Saturday 12 March 2011

110 The Ark Part 4: The Bomb

EPISODE: The Ark Part 4: The Bomb
TRANSMITTED: 26 March 1966
WRITER: Paul Erickson & Lesley Scott
DIRECTOR: Michael Imison
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Ark

The loss of the launcher causes dissent in the Monoid ranks, led by 4 who opposes 1's rule. The Monoids leave the Ark for Refusis taking with them their own shrunken race. Finding the wreckage of the capsule causes a battle to erupt between the two Monoid factions. The Refusian travels back to the Ark in one of the Launchers and when the Doctor learns that the bomb is in the statue he uses his great powers to throw the statue off the ship out of the airlock. 4's forces win the battle and return to the Ark with the Doctor & Dodo. The Refusian welcomes both Monoids and Humans to his planet but only if they can live together in peace. The Tardis crew leave, but shortly after the Doctor vanishes from the console room...

Once again the episode hasn't really grabbed me but my appreciation for the technical aspects knows no grounds. Knowing the limitations of how Doctor Who was made in the sixties this episode is a wonder being recorded out of scene order and then assembled in the editing suite featuring a pitched battle shot on film and several effects shots of the launcher travelling. Seriously, watch this with the production subtitles on, you'll be amazed at what they managed and appreciate the effort even if the story doesn't do it for you. what's more amazing is that Michael Imison was no longer required as a director by th BBC after masterminding this story: his superiors handed him notice terminating his directorial contract as the final episode went before the cameras. Given the technical accomplishments here that's criminal.

We've been on DVD for our first complete story this season, but next episode we're back to Audio. In fact from here on in Hartnell's reign there's almost an odd exists/missing pattern to the stories:

The Ark: Exists
Celestial Toymaker: Missing (bar part 4)
The Gunfighters: Exists
The Savages: Missing
The War Machines: Exists
The Smugglers: Missing
The Tenth Planet: Exists (bar, annoyingly, part 4)

Officially producer John Wiles departs as of the end of this episode, but with the departed Donald Tosh his influence will be felt for a while yet. Lurking in the background of the production staff of this series are a couple of names that will be familiar later on: Chris D'Oyly-John, the AFM, will be a production assistant and production unit manager on many forthcoming Doctor Who stories while Production Assistant David Maloney, who has already served on The Rescue & The Romans, will return many times as a director.

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