Friday 23 March 2012

The Ark

Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.
- Orwell

The Him’s pulling faces.

Him:  So, they had a real elephant in this one?

Me:  They did.  It’s about the only one of the real beasts that doesn’t get hurled round Riverside by a stagehand.1

Him:  What?

Me:  I’m going on the memory I have of you making me rewind the opening shot about five times when we first got the DVD.

Him:  Why?

Me:  “Would you like to know more?”


Him:  Yes.  That’s why I asked you ‘why’.

Me:  One day you’ll get that reference.

Him:  Ok, but right now I’m asking you why I made you rewind it.

Me:  It’s because of this…

And we’re off.

Him:  But this is the beginning of every episode up until The Macra Terror.

Me:  Not the titles…

Not Rodan either.
We’re greeted with a lizard atop a pile of sand.  Sadly, it doesn’t appear as big as director Michael Imison wanted it to - he was after something reminiscent of Gojira laying claim to a mountain.  I seem to remember Gerry Anderson having the same problem with fire, floods and dinosaurs.  Filming them that is.

Me:  Wait for it…

Him:  What is that?  Is it a turtle?

Me:  It’s a lizard.


Me:  Wait for it…

In one of the greatest opening moments of any Doctor Who story, an unhappy toucan is dumped into shot and promptly walks all over the lizard’s head.  The Him’s in fits.

Him:  Rewind it!

Me:  Told you.

We rewind.  It happens again.

Eventually, we allow the camera to pan across onto something scaly, and ultimately monocular.

Him:  Is that a snake?  Oh no – it’s a Monoid.

Me:  Quite effective for an opening.

Him:  So – this is one ark and the ark in The Ark in Space is another ark full of specifically chosen people?

Me:  Yup.  Telephone sanitizers; talent-show judges; people like that.

Him:  “Send in da goose.”

Me:  What?

Him:  “Send in da goose.”

Me:  What’s that from?

Him:  I just made it up for when the toucan runs onto the lizard.

Me:  Very good.

The Monoid wanders off into the jungle.

Him:  Their wigs look like Gilderoy Lockhart’s hair.

Me:  It’s an echo of Troughton from the future.  More foreshadowing.

Him:  What is?

Me:  The mop-top.


Him:  Oh.

Following the Monoid’s lead, the camera wanders into the jungle where it finds the TARDIS materialising.  It’s a damn clever shot – which is a bit of a recurring theme in this story.  The TARDIS door opens, Dodo emerges, runs up to the camera and-

Dodo:  Ah-choo!

-sneezes on it.

Me:  She’s just out of the TARDIS and the very first thing she does is wipe out humanity.

Him:  It’s the Dodo wiping out the Human.  That’s why they named her ‘Dodo’, isn’t it?

Me:  “Coughs and sneezes kill whole species.”

Steven appears and calls after Dodo who’s following the general theme and wandering around like she owns the place.

Me:  So.  Do you think Dodo was round the twist to begin with, or has she gone that way since entering the TARDIS?

Him:  She just thinks that everything’s perfectly normal.

Me:  The total opposite of Katarina.

Him:  Is it?  How?

Me:  Well, Katarina would’ve been baffled by windows – “Ooo – liquid that stays” – and she was terrified by everything.  Dodo’s massively overconfident.  She’s dressing up and running around like she’s approaching the tail-end of a massive sugar rush.  Any second now she’ll crash, throw up, notice what’s actually going on and curl up into a whimpering ball.

Him:  What about Katarina and Adric?

Me:  That’s a match made in hell.

Him:  Are they not opposites?

Me:  What, brave and stupid?

Him:  Stop being mean about Adric.

Me:  At least Katarina might have been attempting to save the universe.  Adric was showing off.

Him:  Katarina did not know what she was doing.  Adric was trying to help.

Me:  Adric helped by losing his badge and not finishing what he was up to.  If he’d succeeded he’d have wiped out humanity, or at least altered history in a way that would result in you preferring Madam Vastra to Jenny.  So, yes: Adric and Katarina were also opposites.

Him:  Nothing stays around forever.


Him:  Are the BBC releasing Shada on DVD by the way?  With More Than Thirty Years in the TARDIS?

Me:  There’s a rumour.

