…oi you, stop giving me the eye, it’s…

The Ark

In which Dodo has a cold (or at least she does when Jackie Lane remembers the script calls for her to have one)…

- Initial Impressions: The Steel Sky: 10 million years in the future and what’s the sum of man’s technological achievement? A wardrobe which shrinks people! The Plague: the Commander’s unwell acting is atrocious. Please won’t someone do us all a favour and stick a pillow over his head. Please? The Return: the dwellings the Refusians have constructed for the humans look like the chalets you find in Centre Parks; Da Bomb: It's no good. If I close my eyes when the Monoids are in conversation all I can hear is Zippy from Rainbow.

Go on...shit on her head!
- the story opens with an unseen stagehand chucking a toucan on top of a poor unsuspecting lizard. It’s very, very funny. That poor lizard was probably traumatised for life,

- once the TARDIS has landed Dodo’s first out, followed by Steven who’s having a go at her for exiting before she knows it’s safe to do so...which begs the question ‘who opened the doors in the first place’?. If the checks haven’t been completed then it couldn’t have been the Doctor or Steven, so that only leaves Dodo - and remember, we’re talking about someone here who can’t even get her accent right. So it must have been a bloody lucky guess if it was her - maybe she’d like to suggest which lottery numbers I should be using. There again…she does say “somebody” opened it. Maybe Clara did the honours during her falling through time bit.

- ‘Just where do you think you’re going?’ asks a very stern Steven. He’s already treating the poor bewildered schoolgirl like a daughter, and it’s not the only time in their travels together that he does so. Of course, Steven has no idea this walloping great lummox is anything to do with him (see The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve if you’ve no idea what I’m rambling on about), and if he did he probably wouldn’t want to admit to it in public anyway, but it’s interesting to see how instinctively patriarchal he is towards her right from the word go.

There was a message coming through on
the new fax they'd won off eBay just before
leaving, and it was news everyone had
been dreading.
- hmmm, if Dodo’s outfit is anything to go by, it's clear the Doctor’s been putting together a better stocked wardrobe since The Crusade. He must’ve come to the conclusion that life as a petty thief is not for him after his experience in the marketplace at Jaffa. Well, either that or at some point he’s travelled into the future and set the infra-red alarms off whilst trying to smuggle a couple of men’s shirts and a support bra out of John Lewis’s. But why does she pop on a medieval pageboy’s outfit. Surely, being a young girlie she should’ve opted for the crinoline’s (or am I just trying to force her into a stereotype)? Must be a bit of a Tomboy. Either that or an out and out rug-munching lesbian with a fetish for medieval master/servant role-play.

- I suppose if I was a real “Tom Baker underpants wearing, TARDIS Tuner owning, Billie Piper stalking” fan of the show I’d check to see if the American Bison really were next to the tea bar at Whipsnade zoo, as Dodo insists, but d’you know…I really can’t be arsed. Bit of a strange layout though, I’d have thought. I wouldn’t want to sit at an outside table with a milky decaf and a slice of exorbitantly priced carrot and walnut cake with the smell of freshly excreted Bison shit wafting on the breeze in my direction. Anyway, I thought the cafeterias were normally next to the flamingos in such places?

- ‘That’s a Chameleon’ points out Dodo, thankfully not referring to the Fifth Doctor’s shite robotic companion who was shoved in a cupboard in the bowels of the TARDIS before it had even had time to unpack its oil-can; ‘…and here’s a Monitor’ she continues (thankfully someone has ensured Jackie Lane knows to point at a lizard clinging on to a nearby sandbag for dear life rather than a studio television screen); ‘Look that’s a locust’ (Jesus, she’s channelling the ghost of Johnny Morris now! Only chloroform will shut her up. Hopefully! If not she’s going to go through the Every Girls Big Book of Exotic Animal Wildlife page by excruciating page. I wonder if the locust made it out of the studio alive or whether one of the assorted lizards fancied a tasty between meals snack?) At this point there’s a howl from off screen. ‘And that’s a member of the production team pretending to be a wolf - badly’ she fails to point out.

