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Serial: 4C  Episode Nos. 386, 387, 388, and 389.  Title: The Ark in Space Special Edition

 

The TARDIS arrives on a strangely dormant space station.  Exploring, the Doctor and his

friends find hundreds of people in suspended animation, but their revival systems have

been sabotaged by an intruder: a giant alien insect called a Wirrn.  When the sleepers start

to revive, the Queen Wirrn's larvae also awaken...

 

starring Tom Baker as Doctor Who, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, and Ian Marter

as Harry Sullivan.

 

Written by Robert Holmes, Produced by Phillip Hinchcliffe, and Directed by Rodney Bennett.

 

Originally transmitted from 25 January 1975 to 15 February 1975 on BBC1.

DVD Contents:

Contents listed in italics are new to this Special Edition. Those in normal type were present

in the original release.

 

A 2-Disc release.  On Disc 1:

- All 4 25-minute episodes of the serial, newly remastered and restored.

- Graphical menus, episode selection features, scene selection features, and optional

  subtitles for the hearing impaired.

- Commentary track by actors Tom Baker (the Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah), and

  Producer Philip Hinchcliffe.

- Production Notes Subtitles. Freshly-researched and rewritten for this edition.

- A New Frontier.  A 30-minute featurette about the making of the story, featuring new

  interviews with Philip Hinchcliffe, production designer Roger Murray-Leach, director

  Rodney Bennett, and actors Kenton Moore (Noah) and Wendy Williams (Vira), and

  actor Nicholas Briggs offers a fan perspective.

- Original 4:3 aspect ratio.

- New CGI Model Sequence - The exterior shots of the Ark and its transport ship can

  be replaced as you view the episodes with computer-generated images.  You can

  choose to either watch all the new shots at once via a menu choice in the Special

  Features menu, or let them appear during the episodes as you play them. 

  (The original unaltered episodes with the original model footage are the default

  version on the disc.)

- Roger Murray-Leach interview from the original edition.

- Alternative Title Sequence.  An earlier, unused version of Tom Baker’s opening title

  sequence that started by using some of the previous Jon Pertwee sequence. 

- Model Effects Roll - Selecting this plays some film reels of the original modelwork from

  1974 of the Ark’s transport ship launching and of the Wirrn space-walking around the Ark.

- Trailer for Episode 1

- Photo Gallery

- 3D Technical Schematics - This selection displays a computer-generated schematic

  animation of the structure of the Ark.

- TARDIS-Cam No. 1- This selection plays a 1-minute modern modelwork featurette

  of the TARDIS having landed on a desolate planet which has the remains of a

  Cyberman’s head on it.  This was a sort of promo for the BBC’s own official

  Doctor Who website at www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho  for which other TARDIS-

  Cam short subjects were made and shown.  Those have been discontinued, but this

  was present on the original edition so has been left here as well.

- 3 Easter Eggs.  Use your mouse to highlight the blank-looking area below and you’ll see

  how to find them and what they are.

- Egg 1:  On the Main Menu, immediately press your left arrow and you will see the

  Doctor Who logo appear out of nowhere.  Click the logo, and you will see the 30-second

  countdown clock and slate for Part Two of the story used at the start of its master video tape.  

- Egg 2:  Go into the 2nd page of the Special Features menu.  Highlight the Photo Gallery

  Selection, then press the left arrow.  A Doctor Who logo will appear.  Click this and

  the Doctor will appear for about 17 seconds, tell you “goodbye” and that he can’t stay

  long because he’s going to Blackpool, and that you should brush your teeth. 

  A caption card for a Doctor Who exhibition in Blackpool then displays. 

  (This was an advertisement for said exhibition.)

- Egg 3:  At the conclusion of the final episode, after the credits have finished rolling,

  the Doctor appears again in another short segment for that Blackpool exhibition that

  would appear to have been used at the exhibit itself as people left because he asks you

  to tell everybody about it, and to mind the steps. 

 

On Disc 2:

- Graphical menus and optional subtitles for the hearing impaired.

- The Ark in Space: Movie Version.   A one hour-ten-minute continuous edit of the story

  that was used in by the BBC during a rerun season. This copy has not been

  restored.

- Doctor Forever! Love and War.  A new 28-minute featurette about how Doctor Who

  continued in new fiction books from 1991 to 2005.  Features interviews with

  Virgin Books editor Peter Darvill-Evans, BBC books editors Steve Cole and Justin

  Richards, actress Lisa Bowerman, David Richardson from TV Zone, audio and TV

  authors Rob Shearman and Joseph Lidster, and book authors (and in many cases,

  future writers or producers of new series episodes) Paul Cornell, Russell T. Davies,

  Mark Gatiss and Gary Russell.

- Scene Around Six.  8 minutes of film footage of Tom Baker on a promotional tour

  of Belfast, Northern Ireleand, being mobbed by huge crowds of kids everywhere he goes.

- Robot 8mm Location Film.  1 minute of 8mm home movie footage shot during the

  making of Tom Baker’s debut story, Robot.

- Coming Soon.  A 1-minute trailer for the DVD of The Aztecs Special Edition.

- PDF Files.  Place this disc into a computer and you can access four PDF files. 

  They are: 

  -- The original Radio Times billing for this story from 1974.

  -- The complete Doctor Who Technical Manual, an oversize paperback published in 1983.

     69 pages of technical schematics of the popular props, sets, and monsters seen up to

     that point (and some unpopular ones).

  -- Promotional materials for Crosse & Blackwell.  Flyers that were included in cans of

     baked beans.

  -- Promotional materials for Nestle.  Candy bar wrappers featuring Doctor Who

      characters from this era of the show.

 

There are three features that were present in the original edition of this release that

are absent from this one.  The first two were features unique to the North American

editions which were eliminated as a series when the range was unified to have the

same contents worldwide.  These were the “Who’s Who” text files containing extra

biographies of the cast, and the 15-minute featurette that compiled all of the

Howard Da Silva narrations that were used in the initial 1978 syndication package

to U.S. TV stations to introduce the episodes to the uninitiated American audience.

 

The third feature was a BBC local news item that visited the location filming on

Revenge of the Cybermen in the Wookey Hole caves.  This segment is now present

on the DVD of Revenge of the Cybermen and so was felt to be redundant here.

(the Cybermen  DVD wasn’t out at the time of the original release and wasn’t until

many years later)

 

The original release also had a flaw on the main feature that is not present on this new

edition.  This took the form of the picture dimming at various points in the last two

episodes if the subtitles were switched on.