fredag den 27. marts 2009

Who Review #59 - Colony in Space

The Time Lords discover that the Master has stolen information about the Doomsday Weapon. Jo steps into the TARDIS for the first time and is amazed that it is bigger inside out. Suddenly the TARDIS dematerialises as it is operated on remote control by the Time Lords, just as the Brigadier enters; he orders the Doctor to return at once. They land on the planet Uxarieus in the 25th Century. They are taken captive by a human. Colonists have been hearing and seeing a giant lizard. The Doctor and Jo learns of the mining corporations. The Doctor studies the crop figures and warns thay the Colonists are in danger of starving to death. Jo is taken to the mess hall where she hears that Earth is overpopulated, the plant life destroyed and the planet polluted, whilst the Government is totalitarian. The Leesons are killed in their domecile. The Doctor talks to the leader Ashe (John Ringham) about the farming situation when the alarm is raised. He and Ashe investigate the scene. The Doctor notes inconsistencies - the monster lizard is too big to make claw marks like those on Jane. The Doctor, later, tells a meeting of Colonists that thecrops are being drained by an unnatural force. A stranger walks into the camp, saying his colony have been killed by lizards. Ashe and the Doctor return to the dome and here the Doc sees two of the primitive inhabitants. Ashe leaves the Doctor to investigate further; the latter is then attacked by a robot.

The robot is stopped by an Interplanetary Mining Company (IMC) employee; he escorts the Doctor back to his ship. The IMC man, Caldwell (Bernard Kay - "Dr.Zhivago", Saladin in the Crusades, Coronation Street) , says that they understood the planet to be uninhabited and that they only have just arrived. Frictions are growing in the colony over the attacks, the primitives and the food crisis. The Doctor notices the TARDIS has gone on his way to the IMC ship. Caldwell discusses the killings with his commander Dent and Morgan (Tony Caunter, Roy in "EastEnders"); the latter killed the Leesons because they saw him, whilst Dent says that the planet is extremely rich in minerals and will double the company profits. The Doctor argues that the IMC leave. Dent orders Morgan to return the Doctor to the dome, hinting the monsters might return. Jo helps Mary (Helen Worth, Deidre in Coronation Street") . Norton, the stranger, is making a quick recovery and is given a guided tour. He murders Jim with a primitive's spear; he lies to Ashe, framing the primitve. The relay circuits have been destroyed by the saboteur Norton, which means the colony will run to a standstill. Caldwell tries to stop the murder of the Doctor; Dent says if he rocks the boat he will never work again. At the dome, Morgan operates the robot - which has claws this time - and points a gun at the Doctor, saying it is business and not personel.

The Doctor uses his karate to disarm Morgan and grab the remote control for the robot. The IMC ship lands clo to the colonists. Dent tells Ashe that the IMC have mining rights, whilst Ashe says they have colony rights. An adjudicator is sent for. The Doctor returns and informs the colonists of the IMC robot and murder. Jo suggests that she and Winton find proof aboard the IMC ship; Norton reports to Dent on the plan. Dent is ready and takes Jo and captive. The Doctor repairs the relay circuit and begins to suspect Norton. The Doctor is summoned by Dent, who informs that Jo is chained to an IMC bomb. Winton greases Jo's hands and she slips out of her manicles.She breaks the chains but trips the bomb; Dent is informed and an IMC guard shoots Winton and recaptures Jo. Caldwell pretends to kill Winton and the other IMC men head off; he tries to persuade Winton to get the colonists off before any more are murdered. Winton returns to the colony and tells all and wants to attack the IMC ship. The Doctor goes to Caldwell and informs him of the ttack, because he wants Jo and also to prevent any carnage. The primitives kill the IMC guard and take Jo. The Doctor cannot prevent Winton's attack so he agrees to help. The colonists seize control of the IMC ship. The Doctor wants to go to the primitive city. Jo is led into the city.

