The Ark in Space
 

No. 12 of 135 in the BBC classic series videos series
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Starring: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen & Ian Marter
By:Robert Holmes
Rating:   7  (58 votes)  Vote here
Review:  10/10  Read more (1 in total)
Editions:  Australia Australia (VHS) | UK UK (edited VHS) | US US (VHS) | UK UK (unedited VHS) | UK UK (Laserdisc)

Cover image for Ark in Space
Edition: Australia Australia (VHS)
Title:  Ark in Space
Released:  January 1989
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x VHS PAL
Owned:
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Note:  Movie format. One of only 4 videos which were released in Australia before any other countries (and hence have a different cover to the UK & US releases) — the others are: The Time Warrior, Terror of the Zygons and The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
Amusingly, whoever wrote the back cover blurb doesn't seem to have heard of "spoilers" and accordingly gives away the entire plot! (The same is true of the Aussie release of The Time Warrior)

Cover blurb:
The Tardis materialises on a fully automated space station, which appears to be empty and deserted. In reality it contains the whole future population of Earth stored away in deepfreeze until the planet — ravaged by solar flares — is again habitable. Due to a fault in the machinery they have failed to awaken on schedule. The Doctor discovers that the station has been invaded by the Wirrn, giant insect-like creatures, who have laid their eggs in one of the humans and plan to take over Earth. They have taken over the body of Noah, leader of the Ark. Expelled from the Ark, Noah sacrifices himself and blows up the Wirrn. The Doctor, Sarah and Harry beam down to Earth to check the planet's condition for the arrival of the humans from the space Station [sic].

Cover image for The Ark in Space
Edition: UK UK (edited VHS)
Released:  June 1989
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x VHS PAL
Owned:
Buy:eBay

Note:  Movie format.

Cover blurb:
In this feature-length space adventure, the Doctor, Harry and Sarah accidentally arrive on an artificial satellite where the survivors of Earth lie in cryogenic suspension waiting to begin a new life. But the Doctor soon discovers that there has been a sinister intrusion...

A gigantic insect has infiltrated the human ark. It is dead but when it was queen of the Wirrn, sworn enemies of the Earth — and her egg sac was full. Something is terribly wrong and when the crew begin to awake it soon becomes clear that some of them are not entirely what they seem...

The Doctor must find out how to destroy the Wirrn larvae before they absorb the last of the human race and become an invincible swarm. But this involves a desperate gamble with his own life — a gamble he must take if he is to save mankind.

Cover image for The Ark in Space
Edition: US US (VHS)
Released:  April 1991
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x VHS NTSC
Owned:
Buy:
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Used:  $6.98
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Note:  Movie format.

Cover blurb:
The evil Wirrn hatch a plot to destroy mankind

A space satellite holds the key to a lethal mystery that could obliterate all of mankind!

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah accidentally lands on an artificial satellite where they make a shocking discovery — survivors from planet Earth lie in cryogenic suspension waiting to begin a new life. To make matters worse, a giant insect has invaded the human ark. The dead insect was queen of the Wirrn, sworn enemies of Earth — and her egg sac was full. The Doctor knows this can only lead to trouble. His suspicions are confirmed when the crew members wake up, and it's immediately obvious that something is terribly wrong.

The Doctor must find a way to destroy the Wirrn before they absorb the last of the human race and become an invincible swarm. But this involves a desperate gamble with his own life — a gamble he must take if he is to save the human race.

Cover image for The Ark in Space
Edition: UK UK (unedited VHS)
Released:  February 1994
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x VHS PAL
Owned:
Buy:
Order from Amazon.co.uk
New: £12.00
Used:  £2.00
eBay

Note:  Unedited episodic format.

Cover blurb:
In this four part adventure, the Doctor, Harry and Sarah accidentally arrive on an artificial satellite where the survivors of Earth lie in cryogenic suspension waiting to begin a new life. But the Doctor soon discovers that there has been a sinister intrusion...

A gigantic insect has infiltrated the human ark. It is dead but it was queen of the Wirrn, sworn enemies of the Earth — and her egg sac was full. Something is terribly wrong and when the crew begin to awaken it soon becomes clear that some of them are not entirely what they seem...

The Doctor must find out how to destroy the Wirrn larvae before they absorb the last of the human race and become an invincible swarm. But this involves a desperate gamble with his own life — a gamble he must take if he is to save mankind.

Cover image for The Ark in Space
Edition: UK UK (Laserdisc)
Released:  October 1996
Publisher:  Encore
Format: 1 x Laserdisc
Owned:
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Note:  Fifth of seven Doctor Who stories released in laserdisc format during the 80s and 90s.

Cover blurb:
Far into in [sic] the distant future, a lonely space station — the Ark — orbits a devastated planet Earth. Within it, the last vestiges of the human race lie dormant, patiently sleeping in cryogenic suspension until the day arrives when the Earth once again becomes inhabitable. However, during their long sleep they receive an unwelcome and insidious visitor in the form of the hideous insectoid Wirrn...

Thousands more years pass before the wandering Time Lord known only as "The Doctor" (portrayed in this adventure by Tom Baker) accidentally arrives on the Ark, along with his travelling companions Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter).

Realising that the fate of humanity is in the balance, the Doctor helps to revive the first few sleepers and together they work frantically to defeat the larval stage of the Wirrn's life-cycle. Before long, the Wirrn have infected the station's Commander, Noah, and the larvae seem set to absorb the rest of the sleepers, using them as grotesque human incubators...

First broadcast in early 1975, The Ark in Space was the second Doctor Who story to feature Tom Baker in the title role. Partly as a budget-saving measure, the story formed the start of a short four-story arc which followed the Doctor's attempts to recover his time/space vehicle, the TARDIS. The concluding story, Revenge of the Cybermen, was set aboard the same space station, but many years prior to the great Solar Flare which destroyed life on Earth.

Originally written by John Lucarotti to feature an alien colony of fungal creatures called the Delc, the story was hurriedly re-written by script editor Robert Holmes when it became apparent that the story line was to [sic] complex and ambitious for the programme's budget and target audience.

As it turned out, the finished result was a remarkably thought-provoking tale which provided the series with one of its most memorable adventures, and the BBC with a sure-fire ratings hit for its brand new Doctor.


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