COLONY IN SPACE

Episode One

This episode begins with a massive spoiler.

Sue: So the Master’s in this one as well?

We both sigh.

Sue: Oh, it’s the Time Lords! Have they decided to end the Doctor’s exile? That was quick. I don’t think he’s learned a damn thing.

Colony in SpaceThe Doctor, who’s completely oblivious to all this, is tinkering with his faulty dematerialisation circuit.

Sue: Why is he playing with a skateboard wheel? And what does Jo actually do between alien invasions, apart from answer the phone?

The Doctor leads Jo into the TARDIS for a quick tour, but the ship suddenly dematerialises without the Doctor’s consent. Seconds later, a perplexed Brigadier walks into the now-empty room.

Me: Do you wish the Brigadier had gone with them?
Sue: Not really. Somebody has to stay behind and look after the Earth.

Nicol joins us as a mining robot traverses a bleak alien landscape.

Nicol: It’s basically Wall-E, but not as cute.

And then the TARDIS arrives.

Me: Did you notice that the TARDIS materialises slightly differently in this story? It just pops into the frame.
Sue: I can’t say I’m bothered, really. I suppose the fans get worked up about that, do they? Don’t tell me – they blame it on the Time Lords because they’re controlling the Doctor’s TARDIS. Am I right?

Waiting outside the TARDIS doors is an alien world.

Sue: What happened to the Doctor’s little porch? I liked his little porch. That little porch explained a lot.

Jo starts freaking out.

Sue: It’s an interesting reaction. It’s very realistic, and I like that. I’d feel the same way if I suddenly found myself on an alien planet. Actually, this is how I felt when I arrived at that Doctor Who convention in Newcastle the other week.
Nicol: I don’t like Jo’s belt. She looks like she’s wearing a seatbelt that she’s stolen from a plane.
Sue: Yes, it is very Wonder Woman.
Me: Oh look, it’s Penny’s dad from Just Good Friends.
Sue: He’s in Doctor Who quite a lot. He can’t get enough of it. I bet he always auditioned for the part of the Doctor when it came up.

The colonists can’t stop banging on about crop rotations and mineral rights.

Sue: So this is basically the same plot as Avatar, yes? Does Jo fall in love with one of the green blokes?

And then the colonists are attacked by a giant lizard.

Colony in SpaceSue: Quick! We’re surrounded by back projection! Run! Hey, hang on a minute… How did that giant lizard get through the bloody door?

The Doctor makes the same observation.

Me: You are just as clever as the Doctor, love. Well done.

As Sue pats herself on the back, the Doctor is attacked by an IMC robot.

Sue: That isn’t even remotely scary.
Nicol: It looks like a surprised kitten.

 

Episode Two

The Doctor’s new mode of transportation leaves a lot to be desired.

Colony in SpaceSue: Didn’t the Banana Splits ride around in buggies like that?
Me: (Pointing at Morgan) Who’s that, Sue?
Sue: I have no idea.
Me: Come on, love. You’ll let me down if you don’t recognise him.
Sue: Is it Downtown Abbey Man?
Me: Downtown Abbey Man would have been eight years old when this was made.
Nicol: Oh, mother!
Me: And to think I actually sell this blog on your ability to recognise actors who have appeared in EastEnders.

Five minutes later, the penny drops.

Sue: Oh, it’s Barry’s dad!
Me: Yes, it’s Barry’s dad. Aka Roy Evans, or Tony Caunter to his friends.
Sue: Is the Doctor drinking Ribena?
Nicol: No, it’s blood. I told you he was dressed as Dracula. At least the other characters refer to the fact that the Doctor is wearing fancy dress, although it’s a bit rich coming from someone dressed in a tabard.
Sue: This spaceship looks like your average Travelodge. It just needs a little coffee maker. It’s even got cable TV – look!

Nicol sniggers at the Doctor’s combat moves when he’s ambushed by green-skinned natives, but Sue is distracted by something else.

Sue: Oi! Roy Evans! How about getting out of the car and giving the Doctor a hand? You coward!

Sue thinks she’s identified a subtle in-joke.

Sue: Gail Tilsley just laughed when she mentioned Jim’ll Fix It.
Me: It isn’t a reference to Jim’ll Fix It, because that doesn’t start for another four years.
Sue: Really? So why did she laugh like that? It’s as if she knew.
Me: Either Helen Worth is a time traveller with incredibly low aspirations or it’s just a coincidence. Take your pick.

