The Ark

ark 2

“That the nature of man, even in this day and age, hasn’t altered at all. You still fear the unknown like everyone else before you.” Steven
5th – 26th March 1966

The Time Space Visualiser

New Who for me, and a complete story! New companion too. Dodo. We have lost Katerina, Sara and Anne to be replaced by Dodo who can’t make up her mind where her accent is from, and she has changed her outfit and is now wearing a pair of comedy pyjamas. Suddenly Vicki seems like the best companion ever. I really feel they could have kept her on until Polly. The shenanigans of the last few stories prompted a little research and I found out that Maureen O’Brian was not happy with the role so they wrote her out. She wasn’t really expecting to go when she did, which explains the rather abrupt farewell (or lack thereof) in the Myth Makers. Anyway, I will try to be nice. She is around for the next 20 episodes.

The Monoids’ first close up is slightly alarming with what looks like a mouth opening around an eyeball. Great design, what a shame they speak via rubbish hand signals and have bad hair. I guess they are telepathic. Oh my word it is an actual elephant! The Doctor echoes the viewer’s thoughts by asking Dodo what on Earth she is wearing! ‘Have you been footling around in my wardrobe?’ That isn’t one, but it should be! Then he tells her off about her use of the English Language. ‘Most irritating.’ Great stuff!

So here we are in the 57th segment of time, ten million years in the future in an Ark driving around in little factory trucks. Very futuristic! What is ahead of its time though is having a guy at the side of the stage doing sign language. Great wrap up to episode two though with the story looking finished and then the surprise return to an empty Ark with the Monoid’s statue.

The Monoids have taken over and now they can talk. Like Hartley the Hare off of Pipkins. (Although It is actual Zippy, I later discover.) I am not sure why they have such a chip on their shoulder about being secondary beings. They weren’t treated that badly. Now they can talk holding on to their little Jack Lemon style mikes I can’t help but be reminded of the Sensorites. Especially as some of them have pot bellies.  The landing pod design is great. What a wonderful door.

The Refusions are invisible or cloaked. Again a great effect when one of them sits down in the pod. I would have loved that scene as a kid. It reminds me of the invisible man, and Michael Bentine. A great idea by the Monoids to get them angry is to throw a few vases around. Are they the campest villains yet?

It is a bit haphazard at times and the writing is a bit clunky. The Doctor is sidelined a little too much and Dodo is, well, just Dodo. The story does grow on me though and I like how they structured the first half. It is a shame the second half loses its way a bit and the new characters, apart from that one that looks like she wants to boff Steven, are a bit rubbish. The Monoids, also were better before they could talk.

Notable Firsts

This is the first time the Doctor and his companions witness the end of the Earth. Feels different this time!

The first of many appearances by Michael Sheard who also appears with Doctors 3, 4, 5 and 7. Didn’t spot him till the credits rolled though!

‘Excellent, One.’

Almost ‘Excellent, leader!’ I think the Monoids are the first enemies to use this villainous superlative.

As mentioned earlier, Roy Skelton (legend) appears in the first of his 50 Doctor Who episodes. Although technically he never actually appears.

I am not sure about this, but think this may well be the first use of CSO in Doctor Who. Maybe it was used for the image of Bret Vyon in Master Plan but of course that was a recon. It is certainly the first I have seen. I used to love CSO and thought it was magical. It is probably not CSO as it is not colour, but must be a similar technique.

Cliche Counter

The angry mob. At the first trial they are very passive but by the trial of the TARDIS crew they are very roused and shout all manner of angry heckles! Pass them the flaming torches.

The Refusions of Refusis. Why do so many alien species share the name of their planet? Mechanoids from Mechanus, Aridians from Aridius, what next? The Telosions from Telos?

The Cliche Busters

This story breaks with tradition in two ways. The TARDIS usually arrives and things start going wrong with the crew being wrongly suspected. In this case, the TARDIS crew do not just happen to be around when things start going wrong they actually cause the problem and the accusations in this story are founded.

Insert the Device

The minifier. ‘Prepare the minifier!’

