Sunday 11 September 2011

293 Colony in Space: Episode One

EPISODE: Colony in Space: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 10 April 1971
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - the Master Tin Set: Colony In Space & The Time Monster but DVD release due on October 3rd
Episode Format: 525 video

The Time Lords discover that their report on the Doomsday Weapon is missing and so send the Tardis to Uxarieus, a struggling human Colony that has been established under the leadership of Ashe. Their crops are failing and the live in fear of the planet being mined. The Leeson colonists are attacked and killed by a monster. Norton, a survivor from another colony wanders in. He tells Ashe and his colleagues that his colony was destroyed by the monster that killed the Leeson. While searching for evidence in the Leeson dome the Doctor is attacked by a robot.

Very much setup for the rest of the story this episode: Get the Doctor off Earth and establish the struggling colonists. The Doctor stranded on Earth was the idea of the previous production team: Terrance Dicks & Barry Letts decided to get him off Earth as quickly as possible. They use "on a mission for the Time Lords" as a way to do it, and in the process treat us to a brief view of the Time Lords analysing files the Master stole on the planet and deciding to use the Doctor to deal with it. Given that as a start it's a bit of a surprise we don't see the Master in the rest of the episode. The Doctor's line about The Spanish Ambassador being mistaken for the Master is a nod to Roger Delgado's previous role as Mendoza, the Spanish Ambassador in Sir Francis Drake!.

Lots of the cast have form in Doctor Who: John Ringham, as Ashe, was previously Tlotoxl in The Aztecs & Josiah Blake in The Smugglers while Sheila Grant, as Jane Leeson, voiced the Quarks in The Dominators. Making his on screen début is Roy Skelton of Dalek & Cyberman voice fame as Norton. He's got four further in front of camera appearances in Planet of the Daleks ( as Wester), The Green Death (as James), The Android Invasion (as Chedaki) and The Hand of Fear (as King Rokon). His Dalek co-conspirator John Scott Martin is the Robot here. All three Time Lords we saw at the start also have had or will have other Doctor Who appearances: Peter Forbes-Robertson was a Guard in The Power of the Daleks and will be the Chief Sea Devil in The Sea Devils, John Baker returns as Ralph in The Visitation and Graham Leaman was in The Macra Terror (as the Controller), Fury from the Deep (as Price) & The Seeds of Death (as the Grand Marshall) with another appearance as a Time Lord in The Three Doctors. Mitzi Webster, playing Mrs. Martin, returns under the name Mitzi McKenzie to play Nancy in The Green Death. But by far the most famous member of the cast is making her only Doctor Who appearance. Now I'm obsessive about what other actors have been in, but Helen Worth, as Mary Ashe the daughter of the colony's leader, should be recognisable to almost anyone: She's Gail McIntyre (nee Potter, Tilsley, Platt and Hillman) from Coronation Street.

1 comment:

  1. The Leeson. What a namesake :)

    'Gail Platt' is like one of the most iconic faces on TV. Would be strange to see her in something else besides Coronation Street.