Hmmm...the guest panels
on Blankety Blank just
get stranger and stranger
every week.
- there’s a bit of a trial taking place on the command deck. Someone’s being accused of ‘leaving open a wide valve in the heat exchange’. Well, it serves them right, they should’ve checked to see if he was Corgi registered before giving him the job in the first place. Typical though - he’s the only fit bloke on the spaceship and he’s to be miniaturised and not seen for 700 years! I think I’d rather stay on Earth than face a lifetime of having to look at the assorted selection of mingers left on-board (judging by the tonne-and-a-half of mascara and the bottle blonde beehives some of the women in the crowd sport it looks as though 10 million years from now there’s a fairly strong Dusty Springfield revival going; the men meanwhile all seem to have a distinct lack of personality combined with pudding-bowl haircuts - so there can’t be a gentleman’s barbers to be found anywhere aboard for love nor money; there’s also a child who looks as though he plans to spend the entire 700 year voyage in the kitchen eating pies). Mellium speaks up for the accused, so he’s clearly been servicing her as well as the heat exchange. Let’s hope he was better at that job!

- ‘There’s nothing you can tell me about nature’ brags Dodo. She then goes on to call the elephant they encounter “him”. Erm...to put it bluntly, dear, “he” doesn’t have a cock! Maybe she only knows all about nature so long as it’s the bit of nature found above the waist. Yes, anyway…thank heavens we don’t have the same kind of mishap as befell the Blue Peter team around the same time. It would’ve been so undignified to see William Hartnell skidding across the studio floor through a huge pile of elephant shit.

Judging by the pained
expression on the
Commanders face, I'd guess
it's not just the remedy
for the common cold
that's been forgotten in
this era - Anusol must be
a thing of the past too.
- when they come across the cave paintings, the Doctor claims that one of the drawings is of a two-headed zebra! Erm…couldn’t it be a picture of two zebras standing one in front of each other? This far more logical explanation doesn’t appear to occur to the old duffer and makes his conclusions seem utterly bizarre. What is he on? Maybe we should call it the ‘Dodo Effect’ - instances when people suddenly behave completely irrationally and out of character and start talking utter bollocks!

- ‘Using your measurement of time, seven hundred years’ says the big Mary in charge of the ship when he answers the Doctor’s question of how long the journey to Refusis ІІ will take. Except he used exactly the same measurement earlier when he sentenced that bloke who was miniaturised. Bit confusing, isn’t it? Unless the daft old queen’s been on the cooking sherry.

- when it’s revealed they’ve arrived during the 57th Segment of Time, Dodo starts counting on her fingers, but seems to give up on 3. Is she a bit thick or summat?

'Yes my dear, you might well
be shite...but that's not the
end of the world, is it' - Bill, in
his own inimitable way, tries
to console Jackie Lane
when it dawns on her
she'll forever be voted
worst female companion
amongst Doctor Who
- I can’t quite explain why, but the sight of a Monoid driving his little truck is hysterically funny (although it might be the fact I’m as high as a kite on sugar after eating a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes). I wonder if they have to pass a driving test? If they lived in our day and age they’d always be able to get a job at Heathrow airport, ferrying little old ladies and their luggage between the lounge and the departure gate.

- no medical knowledge has survived from the periods of Earth history which came before the 57th Segment of Time, and yet, strangely, I see the open-toed sandal endured.

- it turns out to be a perilous time for all on-board the Ark, and yet the Doctor still has time to give Dodo a right royal bollocking for the way in which she speaks! Talk about getting your priorities sorted! Mind you, he’s got a point - ‘Hey, that’s gear’ she says as she has a vada at the plans of the statue the Guardians are building.