Him:  Right.  Spread by you?

Me:  Well, and by you as well now.  Technically speaking.

Him:  What d’you mean ‘and by me’? 
“Rumours are a germ and you’re the agar.”

Me:  Well, in that case, Dodo’s certainly spreading rumours around like she’s been sniffing pepper.

Dodo’s accent joins in the wandering as she tells Steven that not only has she been here before, but it’s obviously Whipsnade.  She’s looking forward to meeting the bison in the tea bar.

Me:  She is, she’s round the twist.

Steven points out that not only might she be out as regards postcode but Dodo might be getting the planet wrong too.  After all, it might not even be Earth.

Dodo:  Earth?  Earth?  Well, it couldn’t be anywhere else, now, could it?

Dodo prances around, naming the different model animals and insisting she knows everything.  There’s a sudden howl.

Floor Manager:  Whoooooooooooo!

Me:  There’s the Doctor.

The Doctor joins Steven and the galumphing Dodo and agrees that everything looks a bit Earth-y.

Somewhere nearby a Monoid is receiving a fax.

Me:  “You’re fired.”

May induce strobing in older televisions.
And suddenly we’re in the middle of a trial.  Monoids act as ushers and guards to the defendant, known only as Bored-Looking Man-In-A-Skirt. 

Me:  That’s a very… brave look for the Monoids.  It’s not every species that can carry off a male dress.  And Humanity seems to have opted for regulation mini-skirts.

The Commander – who’s acting as judge in this trial – accuses Bored-Looking Man-In-A-Skirt of endangering not only humanity, but also their chums, the Monoids.

Me:  Wow!  He’s all waves and lines.

The sentence is passed.  Not-So-Bored-Looking-Now-Are-We Man-In-A-Skirt’s to be taken from here to a place over there and shrunk ‘til he’s small.  Following this, he’ll be popped in some Tupperware until he’s learned his lesson.

Me:  It’s an interesting idea.

Mellium:  Father, anyone can make mistakes.  He’s not likely to do it again!

Him:  “Child, he stabbed nine people.”

The Minifier does its job. Luckily they haven’t mixed it up with the Minimixer (that’ll be secure in a kitchen somewhere else, no doubt), which would’ve given me a chance to reference the Will It Blend? advertainment series that the Him’s quite keen on.  Never mind, maybe next entry.

Him:  Why do they curl up into a ball first?

Me:  It’s to make them even smaller.

Following the Minificationing, the tiny evil-doer is collected.

Him:  “Squelch.”

Me:  Ha!

The Prosecution Monoid signs “Thanks for everything” to the Commander, who responds by bowing so low he’ll be lucky to get back up.

Me:  I thought he was falling asleep there.  So – does that mean that the Monoids are lawyers as well?

Him:  It must do.

Me:  Well – that’s a bit weird if they’re slaves.

Back in the jungle, japes are occurring.

Me:  Dodo’s Fun Day Out continues apace.

An elephant isn’t dropped onto a startled lizard, thankfully, but does dolefully meander through the jungle towards our heroes.

Me:  Look at that.

There’s an unsettling close-up of Dodo and then talk turns to where they might be.

Dodo:  Flowers from America, birds from Africa, a snake from Brazil and now an elephant from India.

Me:  “Can’t possibly be a zoo.”

The Doctor points out there isn’t a sky, but a metal roof instead.  Not only that, the earth’s trembling – like something mechanical.  It could be an indoor park on wheels of course.  Dodo sneezes again.

Me:  She’s hopeless.

The Doctor agrees and asks a question that really does need to be asked.

The Doctor:  Why are you dressed in these stupid clothes, hmm?

The Doctor’s rude to Dodo for a while, then changes his mind and suggests a walk instead.  Steven sighs.  As our heroes flounce off into the foliage, a Monoid emerges and stares after them for a few seconds before marching, intentionally, into the camera, allowing a snazzy cut.  This is a lot better than when Zombo attempted the same thing and merely ended up with a snazzy concussion.

Me:  That was good.

Him:  There’s some pretty good effects and cuts – seeing as this is before the moon landing.

Me:  There’s been some thought put into this by Michael Imison.  Maybe the elephant outside his flat kept him awake.

