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This was the second Doctor Who story to feature Tom Baker and after his rather more erratic performance in 'Robot' here we see Tom Baker as he was throughout most of his run. Whilst to some he appears to be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic this always appears to be done to lull the adversary into a false sense of security and to get them to reveal things they didn't want to. Along with the Doctor there is perhaps one of the most popular assistants - Sarah Jane.
The story was shown in 4 parts between January and February 1975
The Doctor and his two assistants arrive on a 30th century space station, but something isn't right, there is little to no air and everything appears to have been switched off. However, the station isn't exactly deserted and to make matters worse Sarah Jane has disappeared....
The Doctor and Harry find thousands of what look like bodies, too well preserved to be dead but no signs of life either. The doctor is convinced he knows what and where they are but Harry isn't too sure......
The Doctor his two companions and the thousands of 'bodies' on the station are not alone, but who are the wirren, what do they want and most importantly can the Doctor and co. survive when no-one in space can hear you scream....
What I thought of it.
Now the special effects here are, to be honest fairly awful. The main aliens look like they have been made by a blue peter presenter who has had one pina colada too many and has been let loose with a load of card and pipe cleaners. The other form of the alien looks like someone rolled up in bubble wrap painted green (probably because that is exactly what it is). The pictures of the space station's exterior look like it is a cheap plastic toy suspended by a wire (again.....). Some of the gun effects look like blue splodges have been applied to the film after developing it. However, it has to be said that the sets themselves are actually well made and do give a somewhat futuristic feel to the story. The incidental music although much less obvious than in some stories does help to give some atmosphere to the plot. I also have to commend this particular story for getting the physics right when it comes to the external shots of the space station in the fact that these parts are filmed in silence. There is no sound of the escape pod taking off etc.
The plot in its self is also good and it has been well written and in the most part well acted. The only really poor performance is the part of Libri but as he is only around for about 5 minutes before he suffers the 'character never seen before' fate it doesn't detract too much from the episode. The story does build up the suspense well throughout the four episodes and the conclusion isn't a let down as so many of the more recent episodes have been.
For me one rather amusing bit is that the voice of the High Minister (Gladys Spencer) sounds like a certain prime minister not only in the sound of the voice but also what is said. Although this was filmed in 1974/75 so I highly doubt that was the BBCs intention.
The writing more than makes up for the lack of any major special effects and the acting is of a better quality than we have in the last two series of the revived run. The multi camera set up used in the filming is perhaps a little more restrictive as it left no real chance to edit after filming but for me it is partly this which gave the original run it's charm and perhaps why it receives cult following.
The acting from the main cast is generally good esp from Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen. The part of Harry Sullivan (played by Ian Marter) is perhaps slightly wooden at times . For me it appeared that Sara Jane was portrayed as being much weaker than in other stories. I feel this was because there was less for the character to do in this story but also as there were a few more main supporting cast as well.
Out of the one off characters Vira (played by Wendy Williams) is perhaps one which stands out the most. First portrayed to be a bit of an automaton highly efficient and everything to be done by the book she does soften as the story goes on and is willing to listen more to the Doctor rather than continuing to consider herself superior. Wendy plays the two sides to the character well and for me she would actually have made a good companion to the Doctor.
Whilst probably not the best Tom Baker story we do need to remember that this was only his second story in the roll. There is a big improvement from the first story he did (robot) and he does seem to be getting more of a grasp on the roll his best was still to come. The story for when it was made was perhaps more believable than it is now but overall the story does mostly work. This may not be one of my favourite stories done by Baker but it was still enjoyable to watch.
One of the features is that you can change the settings so that the external shots of the space station are changed from the original version to some more up to date CGI images. Now the CGI images for this are good, frankly they are too good and they actually have the result of severely dating the rest of the episodes they are in.
Other extras include:
Photo gallery - well self explanatory
Space shuttle schematics - a sort of 1980s style computer readout of all the information about the shuttle. Not something I found all that interesting but each to their own.
Tardis-cam - more of a visual effects scene of the tardis in what is made to look like a desolate sterile desert like place.
Roger Murray-Leach interview - the set designer of the story saying how much they had to do on a shoe-string budget and how this was overcome sometimes successfully other times not so. The use of mirrors to give a feeling of size and depth to a small area of the studio floor and how they used lighting to create the atmospheric effects. The next story - The Soltaran experiment is also introduced and they indicate that in this story Tom Baker broke his collar bone. Also explained is how they used different techniques with being on location rather than being in a studio.
