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101) THE ANDROIDS OF TARA

25 November - 16 December 1978

Average Viewing Figure: 9.1M

Plot

Landing on the planet Tara, Romana inadvertently gets involved in the schemes of Count Grendel 

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana/Princess Strella), Peter Jeffrey (Count Grendel), Simon Lack (Zadek)

Neville Jason (Prince Reynart), Paul Lavers (Farrah), Lois Baxter (Lamia), Cyril Shaps (Archimandrite), Martin Matthews (Kurster)

Declan Mulholland (Till), John Leeson (Voice of K-9)

Uncredited Cast

Ray Lavender (Bear), Peter Roy, Derek Chafer, Rodney Cardiff, Gus Roy, Steve Ismay, Derek Suthern, Tony Snell, Mike Mungarvan

Ray Lavender (Gracht Guards), Reg Woods, Walter Turner, Tony O'Leary (Palace Guards), Jay McGarth, Ronald Gregory (Priests)

Barbara Bermel, Iris Rongier, Angela Delaney, Helen Garton, Christine Cole, Eunice Bennett, Delphine Auchterlonie (Court Ladies)

Denis Jennings, Victor Renol, Charles Adey-Gray, Kyle Adair, George Romanov, Lincoln Wright, Raymond St Clair, Harold Horsham

Bill Whitehead, Philip Webb, Roy Seeley, Evan Ross, Brychon Powell, Peter Whittaker, James O'Neill, Michael Moore, Jimmy Mac

James Delaney, Vernon Drake, Richard Atherton, Alan Troy, Trevor Wedlock (Nobles)

Peter Roy, Steve Ismay, Derek Suthern, Gus Roy (Zadek's Guards), Robert Gibbs (Stunt Double for Romana)

Crew

David Fisher (Writer), Terry Walsh (Fight Arranger), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sound) 

Teresa-Mary Winders (Production Assistant), John Nathan-Turner (Production Unit Manager), John Walker (Film Cameraman)

Don Lee (Film Recordist), David Yates (Film Editor), Len Hutton (Visual Effects Designer), AJ Mitchell (Electronic Effects Operator)

Alan Goddard (Videotape Editor), Doreen James (Costume Designer), Jill Hagger (Make-Up Artist), Brian Clemett (Studio Lighting)

Richard Chubb (Studio Sound), Anthony Read (Script Editor), Valerie Warrender (Designer), Graham Williams (Producer)

Michael Hayes (Director)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Leeds Castle, Leeds, Kent

  • Television Centre: Studio 1

  • Television Centre: Studio 6

Deaths

  • Lamia [shot and killed by one of Grendel's guards]

Production Days

  • 9 Days between Monday 24 July - Tuesday 29 August 1978

76) THE ARK IN SPACE

Number of Production Days: 5

Production Errors

  1. When The Doctor enters the Pavilion of the Summer Winds in part three, he shuts the door, but it slowly swings open again. A hand appears from behind the set wall and pulls the door closed again 

  2. Why does Prince Reynart have so few men at his disposal? Espcecially during a time where his life is in danger

  3. Whilst inspecting Romana's android duplicate, Grendel's arm (which crosses the line where the screen split to allow Mary Tamm to be in two places at once) disappears 

Working Titles

  • The Androids of Zenda

  • The Prisoners of Zend

Verdict

The Androids of Tara is a beautiful piece of drama. Gorgeous filming, production designs and costumes makes for a lovely production involving android duplicates, swordfights, a castle siege, and a battle for the crown of an entire planet. The cast are on top form especially Jeffrey playing the Count, a sort of villainous, vain Robin Hood like character. Fisher’s scripts are beautifully constructed and Mary Tamm excels as both Romana and the Princess. The scripts seems to take pleasure in mocking cliches from other movies and television of a similar nature – the trade in episode three which is actually a trap – and turns them on their head to create something new and exciting. The Androids of Tara is one of those serials which deserves all the time in the world to full appreciated. *****​

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