Colony in SpaceWhen Morgan and the Doctor reach the dome, Nicol points excitedly at the screen.

Nicol: It’s the Crystal Dome from The Crystal Maze! Is it full of shiny bits of paper?
Sue: It’s a mini-Epcot. I’d love to live in a dome like that. That design is particularly good against wind.

The Doctor is attacked by a robot with monster claws for hands.

Sue: That is ridiculous.
Nicol: They should have stuck some cat paws on it.
Sue: When does the Master turn up?

 

Episode Three

Sue: The colonists’ hair is very shiny, especially when you consider that they live in a dust bowl. They don’t have any food but they’ve got plenty of conditioner.

As Caldwell ruminates on the colonists’ predicament, Sue comes up with a theory.

Colony in SpaceSue: This bloke reminds me of the Brigadier. He’ll come good in the end. You can tell because he has a moustache. Only the bad don’t have moustaches, apart from the Doctor and Jo, of course. Oh, and the bad guy who’s pretending to be a good guy and has a beard. It’s fairly easy to work out.

Nicol: The costumes are all over the place – it’s a cross between Tron and Game of Thrones.

Winton is machine-gunned off-screen by Caldwell.

Sue: How grim is this? Oh, wait, he’s got a moustache so he’s only pretending to be bad.

The colonists and IMC continue to argue over the rights to the planet Uxarieus.

Sue: Why are the colonists so determined to stay on this shit hole? It’s not exactly Barbados, is it? Or that lovely planet in Avatar. They can’t even get their crops to grow there. I’d have left this dump ages ago.

The episode concludes with Jo being shoved into a hole in a wall.

Sue: I’m enjoying this. I think I like it because it isn’t about the Doctor for a change. I enjoy learning about the other characters and their predicaments. It’s very involving. Yeah, I like this a lot.

 

Episode Four

Colony in SpaceSue: So it really was back projection all along!
Me: And they would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky colonists. Yes, this is basically a politically-charged version of Scooby-Doo.

And then the Master turns up to muddy the waters even further.

Sue: Ooh! It’s the Master!
Me: You knew he was coming. They gave it away in the very first sentence of the story!
Sue: I knew he was coming, but I’m still surprised to see him. Does that make any sense?
Me: No, it bloody doesn’t.
Sue: It throws my facial hair theory out of the window, though. Which is a shame.

The primitives’ leader doesn’t have a moustache, either.

Colony in SpaceSue: It’s a baby with a walnut for a head! That is very disturbing. Anything that looks like a baby but talks like an adult is wrong. It’s starting to freak me out.

The episode concludes with the Master threatening to shoot the Doctor and Jo.

Sue: You know, this isn’t bad at all. If this were four episodes, it would be perfect.
Me: There are still two left.
Sue: I know.

 

Episode Five

It’s another one of those episodes where Sue doesn’t comment much; a combination of her being genuinely involved in the story and running out of things to say about moustaches.

Sue: I really like the Master. He’s always fun to watch. He’s charming and you can’t help but root for him.

The Doctor and Jo break into the Master’s TARDIS.

Sue: It looks exactly like the Doctor’s. Do they make TARDISes out of Gallifreyan flatpacks?

But the Master’s TARDIS possesses something that the Doctor’s doesn’t: an anti-theft device.

Sue: Why doesn’t the Doctor have a security feature like that? The Master always shows him up, doesn’t he? And he doesn’t have a little porch either. That’s odd. It’s as if they’re filming this in the Doctor’s TARDIS…
Me: Don’t be absurd, woman!
Sue: And now the music sounds like something from The Clangers.
Me: The Clangers in Doctor Who? Don’t be ridiculous!

Jo trips the Master’s alarm (“You dozy mare!”) and gas starts pouring into the console room.

Sue: Stick your cloak in the pipe!

Colony in SpaceThe colonists are told that not only will they have to leave the planet, they can’t take more than seven kilos of luggage with them.

Sue: That’s even worse than Ryanair!

And then the Master threatens to kill Jo with a Bakewell tart.

Sue: I’m still enjoying this… Please stop looking at me like that, Neil.

 

Episode Six

The Master and the Doctor are taken to the lumber-room.

Sue: What the hell is a lumber-room? Where are all the planks of wood? You can’t tease me with carpentry and then fail to deliver like that.

The Master shows off Uxarieus’ Doomsday weapon.

