Friday 11 March 2011

109 The Ark Part 3: The Return

EPISODE: The Ark Part 3: The Return
TRANSMITTED: 19 March 1966
WRITER: Paul Erickson & Lesley Scott
DIRECTOR: Michael Imison
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Ark

The Monoids have taken over the Ark, enslaving the Guardians who were left weakened by the virus, and creating a technology to allow them to speak. Steven is imprisoned in the security kitchen and put to work while The Doctor & Dodo are sent with Monoid 2 and a Guardian on the landing party to Refusis.The Doctor & Dodo are befriended by an invisible but powerful Refusian who inhabits a castle that was built for the expected human visitors. Monoid 2 flees the castle, kills the Guardian and is killed when the landing pod explodes. Meanwhile the Monoids plan to abandon the humans on the Ark and then destroy it using a bomb built into the statue.

While the story is little pedestrian in places this episode, watching it with the production subtitles on makes me realise what a technical achievement these episodes are with lots of clever camerawork, effects & model sequences.

Last episode we had one of who's most frequent Guest Stars appear for the first time. Here we get the first appearance of arguable Doctor Who's best, certainly most prolific, voice artist: Roy Skelton makes his debut as some of the Monoid voices. He'll be back in a short while for The Tenth Planet, providing probably the best version of the Cybermen voices, which is a role he repeats in Wheel in Space. He provides voices during The Ice Warriors (Computer voice) & The Krotons (Kroton voices), appears in front of camera in Colony in Space (as Norton), Planet of the Daleks (briefly as Wester who he also supplies the voice for), in The Green Death (as James - a role taken on in an emergency as we'll see later) and under make-up in The Android Invasion (as Chedaki) and The Hand of Fear (as King Rokon). His most famous Who role is a recurring one voicing the Daleks in (deep breath) The Evil of the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, The Five Doctors, Revelation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks plus the Children in Need special The Curse of Fatal Death. But beating even that for fame, he's the voice of Zippy & George in Rainbow, which he demonstrates to great effect on the Doctor Who - The Cybermen - The Early Years Video.

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