Sunday, 25 January 2015

386 The Ark in Space: Part One

EPISODE: The Ark in Space: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 25 January 1975
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Rodney Bennett
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 9.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Ark In Space - Special Edition

"Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they've crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts, and now here they are amongst the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable!"

On a space station orbiting Earth something opens a chamber containing a slumbering human. The Doctor, Sarah & Harry arrive in the darkened and seemingly deserted space station. Sarah becomes trapped in an adjoining room. When the Doctor & Harry attempt a rescue they are trapped with her and find evidence of malicious damage to the space station. Sarah is transported to another room and put into suspended animation. When the Doctor & Harry restore the oxygen systems the security system also reactivates, attaching them. When the finally deactivate the machine they realise Sarah is missing and search for her finding a slimy trail. The Doctor finds the humans on the station held in suspended animation and deduces that this is all that remains of humanity after some global catastrophe. They find Sarah in suspended animation but while searching for resuscitation equipment Harry finds a giant alien insect.

Essentially "The Doctor, Sarah and Harry poke around a space station" for an episode! Sarah manages to get separated from the others twice in 25 minutes - Deary, deary me! Though to be fair the second time can hardly be blamed on her since it was the Doctor & Harry who laid her on the couch with a teleport device built into it!

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But Sarah's absence does give the opportunity to cast the spotlight onto Harry and develop his character, emphasising the bungling idiot aspect hinted at in Robot. Firstly he's blamed for their arrival in the far future:

DOCTOR: You're a clumsy, ham fisted idiot.
HARRY: I said I was sorry, didn't I?
DOCTOR: What? Come out! (thud) And don't touch anything.
HARRY: I'm only trying to open the door.
And then for Sarah's first disappearance:
DOCTOR: There must be a remote control. You haven't touched anything have you, Harry?
DOCTOR: Well, there are only two of us here and your name is Harry.
HARRY: Oh, yeah. I did just touch one switch.
Harry then draws attention to his own clumsiness:
HARRY: I've always hated sliding doors, ever since I caught my nose in one in Pompey Barracks.
But by that point we've got the message! When Harry does start to think about his surroundings the Doctor takes all the credit!
DOCTOR: Then pull yourself together, man. This is fascinating! This is a cryogenic repository.
HARRY: Repository? For what?
DOCTOR: Everything. Well, everything they considered worth preserving. Look at this. Microfilm. It's a complete record. Music, history, architecture, literature, engineering. Incredible. The entire body of human thought and achievement.
HARRY: Yes, but what's it all for?
DOCTOR: Posterity? I don't know. Why build all this and send it into space?
HARRY: I say, couldn't be some sort of survival kit, could it?
DOCTOR: Survival?
HARRY: Yes, you know, the sort of thing they shove in lifeboats and things.
DOCTOR: You're improving, Harry.
HARRY: Am I really?
DOCTOR: Yes, your mind is beginning to work. It's entirely due my influence, of course. You mustn't take any credit. Now, what's missing?
HARRY: Missing?
DOCTOR: Yes. If we are to assume that some great cataclysm struck Earth, and that before the end they launched this lifeboat, then the one obvious missing element is man himself. What's happened to the human species, Harry?

The Space Station sets look fabulous, especially the cryogenic chamber containing all the humans in storage.

HARRY: Just a minute, Doctor. Are you trying to tell that this is where it's all going to end? In here?
DOCTOR: Not end, Harry, just a pause.
HARRY: But there's only a few hundred corpses, er, bodies in here. I mean, what's happened to the rest of humanity? Some global catastrophe?
DOCTOR: Yes, and they saw it coming, and made provision for it as best they could. Don't forget, it's something for you to be proud of.
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It makes a superb setting for one of the Fourth Doctor's great speeches on the subject of Humanity:

DOCTOR: Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they've crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts, and now here they are amongst the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable!
Unfortunately while Harry is examining one of the chambers, the extra in it's near neighbour decides to turn round for a look!

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The exterior of the Ark isn't too shabby either for effects generated in 1974/5.

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For the DVD of the story there's the option to watch this story with new CGI sequences replacing the model shots.

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Some of the sets for this story are reused later on in this season during Revenge of the Cybermen which is set in the same location in an earlier point in time. The most obvious one is the ring corridor with the windows, used prominently in both tales.

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And I think I can see the UFO moonbase computer banks again, previously seen in The Green Death, Time Warrior, Invasion of the Dinosaurs & Monster of Peladon! They look rather odd here as their curved shapes are set into a straight wall and turned round so the longest & curved edge runs top to bottom.

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One of my abiding memories of this episode is of the Doctor and Harry hunched up under the table attempting to evade the security system which is hunting for organic matter. Good Job it isn't the Cybermen's turn to invade this week!

