‘Ark in Space’
Dr Who painting by Roger Shore
Doctor Who’s ‘ARK IN SPACE’ episode is probably the first truely “adult” Dr Who story and certainly set the template for the Hinchcliffe era whilst coining the off-used phase “gothic horror”. It certainly pulls no punches and is a radical departure from anything that had went before. Straight away the cozy UNIT / Doctor relationship and being stranded on Earth is thrown out the window. The Doctor is again an explorer in time and space with all the baggage that goes with his bohemian nature. The Pertwee era ending with Robot being truely left behind.
This story beats Ridley Scott's “ALIEN” by 5 years and is about the parasitic Wirrn who want to take over an Ark in Space which contains all that’s left of mankind in suspended animation after solar flares left Earth uninhabitable. Mankind being the menu for the day without the decante and beans. There are certainly echoes of John Carpenter’s The Thing in this story.
A great shot of Tom Baker as the Doctor was the main image. Plenty of great shots exist from the episode so I was spoiled for choice. Instead of me using the Ark from the original aired episode, I referenced the Ark from the CGI version that was used in the special edition DVD release. The Earth image was a NASA shot I found which had the right angle I was looking for and was influenced by the shot of the Enterprise leaving orbit in Star Trek: The Motion picture. I had planned to make the Ark more contrasty in the image but I felt the viewer had to see the whole ark.
The Wirrn image was a must and the Doctor’s expression aghast at his adversary is superb. I preferred to keep this as a simpler image although I was very tempted to place Sarah and Harry in the image too but in the end felt it would have overpowered the painting. The few images I put in make tell the story.