My Thoughts on Story 023 – “The Ark”

Here’s the thing about this story. It isn’t actually bad. It’s not great, but it does explore some interesting ideas. It just explores them in rather dull ways, especially toward the end.

Dat costume, doe…

The idea of the Doctor coming back to a place he’d just left, only in a vastly different time period, was pretty cool. In this story, the Doctor saves the day, assumes all is well, and he leaves with Steven and Dodo. But then they arrive back a few hundred years later and all is decidedly not well. It’s something that the new series has touched on a bit, but the old one very seldom explored.

The problem is that the story falls apart during those last two episodes, and it wasn’t exactly going like gangbusters before that. The Monoids are pretty terrible villains, and the costumes really don’t help. Then there’s the problem of the invisible people on Refusus, which is rather silly.

None of this is helped by Dodo. I’m sure Jackie Lane tried her hardest, but there was only so much she could do. Clearly the producers felt the show needed a younger woman presence, as we hadn’t had a regular female on the series since  Vicki left. But Dodo just isn’t it. There’s no there there.

That aside, at least we have the entirety of this serial, and that’s not something we get to say a lot from here until the Pertwee era.

  • Eric Elliott — Commander
  • Inigo Jackson — Zentos
  • Roy Spencer — Manyak
  • Michael Sheard — Rhos
  • Kate Newman — Mellium
  • Ian Frost — Baccu
  • Stephanie Heesom, Paul Greenhalgh — Guardians
  • Edmund Coulter, Frank George, Ralph Carrigan, John Caesar — Monoids
  • Roy Skelton, John Halstead — Monoid Voices
  • Terence Woodfield — Maharis
  • Brian Wright — Dassuk
  • Eileen Helsby — Venussa
  • Terence Bayler — Yendom
  • Richard Beale — Refusian Voice
Writer Paul Erickson
Lesley Scott
Director Michael Imison
Script editor Gerry Davis
Producer John Wiles
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Tristram Cary[1]
Production code X
Series Season 3
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 5 March 1966
Date ended 26 March 1966

Next episode: “The Celestial Toyroom”

Next story: “The Celestial Toymaker”


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