The new edition of 1975 serial The Ark in Space arrived this morning; and me being me, it was straight to the production information subtitles, a new set having been written for this release by Martin Wiggins, whose written commentary is rightly described in the notes as "a masterclass". The individual episode titles from John Lucarotti's version of the scripts are all in the public domain now (I've seen 'Puffball' and 'Golfball' mentioned before). Episode one was 'Buttercups', and I'll leave episode three unspoilered, though not for any particular reason. There are many quotations from Robert Holmes's graphically visual descriptive passages, full of suppuration, giant staring eyes, and in one case an earwig with a human face. I'd not realised that the Doctor's put-down, "Harry here is only qualified to work on sailors," is quite as rude as Robert Holmes probably intended it to be. Attention is drawn to the sources of The Ark in Space, including earlier Doctor Who stories, Invasion of the Dinosaurs in particular (though I don't think there was a reference to The Green Death), the Quatermass serials and the film Horror Express, a connection of which I had not heard and which now makes me curious about that film (edited to add: it's in the public domain, or at least it is in the United States; I suspect this is not true of other territories).

The new 'making of' documentary is excellent, demonstrating again that during Doctor Who's most successful periods everyone concerned understood the programme as a serious job of work. It's rewarding to see Kenton Moore talk about his portrayal of Noah and how recently it made him the epitome of cool among his grandsons' friends. Wendy Williams comes across as forthright and no-nonsense despite the obvious debilitating effects of a recent stroke; I'd not realised that she had been married to Hugh David, who was not only the director of The Highlanders and Fury from the Deep but at one stage down to play the Doctor before Verity Lambert replaced Rex Tucker as producer-designate. The only down side is that the makers of the documentary didn't source a copy of Futura Extra Bold for their mock-title sequences, lending those for 'Space Station, by Christopher Langley' and 'The Ark in Space, by John Lucarotti' the air of late 1980s BBC Video releases.
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