'The Ark in Space'
By rights, the second DVD release of 2002
should be a William Hartnell story, in keeping with BBC Video's desire to see
one story from each Doctor in the inital release cycle. However, BBC Video were
reluctant to release a second black and white story immediately after 'The Tomb
of the Cyberman', so the decision was taken to release 'The Ark in Space', the
popular second story from Tom Baker's first season.
Ark in Space' still exists on its original 2"
videotape transmission masters. These masters are now with the National Film and
Television Archive for safekeeping, with the BBC retaining
D3 digital tape copies of them. The D3's were used as the source tapes in
the remastering of the story, which required noise-reduction via
DVNR-1000 and then manual repair of a large number of videotape dropouts
throughout all four episodes. This work was carried out by Jonathan Wood, with
the kind assistance of James 'Eagle Eyes' Insell on dropout spotting duty!
The sound was also lifted off onto DAT to
allow Mark Ayres to remove some of the hiss and repair audio dropouts and static
clicks. Here, Mark describes the work he had to do...
"I removed numerous static
clicks from a number of scenes throughout the first two episodes especially. All
of the worst affected scenes were set in the control room in which the TARDIS
lands, so I suspect a problem with a mic during the studio recording on that
set. There were many obvious dialogue dropins (ep.1 especially), these have been
smoothed out where possible. Some distortion on the very opening music cue has
as has a drop in level during the cue (probably an error in the original dub)
and I have also repaired the very start of the cue which was slightly clipped.
Numerous small dropouts were also repaired. About 6bB of broadband noise
reduction was applied to the whole recording to reduce the hiss. Some scenes are
very hissy still, however (the scenes of the Doctor and Harry exploring the Ark
in pt 1, for example - the consequence of the music and effects tracks being
brought up to try to disguise dialogue edits in the original dub). I spent
around 22 hours in total doing this - including layoffs and laybacks.
I have prepared a track
(15.47 total - fade to fit) of Space Sound to cover the effects shots. This is
in stereo, and was remixed from the original mono masters of sounds from the
episodes "The Wheel in Space", "The Dominators" and "The Ambassadors of Death"
(all by Brian Hodgson)."
Extras for this release include:-
- a commentary track
featuring Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Philip Hinchcliffe.
- An unused title sequence,
based on the season 11 sequence but with Tom Baker replacing Jon Pertwee and
including a 'TARDIS tunnel' effect.
- An original BBC1 trail
for episode one.
- New CGI Model shots.
Mike Tucker and Nick Sainton-Clark at BBC Visual Effects were very keen to
contribute to the project and suggested modelling the space station in CGI
and providing a 3D technical schematic 'walkthru' as an extra. As a
consequence of this modelling, the possibility arose of allowing the viewer
to watch an alternate version of the story, in which all the original model
shots are replaced by new CGI versions. The Ark and its shuttle were
modelled and animated by Mike and Nick using Lightwave , then composited by
Ian Simpson at BBC Resources 3D & Digital Effects using Illusion. This
feature will be available as an option implemented by branching on the DVD.
It will not be the default version, merely an alternate feature. The
'clean' CGI sequences will also be included as a separate item.
- Original 16mm model shots.
Very late in the day, a private collector came forward with the original
400ft roll of 16mm camera negative of all the filmed effects shots,
including various versions of the rocket take-off (with and without a rocket
engine), the rocket flying through space and exploding, and the Wirrn
crawling over the outside of the space station. It also includes shots which
were never seen in the final programme. Most of the filmed shots are seen in
the finished programme via on-set video monitors, so this is a unique
opportunity to see them in very high quality for the first time.
- Design Feature. In a
newly-shot interview, Roger Murray-Leach, the story's designer, talks
about how he approached the design of the Ark.
- News Item. An
interview with Tom Baker, recorded on the location at Wookey Hole for
'Revenge of the Cybermen' prior to him actually being seen as the Doctor on
- TARDIS-cam. Fictionlab
at BBC Online have been extremely kind in granting us access to footage from
their new 'TARDIS-cam' feature. Mike Tucker was commissioned to create six
new video sequences showing the TARDIS in various new settings throughout
the universe. Four were shot as physical model sets and two will be created
via CGI. Mike used dual filming techniques to allow a super-16 film camera
to record the shots as well as the DV camera required by BBC Online. The
film shots have been transferred on the Spirit and one will appear on the
disc in 16:9 anamorphic format for optimum quality. We hope that the five
discs which follow 'The Ark in Space' will each include a different
TARDIS-cam shot. We are indebted to BBC Online's
Doctor Who Website
for allowing us to use this unique material. Please help support them by
visiting their site and following their own presentation of TARDIS-cam.
- Production Subtitles.
As on most of our previous discs, Richard Molesworth will be providing a
running subtitle text commentary, highlighting background and production
- Photo Gallery. Ralph
Montagu is currently scouring the collections of both the BBC and
private collectors for design and publicity photographs from the story,
some previously unpublished.
- Easter Eggs. A few
little 'hidden extras' will undoubtedly find their way onto the disc to keep
Easter Egg hunters happy!
Copyright Steve Roberts, 28 September 2001