Wednesday 14 December 2011

387 The Ark in Space Part Two

EPISODE: The Ark in Space Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 01 February 1975
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Rodney Bennett
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Ark In Space

The Doctor's activities start to revive the humans bringing one of their leaders Vira round. She revives Sarah, and their leader Lazar, nicknamed Noah. Vira tells them of the solar flares that destroyed all life on Earth. The Doctor tells her that they have overslept by many thousands of years and shows her the insect body. Elsewhere in the station a larvae creature crawls through the darkness. The Doctor investigates a power fault in the solar stack and finds the creature's trail, then it's cocoon as it starts to change. Vira discovers one of their number is missing. Noah holds the Doctor at gunpoint claiming "Earth is ours" then shoots him. The creature starts to emerge from it's cocoon. Noah encounters it in the solar stack and shoots it but as it falls it touches him on the hand. The recovered Doctor, Sarah & Harry go looking for Noah but he finds them and holds them at gunpoint again. Recently revived crewman Libri is scared of Noah when he sees him. A seemingly disorientated Noah orders the resuscitation stopped and leaves. The Doctor finds the remains of an egg shell in Dune's suspended animation pod and tells them that Dune has been consumed by the creature. Noah takes Libri's gun from him and shoots him. He notices his left hand has begun to change .....

That's not bad. We cover why the humans are there and firmly establish the threat to them. Noah's behaviour might seem a little odd but the last few moments make it clear why: he's been infected by the creature and is starting to change. Is that the series first use of a bubble wrap monster on the larvae form crawling around?

Although Ark in space was the second Fourth Doctor story broadcast it's the third made. Robot was made at the tail end of the Season 11 recording block. The first story in the Season 12 filming black was the Sontaran Experiment, an 2-part all location story. The same director, Rodney Bennet, then helms this story, written by Robert Holmes when the original scripts written by Doctor Who veteran John Lucarotti weren't quite what the production team was looking for. Next up was the season's fifth story, the Revenge of the Cybermen, which as we will see shares some of the same sets followed by Genesis of the Daleks and Terror of the Zygons, which ended up being held back for the start of the show's 13th season. So although Ark in Space is the first story to bear the name of the show's new producer, Philip Hinchcliffe, it's the second that he filmed. Having come from a script writing & editing background at ITV, Doctor Who was Hinchcliffe's first foray into producing. At the time of writing he and Derrick Sherwin are the only two of the original series of Doctor Who's nine producers still living.

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