76) THE ARK IN SPACE

25 January - 15 February 1975

Average Viewing Figure: 11.1M

Plot

On a Space Station in the far future the remnants of the human race are in danger of falling victim to the parasitic Wirrn

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Gladys Spencer (High Ministers Voice)

Peter Tuddenham (Voices), Wendy Williams (Vira), Kenton Moore (Noah), Christopher Masters (Libri), John Gregg (Lycett)

Richardson Morgan (Rogin), Stuart Fell, Nick Hobbs (Wirrn)

Uncredited Cast

Brian Jacobs (Dune), Peter Duke, Tina Roach, Richard Archer, Lyn Summer, Geoffrey Brighty (Bodies in Pallets), Stuart Fell (Wirrn Grub)

Jan Gorman (Double for Vira in Pallet), Roy Brent (Double for Noah in Pallet), Rick Carroll (Double for Libri in Pallet)

Barry Summerford (Double for Rogin in Pallet), Sean Cooner (Double for Lycett in Pallet)

Crew

Robert Holmes (Writer), Marion McDougall (Production Assistant), George Gallaccio (Production Unit Manager), Ron Grainer (Title Music)

Bernard Lodge (Title Sequence), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sound)

John Friedlander, Tony Oxley (Visual Effects Designers), Barbara Kidd (Costume Designer), Sylvia James (Make-Up), Nigel Wright (Lighting)

John Lloyd (Sound), Roger Murray-Leach (Designer), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), Rodney Bennett (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Tommy Dawson (Technical Manager), Maria Livesey, Len O'Gorman (Make-Up Assistant), Gordon Phillipson (Grams Operator)

Brian Read (Props Buyer), Mary Kellehar (Vision Mixer), Pauline Silcock (Director's Assistant), Peter Granger (Senior Cameraman)

Shelagh Lawson (Design Assistant), Sarah Newman (Production Secretary), John Smith (Floor Assistant), Dave Jervis (Inlay Operator)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Television Centre: Puppet Theatre

  • Television Centre: Studio 1

  • Television Centre: Studio 3

Deaths

  • Noah [destroyed in Wirrn form when a transport ship explodes]

  • Libri [shot dead by Noah]

  • Lycett [killed by a Wirrn Grub]

  • Rogin [killed by exhausts of a space shuttle]

  • Wirrn [killed when a transport ship explodes]

  • Dune [killed in Wirrn Grub form]

 

Production Days

  • 5 Days between Wednesday 16 October - Tuesday 12 November 1974

Production Errors

  1. One of the frozen humans can be seen blinking at one point during the serial

  2. During the first episode when Sarah Jane is trapped in another room, Harry asks The Doctor 'Is she in the Tardis?'. The Doctor responds 'Impossible, I've got the key'. However the Tardis door is clearly open slightly, so it is possible that Sarah Jane is in the Tardis

  3. Just before Noah shoots Libri, a crew member can be heard coughing 

  4. When The Doctor and Harry move the screwed-in table there are clearly no mounting holes for screws to go in

  5. The space station 'wobbles' during the open shot as it orbits above the Earth 

  6. When Vira climbs out of the cryogenic capsule, the styrofoam material can be heard squealing 

  7. At the end of the serial, why doesn't The Doctor take everyone down in the Tardis? 

  8. Why is Nerva only fitted out with three transmat pads, when there are thousands of animals on board?

  9. Could the entire Wirrn swarm really fit into one small capsule? 

Working Titles

  • [no known working titles]

Verdict

The Ark in Space may look like a polished-off production but as a whole it’s pretty underwhelming and at times clucky. There are some impressive production designs and the Wirrn themselves are nice to look at, that is until they start to move. The production is filled with inconsistences, a heavy-laden dialogue script and a set of secondary characters who only serve to be killed off within an episode or two. The humans who awaken are poorly written and have no dominant traits or personalities. Then again, Libri and Lycett are killed just as soon as they awake, so the problem lies right there. Noah is a very weak leader of the humans who is not that interesting or strong. The human race would be doomed if he survived to the end. The ending is very poor which just ends with the entire Wirrn swarm being killed in an explosion. The effects are continually poor as well. There are good ideas but not necessarily the best results. There is some ominous lighting and direction from Rodney Bennett but as a whole The Ark in Space is a disappointment, but the levels of horror and suspense remain throughout. ***​