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Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (Story 76) (2002)

Tom Baker , Elisabeth Sladen , Rodney Bennett  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (Story 76) + Doctor Who: The Sontaran Experiment (Story 77) + Doctor Who: Robot (Story 75)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter
  • Directors: Rodney Bennett
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2002
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FPC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,638 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (Story 76)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Unused model footage
  • Pop-up production notes
  • Photo gallery
  • Interviews with Tom Baker and designer Roger Murray-Leach
  • New CGI model footage and 3-D Ark schematic
  • Easter eggs

Editorial Reviews

Tom Baker's second outing as the renegade Time Lord is a solid entry in the venerable British science fiction series' history, and its overall quality is well-matched by the wealth of supplemental material on the DVD. Fan favorite 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; onboard are the cryogenically preserved survivors of Earth's destruction, as well as an insectlike alien race, the Wirrin, which are determined to use the humans--and the Doctor--as hosts to grow their monstrous larvae. Holmes's well-paced script (which, like Alien, bears a resemblance to the A.E. van Vogt story "Black Destroyer") allows Baker to flesh out his well-loved take on the Doctor, as well as considerable suspense. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah accidentally land on a space wheel where survivors from Earth lie in cryogenic suspension waiting to begin a new life.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:by actors Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen and producer Philip Hinchcliffe
Interviews:with designer Robert Murray-Leach. Archival interview with Tom Baker
Other:New CGI model footage and 3D Ark schematic
Production Notes:Optional caption stream

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who's "Alien" August 14, 2002
By A Customer
Tom Baker was introduced to BBC viewers as the fourth Doctor Who on New Year's Eve 1974 with a story made under the auspices of the production team responsible for all of his predecessor's stories. The Ark in Space, broadcast in January and February 1975 was the second of his stories broadcast, the first under the production of Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes, and the change in direction is apparent from the word go! A precursor to Alien by almost four years, this story deals with the Doctor and his two companions, Sarah-Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan, and their fight against an insect like parasite, the wirrn, in a battle to save humanity. Set many centuries in the future, the Earth has been damaged by solar flares and has been abandoned, with humanity cast into space in vast arks where they are in suspended animation, waiting to return to Earth. Unfortunately, the wirrn have invaded the ark, and are consuming the humans, including their leader Noah, as they take over the ship. The theme of the story, the design of the sets and the direction, make a very stark contrast to earlier Who, and vastly increased ratings followed hand in hand. Already available for many years on VHS, the story has now been remastered and some bonus features added. New model shots have been filmed using the latest technology, and added to the adventure, although the original footage is available too. The soundtrack features both Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen, the first time they've worked together on the show since 1976, and reunites them with producer Hinchcliffe. Read more ›
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't recall a single thing about it, really!" August 25, 2002
"The Ark in Space" is one of those stories I watched at age 11, only a couple of months after discovering "Doctor Who" on PBS. It instantly became one of my favorites, and remained so even after I'd seen the other 26 years' worth of stories. What makes "Ark" a great "Doctor Who" story is the list of usual suspects: small cast, claustrophobic setting, some moments of real horror (1974 special-effects style) as the Ark commander is turned into a 6-foot-tall fiberglass wasp, after becoming gradually encased in green bubble-wrap. And, of course, Tom Baker's larger-than-life performance as the Doctor.
The "Doctor Who" DVD releases have been of uniformly high quality. Each episode comes with a pop-up track of subtitled production notes, and an audio commentary by the cast and crew. The "Ark" production notes include details on the original script for the story, and memorably inform us that bubble wrap was not as common in 1974 as it is today! The commentary track is one of the better ones: Elisabeth Sladen, who played companion Sarah Jane, has terrific recall and some intriguing insights into the original production that I hadn't read or heard elsewhere. Series producer Philip Hinchcliffe supplies enough inside information into the sets, lighting, and script editing process to be informative without ever getting stuffy -- and his recall is excellent, too.
The star of the commentary track is, naturally, Tom Baker. Tom's involvement with DW since leaving the role has been infrequent and bizarre. His contribution to the track involves frightening barks of laughter at lingering shots of the male actors' physique, or double entendres in the script (intentional or otherwise).
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
A great segment from TV's longest running sci-fi series. Due to lack of budget these episodes of Tom Baker's second story have the typical cheesy effects and limited set designs, however the tight script and fascinating premise will keep any true sci-fi fan riveted. Note how this 1974 TV show had similar aspects to 1979's ALIEN movie by Ridley Scott (Insects in space that germinate in the human form aboard a craft of cryogenic sleepers resulting in the aliens being destroyed aboard an escape craft). Coincidence? Anyway you slice it, the gorey deaths, cool rubbery aliens, cliff hangers, snazzy dialogue and glimpses of future cultures keep the eyes watching and the mind whirling. This is a must for any Doctor Who fan's collection.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warm Romanticism vs. cold and logical Positivism January 29, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
"Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenseless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine, and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable." So says the Doctor when he notices the rows of humans in suspended animation aboard the title vehicle, an example of the normal Positivist stance sci-fi takes.
The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry land on Space Station Nerva, which houses hundreds of humans in suspended animation. Apparently, solar flares caused millions of Earth people to hide underground while a percentage of them was sent to Nerva, wake up after a few thousand years after the Earth cooled off, and resettle it.
Trouble is, the humans overslept by a couple thousand years, and during that time, they had a visitor, which Harry discovers--a green giant locust-like alien. The crucial members of the crew, Vira, first medtech, and Noah, the ark's Prime Unit, are awoken, and prepare to resucitate the others.
Noah is then attacked by an alien, and before long, his body begins to metamorphose into that of a Wirrn. His transformation is mental as well as physical, yet he constantly struggles to maintain his humanity as he's gradually absorbed into the Wirrn hivemind.
The concept of aliens using men for endoparasitism predates Alien by a good five years. And look at the title of the story and at Noah's name. The biblical connotations are obvious, as the mission is to repopulate an Earth destroyed by a catastrophe.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Hear Comes the Doctor. I just like watching the show on how he and his companions get out of trouble and help others in need
Published 20 days ago by william andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars As if you didn't know...
This is CLASSIC classic Doctor Who. If you havent seen any of the vintage stuff, this is kinda the best of the best. Tom Baker really is the good doctor!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars It's still the best sci fi made
The old Dr. Who's with their low budget effects and all are still some of the most watchable shows out there. Please get some Dalek episodes.
Published 2 months ago by Hahn
2.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a lot of questions not answered
There was some good moments but so many questions spoiler alert at the ending the dr leaves a girl and does not show if he ever saved her
Published 3 months ago by Brian Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!
Love Tom Baker!! You just can't beat classic Doctor Who for good, campy, low budget special effects fun! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Krista Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Baker
Another exciting episode of Doctor Who with Tom Baker. Keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for more.
Published 3 months ago by Patti Gelb
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of Mayhem
A usual solid performance by Baker. The effects were cheesy but based on the budget they BBC offered, a fun tale through the 4 episodes. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David M. Elkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great send-of for Matt Smith
All the fun we've come to expect from the 11th doctor! Matt's our favorite, so we're sad to see him go, but we're looking forward to finding out what Capaldi can bring to the mix.
Published 3 months ago by Kimberly A. Strong
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ark In Space
This dvd was one of three bought for a Christmas gift. My son watched this Dr. Who about thirty years ago. We were very pleased with the quality of the dvd. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lois Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful blast from the past.
A wonderful episode of classic Doctor Who. Though cheap, the DVD was in excellent condition. The only thing that brought it down from a 5/5 was that I had been hoping for the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marcus Ian Hicks
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