Emerging from the other side of the cut is a different Monoid.  He appears lost for a second and then enters the trial chamber.  In the bottom left of the screen something terrible is taking place.

Him:  There’re the children.  Stamping on a Monoid.

Intruders have been spotted.  But how could they have entered?

Me:  Intruder window, perhaps?  Bwah ha ha ha HA HA!  Boom!  Boom!


Him:  Was Popeye used to make kids eat vegetables?

Me:  Right up until the threat of a lion was found to be more effective.

Him:  Right.

Up on the wall, a CSO picture of the jungle appears.  Our friends are leafing through stuff.

Me:  Ah!  Have you noticed why that part of the screen was billowing earlier?

Him:  I didn’t notice that.

Me:  It’s chroma.

Him:  It looks better in black and white.

Me:  There’s certainly a lot less fringing – but that might be the Restoration Team boys.

Humanity and Monoid alike observe the new arrivals.

Me:  “Bet they taste like chicken.”

The Commander sends the antagonistic Zentos to collect our chums.  He’s under instructions make sure they feel invited.  Zentos stands still and the camera passes over his shoulder to make it look like he’s left.

Me:  That was a good shot as well.

Dodo’s garbling somesuch ‘bout fab pics, you grok?

The Doctor:  My dear child, if you’re going to be with us for any length of time, you’ll have to do something about that English of yours.

The Doctor finds a scrawling of a two-headed zebra and the camera has a little bounce of joy.  Seconds later, the floor manager stands in something left by an elephant2 and bleeps fill the air.  Steven dashes to the TARDIS, only to find it being worshipped by Monoids.

Me:  Really good use of the camera again.

The Doctor, Steven and Dodo find a cave.

The Doctor:  Now, don’t worry child.  You’re quite safe with us.

Him:  That’s what he told Katarina.  Dodo’ll be eaten by Monoids before the end of this episode.

Me:  (sotto voce) Let’s hope so.

The Him huffs.

Steven and Dodo hide – for quite some time.  And then Dodo sneezes.

Me:  Oh – she’s useless.

The Doctor deduces they’re on a spaceship.  On the way back to the TARDIS our heroes are intercepted by Monoid children.

Back in the trial room another fax comes through.

Him:  “You’re fired too.”

Steven and friends are explaining to the Commander who they are and where they’re from.  Returning the compliment, the Commander explains to Steven, through the universal language of info-dump, what this happy band of experimental dressers are up to.  Basically, it turns out they’ve fled Earth before the giant mutant star-goat arrives.  As for the Monoids – dunno really, they kind of turned up and then tagged along for the ride.  It’s more dismissive than that.  Somewhere in this banter, Segments of Time are mentioned.

The Monoid behind Zantos is trying to set up a date with Steven.  Or arranging to eat him.

The spaceship’s on the way to Refusis 2, where the currently unseen Refusians await them.

Zantos accuses the travellers of being Refusians in skin-suits.  The Doctor lies and says they’re all human.  Dodo sneezes.

The Doctor:  There, you see?  Complete with chills.

Zantos:  Chills?

Me:  They’re multiplyin’.

The Commander wants to hear some travelogues from our chums.  The Doctor obliges, rather swiftly, whilst Zantos is gesturing at a Monoid.

The Commander:  Nero, the Trojan wars, the Daleks.

More Segments are mentioned.  It’s a bit baffling.  The Commander reveals it’ll be about seven-hundred years before this ‘Ark’ arrives.

Dodo makes a mad face and bellows:

Dodo:  Yeah, Noah’s Ark!  You know? Two-by-two!!  THE FLOOD!!!

The Commander is polite, but obviously can’t understand a word of what Dodo’s saying.  Instead, we have a quick look at trays of teeny humanity.

Me:  Lots of thought – another great shot.

An introduction is made to a short-lived, but sure-to-be-legendary character.  The Chief Controller who goes by the name of:

Me:  Man Yak!

Him:  Man-Yak!/It’s a cow/And it’s a man!

Steven is introduced to the giant statue that humanity’s carving out of gregarian rock as a way of passing the long journey.  Travel Monopoly’s obviously lost its shine.

Me:  What’s going on with that Monoid’s wig?

