Colony in Space

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is startled when his latest work on the TARDIS seems to have some measurable results – it suddenly whisks them away to an alien planet several centuries in Earth’s future where a small group of determined settlers are engaged in an ongoing battle with an unscrupulous mining company for the rights to the land, and the native population are fighting both parties for their very survival. The Doctor quickly learns that the IMC miners are willing to use any and all means at their disposal to solidify their claim to this world, and the miners’ solution to this problem is to call an Adjudicator from Earth to arbitrate the dispute. But two major problems crop up: the “Adjudicator” is, in fact, the Master – and the primitives of Exarius aren’t quite as primitive as they seem, since they’re sitting on a weapon that could turn the entire planet into a charred cinder.

written by Malcolm Hulke
directed by Michael Briant
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Peter Forbes-Robertson, John Baker, Graham Leaman (Time Lords), John Scott Martin (Robot), David Webb (Leeson), Sheila Grant (Jane), John Line (Martin), John Ringham (Ashe), Mitzi Webster (Mrs. Martin), Nicholas Pennell (Winton), Helen Worth (Mary Ashe), Roy Skelton (Norton), Pat Gorman (Primitive), Bernard Kay (Caldwell), Morris Perry (Dent), Tony Caunter (Morgan), John Herrington (Holden), Stanley McGeagh (Allen), Pat Gorman (Long), Roy Heymann (Alien Priest), John Tordoff (Leeson), Norman Atkyns (Guardian), Stanley Mason, Antonia Moss (Alien priests)

Broadcast from April 10 through May 15, 1971

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Doctor WhoReview: Another of those rare six-episode stories that fills up most of that time meaningfully, Colony In Space is one of the better stories of the eighth season, and it’s no coincidence that this is helped by the Doctor’s first chance to leave Earth since the beginning of the seventh season, even if it was at the behest of the Time Lords. The supporting cast is mostly good, though there are some hams among both the miners and the IMC crew. With the tiny, shriveled alien puppet, one must occasionally stifle a giggle, but the overriding point of the story – that developing weapons whose destructive power far outweighs the maturity of their owners could reduce any race to mere primitives – is as timely as ever.

For the New Adventures and Missing Adventures, Colony In Space seems to be one of the most seminal reference points in all of Doctor Who’s fictional history – IMC appeared or was at least mentioned numerous times in the books, and the rank of Adjudictator was shared by the seventh Doctor’s companions, Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej, in the later New Adventures novels.