Friday 16 September 2011

298 Colony in Space: Episode Six

EPISODE: Colony in Space: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 15 May 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

Caldwell & Morgan free Jo. The Master & the Doctor are taken prisoner by the primitives. Caldwell helps Jo escape from the IMC guards forcing the colonists onto the ship. The Master tells the Doctor about the Doomsday Weapon the primitives once developed which he intends to use to hold the galaxy to ransom. They escape their cell and seek the controls for the weapon. The colonists prepare to leave. Winton sneaks away and knocks out the IMC lookout observing the spaceship launch. Seeking the Doctor, Jo & Caldwell see the colonists ship take off & explode. The Master explains how he will use the Doomsday Weapon to destroy stars. Jo & Caldwell gain entrance to the city seeking the Doctor. The Doctor is appalled by the Master's plan and turns down his offer of a partnership & a half share in the universe. The Guardian reveals himself to the Doctor & the Master. The Guardian explains how the radiation from the weapon's power source has poisoned their world. The Master threatens him, but the Guardian makes his weapon disappear. Under the Guardian's instruction the Doctor activates the weapon's self destruct sequence. Fleeing the city the Doctor & Master are reunited with Jo & Caldwell allowing them to all escape together before an explosion destroys the weapon & city. They are captured by Morgan and the IMC troops but are freed by the colonists who attack IMC. In the battle the Master escapes to his Tardis leaving the planet. The Doctor tells Winton that now the Doomsday Weapon has been destroyed their crops should grow. Winton explains how only Ashe was on the rocket when it launched, convincing IMC that they had all been killed. Caldwell elects to stay with the colonists. The Tardis has been found allowing the Doctor & Jo to return to Earth mere seconds after they left as the Brigadier reports that the sighting of the Master was a hoax.

Liz has been watching this story with me, having not seen it before, and was surprised when their ship blew up "they've killed the colonists!" followed by just a few minutes later "hang on, they weren't on board were they?". The fight between Winton and the guard is great though I'm not sure about the Guardian's rave video that we see as the Doctor activates the self destruct mechanism. He's not the only Guardian with a rave video that we'll see in Doctor Who - wait till Mawdryn Undead comes along!

I've not seen Colony in Space that often, and found it a bit of a slog before. The state of the 525 line tapes doesn't help either: a portion of the sequence of the Doctor & the Master in the control room looks particularly washed out. This time round the story worked for me, I can't quite put my finger on what's different but something was... which is a good job as I'm going to have to watch it again shortly.

Regular stuntman and Pertwee double Terry Walsh is the guard Rogers who mud wrestles with Winton. Norman Atkyns is the Guardian and returns shortly as a Rear Admiral in The Sea Devils and Roy Heymann, the diminutive Alien Priest will be Gotal in Death to the Daleks. Both stories are directed by Michael Briant who is obviously subscribing to the Camfield method of casting. Regular extra Pat Gorman is in every episode of this story: he's the Primitive and Voice in episodes 1 & 2, Long in 3, a Primitive in 4 & 6 and a colonist in 5.

The Colony in Space was novelised by it's original author Malcolm Hulke under the title The Doomsday Weapon and is generally acknowledged to be one of the best Target books. I'd lay money on it being one of the next Target books to be re-issued by the BBC. It was released on video in 2001 as part of The Master Tin Set with The Time Monster. Frustrating it's due out on DVD on October 3rd, just 3 weeks too late for the purposes of me watching it for this blog.

Colony in Space, The Dæmons & Day of the Daleks are the last trio of consecutive complete Doctor Who stories we'll be watching on video. Although Day of the Daleks is out on DVD before the blog articles are published I've watched that on video too because I'm so far ahead on my viewing. I was going to try to reduce my lead to watch Day on DVD too but just missing Colony's release has made me decide to push on.

Edit: Blow me! The BBC's only gone and put a UNIT box through the BBFC and scheduled in for a January release. That means I'll narrowly miss watching both of Invasion of the Dinosaurs & Android Invasion on DVD!

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