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Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (Story 76)

4.6 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Ark in Space, The (Episode 76) (DVD)

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.

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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

Special 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 streamAudio 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 streamAudio 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 streamAudio 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 streamAudio 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

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: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FPC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,557 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (Story 76)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 14, 2002
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
"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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Format: DVD
At the end of the Doctor's adventure in "Robot" (Tom Baker's 1st serial as the Doctor), the Doctor invites UNIT medical officer Harry Sullivan inside the TARDIS. At the beginning of "The Ark in Space" we see the result. The Doctor had meant to impress Harry with "a short hop to the moon", but Harry messed with the TARDIS Helmic regulator. So instead of the moon, the Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith find themselves on Nerva, an apparently deactivated space station orbiting Earth. The Doctor repairs the sabotaged life support system. Unfortunately that also reactivates the automatic guard, ceiling mounted lasers which attack any biological form. In a favorite sequence, the Doctor and Harry cleverly fool the guard, sacrificing Harry's shoes in the process. "I think we've done it Harry. Pity about the scarf."

To the Doctor's delight, they realize that Nerva is an ark. It has frozen animals and plants, as well as a wall of drawers containing microfilm with "the entire body of human thought". Then they find the cryogenically frozen humans, and the first, a female named Libri, awakes. She tells them that the ark was prepared 5,000 years before to repopulate earth after giant solar flares killed all life.

Unfortunately for Nerva's occupants, the Doctor has to tell Libri that "A long time ago, when you were dormant, you had a visitor." A giant insect-like creature has been found dead in a closet and something is making slime trails through the ship. Libri wakes two technicians, and Noah, the Commander. Noah is disgusted to find three regressives on board. "Our genetic pool has been balanced, cross-matched.... Three random units can cancel our survival."

The puzzles mount.
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