The Doctor sets off. The adjudicator arrives. On the bridge, Winton discovers a projector that makes an image of a lizard. In the city, Jo sees a different sort of creature, which is in charge of the primitives. However, Morgan grabs a pistol and theatens to kill Winton; the IMC disarm the colonists. The Doctor makes contact with the primitives and enters the city. Ashe meets the adjudicator, who is the Master. The Doctor is locked in with Jo; in their cell, they discover that the primitives once had a technologically advanced society that was destroyed. The other creature (a white clad midget with a big brain) enters and points to a picture of sacrifice. The Master starts to hear the cases put forward by Ashe and Dent. The Doctor uses a bit of magic to distract a primitive guard, then karate, to get out of the cell but their escape is foiled. Theyare taken to a room which is full of sophisticated equipment; there they see an even smaller, white clad brain creature (on a sort of throne) which starts to talk to them. The leader primitive lets the Doctor and Jo go, with a warning that they will be killed if they ever return to the city. They return to the colony and see the Master. He and the Doctor talk; he points out that his forged documents are immaculate, whereas the Doctor has no papers at all. The Master rules in favour of the IMC. Winton plans another attack; he impersonates the Master and lures the IMC men to the colony. The Doctor listens in on the Master and Ashe; the Master is interested in the primitive city. The colonists and IMC engage in a fire fight, where Norton is killed. The Master walks in on Jo and the Doctor and points a gun at them, saying they are going to be victims of stray bullets.

Ashe comes in and tries to stop the killing. The IMC are overpowered and detained. The Master says he will be able to prevent the colonists being wiped out by a battle fleet. The Master is believed instead of the Doctor. The Master's TARDIS is disguised as a spaceship and the Doctor and Jo enter it. Dent wants a check of the adjudicator, whilst they wait in orbit. Dent discovers the Master is an imposter and the IMC head back to the planet. the Doctor finds out that the Master has been to a number of planets and wonders what he is looking for. Jo triggers an alarm and both of them are knocked out by a gas defence in the Master's TARDIS. Ashe explains where the primitive city is to the Master. He returns to his TARDIS and wants the Doctor to guide him to the city. the IMC return and another fire fight ensues until Morgan threatens to kill Ashe; the colonists are disarmed. Ashe and Winton are tried by the IMC; they are found guilty and a death sentance suspended if the colonists leave in their spaceship - it is old and a deathtrap. The Master and the Doctor make their way into the city. IMC enter the Master's TARDIS; the Master goes to pressa button to release poison gas that will kill Jo, who is captive there.

The Doctor disarms the Master using his karate. The Master and Doctor are taken prisoner by the primitives and placed in a cell. The Master explains that this culture has a Doomsday Weapon and he plans to use it. The IMC herd the colonists aboard their ship. Caldwell and Jo drive off to the city. The colonist spaceship takes off and explodes. The Master and Doctor have escaped their cell and are in the heart of the Doomsday Weapon. The Master offers the Doctor a half share in the Universe. Jo and Caldwell enter the city, whilst Morgan and a squad are sent off by Dent. The leader creature prevents the Master taking control of the weapon and instructs the Doctor to set a self destruct mechanism. The city explodes. A fire fight ensues between Morgan and his IMC men and colonists. Morgan is killed and the Master escapes in the confusion. Ashe sacrificed his life to fool the IMC; Winton is the new leader. With the machine destroyed, the crops will grow. The TARDIS is found and put in the base. The Doctor and Jo take off. Caldwell remains on in the colony. The TARDIS materialises just after the Brigadier tells the Doctor to return at once. The Doctor smiles at Jo and says she shouldn't try to explain.

Colony in Space is another Malcom Hulke script (others were the War Games and the Silurians). It has been called a dull story by some but I don't think that is entirely fair. I think it is more of a bifurcated story, in that the first half has some implicit politics whilst the second half, when the Master arrives, is mere action. Hulk, like others, portrays a gloomy future for the Earth: one of massive overpopulation, pollution and a Big Brother government. The IMC are corporate capitalism - Dent says what is good for the IMC is good for Earth, which sounds so much like the market sloganising we hear today. Colony... is a sort of wild west settler type story, with natives and a group of colonists being harassed by the railroad. The primitves don't play too much of a role, but we could read between the lines that they reflect on us with our nuclear arsenals and what could happen to civilisation.

There is a marvellous cast who put in good showings.

Whilst not a classic, and it does feel like it drags its heels at times, I like this story.

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