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HARRY: Bad luck. Jolly good try, though.
DOCTOR: It isn't a game of cricket, Harry.
HARRY: Sorry. Mind you, if I had a cricket ball, I'd jolly soon knock that switch.
DOCTOR: Will this do?
Interestingly the Doctor never showed any interest in cricket while he was marooned on Earth during his third incarnation. The First Doctor briefly visited a game in Dalek Masterplan episode 7: Volcano, and the Second, like the fourth, occasionally carried a ball in his pockets. Perhaps one day the Brigadier said to the Third Doctor "Fancy a trip to Lords tomorrow for the test?" and off they went together leading to the Doctor appreciating the sport. The Fourth Doctor mentions the game from time to time but by the time the Fifth appears he's evidentially played a bit, claiming to have taken five wickets bowling Left Arm Chinamen for New South Wales in Four to Doomsday part 4 but at the same time bowling right arm in Black Orchid!
DOCTOR: Pity about the scarf. Madame Nostradamus made it for me. A witty little knitter. All right, Sarah, you can come out now. Never get another one like it.
We've all heard Tom Baker's story about how the scarf was knitted for the Doctor by a lady named Begonia Pope. Here we find out it's fictional origins.


And speaking of clothes....

Sarah spends most of this episode wearing the same blue flowery dress she had on in the closing moments of Robot, helping to cement in the mind that these two tales occur consecutively.

It does however cause her problems at one stage though when Harry & the Doctor are carrying her! You expect this from Jo Grant but Sarah?

She's still wearing it as she's put into suspended animation. However when Harry finds her in the chamber she's now wearing something in white with a high collar just like the other sleeping crew members!

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We'll be charitable and say her clothes were changed by teleport when she was moved to the suspended animation chamber!

Throughout the episode the mystery of what's going on is being played out. At the opening of the episode we from the point of view of something approaching a body lying in suspended animation. The same shot is repeated later, but with The Doctor & Harry being spied on.

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Then the Doctor discovers some sabotage....
DOCTOR: I'll just repair some of those cables.
HARRY: Sheared, you said.
DOCTOR: Or bitten.
HARRY: What?
DOCTOR: There's a mystery here, Harry. Something happened a long time ago.
HARRY: Bitten?
DOCTOR: It looks like it. The interesting question is why? Clearly deliberate, therefore done for a purpose. Therefore, whatever it was had a reasoning intelligence.
HARRY: And very large teeth.
Harry then spots "something" shuffling away in the corridor before the big reveal as the giant insect (See also: Planet of Giants, Web Planet & The Mutants) falls on him ending the episode!

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The title sequence for this episode is a little odd: there's a pinkish tinge to it which isn't usually there!

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Essentially this episode is a three hander between the main cast but also heard during it is Peter Tuddenham who does the initial voices that speaks to Sarah. He'll be back in The Masque of Mandragora and Time and the Rani providing a similar role but he's most famous for providing the voices of Zen, Orac and Slave in Blake's 7. He's the second regular member of the Blake's cast to be in Doctor Who after Paul Darrow (Avon) in the Silurians. So as promised then we're going to look at the first season of Blake's 7 and see which of it's cast had been in Doctor Who. All of the show's first season was written by Terry Nation of Dalek fame, script edited by Chris Boucher, who we'll see writing Face of Evil, Robots of Death and Image of the Fendahl shortly, and produced by David Maloney who directed many a Doctor Who story.

EPISODE: A1 The Way Back
DIRECTED BY: Michael E. Briant Colony in Space, The Sea Devils, The Green Death, Death to the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen & The Robots of Death
BROADCAST ON: 02/01/1978

Robert Beatty (Bran Foster) General Cutler in the Tenth Planet
Jeremy Wilkin (Dev Tarrant) Kellman in the Revenge of the Cybermen (directed by Michael E. Briant)
Robert James (Ven Glynd) Lesterson in Power of the Daleks & High Priest in Masque of Mandragora
Gillian Bailey (Ravella) is the current head of Drama at Royal Holloway College, where I did my degree.
Margaret John (Arbiter) Megan Jones in Fury from the Deep
Nigel Lambert (Computer operator) Hardin in The Leisure Hive, but is probably best known for being the narrator of the superb first series of Look Around You. If you've not seen it by the DVD. Trust me.

