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on 17 April 2016
Could have been so much better.
Several great concepts here: the earth being destroyed and its inhabitants seeking a new home, the consequences of introducing disease to a non -resistant group of people, racism and oppression and a proper use of time travel, but unfortunately the acting and the monsters, as well as some of the design and effects leave a lot to be desired. Dodo is dreadful, so are the Monoids and although the idea of Humans seeking a new home is a good one it doesn't fit with the history of Doctor Who. We already know by this time in the third season that humanity has colonies and the British have been sending people to other planets! So why the necessity for a seven hundred year journey to an unknown world?
But I love that for the first time we see a negative effect of the Doctor's voyages, the consequences of his random travelling and we are left wondering if this has happened before.
The extras on here are okay, the commentary could have done with one more person, but Peter Purves and Michael Imison do well enough and Toby Hadoke is always entertaining. The H.G. Wells feature doesn't go far enough in examining Wells' influence on Doctor Who or indeed mentioning the times his books have been seen in the program, the One Hit Wonder monster documentary also goes nowhere and both seem to be cheap and quick, half thought out fillers though i do like the feature on Riverside Studios, short as it is.
But hurrah for the real animals in the first episode and in among the dodgy actors, a first appearance for the mighty Michael Sheard and the first of many contributions from the prolific Roy Skelton who provides the voices of the Monoids in the last two episodes.
Oh, it could have been so much better with a little more time and money.
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on 2 January 2014
This story is in most places clever and inspired, it is also brilliantly shot and directed with some excellent special effects. The sets are also superb, especially those for the jungle on board The Ark, the use of genuine animals including an elephant improve these sets further.

In common with 1964's 'The Sensorites' there are some interesting moral issues here; the Humans and Monoids catch Dodo's cold and start to die from it because they have no resistance to it. Really this is the Doctor's fault for transporting Dodo to the Ark and putting the humans there in danger. The Monoids revolting and taking control of the Ark is intriguing because they had been treated like slaves by the humans.

The part two cliffhanger of seeing the massive statue of the Monoid is very effective. I also thought the idea of having the last two episodes take place 700 years after the first two was ingenious. That said the second two episodes aren't quite as successful as the first two because there's some very clumsy exposition with Monoids stupidly giving away parts of their plan.

The Monoids look quite daft and the level of cruelty they subject the humans to after they take control erases any empathy the viewer may have had with them.

William Hartnell and Peter Purves are both on fine form, sadly Jackie Lanes is weaker and her accent is obviously Manchester even though Dodo is from London. Despite these niggles 'The Ark' is very entertaining overall.

The special features include 'Alls Wells that ends Wells' a 13 minute feature that explores HG Wells' influence over Doctor Who which is reasonably interesting. 'One hit wonder' is a sub 5 minute feature which discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the Monoids, this too is decent.

The best special feature is 'Riverside stories' a 20 minute feature about Doctor Who's time at Riverside studios. There are interviews with Peter Purves and 'The Ark' director Michael Imison. Even though this is supposed to be about Doctor Who at Riverside most of the time is spent analysing 'The Ark', nonetheless it's very entertaining.

In all this is a very good story and a fine DVD release.
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on 25 November 2013
The money-saving trick in this one was making aliens out of Woolworth's Beatle wigs and Ping Pong balls. I did wonder if the Monoids got invented on a Sunday afternoon, when the designer was halfway down a spliff, but apparently they were invented by Michael Imison, the director, and he certainly doesn't mention a spliff. I think they work really very well.

As does the jungle set in Episode One, complete with lots of live things to look at including an elephant that doesn't disgrace itself like the one on Blue Peter. It's the first thing that really arrests our interest.

The story is intelligently written and well told, and the first two episodes do tell a good tale of a paranoid society and its reaction to the Common Cold - and the resulting deaths, and that truck does good service, and it's nicely acted.

And then the TARDIS returns by accident at the end of the voyage and the Monoids have taken over. Then for the rest of the story, they ill-treat the humans, and scheme against each other, and kill each other, until the invisible Refussians deal with their troublesome bomb by chucking it off the spaceship in one of those moments of deus-ex-machina that speak loudly of a pair of writers (presuming Lesley Scott did contribute to the script) having created a situation that the hero really cannot get out of.

