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From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"Feels different this time..."
―The Doctor before he regenerates
The Caves of Androzani
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 21
Story Number: 136
Doctor: Fifth Doctor (regenerates)
Sixth Doctor (introduction)
Companions: Peri
Writer: Robert Holmes
Director: Graeme Harper
Broadcast: 8th March - 16th March 1984
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: Planet of Fire
Following Story: The Twin Dilemma



The Doctor and Peri are caught in the midst of a power struggle between gun runners, a fiendish masked madman, government troops and crooked politicians over the precious mineral Spectrox.


The Doctor and Peri, before getting shot

Part One

The dangerous, desert planet Androzani Minor is the only source for a powerful drug called spectrox created by bats that inhabits the planet's caves. Spectrox is highly-valued by the population of nearby Androzani Major due to its capacity to extend one's life. The spectrox mining interests are controlled by Trau Morgus, a business conglomerate leader on Androzani Major, but the operation has been threatened by the masked Sharaz Jek and his army of androids, causing public tension on Androzani Major due to limited supplies. Morgus has publicly funded a military operation by the Androzani Major's government against Jek's androids, but at the same time has secretly backed a gunrunning group to deliver weapons to Jek to profit from the war.

The TARDIS lands on Androzani Minor, and the Doctor and Peri decide to explore a set of tracks that lead into a nearby cave. As they explore, they are briefly caught in a ball of an unknown sticky substance, but they easily break free. Further into the caves, they discover a horde of weapons, but are then captured by General Chellak's forces, believing the two to be working for gunrunners Stotz and Krepler. Morgus orders their assassination after seeing that Chellak's "gunrunners" are not his own men over holographic communication. When the two are brought to the execution squad, General Chellak gives the order to fire, and the soldiers pump bullets into them...

Part Two

However, the soldiers discover the two of them are androids. The Doctor and Peri are rescued by Jek who had been watching the two enter the caves and was able to prepare duplicate androids with help of his personal android Salateen.   The Doctor and Peri meet Jek.

At Jek's base, the two complain about rashes and cramps in their bodies where they touched the sticky substances, Jek realises they have been subjected to the first stages of spectrox toxemia from exposure to unrefined spectrox, and that while there is an anti-toxin, it requires the milk of the queen bat. Unfortunately, due to the mining activity, all the bats have migrated to deeper levels of the caves where there is no oxygen.

The Doctor takes cover as Stotz and his band of gun runners are attacked by a ferocious magma beast. The creature then turns and approaches the rock behind which the Doctor is crouching...

Part Three

 Before leaving to meet with the gunrunners while leaving the two under his androids' guard, Jek explains that he is seeking revenge against Morgus as it was his actions that left his face disfigured. After Jek leaves, the Doctor is able to reprogram the androids and allows for he and Peri to escape, but they quickly encounter Chellak's forces; Peri is recaptured while the Doctor is caught by Stotz. Stotz decides to take the Doctor back to Androzani Major to see Morgus directly.

As Stotz discusses the situation with Morgus via holographic communication en route, Morgus sees the Doctor still alive, and fearing deception, kills the President of Androzani Major and makes his own plans to travel to Androzani Minor to put the situation right himself. The Doctor is able to gain control of the ship from Stotz. Stotz and his men try to regain access to the bridge by cutting through the door. The planet looms large on the ship's view screen and the Doctor tells Stotz: 'I'm not going to let you stop me now!'

Part Four

The Doctor crashes the ship back on the surface of Androzani Minor. Weary from the spectrox poisoning, he makes his way into the caves to try to save Peri. Meanwhile, Chellak plans an assault on Jek's base, luring him to believe an attack lies elsewhere. The battle kills nearly all of the military forces including Chellak, the gunruners, and Jek's androids; Jek is able to rescue the unconscious Peri from the military base and return her to his base amid the chaos. The Doctor arrives, struggling to hold off his body's attempt to regenerate to rid itself of the spectrox. Jek provides him with a limited air supply and equipment and directions to find and milk the queen bat. As the Doctor departs to get the milk, Morgus arrives on the planet, finding that his shrewd secretary has disposed him from power.

Morgus quickly deals with Stotz to kill all the remaining gunrunners, including Krepler, and then plot to secure Jek's private stash of spectrox so they may disappear quietly to another planet. The two make their way to Jek's base, lured by fans that Jek is using to try to keep the base temperature cool for Peri. A brief fight breaks out, and Jek, Morgus, and Stotz are killed. The Doctor arrives just after the battle, and after feeding her all of the bat's milk, takes the recovering Peri back to the surface and to the TARDIS as the planet erupts around them.