Him:  “There it is/Looking weird”

Steven looks at the design for the finished statue.  It’s a bowler.

Him:  Ooooooo.

Me:  That looks brill.

The floor manager steps in something else.

Me:  He’s never going to get any sleep with all that noise.

A sickly Monoid is driven in.  The Commander chooses this moment for a swift lie down. Zentos reaches a swift conclusion.

Me:  Did you hear Zentos’ logical reasoning?  It’s a strange fever so it must’ve come from the strangers.

The Doctor falls quiet for a moment.  Whoops, turns out Zentos is right.

Me:  Man Yak almost fell over.

It’s the common cold after all.  Well, I guess the joke's on them.

Me:  Dodo’s wiped out Humanity.  Good job.

Zantos:  I told you these people were evil!

Me:  Just Dodo.

Man Yak:  The sick Monoid…

Him/Man Yak: (together) “He’s dead.”


Our heroes are captured.  Zantos has an idea – he invokes the Special Galactic Law.

Me:  “We must – EAT THEM!”

Nope, our heroes get taken away to await trial.  Humanity’s obviously become mighty litigious in the 57th Segment of Time.

Mellium:  What about my father?

Me:  “We’ll eat him too.”

Earth rolls past the window and the credits roll up the screen.

1.  I should point out that no animals were hurled around Riverside Studios during the making of The Ark as all the filmed sequences were shot at Ealing.  As any fule no.

2.  I was going to say, “Stands in some Sensorite”, but we don’t do that joke anymore.


Him:  They should bring Koquillion back.  I don’t know how, but they should.

Me:  Well, Bennett was wearing a costume, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t.  But it wouldn’t be Bennett.

Him:  And the Doctor would know it was a man in a costume.

Me:  I don’t know, his track record on identifying men in costumes is pretty patchy.  Take the Voord; both Syds; Sandy; Zarbi; Varga; Chumblies; Mavic Chen’s Evil Christmas Tree; Cybermen; Yeti; Ice Warriors; White Robots; Quarks; Krotons; Autons; Homo reptilia in general; Axons; Uxarieans; Bok;3 Aggedor; Alpha Centauri; Sea Devils in particular; Mutts; Kronos; all the different versions of minotaur; Gel Guards; Spiridons don’t count and neither do Sontarans, but Professor Kettlewell’s Big Plastic Pal Who’s Fun To Be With does, as do Wirrn; Zygons; anti-matter shimmer things; Sutekh and his Mutter; Kraals; Morbius’ wet weather gear; I’ve mentioned Axons already; Dums; Vocs; Super Vocs; Mr Sin; Rattus enormous; the Nucleus of the Prawn; Fendahls; Ribosian Attack Hippos; Taran Wood Beasts; Mutes (but I’m not sure if they count); King Richard; Mandrels; I’ve mentioned Minotaurs; Krargs (they might not count either); Foamasi; Marshfolk; Gundan Warrior Robots; Terrileptils; dancers; chicken skeletons; big dogs; more dancers; the Myrka; woodlice; cave dragons; slugs; Cryons; Sil, the Borad and Bandrils don’t count but overly tactile trees do and so does Drathro; Vervoids; Tetraps; cleaning machines (corridors and pools); ice dragons; Bertie Bassett; validium statues; gods in general; besuited husks; Haemovores; equestrian cats and the Master in nearly every story he’s been in- (Deep breath) -for example.  


Me:  And, anyway, it always turns out to be the janitor.

We re-enact rather than recap.  Our chums are taken away and the Earth floats past.

Me:  I really do love that music cue.

Awaiting trial and subsequent consumption has punctured Dodo’s bubble of joy.

Dodo:  It’s all my fault.  If I’d known it was going to be like this, I’d never have come.

Me:  I wish you hadn’t.

Him:  Her accent’s different again.

Me:  That’s the cold.

Steven makes a good point.

Steven:  Do you think this has happened before?  That we’ve carried an infection from one age to another, or even one planet to another?

The Doctor’s not sure, and doesn’t really want to think about it, which is interesting.

Elsewhere on the ship, the fever’s become an epidemic.  The Monoids are collapsing everywhere and even the Humans have started to catch it.

Me:  They’re droppin’ like Menoptra.

Him:  MAN YAK!