Interview with Tom Baker - Filmed on the set of a later story showing some behind the scenes film shots intertwined with the interview its self. The interview appears to be based on how he will play the roll differently to the first three doctors and how this was his first major roll on TV and how this may affect his life.
Unused title sequence - only slightly different form the ones used.
Original model effects - well they say that with TV you should never work with children or animals. Here they prove that tiny plastic modles with sparklers stuck to them should be added to the list. These are a few short out takes from when those naughty models just would not behave.
This is a review of the BBC DVD.
'The Ark In Space' was Tom Baker's second performance as Doctor Who and is written by possibly the greatest of all Doctor Who writers: Robert Holmes. Holmes rarely wrote a bad Doctor Who, a classic one of his being Peter Davison's final story 'The Caves Of Androzani' which was the best Doctor Who story made in the 1980s [there's not too much competition!].
With a new Producer in place [the fresh faced Phillip Hinchcliffe] and a new actor in the lead role, the show would enjoy its most consistent run for many years. 'The Ark In Space' has a very eerie feel to it as the Doctor, Harry and Sarah find themselves on a deserted space station called Nerva which is 'incubating' humans seemingly so that they can wake up in the future when the Earth becomes inhabitable again. Set sometime in the very distant future, 'The Ark In Space' floats above an Earth whose inhabitants were forced to evacuate when Solar Flares threatened to destroy the planet and everything on it.
This story begins to push the boundaries of what would be suitable teatime viewing for young children. Hinchcliffe and Holmes would enrage Mary Whitehouse in the coming years by making ever more scary stories.'The Ark In Space' feels like a precursor to the movie 'Alien' with its sleeping crew in capsules who find one of their number to have been infected by a space based creature, in this case 'The Wirrn' a sort of large intergalactic insect. Like many Holmes stories the plot is well paced and thought out and sees the Doctor, his companions and 2 of the crew from the Ark racing against time to prevent the Wirrn from carrying out its masterplan: to infect all of the sleeping pods and take man's place on the now deserted planet Earth.
The production design by Roger Murray-Leach is excellent; the whole thing is studio produced in the BBC Television Centre, but Leach manages to make a TV studio look like a cryogenic ark with a very small budget. Tom Baker is still out to impress at this stage and makes an effort with the Doctor's characterisation, one minute forcefully shouting at his companions and the next minute praising their inspired ideas. The show also calls for some 'Tom Baker in pain' acting which he always does in a massively over-theatrical way!, funny to watch.
This story deserves to be labelled a 'classic' and the picture and sound have been nicely beefed up for the DVD age. The extras on this DVD are slightly less impressive than later releases as this was one of the early Doctor Who DVD releases. There is a commentary with Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Phillip Hinchcliffe, who seems to be a bit of a killjoy somehow, whilst Sladen and Baker lark around on the commentary Hinchcliffe seems to stay deadly serious and quite intense about the programme. This possibly made him an excellent producer, but doesn't endear him much to the listener. There is also an interview with Roger Murray-Leach, which is far too short as he describes his production design on the 4 Tom Baker stories he worked on. I think in fairness he has been interviewed again on subsequent story DVD releases which he worked on. There is also an interview done with Tom Baker at the time of 'Revenge Of The Cybermen' which is done as a neat send up of the kind of interviews done at the time, with the presenter in on the joke.
I'm not personally interested in lots of footage of unused model shots which there seems to be a fair amount of in the extras, its definitely the kind of thing you might watch once and never again. Most of the models used in 'The Ark In Space' are pretty awful. If you got some grey plastic tubing, a black cloth [for background] and a camcorder to shoot it on, you'd probably come up with something better than the exterior shots of the space station Nerva. Its the wobbly camera as it moves towards the grey plastic toy that is particularly annoying. These things can't be helped as it was made a long time ago, but to spend so much time on the extras showing footage of these Year 8 school models is a bit silly, when there were much better elements of the production which could have been focussed on. And the biggest dissapointment is that there is no documentary on the making of 'The Ark In Space', perhaps this one needs to be reissued with that included?
