Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Mothership Who Reviews: The Ark In Space by Tom J Toaduff

Who Reviews: The Ark in Space

Reviewed by Tom J Toaduff
Broadcast 25th January 1975

Good old classic Who, from the days where people didn’t complain about silly monsters or plotlines. Anyway, this episode features the 4th Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry Sullivan visiting an old Space Station, as they face off against the Wirrn. They meet a few people on board the station, Vira, who is revived from suspended animation, and the Ark’s leader, Lazar, who is given the nickname of Noah. The Doctor tells Vira that the Ark's inhabitants have overslept by several million years, due to the insect visitor that destroyed the control systems. Noah and the visitors clash, and Noah accuses them of murdering a crewmate who has gone missing.

Noah inspects the control room and is infected by an alien which is hiding in the station. The Doctor realises that the alien in the station is the missing crewmate who has also been infected by another alien. Noah slowly gets consumed by the creature, and he says that they should destroy the creatures while they are still in a dormant, pupal stage. It’s up to the Doctor, Sarah, Harry, Vira and Noah to stop the creatures before they all get infected. There are some noticeable similar elements to the film Alien, and its often joked about that Alien is based off (or got most of its ideas) from this episode, which would be pretty cool to think that a British Sci-Fi show could influence one of the greatest and classic films in history.

Anyway, I really like this episode, the tension is high and the episode really stands out to other Doctor Who episodes at the time. The Wirrn are pretty cool creatures, and despite them not having top notch special effects, it’s overlooked because of how well the station is designed, so the production money probably went into that.

The story is well written and gives Baker a lot to do in a short space of time, and with this being Baker’s second story on the show, he pulls off the role of the Doctor fantastically. It’s one of my personal favourite Baker episodes along with City of Death, and is also regarded as one of the best episodes of the show as a whole. I guess the only problem with the episode is the occasional bit of dodgy acting and comical/cheesy death scenes, but like the best of Doctor Who, it's witty, clever and doesn’t take itself seriously, and the special effects and creatures are wonderfully dated.

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