Colony in SpaceSue: The Doctor and the Master always end up working together at the end. The Master is crying out for some sort of relationship with his so-called nemesis. He must be really lonely. I think the Master needs to get himself a companion.

And then, for no readily apparent reason, Winton wrestles an IMC guard in the mud.

Sue: This isn’t turning me on, you know. I just want to be clear about that. Ouch! I think he really just punched him in the face!

The colonists’ ship takes off. And then immediately explodes.

Sue: No way! That’s ****ing grim! They must have snuck out when no one was looking. They’ll be fine… It’s fine… It had better be fine, Neil!

As the Master tempts the Doctor with universal domination, Sue thinks she’s about to witness the start of the Time War.

Sue: Does the Doctor blow up Gallifrey with this super-weapon? Is that what happens?

But the Master’s plans are interrupted by the high priest in a high chair.

Sue: Uh oh, here comes Yoda again.

The Doctor sets the Doomsday weapon to self-destruct.

Sue: Why didn’t they do that earlier? Is it because the walnut baby couldn’t reach the lever with his tiny arms?

The Master evacuates the city.

Sue: The Master runs like a girl!

The Doctor and Jo escape as the city explodes behind them.

Sue: Why kill all the natives like that? It wasn’t their fault! That was a bit extreme.

The Master escapes in his TARDIS.

Sue: The Master’s TARDIS just popped out of shot, and he isn’t controlled by the Time Lords, so that blows that theory out of the water. All you’re left with now is an incompetent director.

Colony in SpaceMeanwhile back at UNIT HQ…

Sue: Yay! The Brig! I’ve missed him.

The Brigadier isn’t impressed by the Doctor’s little jaunt.

Sue: So they’ve only been gone a few seconds. That’s clever.
Me: It didn’t feel like a few seconds to me.
Sue: Oh, do shut up, Neil.

 

The Score

Sue: The final episode was very weak. The first four episodes were great – it was actually heading for top marks at one point – but the alien creatures let it down. And even though I like the Master, was he really necessary? His inclusion felt like a contractual obligation. In fact, the plot was pretty good until it went a bit mad towards the end. The acting was quite good, too. It’s a tough one. I’ve seen a lot worse. Yeah, I think I’ll give it a respectable:

6/10

Me: Phew. Anything higher than a six and I would have divorced you.
Sue: I don’t see what your problem is. Can I mark it up to an eight, just to annoy you?
Me: I’ll grow a moustache if you do.

 

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Comments

  1. Lewis  December 10, 2011

    “Me: The Clangers in Doctor Who? That’s even more absurd!”

    Heh heh heh.

    God, I keep putting this DVD back every time I pick it up. I really don’t want to ever experience this story 🙁

    • Rollocks  December 10, 2011

      There’s nothing wrong with this story, it’s no classic but it’s entertaining enough. Yeah the special effects are crap, certain elements of the plot don’t make any sense, there’s no need for the Master to be there and it’s too long. But doesn’t that sound like a good 40% of Pertwee era stories?

      They’ve sat through worse and provided they carry on the experiment will sit through worse, I mean just look at the double header due in 5 stories time.

      That said I’m sure we’re all looking forward to what’s coming straight after that pair of stinkers…

      • Matt Sharp  December 11, 2011

        ‘That said I’m sure we’re all looking forward to what’s coming straight after that pair of stinkers…’

        I’m prepared to be surprised by a Not We’s reaction to ‘The Mutants’.

        Except for the reaction to That Bloke. That Bloke’s always terrible, no matter who’s looking at him…

        And I honestly see no hope for ‘The Time Monster’.

        • BWT  December 11, 2011

          I recently watched “The Mutants” for the first time since 1985 and actually really enjoyed it – even if That Bloke did make me grind my teeth a little bit.

          Anyway – it’s all worth it, if only for the Monty Python “It’s” man at the start…

        • Alisaunder  December 12, 2011

          Sadly the best thing in the Time Monster wont have much effect on Sue, and thats the Queen’s…

          I dont dislike this episode though Neil. 6 is fine for it. And Im delighted that Sue is really getting into the episodes. Its like how we all would want it to go if we had someone we desperately want to like our Show and she’s on the hook I think. Theres nothing truly terrible coming up that I can think of, and then were on to #4. Its a long time before theres anything to worry about showing her. Some not so great ones here and there, but nothing TERRIBLE.

    • Russell Watson  December 12, 2011

      It’s not disastrous, but could have been done a) without the Master or b) with the Masters appearance left as a surprise. The Time Lords could have just been aware “someone” was trying to steal the doomsday weapon.