- even Steven reacts badly to Dodo’s cold. Where on Earth did she pick this virus up? Had she been hanging around a Bernard Matthews turkey farm before she stumbled aboard the TARDIS?

Entertainment on a long
voyage is essential, so while
the Monoids line-up to take
part in their very own
beauty pageant (next round
swimwear followed by
evening dress), those hunky
Guardians pose for the
cameras in a photoshoot
specially designed to
titillate the ladies.
The Gay Agenda - ‘Now you two, get the boy on to the table’ the Doctor orders a couple of up for it blokes with regards to Steven. Way-hay! I’ve been hoping for such a scene ever since he entered the TARDIS.

- I’m sure the Doctor’s knowledge of how to treat a cold comes from an old copy of the Reader’s Digest Home Medical Encyclopedia circa 1955. In the year 10 million they would appear to administer an injection with the aid of a large tiddly-wink.

- at the end of The Plague, the Doctor and his chums depart in the TARDIS, only to land back in the very same spot they left just a few seconds later. What’s Dodo brought with her this time I wonder? A spot of Diphtheria, or a little bit of Lassa Fever?

The (Future) History Bit - it’s the end of the world! Erm…except it’s not. Is it? No it isn’t, not here, not in this story at any rate. Since the advent of the New Series we now know conclusively that the Earth exploded and scattered across space in trillions of tiny pieces, like fairy dust being chucked about at a five year old girls’ birthday party, in the year 5 billion. What we’re witness to in The Ark is one of those times when the it comes very close to destruction - it just smokes a bit, as if it were puffing on a Silk Cut, and gets a bit crispy round the edges. But it doesn’t in actual fact go BANG! Even though the humans aboard the ship are convinced the planet has gone for good and that they’ll never see it again - obviously the bods in the year 10 million get their facts ever so slightly wrong (which isn’t surprising in the least when you consider what their fashion sense is like). It’s probably all to do with those pesky solar flares (again!). Although it’s the Doctor who estimates they’ve travelled 10 million years into the future - perhaps he’s just fudged his calculations (again!) .

The Guardians - no, not the guffawing, pigeon-hatted old codgers behind the Key to Time malarkey but rather the only apparent survivors (or one particular race of survivors?) from the planet Earth in the year 10 million. It’s possible they’re a select breed, perhaps the last of the pure-bred humans Cassandra was wont to harp on about in The End of the World, who see it as their duty to protect the integrity of the human species and ensure its survival at all costs. It’s possible that prior to its evacuation the Earth was populated solely by this single group of humans, whose ancestors might have repopulated the planet after one of its abandoned phases. There certainly seems to be no diversity in the people aboard (i.e. they all look and talk as though they come from the same small village in Buckinghamshire). There again they could’ve lived in seclusion from the rest of humanity, the majority of whom had journeyed out far into space and built new lives on new worlds by this time. This might help explain why their development has, to a certain degree, lagged behind those who left. The scale of the Ark is undoubtedly mind-boggling, yet human civilisation seems almost backwards in some respects. In a number of ways the voyage seems terribly haphazard and unprepared for. I mean, they’re heading for a planet of which they know very little about and what they do know has been gathered through very primitive sounding Audio-Space Research (audio research? What? They got Big Finish to scout out the new planet for them?). It’s possible mankind’s actually going through a period of relative primitivism, brought about through extreme retrenchment and isolation. I mean why, for god’s sake, do they wear those plastic curtains you used to find hanging in chip shop doorways up and down the country in the 1970s? And why is everyone wearing either Speedos or bathing suits underneath (although thank god they do, it’d be a bit of a sight otherwise…I wouldn’t want to see the Commanders “fluffy dice” poking through from the “other room”, as ‘twere. On the other hand I wouldn’t have minded a quick flash from the miniaturised chap). Their fashion sense to me suggests a race far more concerned with the spiritual side of things - perhaps they’re all hippies and the Ark is the equivalent of their camper van! Another sign that they’re not as forward thinking as you’d expect of a race living in the far future is the way in which they treat the Monoids. Let’s not beat about the bush…basically it’s slavery. There again, the Commander says ‘They offered us their invaluable services for being allowed to come on this joint voyage’, so it sounds as if they bought their passage…offering their services in exchange for a lift. Were they going to be given their own continent on arrival on Refusis II I wonder? Were they born to serve, just like Marc Bolan was born to boogie?