Inside the TARDIS, Peri recovers to find the Doctor lying in pain on the floor. The Doctor quickly explains he only got enough bat's milk to cure Peri, but his body will shortly regenerate, though it feels different from his previous regenerations. The Doctor begins to hallucinate images of his past companions urging him to continue to fight for his life, followed by The Master laughing at his state. The regeneration completes, with the Doctor suddenly alert and active though with a new face. When Peri asks what has happened, the Doctor replies, "Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon..."




  • Peri asks why the Doctor wears a stick of celery; it is a safety precaution. He is allergic to certain gases in the praxis range of the spectrum. "If the gas is present, the celery turns purple."
  • Spectrox toxaemia causes cramp, spasms, slow paralysis of the thoracic spinal nerve and finally thermal death.
  • Morgus is (or was, before being deposed by Timmin) "the richest man in the Five Planets", chairman of the Sirius Conglomerate and a descendant of the first colonists.
  • During the regeneration sequence; Adric, Tegan Jovanka, Nyssa, Turlough, Kamelion and The Master are seen and heard.

Story Notes

  • Despite the title, the Doctor notes that the caves are in fact blowholes.
  • The maps of the caves shown on screen bear an uncanny resemblance to the video game Dig Dug.
  • This story had the working title of; Chain Reaction.
  • This is Peter Davison's final TV story, however he reprised the role on screen in Dimensions in Time and Time Crash.
  • The regeneration sequence features specially recorded cameos by Matthew Waterhouse, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Mark Strickson, Gerald Flood and Anthony Ainley.
  • The closing credits to Part Four feature the face of new Doctor Colin Baker, and list him before Peter Davison.
  • Christopher Gable was not the first choice to play Sharaz Jek; among the actors offered the role were Tim Curry and David Bowie.
  • Colin Baker previously appeared (as Commander Maxil) in Arc of Infinity.
  • The Doctor has been "this way before" and says that Androzani Minor "hasn't changed".
  • If the pre-companion appearance of Nyssa in The Keeper of Traken is discounted, this story marks the first occasion since 1977's Horror of Fang Rock that the Doctor has spent a complete adventure with only a single companion.
  • When the soldiers fire their bullets, the shooting causes the screen to shake.


  • Frank Herbert's Dune (people being killed over a drug that extends life; the unstable "tripod of power" between the rulers of Androzani; the "mud blows" and Androzani Minor's generally arid climate)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (mentally unbalanced but brilliant recluse wears a mask to conceal facial disfigurement; develops obsessive fascination with an attractive young woman and eventually abducts her)


  • Part 1 - 6.9 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 6.6 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 7.8 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 7.8 million viewers


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • It is clear when seeing the Doctor through the eyes of the robot in episode two that he is wearing his hearts on the outside of his jacket. (The android is seeing through his jacket except for an outline of it.)
  • Peri bounces after slipping down the cliff-face in episode one.
  • In one moment of the regeneration scene, the Doctor's head is on Peri's lap, in the next he is lying flat on the floor with Peri nowhere near him. (After the regeneration we see her crouched by the door). (She moves, likely having been scared by the lights/energy release.)
  • When Stotz is firing at Sharaz Jek at the conclusion of part Four, part of his gun splits in two and falls off.
  • Why does Stotz have to kill his crewmates in episode 4? (So he doesn't have to pay them.)


  • This leads straight into DW: The Twin Dilemma.
  • The Doctors last words are Adric
  • Part of BFA: Circular Time takes place during/in the lead up to the Doctor's regeneration.
  • Following this story, the Sixth Doctor goes through a brief period where he subconsciously blames Peri for his previous self's death, and tries to distance himself from her while telling himself he's working towards a greater good, until he finally realizes this in MA: Burning Heart.
  • In NA: Timewyrm: Revelation it is revealed that after the Fifth Doctor dies he becomes the Doctor's conscience, but is buried by the Seventh Doctor following his regeneration.


DVD, Video, and Other Releases

DVD Releases

Released as Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani, this release was the third of 2001.


NTSC - Warner Video E1606


Rear Credits:


Video Releases

Released as Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani.


PAL - BBC Video BBCV4713
NTSC - Warner Video E1183


Main article: The Caves of Androzani (novelisation)

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Caves of Androzani
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Caves of Androzani
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Caves of Androzani
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Caves of Androzani
Season 21
Warriors of the Deep  • The Awakening  • Frontios  • Resurrection of the Daleks  • Planet of Fire  • The Caves of Androzani  • The Twin Dilemma

This article uses material from the "The Caves of Androzani" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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