Then came Bronson.
The Humans are, optimistically, using eye-shields as masks.

Him:  I don’t think they’ll help.

Me:  Oh – good grief – it’s Michael Sheard!  I forgot he was in this.

Michael Sheard stops being brill long enough for the Commander to make a croaky speech.

Me:  He was from Cardiff was Eric Elliott.

Ominous drumming heralds a Monoid funeral.

Him:  “How did he die?”

Me:  “It was a mixture of the strange fever and a pitchfork.”

The wrapped Monoid is popped on a transport and taken off.

Him:  “Quick!  To the Slowmobile!”

Me:  This set’s a brilliant use of the space available.

Zantos decides it’s time for the trial.  The Commander watches the speech from his sweaty bed.

Him:  Why is he naked?

Me:  The Monoid?

Him:  The Commander.

Me:  He isn’t.

Man Yak offers the case for the defence.  If you imagine that I make a childish “MOOOOOOOOO!” noise every time his name is mentioned then we’ll be fine and I won’t have to do it.

The trial begins as Steven is popped in a cage and shouted at.  The Refusians get mentioned again.

Him:  Steven’s all shiny.

Me:  That be a mixture of glycerine and VidFIRE.

Controller:  That’s true!  True!

Me:  See?

It all goes a bit panto here, which is a shame, as on the whole The Ark’s been rattling along quite nicely up until now. 

News comes through that a Guardian has died.

Him:  What’s Man Yak’s surname?

Me:  McMoo.

Having weighed up the evidence, Zantos decides on execution, just to be safe.  Suddenly, Steven collapses.

Me:  He has just been sentenced to death – it might be shock.

Steven glistens with illness.

Him:  Shiny.  Shiny.

Me:  “Shiny shiny/Shiny shiny shiny/Shiny shiny/Shine/Shine/Shine”

Following Steven’s collapse there’s a bit of a change in opinion and after a lengthy discussion the Doctor is released to mix up an antidote. 

Me:  “We’ll need a montage.”

During this exciting burst of chemistry, the Doctor still finds time to administer a Dodo admonishment.

The Doctor:  Now, once this crisis is over, I am going to teach you to speak English.

Him:  What’s wrong with “Ok”?

The wonder that is Michael Sheard returns, which reminds me...

Me:  You nearly met Michael Sheard.

Although the Him ignores this, it’s still true.  Anyway, there’s a lot of chat and then a sudden-

Accidental S/FX:  PARP!

Me:  They’ve got Space Trains.

Him:  ‘Spains’?

Me:  Yup.  Run on cinders.

"Pack your trunk, Nelly and let's say goodbye to this circus."
There’s a shot of a Monoid with a grudge against the floor manager feeding an elephant pellets of sugar-free chewing gum.

Me:  That’s one of the weirdest shots of the show so far.  After the trampolines and Vortis.

Following a course of prolonged bafflegab, Steven’s showing a change in his condition.

Him:  “See?  I told you I could kill him.”

Unexpected Music Cue:  BOING!

Me:  Eh?

Dodo’s so happy she begins oscillating wildly.

Me:  What’s that around Dodo when she runs?

Him:  Her forcefield.

We rewind, just to check.  And at 20’41” this happens:

No comment.

Him:  She goes all blurry and – Whoah!  What is that?

Me:  Must be part of the clean-up.  Looks weird.

Now that everyone’s alright, the Earth is seen being cooked by the mutant star-goat’s terrible breath.

Him:  That’s pretty cool.

The statue and its seven-hundred years completion time are underlined thoroughly, hands are shaken and goodbye’s goodbyed.  Whilst a Monoid waits, the TARDIS takes off.  The Monoid leaves and a moment later, the TARDIS lands again.

Me:  That’s the cleverest dematerialisation so far.  Lot of thought went into that.

I should mention here that there may well be a visual moment as glorious as this in the missing episodes.

Me:  It’d have been really cool if they returned after The Celestial Toymaker – but then I suppose the argument against that is that the audience would’ve forgotten.  Like they did with Mission to the Unknown...

The Ark appears to be deserted.

Him:  This is a great cliffhanger.

Oh, the statue’s finished.  But - what’s this?   

That’s not a human bowler…   

It’s a Monoid!