      • John S. Hall  December 12, 2011

        @Russell — I think that by the time the Master shows up, most viewers had been anesthetised (hypnotised??) into forgetting that he’d been mentioned in the first scene of episode one! 😉

        (Didn’t that happen to Sue as well, IIRC?)

  2. James Armstrong  December 10, 2011

    I watched this for the first time on DVD a couple of weeks ago (had the VHS, never watched it!) and was pleasantly surprised – it’s not great but it’s not as awful as I expected.
    BTW Neil – if you HAD thrown a cushion, would the “cushions thrown” count have gone down?

  3. Jane  December 10, 2011

    I like this one. Maybe cos I read the novelization first, but still, I’d watch it before a whole lot of other episodes. 6 or 7, somewhere in there. Nothing wrong with the story itself, and the production issues are no more egregious than any other serial back in its day.

    • David (ythri)  December 10, 2011

      Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon was one of the 10 Pinnacle US releases in the late 70s. It was my first encounter with any Doctor other than the 4th and with the Master in a non-rotting form. It was also a really good read. The actual episodes were rather a let-down; the cheap production values didn’t come close to how I had visualized the story, and six episodes was just much too long for the material.

  4. Kirk  December 10, 2011

    It isn’t THAT bad – it just looks a hell of a lot cheaper than some of the other stories this season…

    I taped it off the telly when they did repeats back in the 90s in New Zealand, and I had no problems watching it a couple of times…. ‘Inferno’ is still my favourite Pertwee story, though….

    The Master is a bit superfluous in this story, yes, but if they had have gone with the original ‘generic corrupt megalomaniac official’ as was originally planned, the fans would have been carping ‘Whyyyyyy didn’t you use The Master…’

  5. Dave Sanders  December 10, 2011

    The thing that dates Colostomy In Space the most for me is that quaint convention, seemingly unique to 70s BBC sci fi, in which the propulsion unit of a complex interstellar craft from the far future is charmingly referred to as a ‘motor’.

    Now you all have this mental image of Caldwell lifting up the hood of Ashe’s rocket with a sharp intake of breath and going “Ooh no mate, your motors have gone. This is going to cost you.” It’s not going to go away again, ever.

    • Roger  March 2, 2012

      To be fair to 1970s Doctor Who writers, using the term ‘motor’ for a very large rocket isn’t as silly as it seems. The term ‘rocket motor’ is used by engineers for full-size (up to and including man-carrying) rockets as well as the term ‘rocket engine’.

      However, the big caveat is that ‘rocket motor’ refers to solid-fuel devices, e.g. most famously the two massive boosters either side of a Space Shuttle stack; ‘rocket engine’ refers to liquid-fuel devices, e.g. all the engines of a Saturn V launch vehicle, or the engines of the Space Shuttle Orbiter (the winged vehicle).

      So yes, it’s perfectly permissible to use the term ‘rocket motor’ even for a really huge man-carrying solid-fuel launch vehicle, but you wouldn’t use the term for anything else because you wouldn’t use solid-fuel rockets for anything other than a one-shot launch.

      Excellent website, BTW, basing the reviews on one’s better half’s reactions to each programme is sheer genius.

  6. Roderick T. Long  December 10, 2011

    “I’d offer you a lift home but somebody nicked my motor.” — 10th Doctor, in “Blink”

    “Typical bloke, straight to fixing his motor.” — Amy Pond, in “Meanwhile in the TARDIS, 2”

    • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2011

      That’s different, it’s making light of the vernacular for a vehicle. Old-Who uses ‘motor’ as the techinical word for a rather more sophisticated form of engine. It’s a reflection of the old British cardboard-and-string love of DIY, like your Dad trying to fix the TV.

  7. PolarityReversed  December 10, 2011

    Good on you Sue. I really don’t mind this one – better any day than Fairground Repulsion or Mind of Porridge. Ham-fisted to be sure, but a reasonably game stab at the “big idea” allegory approach so prevalent at the time. Reithian principles to the fore.
    To be fair, Caunter was a tough spot. The leap from intergalactic corporate thug to possibly the only car-dealer in history never to even think of fiddling the VAT is a difficult one to make. Particularly since he didn’t give a **** about the colonists’ old cut-and-shut banger exploding as soon as it was off the forecourt.
    I reckon she’s going to really like the next one… Who does Hammer, Goats in Socks, mmm…
    As for Clangers, oh dear God, she’s getting far too good at this isn’t she?

    • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2011

      I still think The Daemons views like Jo Grant retelling it later to us via her MySpace page.

  8. Richard Lyth  December 10, 2011

    I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, after reading reviews that made it sound like the dullest thing ever. The storyline is noticeably more sophisticated than previous alien planet stories, when it was just good humans vs evil aliens – now there’s good humans, evil humans, ambiguous aliens and the Master thrown in as well, so there’s plenty going on to fill out the six episodes. It’s not perfect, sure, but it makes for a nice change of pace from the UNIT stories.

  9. Fuschia Begonia  December 10, 2011

    We saw Mary and Bryan at a comic convention in Newcastle today; we did wonder if you or Sue knew them

    I didn’t like scary walnut head baby overlord thing, either. But this story is really only a bit meh, not really bleh

  10. Alex Wilcock  December 10, 2011

    So, Neil, did you grow up reading the book, too? One day someone’ll do an academic paper on the split between what people think if they read the proper one first or if they just come straight to the mud, because for me this one’s the biggest Pertwee Gap between the fantastic story on the page and the muddy television – surely less a bête noire than a bête gris et brun. I doubt even Geoffrey Beevers’ lovely voice could involve Sue in Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon, though. Shame.

    Even so, some good ones this time…

    “The room on this spaceship looks like your average Travelodge.”
    But slightly less evil and graspingly capitalist.

    “He’ll come good in the end. You can tell that because of the moustache.”

    “Yes, this is basically a politically charged version of Scooby-Doo.”

    “That’s worse than Ryanair!”

    “You can’t tease me with carpentry and then fail to deliver like that.”

    Though…
    “It’s the Time Lords! Have they decided to end the Doctor’s exile? That was quick; I don’t think he learnt a damn thing.”
    Just you wait until the end of Pertwee. He’ll be lecturing everyone on behalf of the ticket inspectors – it’s like bloody Stockholm Syndrome. And Sue’s clearly become inured to Dudley Simpson’s music, too, because this score’s easily among his worst (though they do get much better, much later).

    “The Master is crying out for a relationship with his so-called nemesis. He must be really lonely…”
    True, though it just points up how the best scene in this has already been done in The War Games, where someone else with sinister facial hair (that rule only applies to humans, clearly) offers the Doctor not a rose and some chocolates but a half-share in the Universe.

    “The last episode was very weak.”
    She won’t thank you when the next story has exactly the same cop-out, then.

    And, of course:
    “Why kill all the natives like that? It’s not their fault! That seems a bit extreme.”

    Yes, well, when I wrote in detail about the Colony In Space DVD, I tried to come up with an answer – how this story confounds expectations by inverting the usual Doctor Who ‘ancient evil on the rise’ – but even so, the Doctor seems a bit of a git to say ‘Oh, go on, die then’, and isn’t that handy for making the colonists the good guys rather than rapacious intruders just like IMC?

    • Dave Sanders  December 10, 2011

      And to think this was the same Malcolm Hulke that was so adept at giving us different levels of moral ambiguity within the same factions of humans and aliens the year before.

    • PolarityReversed  December 11, 2011

      re: TV vs mud.

      One of the reasons why I’m fond of some of the Troughtons is because I first encountered them in Targetvision.
      In these lazy hazy crazy days of YouTube and DVDs, I’ve found quite a few of them to be a crashing disappointment. Much like everything ever done with Bronte or Austen.
      Another thing for younger participants to bear in mind is that at the time you had one crucial 25min window to focus on this stuff. VCRs were in their minority infancy, there was no BBCi, endless syndication (a la Star Trek) or series box-sets. Saturday night after Final Score was it, and you had to lie on the floor with your face virtually inside the telly so as not to miss a moment. Then later you had the sodding Generation Game to endure – and will someone please tell me when exactly Bruce Forsyth is finally going to regenerate? While we’re at it, who should be the next Bruce?

      • Frankymole  December 12, 2011

        Who should be the next Bruce? Basil Brush of course!

        Enduring BB (and Grandstand) before Dr Who could start was worse than the parents’ stuff that came after, at least you could stop watching telly after Who (unless the only alternative was going to bed, of course).

