The Ark has always been one of my favourite First Doctor stories, deceptively ambitious it is one of Doctor Who’s first explorations of the consequences of the actions of time travel, in this case the transmission of the common cold.
Landing on a vast spaceship where the last survivors form earth are on a 700 year voyage to the planet Refusis II the Doctor’s companion Dodo unwittingly spreads her cold amongst the Monoids.
Those consequences of this are explored by the very clever plot device of having the Doctor and his companions travel forward seven hundred years where they discover that balance of power has shifted, and humanity is now enslaved by the Monoid race.
Despite rating it highly, for me the story has always suffered somewhat due to the limitations of the effects and make-up of the time. On CD these limitations are swept away allowing the sheer brilliance of the plot to finally take centre stage.
As we’ve come to expect, the sound is of the highest quality possible and the story is presented with confident and accessible linking narration by Peter Purves who plays the Doctor’s companion Steven.
Also included is an interview with Purves conducted by Mark Ayres. Over 20 minutes in length this is satisfyingly in-depth and includes some very honest answers, especially in the explanation by Purves of his decision not to do future convention appearances.
Doctor Who: The Ark is released on 7th August and is available from all good bookshops, online at BBCShop.com’s Doctor Who Store
or by BBC Audiobooks direct mail on 0800 136 919.