Doctor Who - The Ark In Space  [DVD] 
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Another adventure for everyone's favourite Time Lord. The Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah and Harry land on space station Nerva, where the chosen few of the human race are in suspended animation, awaiting the call to revive. However, an insectoid alien life form known as the Wirrn has infiltrated the Ark and cut through the humans' alarm clock. The Wirrn now intend to use the sleepers as the hosts for their hatchings and claim the Earth as their own.
Tom Baker's second outing as the renegade Time Lord is a solid entry in the Doctor Who saga. Fan favourite Robert Holmes penned "The Ark in Space", which places the Doctor and his companions Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry (Ian Marter) on a seemingly deserted space station many years in the future. Station Nerva is not as empty as it appears, though, since on board are the cryogenically preserved survivors of Earth's destruction, as well as an insect-like alien race, the Wirrin, determined to use the humans--and the Doctor--as hosts to grow their monstrous larvae. Holmes' well-paced script (which, like Alien, bears a resemblance to the AE van Vogt story "Black Destroyer") allows Baker to flesh out his well-loved take on the Doctor, as well as considerable suspense.
On the DVD: "The Ark in Space" DVD's obvious highlight is an audio commentary track featuring Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, and producer Phillip Hinchcliffe. Though Baker's contributions to the track are sporadic, his participation is valuable nonetheless, considering that his involvement with the series since his 1981 departure has been infrequent at best. The full-frame mono presentation also includes two interviews, one with Baker on the set of another episode in 1975 and the other with designer Roger Murray Leach, who discusses his long involvement with the series. Also included is the episode's BBC1 trailer, an unused title sequence, new CGI special effects produced by the BBC's visual effects department and an optional information track, which provides running background information and trivia that should prove valuable for series completists. A trio of Easter eggs reveal Baker's typically eclectic promotions for the Doctor Who exhibition in Blackpool. --Paul Gaita, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Hinchcliffe was lucky not only to have the experienced writer and script editor Robert Holmes on hand, but also he had the considerable talents of incoming Doctor, Tom Baker. The Ark in Space was Baker's second transmitted story and the third in production order, but given his assured performance you could be mistaken for assuming he'd been in the part for years.
The central concept of the story is deeply disturbing - a group of parasitic aliens called the Wirrn infiltrate the Space Ark where the last members of the human race are in deep hibernation and they proceed to lay their eggs in the helpless humans. This allows the Wirrn to consume their hosts, thereby inheriting the knowledge of their helpless victim.
Whilst the concepts are horrifying, some of the realisations are maybe less so. There's no getting around it, but when Noah is infected by the Wirrn, the initial possession looks uncomfortably like his arm is covered in green bubble wrap, for obvious reasons. But by the time this happens you should have already bought into the concept of the story and its ideas. If not, then it's probably best to switch off DVD and do something else.
As I've said, Tom Baker is never less than totally mesmerising. The relatively small cast allows Baker substantial screen time and Robert Holmes' script gives him plenty of good material to work with. He is ably supported by Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter as Sarah and Harry.Read more ›
Amazon have bundled together reviews of all versions of `The Ark in Space'; this reviews the 2013 Special Edition with the new extras. If this story is new to you, then it's one you really must see; everything that makes the Tom Baker years so popular is right here, in only his second broadcast story. If you already have the earlier release, then the picture quality of this Special Edition is superb - the all-studio video production is incredibly crisp, bright and colourful. I think it's the best quality I've seen to date and it looks brilliant when upscaled on an HD TV. The new DVD extras are enjoyable too, including an excellent `making of' feature.
The DVD sleeve notes say firmly that this story is a classic - and they're right. New producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor (and here also the writer) Robert Holmes lifted the series back out among the stars, to the home of many First and Second Doctor adventures. Robert Holmes only had a few weeks to fill an unexpected gap in the production schedules, after other scripts were thought impractical, but the results are excellent with a very strong story and great writing.
The space-station setting is starkly lit and gleaming white for the most part, but with moments of gloom and shadow appropriate for what might be called the first `Gothic' story. It began this most famous era with a simple but horrific idea.Read more ›
Tom Baker's second story in the role (although The Sontaran Experiment was filmed first) is vintage Who. Scripted by prolific Who writer Robert Holmes, The Ark in Space is one of those entirely studio-bound stories with shonky model work and a rubber monster. As such, the futuristic setting looks pretty dated, but as the story relies as much on character work as it does on conventional sci-fi conceits, it doesn't really matter.
Even at this early stage, the Fourth Doctor's character is becoming well-established, complete with Tom Baker's trademark toothy grins and effective put-downs, and Ian Marter is very proper and British as over-his-head Naval medic Harry Sullivan. Only Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith gets a poor treatment here, made to act even more terrified and hopeless than usual (not to mention spending half of the first two episodes in cryogenic sleep).
The small guest cast is well performed, particularly Wendy Williams' Vira, whose certainty of and adherance to the established rules gradually unravels as the story continues. Kenton Moore as Noah and Richardson Morgan as Rogin are decent if more forgettable characters, with Noah's struggle against possession by the Wirrn being reasonably well-played.
Despite the obvious use of bubble wrap in the construction of the Wirrn larvae, The Ark in Space holds together well as a story. I always prefer my Who when it goes on location, but with a decent script a limited set budget can be overcome; maybe, however, the lighting could have been more moody. The model footage is looking old, but as a feature of the DVD one can enable a series of replacement CGI footage that looks pretty good.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I brought this for my boyfriend who is a big Dr Who fan! He's happy with it!Published 3 months ago by kim jackson
Another brilliant episode from Tom Baker years of Doctor Who. It is now in the hubby and boys collection.Published 3 months ago by lorraine
good picture, just wish there were more that could be put on Blu RayPublished 3 months ago by D. A. Sinclair
This is the one story that really did scare the hell out of me, as an eight year old, watching it on its first broadcast back in 1975. Read morePublished 9 months ago by tazbrindle