I highly recommend 'The Ark In Space', the story itself is excellent, one of many favourites of mine from the Tom Baker era. You can purchase the DVD from Amazon UK for just under £7 at the moment on the marketplace. I wouldn't bother trying to buy it in HMV whose Doctor Who DVDs seem to be perennially £20......as if its still 1995 and DVDs are worth £20 [grrr...ripoff merchants... etc]
THE ARK IN SPACE is the second 'Doctor Who' story starring Tom Baker, and was first broadcast in January / February 1975. The story also stars Elisabeth Sladen as his companion Sarah Jane Smith, who recently appeared in her own Children's BBC series, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, and Ian Marter as UNIT member Harry Sullivan (UNIT was the military group The Doctor sometimes worked with during the period of the show's production).
The plot has The Doctor, Sarah and Harry materialise in the TARDIS on a space station orbiting the Earth in the future, where they find the last remaining members of the human race and have to fight an alien life form, known as the Wirrn.
This is a scary story with an effective and terrifying monster, which is particularly interesting considering it is made mainly out of bubble-wrap! The DVD features a commentary by Baker, Sladen and the producer of the story, Philip Hinchcliffe. There are a number of other interesting special features too, including new special effects to replace the dodgy ones of old, an original trailer from when the show was first shown on BBC1, and an interview with the story's designer Roger Murray-Leach. The feature I found to be most interesting was the unused title sequence.
I highly recommend this DVD to fans of the 'Doctor Who' series. The story can be seen on UKTV Drama from the 8th - 11th January 2008.
DOCTOR WHO - THE ARK IN SPACE (1975)
Starring Tom Baker as The Doctor, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Ian Marter as Harry Sullivan
Written by Robert Holmes (from an idea by John Lucarotti, although he was not credited on screen)
Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe
Directed by Rodney Bennett
This review will shortly be posted on ciao under the username phurren2006
The Ark in Space was Tom Baker's second outing as the Fourth Doctor, and pretty much sums up everything that was great about his era of Doctor Who.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane, accompanied by blundering Harry Sullivan, find themselves on board a space station that contains the last remnants of humanity, waiting in suspended animation to begin a new life once the Earth has recovered from a massive flare of solar radiation.
But there's monsters on board.
This apparently simple premise sets up a surprisingly rich and layered story from hallowed Doctor Who scribe Robert Holmes. Even though it follows standard genre formula (the Doctor and companions are separated within seconds of leaving the TARDIS, they're viewed with initial suspicion by the crew of the Ark, etc), it's all undercut with a real pace that was rarely seen until the 2005 relaunch of the show.
The first episode sees the Doctor and Harry battling through the space station, having unwittingly activated its defences. From there it's a matter of mere minutes until Harry has found the monster in the cupboard for our first cliffhanger.
Fan commentators have suggested that Ark in Space was a possible influence on Alien - thematically this may well be the case, although it should be noted that the insectoid Wirrn aren't quite as impressive as Geiger's masterpiece, and its pupal stage is a man dressed in green bubblewrap, rather than a leaping facehugger. Nevertheless, the tension is maintained across four 25 minute episodes with great flair.
When you have green bubblewrap monsters and only two sets, this kind of tension is hard to maintain unless your actors are up to the job. Noah's transformation is rightly regarded as one of the greatest moments in Doctor Who. In reality a man is yelling at his own hand covered in green. When watched in context though, the disgust and despair of a man aghast at the way his body has been perverted is palpable. Depending on which version you get, the sequence where he begs Vira to kill him is electrifying. Sometimes it's cut out, though, too scary for the kids apparently (damn kids).
Tom Baker has, arguably, never been better. Where City of Death forced him to play hilarious scenes straight to ground some very silly goings on, here his flippant streak masks utter desperation at the gravity of the situation. When trying to extract a dead Wirrn's brain patterns, the signal is corrupted. The Doctor shrugs, grins broadly, and says: 'I'll have to plug in my own cerebral cortex.'
Plugging your own brain into a live console is obviously insanely dangerous and painful, but his grinning gung-ho attitude reassures the kiddies and provides powerful contrast to the subsequent scenes where the experience nearly kills him.
Even the monsters here aren't all bad, they've targetted the human race after human colonists wiped out their own worlds. But they are nasty and deadly, and even though model shots towards the end might not be entirely convincing, they're more than adequate considering the age of the story.
So, there's a classic Doctor Who monster story, with great performances, dodgy special effects and some great moments from Tom Baker (look out for his 'Homo Sapiens' speech in Part 1). Anything else?
