of the earlier "Who" DVDs), the notes are basically endless lists of the supporting actors' other TV appearances -- most of which will not be familiar to the audience watching these US-release-only discs -- and the dates of location filming. It indeed adds a lot to your enjoyment of Part Three to learn that Romana's stunt double rode her horse on the 27th and 28th of July. The notes spend a good amount of time describing the original "The Prisoner of Zenda" (stating three times that the novel was written by Anthony Hope in 1894), but fail to pick up on a deliriously funny blooper in which Jeffrey walks through the walls of a set, Leslie Nielsen style, as Tom Baker ducks through a curtained doorway.The commentary track is recorded by stars Baker and Tamm (Romana), and director Michael Hayes. Hayes dominates the early going by reciting the "Prisoner of Zenda"'s original movie cast, while Baker laughs insanely at the sight of the poorly-costumed miniature bear that menaces Romana in the opening minutes. After a while it's obvious that the three aren't watching the story, and I found myself mentally tuning out. That said, the anecdote about Petter Jeffrey's wart is funny, and, as in every other DW disc released to date, a commentator asserts that the low-rent 1970s production values "stand up rather well today". Charming. But wrong."