Saturday, 9 July 2011

Colony In Space (Episode 2)

Originally Broadcast 17th April 1971
Written by: Malcolm Hulke

In a nutshell: Investigating into an attack on the Colony, the Doctor discovers another group of humans have landed on the planet, but this group have deadly secrets, including something about the recent attack.

Review: Much better than the initial part, the second ‘Colony In Space’ really gets going with it’s characterisation of both groups of humans, giving me some characters to like such as Mary Ashe (Corrie’s Gail Platt) as well as John Ringham returning to the world of Who (first appearing in 1964’s ‘The Aztecs’). On the other side of the planet, there are fewer people to like, Hulke instantly setting them up as villains and very dislikeable ones (although we do get the charming Roger Delgado soon to make up for that)!

As opposed to what these characters do and the plot itself, we’re still not travelling outside a story that’s been done countless times before. Taking elements from ‘The Faceless Ones’ (1967), ‘Doctor Who And The Silurians’, ‘Inferno’ (1970) and even ‘The Wheel In Space’ (1968), there isn’t anything new to grab the audience. Yes there’s a fancy WOTAN-styled robot and Pertwee gets to show off some more of his fantastic Venusians karate on some natives (I’m surprised they don’t get given the derogatory term ‘Swampie’ like in ‘The Mutants’ (1972)).

WOTAN redressed?
The unexpected human arrival who appears at the colony is a walking stereotype, we instantly know what he’s going to do in ten minutes, Jo instantly knows what he’s going to do in ten minutes, the only people who don’t are every other character (I’m not sure how this is Earth’s ‘best’ people to colonise planets based on what I’ve seen). I feel a bit bad for Jo as well, this is her first alien planet and she spends it washing dishes and cooking food with Gail Platt, she puts on a brave face and interacts with the humans but I have faith she’s hating it inside, this serial is a bit sexist with the chores women have to fulfil. 2472 and Germaine Greer’s changed nothing it seems.

And finally, what would one of my reviews be without a mention of the cliffhanger? All I’ll say is, undramatic, poorly composed music, poor camera shots and the exact same cliffhanger we were given for episode one. When does Delgado show up to change this again?

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