Friday, 8 July 2011

Colony In Space (Episode 1)

Originally Broadcast 10th April 1971
Written by: Malcolm Hulke

In a nutshell: The Time Lords (expecting danger from the Master) send the Doctor and Jo to an alien planet where they encounter an Earth Colony in the year 2472.

Review: A bit of a dull episode, this began really well with some pompous Time Lords discussing matters relating to the Master (briefly) and the Doctor, which kind of spoils the ‘reveal’ of Delgado eventually in episode three or four as he’s announced in the first line of dialogue!

But we digress from the Time Lords for(ever) now as we see what the Doctors up to back on Earth, still trying to make a new dematerialisation circuit for the TARDIS. I’m sure most of Jon Pertwee’s ‘episode ones’ from his first two or three series opens up with a shot of him doing this, so I’m not incredibly excited to see him doing it again as Jo leers over him, doing her best to put on the ‘dumb companion’ act Katy Manning’s stuck with in this episode. Jo acts worse than usual as she gets her first visit inside the TARDIS, revealing she never believed the Doctor’s stories, which I don’t buy into. I think it demeans the character of Jo that everybody loves and she gets to do a good deal of ‘fear acting’ as well about the TARDIS taking off and landing in an alien quarry.

The Time Lords make a fleeting appearance.

The Brigadier is what steals this episode, although he only makes an appearance for a couple minutes, but his dialogue with Pertwee is really great, as he thinks he’s finally found the Master (again). The Brig is one of those characters that works really well, because the dialogue usually treats his character as a joke, yet the relationship between Courtney and Pertwee is such a great one that the character appears brilliant. This then carries on, as Pertwee becomes Baker etc, the initial actors relationship transfers itself in the audience mind. This scene is particularly great, as the Brig has mistaken the Master for the Spanish Ambassador!

But all the fun stuff aside, this plot doesn’t do a lot for me, as it’s yet to really evolve into anything brilliant. Hulke trundles out some similar elements to his previous entry into the series (‘Doctor Who And The Silurians’) such as a reptilian creature although there’s also a wobbly robot that looks like it’s been in storage since 1966’s ‘The War Machines’. At least these two devices might’ve toyed with audiences’ minds back in the day (or maybe today through DVDs-when ‘Colony’ is released). None of the guest cast have done anything to excite me yet, I’m not knocking anybodies acting, there’s just nothing attracting me to anyone, but they’ve only been on screen for a short part of the episode and I still have five more to go…

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