        • PolarityReversed  December 12, 2011

          Oh yeah… I’d completely blotted out the posh fox memory (psychological self-preservation probably).
          Forty years of progress and BBC Saturday nights have managed to come completely full circle. Amateur have-a-bash and doing-silly-things light ents (with Brucie) preceding Dr Who.
          What are you holding by the way? Looks a bit like you’re about to mainline a model spaceship…

          • Dave Sanders  December 13, 2011

            Has everyone forgotten Larry Grayson and Jim Davidson already? Brucie went through his own dodgy regeneration and ratings crash period YEARS ago.

          • Dan  December 13, 2011

            I used to enjoy it all! Right up to Starsky and Hutch.

          • Frankymole  December 13, 2011

            It’s a sonic something.

          • PolarityReversed  December 13, 2011

            Grayson and Davidson – ah yes. More repressed memories, it seems.
            And they seem to have cunningly welded together BB and Generation Game into some pratting about involving a neurotic mechanical hare. Nothing new under the sun, eh. Especially in telly exec land…

          • PolarityReversed  December 13, 2011

            Mole:

            Mmkay.
            Actually, I’ve just used something similar-looking to piss off my cat (worming time), and it certainly turned her sonic for a while.

          • Frankymole  December 15, 2011

            PolarityReversed: honest, here’s a closeup: http://i715.photobucket.com/albums/ww153/Frankymole/4413865055d2bd98a427.jpg

  11. Nathan  December 10, 2011

    It’s still my favourite story from Season 8, but that’s not saying much admittedly.

  12. John S. Hall  December 10, 2011

    It was worth the wait! Just watched this one on DVD, so I awaited this one with interest and wasn’t disappointed.

    Not quite as bad as I Remembered, but best viewed in limited doses.

    Anyone else spot the colonist wearing Pertwee’s astronaut outfit from AMBASSADORS?? 🙂

  13. Philip Ayres  December 10, 2011

    “It’s a baby with a walnut for a head. That’s very disturbing. ”

    No it’s not, it’s Les Dawson. Just look at the picture at the top of the page!

  14. CJJC  December 10, 2011

    And once again, I did the thing that I always do: be surprised that someone doesn’t like Colony in Space considering I really enjoyed it, and then getting quite some way through the description before realising that I’m thinking of FRONTIER in Space. This happens VERY frequently.

    • Dan  December 10, 2011

      In my case I got it confused with Carnival of Monsters. That’s somewhat worse!

  15. Mike Trytek  December 11, 2011

    Excellent stuff as always!

    Neil, are you sure you didn’t make Sue lower her score just to save the marriage? Her comments throughout seem to warrant more than a 6/10… ;o)

  16. Simon Harries  December 11, 2011

    Neil, is that you in the “easily surprised kitten” video?!

  17. Tansy Rayner Roberts  December 11, 2011

    Obviously the Time Lords stole his little porch!

    *OR* the Doctor himself removed it so as to get the console out during Inferno. And then couldn’t remember where he left it.

    When Neil Gaiman signs up to write his second episode of Doctor Who, he will obviously set the whole thing in the little porch, after the Doctor and companions find it behind the bins.

    • Dave Sanders  December 11, 2011

      Maybe he swapped the little porch for a little shop.

  18. Matthew C  December 11, 2011

    Where did all these fans of Colony in Space come from? I hate it; its so boring.

  19. BWT  December 11, 2011

    “They worshiped technology? So they were Apple fans?”
    • No, Sue – they worshiped *technology*; they were electric fans

    I do love the idea of “Gallifreyan flatpacks” – I often used to wonder if they’d have an MFI or Ikea back home (that’d explain the Doctor’s penchant for TARDIS DIY…

    THIS WEEK’S T-SHIRT: “The Master runs like a girl!” (of course he does – that’s why he wants a relationship with the Doctor)

    And I love the “I can’t say I’m bothered. I suppose the fans get worked up about that, do they?” comment. Really, we’re back to Ming-mongs again now, aren’t we?

    Oh, and I LOVE the kitten…

  20. Matt Sharp  December 11, 2011

    ‘Faced with the prospect of an alien planet to explore, Jo immediately starts freaking out.’

    Jo ALWAYS does that whenever they go anywhere, though – she spends most of an episode of ‘The Curse of Peladon’ bitching that instead of going on an adventure to some distant planet she wanted to go dancing with the world’s creepiest captain, then when told that she can go anywhere in space and time at the end of ‘Planet of the Daleks’ the only thing she wants to do is to go home…

    ‘You know, I’d love to live in a dome like that. ‘

    The Not-We live in the dome…

    ‘Sue: I really like the Master. He’s always fun to watch. He’s very charming and you can’t help but root for him.’