Yes, smut! On explaining to Vira why she must revive the crew herself, the Doctor delivers the utter classic line: 'My doctorate is purely honorary, and Harry is only qualified to work on sailors.' 30 years on, the smirks never end. The story also features an Earth president who sounds weirdly like Margaret Thatcher.
The shortcomings with the special effects are excused in part by the greatly improved resolution of the DVD release. On first seeing this story on video a few times, I thought the effects were brilliant, and it's fair to say that DVD quality has not been kind to TV releases in general.
Elsewhere on the DVD, the excellent work from Steve Roberts and co continues with the usual flood of features, interviews and commentaries. But, look, let's be honest, I don't always watch all of these and I'm as big a Doctor Who fan as it's possible to be. Still, the most exciting aspect of the Extras is the option to watch the story with new CGI effects replacing the slightly creaky model work. So if you're the kind of person who can't watch something with old special effects, you finally have no excuse!
The DVD cost just under twenty quid on its initial release a few years back, I bought it for a tenner and you should be able to get it for around eight pounds online.
OK, I'll be straight with you from the off - I'm not keen on this story. It lacks any suspense, fear, realism or humour. That said, I love all of the Beeb's Doctor Who DVD releases, because they always pad them out with lots of extra material. This one comes with an audio commentary by Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Philip Hinchcliffe. It's a rather dull and slow-moving commentary to be honest, and didn't live up to my expectations. Philip Hinchcliffe has a bit of a tendancy to drone on a bit, and even Tom Baker's sense of humour seems subdued. Uniquely however, this DVD also has brand new CGI footage to replace the woeful model work present in the original (don't worry traditionalists - you can choose to view it with the old model shots too). Most of the other extras are a little dull and insignificant, aside from an interesting interview with the designer Roger Murray-Leach. As I mentioned before however, the story is weak. The dialogue is largely flat (particularly surprising given that this tale was written by Robert Holmes), the story is plodding, and the effects are shockingly bad. The Wirrin, really are extremely poor - seemingly made of plastic, and virtually immobile. This was a real opportunity to produce a scary, claustrophobic story (which could have well pre-empted Alien, to which this story is often inexplicably compared). Like the later tale 'Warriors of the Deep', this is a story which suffers from overly lit sets and sad, shuffling monsters. It's not a complete disaster, but this season of Doctor Who produced far better stories than this. Both picture and audio quality are excellent as usual, thanks to the hard work of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. If you're only a casual fan, I'd probably say that this isn't really worth buying, but it's by no means a bad DVD.
I thought it was about time that I reviewed the latest Tom Baker DVD release (because the next DVD is about to be released very soon). Before I do this I really need to give you a brief plot outline (so you have a bit of an idea of what I'm rattling on about!). If you just want to launch straight into the DVD stuff skip the next 3 paragraphs! The Doctor, and his companions Sarah-Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter), materialise (accidentally as per usual) on an apparently deserted Space Station. It is thousands of years in the future and a group of colonists have been forced to abandon the rapidly uninhabitable Earth. They are put in suspended animation for their long journey; the machines are set to revive them when they reach their new planet. Something is not right on Space Station Nerva! As usual the Time travellers find that there is an alien intelligence at work. The Wirrn, a race of giant insects, have sabotaged the Nerva's systems and are trying to find a breeding site for their Queen to lay her eggs. The colonists have slept longer than was intended and they are in grave danger of either not waking up at all or being absorbed by the Wirrn. What follows is a four-part story in which the Doctor, his friends and the remaining colonists must fight to save the future of the human race. It is a great and exciting adventure that almost costs the Doctor his life. Explosions, a well-written story and some impressive screaming from Sarah-Jane all add up to make this a classic Doctor Who adventure. Ark in Space was originally transmitted from 25/01/1975 to 15/02/1975 and was released on DVD on 08/04/2002. The story is significant because; · It was Tom Baker's second outing as the Doctor and his first foray into Space; the previous story, Robot, had been entirely Earth based. This story is where Tom really comes into his own and begins to develop his distinct charact
