Doctor Who
The Ark in Space

Starring: Tom Baker
BBC Worldwide
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available now

Despite the BBC's insistence on packaging up some of their best DVD releases in some of the worst-designed sleeve artwork the Ark in Space disc is little short of a masterpiece - a standard that we've all come to expect from Auntie's Doctor Who DVDs. The image is pin sharp, the sound quality is excellent - albeit mono - and the extras are first rate. Oh yes, and the story's not half bad either.

But probably the thing that will set the most tongues wagging is the new CGI space station shots. You can either view the episodes with the original wobbly CSO inserts or with some lovely new computer-generated sequences. And if you want to see why the original sequences are so bad there's a collection of unused shots which show the model unit cooking up something that appears to have been inspired by Buck Rogers. Special effects but without being special, if you see what I mean.

The actual episodes themselves are well scripted and designed although some of the acting leaves a little to be desired. Often more ham than Hamlet. And the science behind the plot works until someone explains it, at which point it gets a little silly. But, and it's a big but, none of that really matters - the story is robust enough to handle all this without loosing its pace and tension.

So go out and buy this disc. It's Tom Baker Doctor Who at its finest and you don't get a better recommendation than that.

Anthony Clark


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