It was only as they were
about to leave the Solar
System for the very last
time that one of the
Guardians realised they'd
forgotten to switch off the
Dorothea ‘Dodo’ Chaplet - much cheekier and far less dependent on the Doctor than either Susan or Vicki (although it has to be said Ms Lane is not as good an actress, certainly not as good as Maureen O’Brien). Whereas both previous girly companions looked upon the Doctor as a (grand)father figure, Dodo seems far more at ease with her orphaned status (yes, another orphan…yawn, yawn). She really could’ve been a breath of fresh air had the decision not been taken to dumb the character down to the point of ineptitude by those in charge. She actually brings a big slice of 1960’s modernity to the show, what with her use of slang and her Rita Tushingham looks, and could’ve been Doctor Who’s first ‘kitchen sink’ companion - if the BBC hadn’t deemed that too common for their ever-so-slightly middle-class viewers. She comes across as a very chirpy little thing to begin with, although her accent varies wildly in the first couple of episodes - if, as I’ve read, she was originally supposed to be Cockney then Jackie Lane was a bit crap at accents, wasn’t she (it starts off all a bit “ay up chuck”, yet by halfway through the second episode it’s changed to received pronunciation. Where did the myth that she started out as a cockney originate I wonder? As far as I can tell she gets no further south than Pimlico)! Which is a bit ironic when you consider the actress went on to become a voice-over agent. She sounds more northern than anything else to begin with. If only the Dodo that appeared on our television screens were the same Dodo that featured within the pages of Steve Lyons’ novel Salvation would’ve been such a different story. The book pays an enormous amount of care and attention to the character and successfully paints a picture of a troubled teenager, who hides her true feelings of loneliness and isolation behind a façade of false bravado, and whose life is never going to be as easy as it is for others of her age.

Turning on the television,
Maharis was delighted
to see he was just in time
to catch his favourite
programme - the Monoid
version of Loose Women.
- when the Doctor and his companions arrive back on the Ark at the beginning of The Return, it’s obvious straight away from all the dead leaves that the Monoids haven’t been watering the plants. All the Guardians lovely flower arrangements and hanging baskets have died. Tsk, tsk. The lazy bleeders. Percy Thrower would be livid.

- Dassuk, one of the slave Guardians, is blasted with a heat prod by a Monoid for dropping a pot in the kitchen. Gosh…and I thought Gordon Ramsay was a c**t!

The Monoids - working from the top down, they’re a sort of cross between Ringo Starr (their hair), Leela from Futurama (their eye), a whopping great lizard (their skin) and a deep sea diver (their feet). They waddle about like someone desperate for a dump miles away from the nearest lavatory and gesticulate with the intensity of an old woman trapped in a washing machine as it goes through its final spin (when they point it also reveals they have saggy ‘bingo wings’). Their chests also seem distended, as if they have enlarged sternums. The fact that they communicate via sign language is a great touch (which is wasted on this bunch of unappreciative humans…had they come to Earth in the early twenty-first century they could’ve got themselves jobs signing the repeats of Emmerdale on ITV3 on weekend mornings). It’s a far more effective way for them to converse than with the voice-boxes they develop in time for the latter half of the story, which they cling on to for dear life (and which gets very irritating after a while). They also make them sound as if they’ve had tracheotomies. One of the great unanswered questions surrounding them is - how on Earth do they eat? Just as one of them goes to devour a pomegranate or a chicken leg, or down a glass of fruit juice, the camera cuts to a view of them from behind and doesn’t return to a frontal angle until said item is on its way to whatever passes for a stomach, which itself begs another question - if they have no hole where their mouths should be, do they have a hole at the other end? Other questions we’re left without answers to are - how do you tell if a Monoid is winking or blinking? What do Monoid spectacles look like? Can Monoids do their own zips up, or do they have to do each other’s? Do Monoids ever want to try and do anything different with their hair, like put in extensions or a few highlights? Why does Monoid Three sound Welsh? And, why don’t the Monoids give themselves names like Alan or Clare?

