Doctor Who: Colony in Space
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Doctor Who: Colony in Space
The Time Lords discover that the Master has stolen their secret file on the Doomsday Weapon and decide to send the Doctor and Jo on to retrieve it for them. The Doctor finds himself on an alien planet in the middle of a territorial dispute between peaceful colonists and the Interplanetary Mining Corporation. Watch out for Roy from Eastenders.]]>
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Top customer reviews
All in all it is a pretty decent six part story, and the Third Doctor gets off earth for the first time. The alien planet turns out to essentially be filmed in a muddy clay quarry, but the character-driven story manages to overcome the issues with the location. This single DVD is pretty light on extras, essentially the main feature is a single making-of segment. Everything else is essentially very short things like cut scenes, DVD materials, etc.
The "Making Of" is average, and the "Cutting Floor" thirteen minute piece is visual only. As for the story itself - I must say I enjoyed Bernard Kay's performance as Cadwell as well a couple other supporting cast members, and there are some nice story touches and deep, even philosophical, sub-themes, an aspect that I always loved most yet not all that common. Certainly a worthy buy and fun adventure.
The Master, who escaped with his TARDIS fully operational at the close of the previous adventure, "The Claws of Axos," steals the Time Lords' secret file on the Doomsday Weapon, so the Time Lords shanghai the Doctor and Jo to the planet Uxarieus to stop the Master from seizing control of the device. So much time had passed since the Doctor last needed the TARDIS (almost two years) that the production crew had forgotten how it was supposed to work: when it takes off for Uxarieus with the Doctor and Jo inside, it simply blinks out of frame rather than making its usual slow dissolve.
On Uxarieus, colonists with a rightful claim to settle the planet struggle to eke out a meager existence while representatives of the Interplanetary Mining Corporation secretly sabotage their work in hopes of exploiting the planet's rich duralineum deposits. Meanwhile, the colonists' leader, Ashe (marking the return of John Ringham, a veteran character actor who had appeared previously on Doctor Who in "The Smugglers" and "The Aztecs"), is trying to keep peace with reptilelike humanoids that live in the "Primitive City" beneath the planet's surface.
Actually, the city isn't "primitive" at all but the remains of a once advanced civilization that slipped into decline after building the Doomsday Weapon. The Master soon arrives posing as the Adjudicator assigned by Earth to resolve the colonists and miners' dispute. Determined to find out what the Master is really up to, the Doctor has to play it cool: the Master has credentials (faked but credible) while he has none.
"Colony in Space" gave veteran script writer Malcolm Hulke ample room to explore weighty political issues of particular interest at the outset of the 1970s: people vs. corporations, and the corrupting effects of advanced weapons systems capable of destroying planets. For all its potential, though, the production never quite breaks out of the creative constraints placed on it by the BBC.
As usual, exterior shooting (which required explosives) took place in a quarry: this time, the china clay pits of St. Austell in Cornwall. Heavy rains and bitter cold turned fight scenes into mud wrestling matches, and the actors, often scantily clad, were miserable between takes. To help the miners get around the forbidding landscape, the production was able to borrow two Haflinger 4x4 flatbed trucks on condition that they be returned undamaged. In one scene, one of the trucks is overturned by a giant boulder rolling down a hillside. In the final shot, viewers never see the rock actually hit the truck (which means, with cutting, the effect could have been faked), but the styrofoam boulder (filled with stage weights) made an enormous dent in the truck's side requiring costly repairs.
Set designs for the interior shots inside the Primitive City, for example, are uniformly serviceable, but the costume designs for the Uxarieusans are execrable, seriously detracting from the story. (The mask for the Guardian is so bad I couldn't tell whether the part was played by an actor or a puppet.) The customary making-of documentary in the Special Features menu focuses on the work of first-time director Michael Briant, and therefore doesn't explain the reasons for the production's lackluster design.
One disk containing six episodes and special features.
Special Features include.
IMC Needs You!~~ Starts with a Cartoon about joining the IMC. (Worth viewing just for that) Continues to explain the making of the Colony In Space.
From The Cutting Room Floor~~ Several surviving cans of 8mm film show how the scenes were shot. Semi-cool to watch.
Info Text~~ Always my favorite the little factoids are extremely interesting
PDF Materials ~~ On a computer you can view Radio Times Listings
Coming Soon ~~ The Unit box. Looks like a collection of UNIT stories