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Doctor Who: The Ark (Story 23)

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

New to DVD! Digitally remastered Doctor Who classics The Ark! The TARDIS arrives some ten million years in the future on a giant spaceship carrying all the Earth's surviving plant, animal and human life (much of it miniaturised and in suspended animation) on a 700 year voyage to a new home on the planet Refusis II. Dodo is suffering from a cold - an unknown affliction in this era - and as the human Guardians of the ship and their servant race the Monoids have no resistance, a plague breaks out. The Guardians place the travellers on trial and Steven is forced to defend them against allegations that they spread the disease deliberately. Fortunately, the Doctor finds a cure. The TARDIS leaves the spaceship, which Dodo has nicknamed the Ark, only to arrive back there as it is approaching the end of its voyage. Partly as a result of the earlier plague, the Monoids have now grown strong and enslaved the humans

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Production Notes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: William Hartnell, Peter Purves, Jackie Lane
    • Directors: Michael Imison
    • Writers: Paul Erickson, Lesley Scott
    • Producers: John Wiles
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: March 8, 2011
    • Run Time: 97 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00272NJ7U
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,800 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    Even if The Ark doesn't quite fulfil its promise of delivering on the deeper themes at work, it's still entertaining, and what's more, is one of the best realised stories of the third season. Of course, this tale would be outstripped by its more popular stablemate "The Ark In Space", with its similar ideas of Earthlings escaping disaster. But despite this, The Ark is a clever little tale that manages to be boosted by its presentation and (for the time) swanky production values.

    1 disc, 97 minutes, 4 episodes, full frame video, English mono audio, English subtitles, $24.98 SRP

    Extras:
    Audio Commentary with Peter Purves ("Steven") and Michael Imison (director)

    "All's Wells That Ends Wells" - A feature on the influence of writer H.G. Wells on the series

    "One Hit Wonder" - On what makes a successful monster

    "Riverside Story" - Touring old production haunt Riverside Studios

    Photo Gallery

    PDF materials: Radio Times Listings

    Production Notes Subtitle Option
    Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    "The Ark" was a workmanlike production from the middle of William Hartnell's third season as the Doctor, perhaps a bit more expansive than most because it was taped at the more spacious Riverside Studios instead of cramped Lime Grove, where monsters or aliens were usually attacking the Doctor in isolated space stations and similarly limited locales.

    The Doctor, Steven and Dodo land in what appears to be a jungle habitat for a London zoo but is actually part of a spaceship from 10 million years in the future carrying the human race, their slaves the Monoids, and Earth's animals to a new home planet, Refusis II, after Earth's destruction. The journey will take 700 years.

    Dodo infects the ship's passengers with the common cold, unleashing a deadly plague that threatens to wipe out the humans as well as the Monoids. Once the Doctor narrowly resolves this crisis, he and his companions leave the Ark only to find the TARDIS has returned them to the same ship hundreds of years later. Now the once-docile Monoids have turned the tables, enslaving Earth's humans just as they are about to colonize Refusis.

    The two-part nature of the story is clever enough, but the ludicrous design of the Monoids prevents them from posing any credible threat to the humans: picture an actor in a full-length rubber suit that binds the legs together like Morticia's in The Addams Family, with an oversized Beatles wig on his head that covers everything but his mouth, which contains a ping-pong ball painted to look like an eyeball. (Meanwhile, because the actor's mouth is full of eyeball, his lines have to be spoken by another actor off-camera.)

    This DVD is still worth a look, though, for its Special Features, which include "All's Wells That Ends Wells," a brief documentary tracing H.G. Wells' influence on Doctor Who and this story in particular, and "Riverside Story," a tour of Riverside Studios, with Peter Purves ("Steven") and British television critic Matthew Sweet.
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    The BBC is atoning for past sins (destroying so many Doctor Who episodes) by providing first-rate restorations of those surviving. The Ark looks good and includes a multitude of special features which illuminate the history and the making of the early Hartnell episodes. Highly recommended.
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    By A Customer on May 2, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    The idea of having this story take place over 700 years (or whatever it was) was a clever idea. It really demonstrated how much the Doctor interferes. (The Valeyard should have used this story for his evidence against the Doctor!)
    I really liked the invisible people as well. It was entertaining, witty, and a wonderful buy.
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I found this to be a very intriguing way to handle a story. Basically it is done in such a way that it is two stories with the first two episodes being one story and the last two episodes taking place 700 years later.

    Granted the Monoids were the typical poorly costumed monsters common in Doctor Who and the less said about the invisible Refusians the better but the strong theme of the story allows it to come off without problem. The story itself is kind of like the Planet of the Apes meet H.G. Wells.

    The show itself could have been a disaster, especially the last episode as the director was informed that his contract was not being renewed with the BBC but Micheal Imison carried on and didn't let that bad news compromise his work in the final episode.

    This is a good story and one you should see,
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    This is my favorite story in the William Hartnell Era! Firstly, because I believe planet-like spaceships do exist and that they are befitting a level of sophistication well beyond our present technology. Secondly, because I love the idea of the TARDIS mingling with the Terran humans at the beginning of their journey and then later at the end of their journey 700 years later en route to Refusis II and that this spaceship contains all the essential fauna and flora of their departed planet Earth as well as surviving humans from Earth. One may easily imagine what this kind of time-travelling may bring and indeed there were some major changes incurred between the Terran humans and the Monoids during this multicentinary lapse of time!

    I do expect that in 10,000,000.00 AD. we from this planet will be very different from the future humans as portrayed in this story! We have various flaws such as poor peripheral vision, poor healing ability from an injury, poor teeth and perhaps even more importantly a poor preliminary psychic judgement of other advanced sentients. All this initial skepticism on the part of the Terran pioneers of the Ark toward Dr. Who & his companions should never have initially occurred and is the sign of a lowly race, not an advanced one, however, I do like the shape of the story so I overlook some technical imperfections in the making of it and I love the ending with the help of the existing Refusians who remind me of ultraterrestrials which are the highest form of life we Terran humans are capable of perceiving and note that in this story it was mentioned that they themselves could not even see each other, only sense each others presence!
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