The problem with the Monoids
is that their features are so
expressionless - their taking a
dump face is exactly the
same as their having a
cup of tea and a chocolate
finger face.
- when the Doctor and his companions are presented to One, he shows them footage of their departure from the Ark, which must come from security cameras. Either that or he’s ordered the DVD from Amazon (does this constitute the shows first flashback sequence of old footage?)

- blimey, if they have such a thing as a security kitchen aboard the Ark, then the TARDIS crew are lucky to have escaped incarceration in the maximum detention airing cupboard! The humans also have to sleep in the kitchen, I expect the Doctor will take the floor, Dodo will nab herself a spot on top of the fridge while Steven will have a go at balancing himself across a couple of toasters. It sounds most unhygienic. And everyone’s sleeping bags would end up reeking of fried onions.

- there’s not much preparation needed when it comes to getting meals ready this far in the future, is there. You just bung a pill into a bowl of some kind of liquid and ta-da it’s ready (I can hear the sound of Jennifer Paterson spinning in her grave as I type). It makes you wonder why the Monoids have so many people working in the kitchen really. There again, they seem pretty trigger happy, so it looks as though the fierce old one-eyed monsters get through quite a few slaves in a normal working day.

- ‘The Monoids only keep us alive because they enjoy being waited on’ explains Dassuk, in which case you’d never see one helping itself at the salad bar in Pizza Hut.

- down on the planet’s surface, Monoid Three sets about challenging the Refusian to show himself by smashing his collection of pottery vases. The git!  And it looks like Moorcroft too!

[left] a Visian; [right] a Refusian
(sometimes it's difficult not to feel hard done by
as a Doctor Who fan...I bet Space 1999
would've made a bit more of an effort).
The Refusians - invisible creatures…and so soon after the Visians! Somebody on the production team back then obviously realised they were on to a sure fire money saver. Let’s face it, all you have to do is tie bits of string around things and pull to make it look as though there’s actually somebody there. They once had ‘shape and form’, something resembling humanoid, or so one tells the Doctor when they have a bit of a chat, but that all changed due to a ‘galaxy accident’, although quite how a calamity with a bar of chocolate could’ve turned them invisible isn’t explained. They must also be built like brick shithouses as one manages to move the enormous statue into the Ark’s airlock all by himself in the last episode, either that or the race as a whole are telekinetic.

- at the end of episode three a booby-trap bomb destroys the launcher and with it the Doctor and Dodo’s only chance of being able to get off Refuse ІІ (or whatever). The blood drains from Dodo’s face and she turns as white as a sheet as she realises she’s stuck on an alien planet millions of miles from home with only an ancient old time traveller and a race of invisible, non-corporeal Shakespearean voiced beings for company. She desperately tries to come to terms with the fact that she’s now never likely to get a shag.