    This is, I think, one of the reasons I’ve never particularly liked the Pertwee era beyond Season 7. Just when it looks like he’s really getting into his stride, someone else comes along and steals the show from him – Delgado is charming where Pertwee is belligerent and rude, then you-know-who ambles in like he hasn’t been away and he doesn’t like the third Doctor either…

  21. Matt Sharp  December 11, 2011

    Oh yes – you forgot to point out Douglas Camfield’s cameo, and that the IMC ship has an alarm that sounds exactly like the incidental music from ‘Doctor Who and the Silurians’!

    • Frankymole  December 12, 2011

      Camfield’s cameo? What’s that then? Not that Martin bloke on the Adjudicator ID?

  22. John G  December 11, 2011

    “That’s an interesting reaction from Jo. It’s very realistic and I like that. I’d probably feel the same way if I suddenly found myself on an alien planet. In fact, that’s exactly how I felt when I arrived at that Doctor Who convention in Newcastle the other week.”

    Cutting Sue, cutting, but it can’t quite disguise how far you have journeyed down the road to Fandom…

    Anyway, sorry Neil, but I have to side with your wife in this particular matrimonial contretemps. This is a perfectly decent story, and I would probably put it down as the second best of the season. It’s not in the same league as Hulke’s earlier efforts, but the clash between idealism and capitalism is handled well, while Kay and Ringham once again deliver top-notch performances for the show – it’s a great shame this proved to be their Who swansong. The Master’s presence is unnecessary, but Delgado and Pertwee have their chemistry down pat by now and it is striking how tempted the Doctor appears to be by the Master’s offer of universal domination, which just goes to show that he is not completely immune to temptation. Mind you, we do get to see a much more relaxed and friendly third Doctor here, luxuriating in getting away from Earth while finally starting to build a closer friendship with Jo. As others have said, some of the effects and costumes aren’t great, but this is Doctor Who we are talking about! Compared with what lies in store in some of the later Pertwees, this story’s look is positively sophisticated…

  23. Matthew Marcus  December 11, 2011

    Topical question: are you going to go back and revisit Galaxy Four and The Underwater Menace at some point now that they exist more completely than previously imagined? (I know everyone but me hates these stories, but still… best Xmas present in years!)

    • Rollocks  December 12, 2011

      The Radio Times website mentions a second “Lost In Time” set, and later says “Well, one or two other leads are being pursued at the moment. More than that I’m not saying!”

      Talk about a tease! If that’s the case then it’s the most exciting Who news since 2 Entertain announced they’re pairing “Shada” and “More Than 30 Years In the Tardis” for DVD release later this year.

      • Rollocks  December 12, 2011

        Obviously that last bit is a joke.

        • Rollocks  December 12, 2011

          And yes obviously that should read “next year”.

  24. Dave Sanders  December 11, 2011

    Colony’s problem – if you see it as a problem – is that no two elements of the story follow the same sense of scale, or indeed, *any* sense of scale. This time however it’s mainly due to sloppy plotting rather than sloppy direction or an undernourished budget, as nobody on the other side of the camera has grasped how big a planet should be, and all the script problems stem from this. Living space on Earth is at a premium and one way or another the planet is vital to everyone’s future, but only one pathetic bunch of idealists and one IMC rocket ship has bothered to turn up. The chief ‘threat’ is this great big universe-threatening weapon, the first plot point we’re introduced to, but it’s plunked in the middle of nowhere in an area which, on-screen, never appears to stretch further than half a mile – and it STILL manages to come across like an afterthought. As for this ‘clash of ideals’, if either party hadn’t been too lazy to pack up and walk any distance away from each other, none of it need ever have happened. Not once is there any indication that the colonists have tried spreading out and growing their essential food supplies elsewhere, and the IMC personnel have a rocket, for Christ’s sake. Take this away, and there’s no need for the ‘ajudicator’ or the ‘primitives’ subplots either, so we could have skipped straight to episode four when the Master shows his face, triggered off a somewhat duff explosion and then all gone home. Which the colonists will have to do anyway if they don’t want to be massacred by IMC reinforcements, so it’s not like very much more has been resolved by virtue of us hanging around.

