Doctor Who – Colony in Space

I’m still catching up with the classic Doctor Who DVDs released over the last mumble months, and I’ll be writing about them in no particular order. Colony in Space was first shown in April and May 1971 and starts Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, with Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Roger Delgado as the Master.

Having established the Doctor’s exile on Earth in the previous year, the production team were feeling the need to play with the formula a bit – after all, having a fresh alien invasion once a month or so could be seen as stretching things a bit. And so came the Idea – from time to time, the Time Lords, while keeping themselves at a distance, and not intervening in the affairs of other planets, (oh no, not at all, against our rules, you know) would use the Doctor as an agent, regardless of what he might have wanted to do.

So when the Doctor thinks he’s built a new dematerialisation circuit and attempts to demonstrate it to a sceptical Jo[1], the TARDIS sets off under the control of the TIme Lords. It arrives in the traditional quarry which was apparently how all alien planets looked in the 1970s. Actually, it was more of a clay pit, which led to a wee bit of mess when it rained during filming…

Anyway, on the planet Uxarieus, there’s a bit of conflict. A struggling group of colonists, barely clinging on to life, find themselves confronted by the Interplanetary Mining Corporation (IMC), who claim to have been allocated the planet for exploitation, so no colonists allowed. Lots of entertainment follows, with mysterious native beings, a hidden city with a Big Secret, and the Adjudicator who comes to settle the dispute between the colonists and IMC. Ah. Yes. Not actually an Adjudicator, more of a Master, and he’s the reason the Time Lords dragged the Doctor there in the first place. It turns out that the native race is the remainder of a once-great civilisation, who created this rather nasty weapon, which the Master wants to play with.

The story stands up pretty well, and was worth watching again after all those years – I do remember seeing this one as a quite young person…

Extras are not very plentiful on this DVD. Apart from the usual commentary, production subtitles and pictures, there’s a small selection of unused bits of film, and a making of documentary. The documentary is lifted from obscurity by the comedy animated introduction, which is a recruitment film for IMC with Lego-style characters. Very, very, silly. I loved it.

[1] Cue the traditional “bigger on the inside” bit