It was that time of the year
again when various minor
television personalities
entered the jungle for the
new series of I'm a
Celebrity, Get Me Out of
...and Jackie Lane
in particular was
feeling somewhat
apprehensive at the
thought of having to eat
one of Bill Hartnell's
flip-flops while having a
wheelbarrow full of
cockroaches shoved down
her bra.
- the biggest let down of the story is the cast of two-dimensional guest characters that populate the script. They’re all a bit bland, faceless and inept, so much so that at times you wonder just how they managed to get everything together in the first place in order to leave a dying planet. The Commander of the vessel fills me with absolutely no confidence whatsoever and is possibly the most unlikely leader the world has ever have seen. He’s a real hammy old queen who looks as if he would be more at home sitting in a leather armchair in an oak panelled club room sipping a pink gin. It’s quite funny that after the Monoid revolution, we get a new big cheese in the person of One, a leader who is equally as camp and over-the-top, and who waves his arms about as if he’s a solitary wind turbine  given sole responsibility for generating all the electricity needed to power half of Europe during a very cold winter (although at the same time the fact that the Monoids still use their hands a lot as they talk even after they’ve invented their voice-boxes is a nice nod to the fact that they used to be mute - it’s as if such movements are so ingrained in them as a race they can’t break the habit). The rest of the cast are all pretty much forgettable, with the exception of the Subject-Guardian, Maharis. This is the one character that does seem to have had some thought put into his creation and is the only one who elicits any kind of interest in the audience (well, in me certainly). He’s a collaborator tolerated as a human being by his Monoid masters and held in utter contempt by his fellow kind - a man that’s ultimately destroyed by his own weaknesses. If the script had been peopled by other such well-drawn characters I truly think the story would be held in much higher regard than it is at present.

- so the Refusians knew the Ark was coming, but again appear to have no means of contacting those on-board. Does nobody in this time period know what a telephone is?

- and so without even bothering to cancel the milk or pack an overnight bag, the Monoids journey down to Refusis II (I wonder what Refusis I was like and why the humans ruled it out as an option?), whereupon jungle warfare breaks out amongst their rival factions. It’s not so much Full Metal Jacket as It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. However, it does lead to the fantastic moment where the Doctor and his group come across a lone Monoid standing amongst the corpses of his fellows, who, sickened at the sight which greets him and no doubt the part he played in it, throws his weapon to the ground in revulsion. It’s a remarkably powerful moment which loses none of its impact for being played out by a ridiculously looking rubber thing in a Purdey wig.

Death-O-Meter: 171. Monoid - dies from Dodo’s lurgy. It’s then given, as Zentos puts it, a “space burial”, i.e. wrapped in an old bed sheet and shot out the airlock. To be quite honest, no one seems all that concerned that a rubbery old alien servant kicks the bucket However, that all changes when…; 172. a Guardian snuffs it, and before you know it the TARDIS crew are being put on trial for murder. Double standards or what! 173. Subject-Guardian killed by a Monoid in the security kitchen - not for making lumpy gravy but because he was trying to escape; 174. Yendom - killed by Two and his heat prod (nope…that’s not a euphemism); 175. Two - blown up whilst trying to report back to the Ark of possible trouble down on the planet’s surface, along with the Launcher he’s sitting in, by a Refusian. At least, I think it was a Refusian that was the cause of the explosion. That’s the trouble with invisible creatures…it’s an absolute bugger to tell who’s doing what. There was a bit of unexplained foliage movement just before it went bang so I think that’s what must’ve happened; 176 - 82. Monoids - killed by other Monoids during their rather brief civil war. Six and Seventy-Seven are two of the victims, although it’s difficult to tell who the others are as their hair gets in the way of the collars on which their identification numbers are displayed. One must also be among the number as there’s no sign of him afterwards. It’s more than likely there are others, but we only see seven bodies on screen, so seven it is; 183. Maharis - killed by a Monoid as civil war breaks out. And he only wanted to see if he could get one of them a cup of coffee and a custard cream. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so keen on his job.

