Number : Season 8, serial 4 of 5.

Which One : The Master and the Uxariean Doomsday device.

Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
The Master : Roger Delgado
Timelords : Graham Leaman, Peter Forbes-Robertson, John Baker
Ashe : John Ringham
Mary Ashe : Helen Worth
Leeson : David Webb
Jane Leeson : Sheila Grant
Alec Leeson : John Tordoff
Winton : Nicholas Pennell
Martin : John Line
Mrs Martin : Mitzi Webster
Norton : Roy Skelton
Captain Dent : Morris Perry
Caldwell : Bernard Kay
Holden : John Herrington
Morgan : Tony Caunter
Allen : Stanley McGeagh
Alien Priest : Roy Heymann
The Guardian : Norman Atkyns

Written By : Malcolm Hulke

Produced By : Barry Letts

First UK Broadcast : 10 April–15 May 1971.

Length : 6 x 25 minute episodes.

Plot : The Doctor is given a temporary reprieve, from his exile and sent by the Time Lords to planet Uxarieus – to prevent the misuse of a Doomsday weapon.

Whats good : Nice to see a space-adventure, after a few Earth based ones. The colony setting. The colonist/IMC story.

Whats bad : Hellishly long. Two stories in one. The Master looking for the superweapon angle. The Uxarian alien look. The midget Guardian.

Review With Spoilers : Colony In Space is the fourth serial of season 8 – and a temporary reprieve – for the Doctor, from Earth exile.

Sent by the Time Lords to planet Uxarieus, to prevent the misuse of a super-doomsday weapon. The Doctor happens upon a starving Earth colony, an evil mining corp, an uneasy alliance – with the local aliens – and The Master masquerading, as an Earth adjudicator.

The first thing that hits you about Colony In Space – is the length. It is really difficult, to sit through the whole thing – in one go.

This is due – in part, to a very long and drawn out story, with two seperate strands; the first; is the desperate plight of the human colonists, who are being harrassed, by the Intergalactic Mining Corporation (IMC); who are attempting to displace them.

The second – is The Master, who arrives on Uxarieus; masquerading as an Earth adjudicator – to resolve the colonist/IMC dispute but who is, in reality; looking for an alien doomsday device.

It’s seems that Colony In Space might have benefited from a single story branch. Both the colonist/IMC and the Master/doomsday device plot strands – would have made reasonable stories; in their own right.

By interspersing them. What happens is that the colonist/IMC plot, gets going but then falters; as the story shifts gear into the seperate; ‘Master retrieving a doomsday weapon’ scenario.

“One must rule or serve. That is the basic law of life. Why do you hesitate? Surely it’s not loyalty to the Time Lords, who exiled you to one insignificant planet?” The Master

It was commendable thing to attempt – and write a multi-layered piece – but in practice it doesn’t work – over 6 (long) episodes; and as a result Colony In Space is one of those long Who’s, which seems to be stretched out by two episodes; too many.

I am not a big fan of the 2 hours 25 minute – 6 part episodes, which in most cases are just too long – on DVD and in terms of a weekly serial. Especially these days, when attempting to watch Who’s – in one sitting. I much prefer the punchier 1 hour 40 minute – 4 parters; as just the right length.

Aside from the running time, the Doctor and The Master have a run-in with the Uxaerius indigenous aliens, whilst looking for the Doomsday device – in their forbidden city.

There is an interesting subplot about the aliens, once being a technological savvy and intelligent race. However, following the building and misuse of the doomsday weapon. The alien elders, decided to breed the intelligence out of the aliens – until they became too stupid to abuse their former techs – again.

Unfortunately, The doomsday device’s keeper – a little midget with a big head, sitting in a little chair. Unfortunately was a ridiculous and poorly conceived character. Some kudos to the design team though (I suppose), for trying to design something different looking; but it looks ridiculous.

Even The Master and Doctor’s usual punchy interaction, can’t propel Colony In Space – to new heights, which is a bit tiresome – in this. Partly, due to a humdrum plot and The Master’s fourth straight appearance – in a row, which feels overdone, by this point.

The producers decided to go for a space-affair, to break up the Earth invasion stories. But in doing so, should have also given The Master character – a rest: for one episode. Even a good thing like Delgado – can be overdone.

🔵🔵🔵⚪⚪ (3/5)

Old Doctor Who

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