    • Dave Sanders  December 11, 2011

      I say ‘if you see it as a problem’ since, in this respect, Colony In Space isn’t doing anything more ridiculous than Genesis Of The Daleks does later. So if you like, you can also view Colony as a sci-fi fable in which the miners and colonists are the representations of two mutually-exclusive sets of principles. Genesis gets away with it a lot more though for having much better defined characters that aren’t fringe-stereotypes of the hippies and capitalists that Malcolm Hulke knew then.

  25. Frankymole  December 12, 2011

    basically exactly the same plot as Avatar – and Earth 2 (remember that? US series from the 90s with Tim Curry in the Roy Skelton role. Same plot, characters, designs…)

  26. Matt Sharp  December 12, 2011

    ‘This story is my bête noire. ‘

    It’s almost entirely beige, actually – this is the major problem I have with it, the relentless, merciless brownness of it all.

    It actually seems more colourless than ‘The Mind of Evil’.

    The colour on the DVD is actually a major improvement over the VHS, though!

    • PolarityReversed  December 13, 2011

      Well, if you can’t take the quarry, stay out of the 70s…

  27. Jazza1971  December 15, 2011

    The thing that has always worried me about this story is the whole premise that this is a group attempting colonise a planet. Their major fault, so it seems to me, is that they didn’t think too much about the mix of people needed to start colonise anywhere. Yes, you can plant crops and hope that they grow to give you some kind of future, but you also need to have the right mix of people to ensure that the colony will continue into the future. I’m talking procreation, folks! Having only one female colonist seems wrong. Either the colony is doomed before it’s started or Gail from “Coronation Street” is going to be a very busy (and presumably popular) lady!

    I try not to think about the genetic problems this will cause for future generations…

    • Leo  December 15, 2011

      There’s at least three women there, one of whom is killed with her husband at the start, another is played by the same person who plays Nancy, one of the Nuthutch people in Green Death, as well as Mary Ashe. There are probably meant to be more, the implications seems to be that the colony is made up of married couples.

      • Jazza1971  December 15, 2011

        I only ever remember Gail!

        But I’m not going to let anything like facts get in the way of my warped theories…

        • PolarityReversed  December 17, 2011

          Quite right too.
          I look forward to Matt Smith visiting Planet of the Webfooted Earnest Chipmunk/Walnut People. With Golf Carts. In Taupovision.

  28. farsighted99  January 15, 2012

    I actually liked this episode. I thought the story was okay. I even liked it that the Master was the Adjudicator… though The Timelords shouldn’t have mentioned the Master at the start of episode 1; it would have worked better as a kind of surprise.

    Best Sue remark was:

    Sue: Why are the colonists so determined to stay here on this shit hole? It’s not exactly Barbados, is it? Or that lovely planet in Avatar. They can’t even get their crops to grow there. I’d have left this dump ages ago.

    I couldn’t quite understand that either. WHY would they go to this shithole of a planet in the first place? Oh well….

    I liked those weird green Maori guys with the spears. Primitives? I suppose. But they were good, and I liked it that you couldn’t trust them, made the story interesting.

    The Doctor/Master relationship developed a bit more here. I like what the Doctor tells the Master when he turns him down:

    “I want to see the universe, not rule it.”

    That’s a great line.

    Oh, and TARDIS Key played a part. I liked the bit about the Master’s TARDIS, and the way it looks different every time we see it. Yes, obviously it’s the same as the Doctor’s TARDIS inside (too expensive to maintain two sets), but still, I like the stories that have other TARDIS’ in them… I liked the bit with the gas.

    Oh, and the part where the colonist’s spaceship blows up; I really thought most of them died for awhile. That was quite good. Would have been a bit too dark I suppose if they really had died. (But they did kill off the indigent population with that bomb, I’m fairly certain. Now I know why I don’t want extra-terrestrials to visit earth! 😀 ).

    I’d give it a 8. I liked it. The walnut baby leader was absurd, but I pretend I didn’t notice that.

  29. Huw  April 19, 2012

    “This looks exactly like the Doctor’s TARDIS. Do they make them out of Gallifreyan flatpacks?” Please can Sue have her own TV series? PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  30. Matthew  May 22, 2012

    Hello from the US!

    I have been watching the entire series myself, and at some point came across your site and started reading each entry after watching the story. I’ve been meaning to leave a comment to let you guys know how much I enjoy your banter and commentary for a while.

    While watching Colony in Space, I thought “Look the Master runs like a girl! Heh, I’ll bet Sue noticed that.” Of course I was thrilled to see she had, and I knew this was the time to say hi. So thanks to you and yours for sharing.