Monday, 11 July 2011

Colony In Space (Episode 3)

Originally Broadcast 24th April 1971
Written by: Malcolm Hulke

In a nutshell: In order to discover more about the second group of humans, Jo investigates only to get herself captured. Meanwhile, there’s talk of an adjudicator arriving on the planet.

Review: I’m starting to really get into this story, it’s still slow in places and a lot of the story is a bit obvious, but on the whole it’s really coming into it’s own. The characters are getting better and more to do with each part that passes and Jo’s finally given something to do. She investigates, gets herself captured by one group and then another. But Jo does get to play a part in one of the shows most atmospheric cliffhangers of all time as she enters the Natives cave, a really cool shot of her (one of the few that don’t feel like a forced or out of place zoom shot.

Away from this we get a big moment in seeing the relationship between the Doctor and Jo as possibly the greatest father/daughter TARDIS crew. As Jo gets kidnapped, we see the Doctor show real affection (something rare for the third Doctor) and go out of his way to try and save her. Pertwee is given a nice bit to do in this story, he actually feels like he’s changing things and not there for the sake of it, as he can in some of his serials (‘The Time Monster’ (1972)) and Hulke is writing some good material for him, showcasing his affection and Venusian karate on natives and humans alike.

One of the problems for me with the whole ‘Natives are evil’ plot is that it’s partly a rehash of Hulke’s ‘Doctor Who And The Silurians’ from the previous year as well as numerous other Doctor Who stories throughout it’s long forty-eight year history, trying to deal with race as an issue. In some stories it works well and here it is a little unnoticeable, although once you do notice it, it does get a bit tiresome due to the overused plot already put in place by Hulke. Sadly there’s no Delgado appearance again (he MUST be here next episode), although this could be a good thing as viewers may have forgotten about the Time Lords’ line about him in the opening episode. But then he’s turned up as various different officials in the last two stories so maybe the word ‘adjudicator’ just instantly warns them off. The serials been getting better as we progress so I have a good feeling about episode four…

One of the best TARDIS teams?

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