Me:  Good stuff.

3.  Come to think of it, the Doctor also seems incapable of recognising Stephen Thorne.


"My brother does the chanting.  Me?  I'm made of sterner stuff."
Him:  “Ludo: The Film”!

Me:  What?

Him:  Ludo!

Me:  Why Ludo?

Him:  “Ludo: The Film”.

Me:  Ok.  And?

Him:  They’re making the Battleships film.  They should have a Ludo film.

Me:  Or a horror version of Hungry Hippos.

Him:  What?

Me:  “Pin the Tail on the Angry Donkey”?

Him:  “Who stole ma tail?”
            “It was Blind Jim…”
            What other game would make a good film?

Me:  Pass the Pigs?

Him:  “Pass the Pigs: The Film”!  God and Zeus rolling pigs about!

Me:  Something for everyone.  Anyway, back on The Ark…

Him:  Darts!  They should make a film about darts.

Me:  Good or bad?

Him:  Hmmm?

Me:  Darts.

Him:  Let’s be fair, how good is a film about darts going to be?  I still like the idea of a computer game based on Doctor Who from the start onwards.  What was your plan for the changeover between the Seventh and the Eighth Doctors?

Me:  Not being mentioned at this time.

Him:  No, no, no.  Please.

Me:  I’ll explain later.4

We recap.  It’s still not a human bowler statue.

Him:  “It’s Ringo.”

Me:  I thought you didn’t know anything about The Beatles?

Him:  Well, Ringo Starr’s not a name you forget when you’ve heard it.  And – Paul McCartney, is it?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  And Elvis Presley.  I only know three of them.

Me:  Ok.  (sigh)  Lennon?

Him:  Is that the other one?

Me:  And George Harrison.

Him:  There were only four.

Me:  Fab.  McCartney was replaced by Elvis.

Him:  Ah.

Meanwhile, not in Hamburg, it’s still a Monoid bowler statue.

Him:  MAN YAK!

Me:  He’s long gone.

The Doctor, Steven and Dodo continue to have a look around whilst waiting to be captured.  The Doctor finds the scanners.

Me:  Oh, that looks alright.

Him:  Although it’s pretty basic, it looks cool.

A Human servant is attending to a Monoid’s needs.

Me:  “What could it mean?”

Steven:  Looks like some kind of kitchen.

Me:  Let’s hope it’s secure.

A Dropped Pot:  CLANG!

The punishment for dropping pots is swift and final. 

The Doctor:  Yes.  It appears the Monoids have become overlords.

Me:  But it was fine when it was the humans.  The white humans…

Him:  That’s what we’ll get for using crabs as slaves.

Me:  No more Guy N. Smith for you.

Him:  No more what?

Me:  Nothing.

In order to move things along a bit quicker the Monoids can talk now.  Our heroes are captured and questioned.  The Doctor and the Monoid numbered ‘2’ have a quick chat.  Those seven-hundred years have fair zipped by.  Refusis is near.  And the Monoids have taken over.

Monoid the Second:  You speak of the distant past.  Following the recent revolution, we are now the masters.

The Him sniggers.

Me:  He said ‘masters’.

We meet Monoid the First.  He’s a wrong ’un.

Him:  They’re actually called Monoid One and Monoid Two.  That’s kind of sad.

On the screen there’s a zoom in on the TARDIS that reveals first the cameraman filming it, and then the TARDIS dematerialisation that so impressed me in the last episode.  The Doctor blames the TARDIS for their return.  You can see why he didn’t want to come back, especially after things went so well the last time.  Nice to see consequences being addressed though.

Me:  That Idris, eh?

Monoid the First outlines that the Doctor’s cure wasn’t that good after all and then gamely chats about his hopes and dreams for the future, and all the things he’ll be using to guarantee the success of those dreams.

Him:  And what?

Me:  ‘Heat Prods’.

Monoid the First:  Take them to the security kitchen.

A collaborator Guardian drags our friends to the security kitchen where motivation-sapped humanity exchanges rumours.

Dassuk:  That’s just a legend.  And legends won’t help us regain control of the Ark.

Me:  ‘Lijind’?