EPISODE: A2 Space Fall
DIRECTED BY: Pennant Roberts The Face of Evil, The Sun Makers, The Pirate Planet, Shada, Warriors of the Deep and Timelash
BROADCAST ON: 09/01/1978

Glyn Owen (Leylan) Rohm-Dutt in The Power of Kroll
Leslie Schofield (Raiker) Leroy in War Games Calib in Face of Evil
Norman Tipton (Artix) Idas in the Underworld

EPISODE: A3 Cygnus Alpha
DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorimer (No Doctor Who directing credits)
BROADCAST ON: 16/01/1978

Brian Blessed (Vargas) King Yrcanos in Trial of a Timelord
Pamela Salem (Kara) one of the many voices of Xoanon in The Face of Evil, Toos in The Robots of Death and Professor Rachel Jensen in Remembrance of the Daleks.
Peter Childs (Arco) Jack Ward in Mark of the Rani

EPISODE: A4 Time Squad
DIRECTED BY: Pennant Robert (see A2 above)
BROADCAST ON: 23/01/1978

No Doctor Who cast members involved

DIRECTED BY: Michael E. Briant (see A1 Above)
BROADCAST ON: 30/01/1978

Richard Beale (Saymon) Refusian Voice in the Ark, Bat Masterson in the Gunfighters, Broadcaster in Macra Terror and Minister of Ecology in The Green Death (directed by Michael E. Briant)
Miles Fothergill (Novara) SV7 in The Robots of Death (directed by Michael E. Briant)
Deep Roy (Decimas) Mr Sin in The Talons of Weng Chiang and all the Oompa Loompas in Tim Burton's version of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

EPISODE: A6 Seek-Locate-Destroy
DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorimer
BROADCAST ON: 01/02/1978

Peter Miles (Rontane) Dr. Lawrence in the Silurians, Professor Whitaker in Invasion of the Dinosaurs & Nyder in Genesis of the Daleks
John Bryans (Bercol) Torvin in The Creature from the Pit
Peter Craze (Prell) Dako in the Space Museum, DuPont in The War Games & Costa in Nightmare of Eden
Ian Cullen (Escon) Izta in the Aztecs

EPISODE: A7 Mission to Destiny
DIRECTED BY: Pennant Roberts (see A2 above)
BROADCAST ON: 13/02/1978

Barry Jackson (Kendall) Ascarius in the Romans, Jeff Garvey in Mission to the Unknown and Drax in the Armageddon Factor. He's best known as Doctor George Bullard in Midsomer Murders.
Nigel Humphreys (Sonheim) Bulic in The Warriors of the Deep (directed by Pennant Roberts)
John Leeson (Pasco) K-9 voice
Carl Forgione (Grovane) Land in Planet of Spiders, Nimrod in Ghost Light
Stuart Fell (Dortmunn) The Curse of Peladon (as Alpha Centauri), The Monster of Peladon (as Alpha Centauri), Planet of the Spiders (as a tramp), The Ark in Space (as a Wirrn), The Android Invasion (as a Kraal), The Brain of Morbius (as Morbius Monster), The Masque of Mandragora (as an entertainer), The Invasion of Time (as a Sontaran) and State of Decay (as Roga)

DIRECTED BY: Douglas Camfield (directed The Crusade, The Time Meddler, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Web of Fear, The Invasion, Inferno, Terror of the Zygons & The Seeds of Doom)
BROADCAST ON: 20/02/1978

Isla Blair (Sinofar) Isabella in The King's Demons
Patsy Smart (Giroc) Ghoul in The Talons of Weng Chiang

EPISODE: A9 Project Avalon
DIRECTED BY: Michael E. Briant (see A1 Above)
BROADCAST ON: 27/02/1978

David Bailie (Chevner) Dask in Robots of Death (directed by Michael Briant)
John Rolfe (Terloc) Captain in The War Machines, Sam in the Moonbase and Fell in The Green Death (also directed bt Michael Briant)

This episode also features Glynis Barber (Mutoid) years before her regular appearances in Blake's 7 as Soolin

EPISODE: A10 Breakdown
DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
BROADCAST ON: 06/03/1978

Julian Glover (Kayn) King Richard in The Crusade & Count Scarloni/Scaroth in City of Death

EPISODE: A11 Bounty
DIRECTED BY: Pennant Roberts (see A2 above)
BROADCAST ON: 13/03/1978

T. P. McKenna (Sarkoff) Captain Cook in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

EPISODE: A12 Deliverance
DIRECTED BY: Michael E. Briant (see A1 Above)
BROADCAST ON: 20/03/1978

Tony Caunter (Ensor) The Crusade (Thatcher), Colony in Space (Morgan - directed by Michael Briant) and Enlightenment (Jackson)

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
BROADCAST ON: 27/03/2011

No Doctor Who cast members involved.

That's it for Series 1. Join us in Robots of Death where we'll cover second season Blake's 7 cast members who've been in Doctor Who!

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