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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 (122 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter
  • Directors: Rodney Bennett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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 (122 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FPC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,109 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 38 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 40 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 20 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 14 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 Good stories, good characters
The Tom Baker era is always a pleasure to watch! Good stories, good characters. Sometimes, not having a large budget or flashy special effects is a good thing.
Published 2 months ago by futurefan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
perfect item.
Published 2 months ago by leonard diaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Like going back in time.
Published 2 months ago by FREDERICK MILLION SR.
5.0 out of 5 stars best dr who
tom baker is the best doctor who. don't get me wrong, i like some of the newer guys; david tenent, matt smith, but baker is who they seem to imitate the most. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth J
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
Ok Tom Backer story for Doctor Who episodes worth purchasing through amazon if you are a Tom Baker Doctor fan.
Published 3 months ago by Edward Kirven
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Early Baker Piece
This twelfth season serial works splendidly. Parts two and three are necessary parts of the serial that provide set up and back story, as well as action, but it's the first and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT DOCTOR WHO DVD
Published 3 months ago by oscar
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tom Baker Era Favorite
A freshly regenerated 4th Doctor heads a great cast. Elisabeth Sladen shines as Sarah Jane Smith, playing off the comic bumblings of Ian Marter in the role of Dr. Harry Sullivan. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sea Laughing
3.0 out of 5 stars Visit Space Station Nerva But bring a very big can of Raid
Tom Baker's outing as The Doctor's 4th incarnation has him and his companions trapped on a space station with bug-like aliens and absolutely no Ellen Ripley.A worthy inclusion. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alan Giorgio
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeking the "Best Of" Early Dr. Who
When I was nine or ten years old, I had this tiny 6 inch tv set into a clock/radio. Back in the early 80s, this was the lap of childhood luxury. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tinfoot
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