Slightly randomly, the Him chooses this moment to offer names to two characters that sound like they’ve fallen out of a Neil Gaiman novel:

Him:  It’s Mr Choke and Mrs Strangle.  And no, I don’t know why they’ve got different surnames.

The Monoids are planning how they’ll lay out their dream-city on Refusis.  There won’t be any humans involved.

Him:  Why is he ‘One’?

Me:  Maybe he’s the oldest.

Monoid the Second:  That’s true.

Me:   Ha!

Back in the security kitchen we’re introduced to instant food.

Him:  Whoah!

Me:  That’s… damn clever.

After a bit of thought it’s possible to work out how the effect was done, but why bother?

Steven plots rebellion.  The Monoids enter the security kitchen to collect the Doctor and Dodo to show them Refusis.  Steven jumps one.

Me:  It looks a lot like that guy’s just thumped Steven.

The rebellion lasts about seven seconds and ends with a dead Guardian

Him:  Why are they wearing skirts?  Well, they aren’t even wearing skirts – they’re wearing those things you used to get in showers.

Me:  The Monoids are all in dresses.  Maybe these are kilts.

The Doctor and Dodo are taken away.

Me:  Nice bit of supporting artist eyeball acting from the lady in the background.

Following a fade-out there’re suddenly lots of Monoids awaiting the first ships to Refusis to be launched.

Him:  Was that number thirty-four?

Me:  They have been around for seven-hundred years.

The landing ships take the wobbly Refusis space walk from the Ark to the planet.

Me:  That looks alright.

The thang lands.

Me:  That mountain’s been painted on it.

Monoid the Second:  Perhaps the Refusians are hidden somewhere.

Him:  Aren’t they invisible?

The Refusians have a look around the launcher

Me:  That’s pretty good too.

Dodo’s spider-sense is tingling.

Dodo:  Are you up to something?

Monoid the Second:  Um…  No…

Me:  Ha!  Ace!

The Doctor has spotted a sort of castle in the distance.  Foliage wobbles as the Refusian follows the landing party, but not as much as Monoid the Second does as he enters the building.  One of Tristram Cary’s ace music cues improves the scene.

Me:  I love that one.

There’s no-one about, so Monoid the Second starts breaking stuff.  The Refusian isn’t impressed.  Delicately, he picks up his flowers and puts them back.

Him:  That’s awesome.  “Doctor Who in Another Exciting Adventure with Cutbacks.

Back on the Ark, Monoid the First is excitedly chatting to anyone who’ll listen.

Him:  Why are they discussing their plans?

Me:  I’ve no idea.

The Monoids are going to wait until they’ve all landed safely on Refusis and then destroy the Ark with a bomb.  A bomb hidden in the statue’s bowling ball.

Me:  It’s dealing with some pretty heavy themes.

Steven is informed of the Monoid’s dastardly plans by a turncoat collaborator.

Monoid the Second begins his report, but sudden sabotage makes it a brief one.

Monoid the Second/Launcher:  KA-BOOM!

And now the Doctor and Dodo are stranded.

Me:  Ah.

4.  You’ll just have to be patient.


We recap.

Him:  Where are the exploded bits of Monoid?

Me:  And, in a brave and unexpected move, this is where Doctor Who stops being about time-travelling adventures and becomes a history of an elderly alien and an annoying lady wandering a planet of invisible people whilst slowly going mad as the only job going is that of portrait photographer.  And we never see the TARDIS again.

The Doctor and Dodo put a brave face on it.

Me:  The picture’s good.

Back on the Ark, the Monoids wonder about what to do next.

Him:  He’s the leader, but he looks the worst.

Monoid the First catches the Him’s attention.

Him:  Look at that!

Monoid the First looks around Monoid the Third.  It’s hilarious.

Us:  Arf!

And at this point it turns out the bomb’s in the statue’s head.

Him:  In the head?

The Refusian and the Doctor continue to chat.  Dodo tries to join in.

Him:  ‘They had used to have’?

Me:  It’s Jackie Lane developing her English.

The Doctor:  Yes – one day…

Him:  “I shall come back.”

Back in the security kitchen another rebellion’s underway.  The food looks a bit festive.

Me:  It’s Christmas.

Monoid the First confusingly consumes a chicken.

Me:  Bit of an unblinking stare from One.

