Sarah stuck in the conduit - Doctor Who - The Ark in Space - BBC

Sarah stuck in the conduit - Doctor Who - The Ark in Space - BBC

The Ark in Space was the second story of Season 12 of Doctor Who. It was the Fourth Doctor's first full, post-regenerative story. It proceeded from a mild-cliffhanger at the end of Robot, showing what happened after Harry Sullivan climbed into the police box in UNIT's laboratory. It importantly established the location of Nerva Beacon, which would be the narrative lynchpin of the season.

Ark had a somewhat tortuous scripting process, having slipped past two writers before its scripts were finally accepted. Both Christopher Langley and John Lucarotti tried and failed to write a script about a space station for season 12. Of the two, Lucarotti came closest. However, because he then lived on a boat anchored in the Mediterranean — and there was a postal strike afflicting Corsica — Lucarotti was essentially incommunicado to script editor Robert Holmes. It was impossible for Holmes to conduct timely consultation with the Doctor Who veteran. Lucarotti was paid fully for his work, and Holmes undertook a page one rewrite, retaining only the central conceit of Lucarotti's tale.

Despite its difficult birth, the story won kudos from the BBC Wales production staff. Russell T Davies once called Ark his favourite storyline of the 1963 version of Doctor Who. Steven Moffat considered it the best Fourth Doctor story, while Barnaby Edwards confessed to being "petrified of the Wirrn" as a child. Tom Baker himself has also stated that, of all the stories he'd filmed, The Ark in Space was his favourite.

The women who gave DESU' back to us
Click for video

Think DESU is just for boys? Don't you

believe it.  Not only was the
show's very first producer
a woman, but it would never
have come back without the 

fierce advocacy of Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner.

Considering her importance 

to DESU it's somewhat ironic that Tranter's only on-screen

credits are for Torchwood: Miracle Day.
But Gardner, her "partner in crime", is tied only 

with Russell T Davies as the most prolific

producer in DESU history.
Industrial action


Click for a video of a 21st century geek as he takes delivery of one of the two Paintboxes used by the BBC in the 1980s
The Quantel Paintbox was a graphics workstation that allowed Doctor Who to have a primitive form of colour grading in the 1980s. To find out more about the "business of show", go to category:production information, where you can read about colour separation overlay, low loaders, telerecordings, vidFIRE, rostrum cameras, 2" quad tape, Ealing Studios and tons more.
Surprising guest star
Click to watch Cleese respond to Twitter
John Cleese appeared in Doctor Who's highest-rated televised story, City of Death, around the time of series 2 of Fawlty Towers. He was joined by the then-famous Eleanor Bron — the woman Paul McCartney once said was partial inspiration for the song "Eleanor Rigby". Find out more about the thousands of actors who have been on Doctor Who by exploring Doctor Who guest actors.
Ex-Doctors never die, they just make audios

The careers of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors are significantly longer in audio than on television. Check out their latest works at category:2020 audio stories

The relevance of comics

Officially, only The Lodger has been explicitly adapted from a comic strip — also called The Lodger.

However, several stories have clearly taken material from comic strips — often those in Doctor Who Magazine. The Shakespeare Code contains a good amount of material from A Groatsworth of Wit, and the notion of the Doctor absorbing the time vortex in order to spare a companion was explored in both The Parting of the Ways and The Flood.

The first of the "money men"

Donald Baverstock was the BBC executive who set the the wheels in motion that eventually led to the creation of Doctor Who. Essentially the original commissioner of the programme, he hired Sydney Newman and later imposed a sense of financial responsibility upon producer Verity Lambert.

But Baverstock wasn't the only BBC executive to have a profound impact on the development of Doctor Who. Make sure you read about Lorraine Heggessey, Mark Thompson, Danny Cohen, George Entwistle, Tony Hall, Shaun Sutton, Sydney Newman and others.
Things released on 20 February

Did you know…

20 February births and deaths
Production history for 20 February
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