Ark In Space: Doctor Who: Season 12








The Ark In Space SYNOPSIS:

The Tardis lands on a seemingly deserted Ark in space orbiting Earth some 160,000 years into the future thanks to the Doctor and Sarah's new companion, bumbling Harry Sullivan, whose accidental handling of the controls on his first trip lands them in the distant future.

A further accident sees Sarah put into suspended animation within the space Ark along the preserved hundreds of earth survivors that escaped into space. After searching and repairing the systems aboard the Ark the Doctor and Harry manage to revive the main crew. However their leader Noah doesn't take kindly to the travelling strangers. Even less so when he finds out the Doctor is attempting to close down the main power source where an alien creature has taken refuge.

With Sarah revived, the Doctor's investigations have revealed A parasitic space insect called a Wirrn invaded the Ark in space, laid it's eggs and damaged the Ark's revival systems before dying of injuries. But the larvae are now mobile and Noah is infected and is now transforming into a Swarm leader. As the crew start dying one by one a solution must be found to protect the still suspended humans from the rapidly multiplying Wirrn before they reach their adult phase and intend to devour all the humans.

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Episode Broadcast Run Time Viewership (In Millions)
Part One 25-Jan-75 24:58 9.4
Part Two 1-Feb-75 24:49 13.6
Part Three 8-Feb-75 24:05 11.2
Part Four 15-Feb-75 24:37 10.2

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The Ark In Space CAST & CREW


The Doctor:
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan)

Guest Stars:

Kenton Moore - Noah
Wendy Williams - Vira
Richardson Morgan — Rogin
John Gregg — Lycett
Christopher Masters — Libri
Stuart Fell, Nick Hobbs — The Wirrn
Gladys Spencer — High Minister's Voice
Peter Tuddenham - Voices

Production Staff for Serial 4C:

Writer - Robert Holmes, John Lucarotti (uncredited)
Director - Rodney Bennett
Script editor - Robert Holmes
Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe

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The Ark In Space REVIEWS


Ark in Space kicks off a five story travelogue for the new Tardis crew. How effortlessly does the series slide from UNIT comfort to a new era, the start of the gothic period of the series proper with Ark In Space. Hurtling us into a more adult type of series started by events in this story and perfected by Genesis a few episodes later.
Episode one is probably unique in the show. The 3 regulars wander around and explore a giant spaceship and in no way is it dull or boring. The Dr. is alien, manic and intense and funny (the latter he hasn't been for a while) and seals his interpretation of the Dr with his great 'Homo Sapiens' speech. Harry is perfectly well meaning and bumbling, his partnership with Baker is classic from the word go, especially as you get the sense of how the Doctor realises some humans are really stupid. Sarah doesn't do much until later but everything she does is spot on and convincing from being scared to being tough and determined.
The green blob seen for a few seconds in part one scared the willies out of me as a kid, it looks other worldy when seen for a few moments. Maybe not so when it returned for the next two episodes but it still looked good as it was totally different seeing the cast attacked by a giant grub. The Robert Holmes plot and script are tight and great, a 'base under siege' idea but truly horrific about a bunch of space insects who want to use the last of the human race as a food source and incubator supply. The Wirrn are well realized and aside from the green bubble wrap the parasitic elements are really well done and quite frightening as in Noah's case being possessed and slowly transformed into an alien. The sets are great too and uniquely the crew head off on a neat 5 story arc which ends when they return to Earth.
Nothing wrong with this one, except maybe that actor who escaped from the Metebelis 3 school of acting who is in the last 10 minutes of part 2. Luckily the director realized killed him off at the end of part 2 and replaced him with a better actor playing almost the exact same character for the next episode. A classic - the golden era of the show has begun! 9.2/10


With The Ark In Space, it's like a new show entirely! Gone is Grandma Barry and Uncle Tewwance and lets give a big round of applause for producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes!!!! Hinchcliffe was determined to make his mark on the program and by god he did. It looks more polished, the scripts are more adult, the acting is first rate and it all seems so REAL (don't say it, Tim!) Already Tom Baker is fantastic as the Doctor using every ounce of his limitless talents to portray an intense, believable and startlingly charismatic alien being. Sarah already feels like a much better companion; believable, and much more vulnerable. Her scene in the air duct is both scary with the Wirrn and very believable. Also, the scene at the end where she finds out she was conned by the Doctor is very good too. Harry is a real bumbler, idling flicking switches and providing the comic relief and the chauvinistic old-fashioned comments. Guest cast as mostly good too. Wendy Williams is as sterile and clinical as the ark itself but has some nice chinks of humanity creeping through. Kenton Moore does a great job to make us be scared of bubble wrap and Richardson Morgan has a nice dryness about him as Rogin, complaining about transmats and wanting to hear from the union before he finally goes up in smoke.
Its also a cheap story to make (double-banked with Revenge of the Cybermen) and its a set that actually benefits from the Who trademark of over-lit studio sets; how else would an entirely clinical and sterile environment look? They also make the most of the claustrophobic setting with the revived crew being picked off one by one. Full credit to set designer Roger Murray Leach for making it seem a lot bigger than it actually is (he used mirrors in the shots of the cryogenic areas)

Its everything Dr Who should be; tense, scary, played for real, humorous and brilliantly written. This story scared the jesus's outta me as a kid too - much more than Robot. Well done Phil and Bob. Piss off Barry; see you in another seven years when JNT needs a hand. 10/10


OK, The Ark in Space.... this is really where the Hinchcliffe era begins... and what a beginning! The first episode in particular is magnificent... possibly one of the best ever. We're left in the hands of our 3 new regulars (and some green slime) for pretty much the entirety of the episode. We see the resourcefulness of our new Doctor... and his wardrobe! And we also see how being an investigative journalist, can make for the ideal sidekick! She does "scared" really really well - and she really is brilliant doing "dazed and scared" when she's going through getting arked.
The rest of the story is classic science fiction. Alien life force makes it's way through a ship of future bound humans. One human gets infected, turns into an alien, and then leads the alien race in a bid to take over the humans. Simple stuff - and great stuff! The realisation of the transformation though, may not have been that great, but you know what, at the time I didn't even realise it was bubble wrap... it looked real enough to a 10 year old! And the half Wirrn half man thing kind of worked as a kid too... not sure now, but you more than get the idea of what they were trying to do.
The Space Station - although an obvious model - also works really well. I love those walkways - every time I watch this episode they look so familiar... kind of in a TARDIS kind of way. I'm not sure if that makes sense, and maybe I should just delete that sentence... but no, I think I'm trying to say that the setting of this has become like a home. It gets used again in three stories, and that probably helps the familiarity.
Also working for this story are the excellent support cast - in particular Noah and Vira.
Worthy of being called a classic.


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Screen Shots:

The Ark In Space Titles

The Ark In Space ark in orbit

The Ark In Space the Doctor close up

The Ark In Space Harry and Sarah

The Ark In Space larvae

The Ark In Space cryogenic chamber

The Ark In Space Vira and Noah

The Ark In Space Larvae on attack

The Ark In Space doctor shot

The Ark In Space infected by wirrn2

The Ark In Space Sarah

The Ark In Space Noah mutating into wirrn

The Ark In Space Lisset and Rogin

The Ark In Space infected Noah shot

The Ark In Space Doctor hypnotised

The Ark In Space hiding from wirrn

The Ark In Space Harry and Sarah2

The Ark In Space electrocuted wirrn

The Ark In Space Sarah and the Doctor

The Ark In Space the wirrn

The Ark In Space the travellers