The moral of the story is undoubtedly its strong point, and it's very well played. Invisible monsters always run the risk of seeming an expense-saving cop-out, but Richard Beale does a lovely job of the voice. Michael Sheard and Roy Skelton each do their first Dr Who.

One of the features makes much of the relationship between Dr Who and HG Wells, citing this story as a prime example, and completely ignoring The Unearthly Child, The Daleks and Dalek Invasion of Earth, all of them very clearly Wellsian.
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on 10 May 2012
Having just watched The Ark for the first time I am happy to say I wasn't dissapointed. William Hartnell's Doctor is on great form here as he enters a story which has been inspired by the works of H.G Wells ( The Time Machine being the main source). The Tardis lands on a huge space station complete with a jungle and wildlife, the Doctor with his companions Dodo and Steven find that the station is ruled by the last survivors of a dying earth and a race of servant creatures called Monoids who are on route to a new planet similar to earth with plenty of resources to survive. However it turns out that the Dr's companion Dodo has a dose of the common cold and the inhabitants are not immume and react very badly to the virus. As the story goes on the Dr and co are accused of murder and go about proving their innocence and help find a cure. Halfway through the story their is quite a cool little twist as the Dr reappears 700 years later on the Ark and finds that the Monoids are no longer slaves and now rule the humans.
The Ark is a strong Who addition, the only downfall is the Monoids are a bit silly and don't pose a real danger the way the Daleks or Cybermen do. However this is only a slight nag in what is an imaginative and very enjoyable adventure. If you want to expand your Who collection then why not add this little gem? You might find yourself very entertained!
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on 23 March 2014
Having seen this story a few years ago, I was slightly disappointed with this DVD.
Made when William Hartnell only had a few more months to go before giving up the role of the doctor, the basic story line is quite interesting, but there seems to be something lacking. There are not a lot of bonus features included with this DVD, but as I am trying to have all of the first doctors stories in my collection.
I think that although these stories were made about almost years ago, the effects are quite good. It's funny how stories set in the future now seem rather old fashioned as technology today is more advanced that it is shown in some of these stories. I don't think anyone at the time realised just how quickly technology would advance.
I don't wish to appear negative, this story was quite watchable, but not as good as some of the other first doctor stories available.
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on 14 October 2012
Now I have to admit that I'm not normally a fan of the very early Doctor Who serials; from The Zarbi's vaseline on the camera lens, to The Sensorites' general dullness, they just leave me cold; despite having read and really enjoyed the Target novelisations as a boy - I've always thought that they worked much better in my head! However, having said that, The Time Meddler is a superbly realised story that stands up well today, whilst the serial that started it all back in '63: 'An Unearthly Child', has also dated remarkably well. This story I would say falls somewhere between the two for me; I actually really like The Monoids and their transformation from servile 'Ood-like' beings to haughty overseers is a particularly effective and well-handled one. The story though has very little to it, and the pace is far too conservative. Added to this, Dodo and Stephen make a limp pair of companions, with the former's dodgy Northern accent especially jarring. Finally, the DVD extras are unremarkable, and the whole package feels satisfactory rather than anything special.
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on 7 September 2014
This is not a highly regarded story but I personally enjoy it. It features,

William Hartnell - The 1st Doctor
Peter Purves - Steven Taylor
Jackie Lane - Dodo Chaplet
(It was rated 184 in the First Fifty Years, Doctor Who pol published in 2014)

I enjoyed this story, even if the monsters have got to be one of the most daft Doctor Who creatures! Seriously, who could be scared of a monster which looks like they had their hair cut like the Beatles?! I also think that Dodo is a underrated companion. I personally really like her.
This is an entertaining story!
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on 26 October 2016
I have watched and collected most of William Hartnells DR Who dvd's and this has to be one of the slowest, never really did any thing, so was disappointed with the story, other wise these are a great treat to see my childhood viewing again.
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on 4 March 2018
Just when you thought the story was over (at least that is how it would have appeared in the 60's) it continues. Considering the budget etc. I that the the production was quite good. A good story.
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on 7 February 2014
This would definitely seem to be Dodo at her best, and she and Stephen make a good pairing for Hartnell's doctor here. The story is very cleverly done, and does not feel like it is dragging at all, despite its length. The two arcs in The Ark are handled well and the conclusion is satisfying. Altogether, a very very pleasant surprise!
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