The Ark: Doctor Who: Season 3









The next destination for the Doctor, Steven and newly acquired companion Dodo Chaplet is on a space ark in the distant future carrying the last of humanity along with flora and fauna from the Earth leaving behind the doomed planet. The humans servants are the monoids, aliens whose own planet has been destroyed. The Ark has a seven hundred year journey to a new habitable planet.

Dodo spreads a cold amongst the community killing humans and monoids alike who have no immunity. The travellers are put on trial for their lives for endangering the conformist community bu the ailing Commander spares their lives to allow them to find a cure in the ship's laboratory. The Doctor succeeds in curing the ailment and they can leave.

However the TARDIS departs only to land seven hundred years later back on the Ark where the Monoids are now in control having usurped the humans when they were weakened by a second wave of the cold virus. The monoids want the new planet they have arrived at for themselves and Steven attempts to incite revolt among the humans while the Doctor and others explore the planet.

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Episode Broadcast Run Time Viewership (In Millions)
Episode One: The Steel Sky 5-Mar-66 24:00 5.5
Episode Two: The Plague 12-Mar-66 25:00 6.9
Episode Three: The Return 19-Mar-66 24:19 6.2
Episode Four: The Bomb 26-Mar-66 24:37 7.3

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The Doctor:
William Hartnell (First Doctor)

Peter Purves (Stephen Taylor)
Jackie Lane (Dodo Chaplet)

Guest Stars:
Eric Elliott — Commander
Inigo Jackson — Zentos
Roy Spencer — Manyak
Michael Sheard — Rhos
Kate Newman — Mellium
Ian Frost — Baccu
Stephanie Heesom, Paul Greenhalgh — Guardians
Edmund Coulter, Frank George, Ralph Carrigan, John Caesar — Monoids
Roy Skelton, John Halstead — Monoid Voices
Terrence Woodfield — Maharis
Brian Wright — Dassuk
Eileen Helsby — Venussa
Terence Bayler — Yendom
Richard Beale — Refusian Voice

Production Staff for Serial X:
Writers - Paul Erickson & Lesley Scott
Director - Michael Imison
Script editor - Gerry Davis
Producer - John Wiles bottom

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The Ark, the first few minutes of part 1 seemed so slow, I blacked out and nearly didn't have the courage to try again. Maybe it was to do with the aliens that all had Beatle haircuts or something also wasn't the series being produced by someone else now? Even Verity had moved on.

While the concept was original, a giant space ark and the premise was good because there's two 2 part stories separated by 200 years and the results of what the Tardis crew did in the first one influence the setting of the second one. But it took seven attempts over a week to get through this one - 7!!! Geeez anything produced by John Wiles was crap and extremely hard to get into.

Maybe it was the execution or maybe feeling sick that didn't help but was so un-gripped by this story, it just kept sending me to sleep. Nice to see a Dodo Chaplet story intact but she ain't no Barbara, Sara Kingdom or even Susan, she's the most under developed and colourless character since before Mel and the story revolves around her! She just appeared out of nowhere in the last 5 minutes of the previous story and is now running the narrative!

Even Hartnell's line stumbles weren't amusing in this one. Stephen wasn't bad though. But it was just dull, and the waddling rubber suits with one eye and Beatles haircuts - the monoids, were not slightly believable, a good design attempt just not executed well. Maybe it's slightly cruel because the Ark sets were really good and the attempt to create different societies after 200 years on the same space ark were nice, they even hired an elephant to wander round the set and make it believable there were two of every Earth species. It lacked pace but then most pre 1967 Who's did. So sorta get why Paul Erikson only wrote for the series once and think even the director was only used once. Hmmmm, 4/10


Don't mind this harmless little story. It sets the scene for various spaceship-bound stories to come; "Wheel in Space", "ark in Space" "Nightmare of Eden", "Four To Doomsday" etc. The sets are quite innovative here and actually look a lot bigger than they actually are, the jungle complete with elephant, reptiles, birds and naked women (Sorry Goldby, that scene came in AFTER you switched off). The Monoids with their Beatlesque haircut and one eye are actually quite scary and would no doubt have given the kiddies a bit of a shock. The story itself is also quite innovative to the point where you wonder if the writer had run out of ideas by the end of episode 2, then decided to have a crack at rewriting it from scratch again which provided the narrative for episodes 3 and 4.

Speaking of which; the cliffhanger for episode 2 where the statue is completed showing a Monoid head on top of a human body is probably one of the best cliffhangers the series has had for yonks. Sadly, its the human characters that let the story down. All are carved from standard stock; noble but old fashioned captain, rebellious second in command, spunky female who is the daughter of the captain, and some other guy who is the "voice of reason". If you think these characters are dull, try the humans in episodes 3 and 4!! They are even more dull and serve no purpose than topping up the equity card. Oh, and Dodo the Dildo is introduced here (sort of). God she's shite.6 outta 10. Big concepts and ideas. Idiot humans.


On paper it's probably one of the least memorable of the series - but as it turns out, it's the second best episode that we have left of the series! It's an interesting story as when it all seems to be resolved, it all starts again! I guess there are some similarities between this and "The End of the World" - with a ship escaping earth just before it's about to come to it's natural end… thankfully Cassandra wasn't on board here though! The first two parts dealing with the effects of Dodo's cold are kind of fun and work well… but the second two parts were a bit all over the shop… something to do with an invisible alien from the planet they're going to settle saving the day or something… the second half really felt like it was tacked on…


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Screen Shots:

The Ark Stephen Dodo the Dr

The Ark jungle on the Ark

The Ark Stephen and Dodo

The Ark the common cold strikes

The Ark Doctor indignant

The Ark monoids bury their dead

The Ark Stephen on trial

The Ark sentenced to exile

The Ark disintegrated

The Ark Doctor helped by Monoid

The Ark monoid helps dying elephant

The Ark searching for a cure

The Ark monoid statue

The Ark trouble in kitchen

The Ark Stephen at gunpoint

The Ark monoid leader

The Ark heading to Refusis

The Ark Monoids prepare

The Ark the threat is ended