er for the Doctor. · One useful bit of trivia is that the Ark crops up later in the Season during the adventure "Revenge of the Cybermen". · The only characters you will see in the first episode are The Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Harry - there are no other cast members. The only other time this has happened is during the "doctorship" of William Hartnell. · This adventure shares many of the ideas and concepts used in the Season Three story called "The Ark". Once again the BBC have done us proud with the number, and quality of the Special Features on this disc. ***SPECIAL FEATURES*** ~~~COMMENTARY. The commentary on this DVD is provided by Elizabeth Sladen, Tom Baker and Philip Hinchcliffe (the producer). Tom Baker does tend to dominate this slightly, but he does have some great stories too tell. The three interact well and provide some good insights into working on the story. It's a shame that Ian Marter is no longer with us and couldn't add his anecdotes - I'm sure there are some funny stories he could tell about working on the programme. ~~~UNUSED TITLE SEQUENCE. This is based on the old season 11 sequence from Jon Pertwee's stint as the Doctor; Tom Baker's face replaces his and a 'TARDIS tunnel' effect has been added. This is quite cool! ~~~TRAILER. There is an original trailer that was used when this was transmitted for the first time on BBC1; well worth watching as a bit of nostalgia! ~~~ NEW CGI MODEL SHOTS. These new sequences were produced by Mike Tucker and Nick Sainton-Clark at BBC Visual Effects department. They have produced some excellent new effects using models. Please note that you won't get these new bits automatically and you will need to access the extras menu to see them. I enjoyed looking at these and was surprised by how far model making and effects have come on
since the series was originally aired. ~~~ORIGINAL 16MM SHOTS. Another extra well worth a look! A private collector allowed these sequences to be included and I'm really glad that they did. He provided an original 400ft roll of 16mm camera negative of all the filmed effects shots. These included various rocket take-off (with and without a rocket engine), the rocket flying through space and exploding and the Wirrn crawling over the outside of the space station. It's a great chance to see some shots that have never been available before and some scenes that were used (but in a different format). COOL! ~~~PRODUCTION SUBTITLES. As usual this is one of my favourite features that now happily seems to be included in every Dr Who DVD release. Production, cast and other useful facts (including episode viewing figures) appear (once selected) on the screen during the adventure. My husband and I really enjoy learning all this information; it adds to our enjoyment and understanding of the story. ~~~PHOTO GALLERY. Again, a standard feature on these releases. Not my favourite item, but at least the production team do seem to go to the effort of finding pictures that you may not have seen before. ~~~DESIGN FEATURETTE. This is a new interview with the designer Roger Murray-Leach. If you want to know about how he came up with the design of the Ark, among other things, then you will find this very informative. ~~~TARDIS CAM. This highly entertaining, if a little short, sequence appears courtesy of BBC Online. It's called 'The Fourth Moon of Fraxis' and runs for around one minute not including the credits. It uses digital anamorphic-widescreen & sound for those technical people out there! ~~~NEWS ITEM. An entertaining interview with Tom Baker made for television during the filming of The Revenge of the Cybermen (at Wookey Hole). It's interesting to w
atch, especially when you bear in mind that it was made before the public saw Tom Baker as the Doctor for the first time; we see a little of his character, his humour and his eccentricity! ~~~Animated Graphics These are once again very well produced and make the disc very easy to navigate. They are slick and feature an animated TARDIS sequence that appears before you can pick what you want to view. There are some very well produced scenes from the show in the background; very nice to look at and give you a "taster" of what is to come. ~~~Scene Selection The episodes and scenes are split into "bite sized" chunks to allowing you to pick where you want to view. Very user friendly, but a pretty standard feature on DVDs these days. ~~~EASTER EGGS. No, not the oval chocolate things! These are a few hidden extras that you can find with time and patience when viewing the disc on you PC. As far as I know there are three Easter Eggs contained on the Ark in Space disc. They are worth seeking out, so I won't give the game away just in case you want the satisfaction of finding them yourself. If you get stuck, let me know and I will reveal all (ooer)! Right I think I've gone on for long enough about the features! All in all this is another top class release from the BBC and once again they have done us proud finding some good and varied material to use as Special Features. The picture and sound quality is excellent; add this to a good storyline and you have a classic Sci-fi title to add to your DVD library. This DVD is available through all usual stockists (Blackstar, Amazon, MVC, etc) and prices vary. Mine was £18.59 from Blackstar and it's currently retailing at the BBC on-line shop for £19.99. Shop around, because you can get it cheaper. If you haven't already invested in Ark in Space then I recommend that you do as soon as possible. <