- coming at a time when Britain’s empire was finally winding up, the main theme of the story is, of course, a thinly veiled allusion to colonialism, with the Guardians treatment of the Monoids every bit as patronising as the nineteenth century “gentleman’s” attitude towards the native African. In some respects the script feels as if it condones the imperialist approach. By having the Monoids initial bond fracture into civil war soon after achieving independence it feels to me as if the writers are saying certain “foreign” groups aren’t capable of behaving in a civilised fashion, at least not without the outside influence of the white man. And that’s not something I’m at all comfortable with. On the other hand, the script excels in showing how easy benevolence can transmute - sometimes unwittingly, sometimes not - into selfishness, freedom into slavery. Before the ‘Scramble for Africa’, Britain’s attitude to empire was vastly different from how we generally perceive it to be now…an informal empire of (theoretically) mutually beneficial trading agreements as opposed to full-scale invasion, conquest and subordination of indigenous populations. The question I’m left with at the foremost of my mind as the end credits roll on episode four is which path will the humans take once they’ve moved wholesale into their adopted home?

Score on the TARDIS Doors - 7½ - I love the ideas behind this story. They’re big and bold (much like the Ark itself) and revolve around one of mankind’s foremost preoccupations - the end of the world....and the inevitable question that follows - ‘will mankind survive?’ The script contains two fairly obvious plot devices which nevertheless haven’t been tackled before. The first is the notion of the TARDIS crew being responsible for carrying an infection from one period of history to another, the second is having the time travellers leave a location in one particular era only for them to arrive back in the very same spot they left just seconds later - albeit many years in the future - and being presented with the fallout from their original visit. These two plot twists act as the backbone to a script which is never less than compelling, despite the fact that there appears to be some poorly thought out background information with regards to the journey the humans are making. For instance, the Ark is referred to as a magnificent ship, the zenith of man’s achievements, and yet those on board don’t seem to have the ability to contact the planet for which they are heading (even when they’re directly above Refusis the Monoids - who are in control by then - still have no idea what’s awaiting them on the planet’s surface...does the ship not have probes or satellites for gathering such information, or even a half-decent CB radio?). It all come across as being ridiculously 1950’s, and laughably primitive for the year 10 million. It’s almost as if Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott know how to string together a thoroughly intriguing adventure story but understand bugger all about science and technology. The Ark could’ve easily been hackneyed, but the care and attention to detail lavished upon the episodes by those behind the cameras (something normally only associated with the historicals at this point in the shows history) and the notion of there being a future version of Noah’s Ark travelling through space in the desperate hope of delivering mankind to a bright new Eden all help lift the script off the page and make it one of the better futuristic stories we've seen so far. Visually The Ark has an enormous amount going for it. Michael Imeson really makes an impression on the show, yet is another director whose work begins and ends with his first story. He deftly captures the size and scale of the adventure effortlessly (at times filming from above looking down on to the action taking place which makes the actors look smaller and the sets much bigger) and seems to be completely unfazed by the fact that the major stars of the story are a race of six foot lizards. Rather he appears to understand the responsibility he's been given in bringing a new and unusual race of monsters to life, and it’s a responsibility he gives serious consideration to. The slow reveal of the first Monoid in the opening moments of the first episode as it turns round to face the camera is a real ‘WTF is that?’ moment and ensures our interest is piqued right from the word go, while his use of the camera throughout is extremely innovative. Certain moments in this story really did make me sit on the edge of my sofa and go WOW! in much the same way that many effects and set-pieces in modern day Who do. The fact we get an elephant trundling on screen amongst the vast array of animals on parade is amazing. The concepts behind this story are huge and in a similar way some of the images we’re presented with during the four episodes are far grander in scale than anything witnessed in the series so far.


Lewis Christian said...

[left] a Visian; [right] a Refusian

(sometimes it's difficult not to feel hard done by as a Doctor Who fan...I bet Space 1999 would've made a bit more of an effort).

Personally, I always liked the Spiridons. (At least they had the decency to wear fluffy cardigans.)

The Inebriated Anorak said...

Fluffy purple Spiridon cardigans...methinks BBC branding has missed a trick there.

Anthony Peterson said...

I am laughing all the way through. I think referring to Dodo as and I quote "an out and out rug-munching lesbian with a fetish for medieval master/servant role-play" finally did me in :D