Him:  “A fatifactory flave.”

Steven, and the rest of humanity, manage a successful escape from the kitchen.

Him:  That Monoid must be blind.

Me:  Or having a long blink.

The Monoid evacuation commences.

Me:  Ah.  Notice anything?

Him:  The strings?

Me:  Curses.

Steven:  Find that bomb!

The Monoids achieve landing.

Me:  Those two came down with a thump
            “I’ve been sick, One.”
            “I am aware of that.”

Monoid the Third:  There is the reason Two failed to complete his message to us.

Me:  “And there.  And there.  Oh, and also over there.”

The Doctor and Dodo watch the Monoids mill about and then pop into a vacant launcher and contact the Ark.
"A hairdresser and a clown, hmmm?"

Him:  What’s the Doctor looking at?  Is the script up there?

Me:  Um…

Him:  I’m not being mean.

The Doctor persuades the Refusian to steal the launcher, as it’ll baffle the Monoids who are approaching.  A particularly mean Monoid bundles our heroes out of the launcher.

Him:  ‘Sixty-three’?

The first stolen launcher launches.

Me:  Oh – that’s good.

Him:  “It’s only a model.”

The Monoids, as predicted, are baffled as to how the launcher’s been stolen, as they haven’t see anyone entering it.

The Doctor:  And, to tell the truth, neither have we.

The Him sighs.

The ‘empty’ launcher reaches the Ark.  After it's been examined, the Refusian occupant begins to guffaw.

Me:  “Oh no!  It’s haunted!”

The Monoids are fed up with the Doctor’s ‘haven’t seen anyone’ comments.  Another Monoid catches the Him’s attention.

Him:  Seventy-Seven!  The luckiest Monoid there is!

Half the humans opt to stay aboard the Ark on bomb-huntin’ duty, the rest’ll head down to the surface. 

In the jungle of Refusis, the first (and probably last) Monoid Civil War is being fought.

Monoid the Fourth:  Your orders?  You have given too many and delivered them unwisely.  Now they mean nothing to us.

Me:  Oh – Vienna.

There then follows multiple Zaps and Yarks as the First (and probably last) Monoid Civil War really gets going.

Him:  What a funny noise.


Him:  Seventy-Seven! No!

Me:  “We must waddle for it, Two Hundred And Ninety-Thr- NOOO!”

There’s Monoid carnage.  Another launcher lands.

Me:  Nice bit of forced perspective.

More senseless killing follows.  The Doctor and Dodo head to the launcher, and from there back to the Ark.  They contact Steven-


-and advise he arranges to move the statue.

Him:  Monoids don’t wear shirts.

Me:  They’d already done the clothes before the Monoid uprising.

The statue wobbles and then up it goes.

Me:  I think John Friedlander made the statue.

Him:  Someone made it?

Me:  Yup.

Out into space goes the statue and…

Statue of a Monoid Bowler:  BOOOM!

Following a swift goodbye our heroes are off, without waiting to see what fresh problem they’ve sown.  Dassuk has a suggestion for Venussa, hidden in a comment about seeing the Doctor and friends again.

Dassuk:  If we don’t, then our children will, or our children’s children.

Me:  “But – I don’t fancy you…”

Venussa:  If we were to tell them the story, do you think they’d believe us, or would they just dismiss it as a legend?

Dassuk:  We’ll make them believe it.

Me:  “With all these Heat Prods that are lying around.”

The TARDIS leaves, and inside everyone’s changed.  Dodo’s decided to dress as Dylan.  Bob, rather than the one from the Magic Roundabout. Disappointingly.

Dodo:  Innit fab?

Him:  When’s Dodo leave?  The War Machines?

Me:  Yeah.  Oh.  Here comes a subtle cutback.

Abruptly, the Doctor vanishes.

Me:  “I forgot to mention, I become a gas when I have a cold.”

The Doctor:  You’re wrong.  This is something far more serious.

Me:  Flu!


Me:  Thoughts?

Him:  I don’t really have any.  I enjoy The Ark.  The next one was John Wiles trying to write Wiliam Hartnell out wasn’t it?

Me:  It was when it was first commissioned – the production team’s about to change.  Innes Lloyd takes over as producer with The Celestial Toymaker.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  Right.

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