This whole scene is to establish some plot points. Y shaped valves aside, why would you choose miniaturisation over expulsion we ask ourselves.  Secondly, seven hundred years. Where does he go in that time? And what will happen then? It is, however, a Paul Daniels style magic cabinet, except the glamorous assistant does not wear a sparkly bathing costume. ‘No! Not the mind probe!’ At least the accused gets to live on the new planet whereas the ones who miniaturise him leave that to their children’s children, so it is all rather pointless isn’t it?

Innuendo Bingo

Episode 1, 15:26

Steven: It’s the biggest we’ve ever seen. Episode 2 , 20:20

Steven’s response to the treatment. He starts panting, then breathes more deeply whilst writhing before his whole body tenses for a moment before sighing and relaxing back on the bench. Pass him a cigarette someone. Quite so, quite so!

Catchphrase Error of the Week

Dodo in Episode 4: ‘But what about the Monoids?’ Everyone knows it’s, ‘But Doctor, we haven’t got the Ming Mongs!’

ark 1

The 500 Year Diary

26th March 10000015 am

Have arrived in a spaceship. Dodo originally thought it was Whipsnade… not sure about her. She dresses up as a knight, is a bit overconfident and her accent keeps changing? Anyway, the steel sky overhead gave the whole thing away. We’re on some sort of space ark populated by two headed zebras, one eyed moptop creatures and human beings wearing pants and those strip curtain things from caravans in the 1970s.

To add to our woes, Dodo has a cold. Again this is rather annoying. These girls always want to sneeze at inopportune moments! Think it annoyed Steven as he looked like he was going to suffocate her at one point.

The people here are a bit odd. The commander talks like he’s going to spit all over you and as usual in these situations we have an untrusting hothead in the shape of Zentos. We’re in the 57th segment of time on a sort of ark – 10 million years in the future!

Anyway, Dodo’s cold has spread amongst the inhabitants. They start getting feverish and dying. We get arrested. Thank a lot Dodo!

26th March 10000715 am

So we’re on trial. Justice here is very swift! Steven defends us despite catching this highly virulent cold. He does his best, but that Zentos is having none of it. Then one of the humans die – when it was the Monoids they were slightly less bothered. They need to be careful as this sort of attitude will breed contempt.

They let me try and find a cure for the plague despite me not being a doctor of medicine. I am assisted by a rather helpful Monoid. Happily, do manage to find a cure and we’re given a heroes’ farewell despite causing the deaths of several individuals. Told you they were a bit odd!

And so we arrive back on the ark moments later, but where is everybody? Even more worrying is the statue – it’s a Monoid!

26th March 10000715 pm

The return to the ark leads us into more trouble. The Monoids have taken over! And now they have guns and can talk by holding a communicator round their necks (although did notice that sometimes they could talk without doing that). We caused the takeover because of the after effects of our previous visit. Sorry about that!

We’re imprisoned in the kitchens where the food is prepared by the human slaves for the Monoids (and just how do they eat?) and not a hair net in sight. Liked the instant potatoes thing though.

Anyway the Monoids decide to send Dodo and me to Refusis. Not sure why as we’re bound to cause trouble. The Monoids are easily recognisable through their numbers, although like the Sensorites number 72 could just change his collar to 1 and takeover! Number 2 isn’t very bright as he gives away his plans and then tries to lie about it.

The Refusians are invisible – meeting rather a lot of these kinds of creatures lately. They have built houses for the humans in a 1960s style – I especially like the diamond like doorknobs.

And now we’re stranded here as number 2 has been blown up in the launcher!

26th March 10000715 eve

Looks I’m the only one to be able to sort this out as I become the chief negotiator for the Refusians, Monoids and humans.

Anyway the Monoids are more interested in bickering with each other. There’s a bomb on the ark and happily number 1 gives away the location before the Monoids really go for it and kill each other.

The bomb was discovered and ejected with the help of the Refusians who are happy to accommodate the remaining crew on their planet if they promise to be nice to each other. I would have told them to get lost!

Aboard the TARDIS, I suddenly disappear! I hope it’s not Monoids vs Humans part 3!

ark 3

The Five Word Lords

A game of two halves.

Artwork: From the BBC DVD Cover: The Ark

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