br>~~~TECHNICAL INFORMATION Sound - Mono Duration - 1 hr 40 mins Region - 2 ISBN - BBCDVD1097 Release Date - 8 Apr 2002 ~~~CAST. Tom Baker: The Doctor Elisabeth Sladen: Sarah Jane Smith Ian Marter: Harry Sullivan Wendy Williams: Vira Kenton Moore: Noah Christopher Masters: Libri Richardson Morgan: Rogin John Gregg: Lycett Stuart Fell: Wirrn Operator Nick Hobbs: Wirrn Operator Gladys Spencer: Voice Peter Tuddenham: Voice ~~~PORDUCTION TEAM. Robert Holmes: Writer Philip Hinchcliffe: Producer Rodney Bennett: Director Roger Murray-Leach: Designer Barbara Kidd: Costumes Sylvia James: Make-Up Dudley Simpson: Incidental Music John Friedlander: Original Visual Effects Tony Oxley: Original Visual Effects Useful web-sites include: http://www.chameleon-circuit.org.uk/DVDCovers/spheadvd.htm (this is where you can print out the covers!) www.restoration-team.co.uk/ www.gallifreyone.com/ www.islandnet.com/~dascott/intro.htm www.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho
Another release from the much-appreciated tom baker/philip hinchcliffe/robert holmes era of doctor who. The story itself concerns the remaining survivors of the future planet earth, now in suspended animation on a space station, to eventually reawaken to start a new life on another planet,the main problem being,that they are not alone on this station.... Not alone because A)the doctor and his travelling companions, sarah and harry, have landed there and B)because an insect race named as the wirrn are also on board looking for a new source of food.... The story is a classic piece of doctor who, as our heroes, along with a handfull of comrades try to fend off the attack from a race of strange creatures, its all very tightly plotted and, at times, very claustrophobic in its setting, and i doubt any tv programme would get away with showing something like this before the 9.00 pm watershed any more!. As usual, tom baker is on superb form and dominates every scene he appears in, even though this was only his second broadcast story,and the rest of the cast give it their all, wth the set design being a marvellous work of art considering the budget used in the making of this serial.Of course the special effects are not up to much, but as an extra on this disc, you can see all new CGI effects of the space station if wanted, or stick to the original model shots! Once again the bbc restoration team have done a faultless job of cleaning up the tapes of this story, so much so, it might have been made yesterday!. Alongside this are a whole range of top quality extras including; A commentary track with producer, philip hinchcliffe, sarah actress, elisabeth sladen, and, of course, the marvellous tom baker himself, which makes the disc worth the money itself!, New cgi footage of the space station and 3D schematics of the ark, Interview with designer, roger murray leach, on his years working on the show, An hilarious interv
iew with, tom baker, taken from a news programme, before he had been seen as the doctor on television!, Also a photo gallery, on-screen production notes,original trailers from bbc1, and a feature called tardis-cam, which contains all new model work done from the beebs official dr.who website. Phewww...... To sum up, a great piece of work that will stand proudly on any DVD buyers collection, with a gripping story, blockbuster movie style extras and, not forgetting, the great tom baker as well!!
Tom Baker's second outing as the renegade Time Lord is a solid entry in the Doctor Who saga. Fan favourite 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, since on board are the cryogenically preserved survivors of Earth's destruction, as well as an insect-like alien race, the Wirrin, determined to use the humans--and the Doctor--as hosts to grow their monstrous larvae. Holmes' well-paced script (which, like Alien, bears a resemblance to the AE van Vogt story "Black Destroyer") allows Baker to flesh out his well-loved take on the Doctor, as well as considerable suspense. On the DVD: "The Ark in Space" DVD's obvious highlight is an audio commentary track featuring Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, and producer Phillip Hinchcliffe. Though Baker's contributions to the track are sporadic, his participation is valuable nonetheless, considering that his involvement with the series since his 1981 departure has been infrequent at best. The full-frame mono presentation also includes two interviews, one with Baker on the set of another episode in 1975 and the other with designer Roger Murray Leach, who discusses his long involvement with the series. Also included is the episode's BBC1 trailer, an unused title sequence, new CGI special effects produced by the BBC's visual effects department and an optional information track, which provides running background information and trivia that should prove valuable for series completists. A trio of Easter eggs reveal Baker's typically eclectic promotions for the Doctor Who exhibition in Blackpool. --Paul Gaita, Amazon.com