Doctor Who (1963)

Season 3 Episode 26

The Steel Sky

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Mar 05, 1966 on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Steel Sky
The TARDIS arrives some 10,000,000 years in the future on a giant spaceship. The ship is carrying all of the Earth's surviving plant, animal and human life (and is hence nicknamed The Ark) on a 700 year-long trip to a new home on the planet Refusis. But Dodo is carrying a deadly pathogen from the past…moreless

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  • The Doctor and co land on the quite impressive ship - the Ark.

    Note: this review is for all 4 parts of The Ark.

    Basic Plot

    When the TARDIS takes its crew to a spaceship named The Ark, Dodo accidentally passes on a cold virus to the humans and their servants – the Monoids. Returning to The Ark years later, they find that the Monoids have seized control...


    William Hartnell gives a very good performance, the Monoids are well-designed, and the effects are surprisingly well achieved. Unfortunately, these good points are marred somewhat by the slowness of the story, the Monoids giving away pieces of the plot in their conversations when in earshot of people, and Dodo’s wildly inconsistent accent that seems to change nearly every scene. Despite this, this The Ark is enjoyable to watch, and it can be seen where the budget has gone in this ambitious classic Hartnell adventure.


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Revealing Mistake: When the monoids are shot from behind in bright light (such as when Zentos is speaking at the end of the episode), the zips in their costumes are plainly visible.

    • Equipment Visible: When the sick Monoid is brought into the command center, a clear shadow of the microphone is visible on the wall above him.

    • Other Mistake: When the Doctor is investigating the painting of zebras, the camera jerks and swoops during the subsequent shot of Dodo and Steven.

    • The Commander asks Steven if they "travel in that black box". The TARDIS is blue, not black.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Commander: Only Refusis has the same conditions that we had on Earth. Atmosphere, water, the right temperature.
      Steven: Has anyone ever been there?
      Commander: No. Our knowledge is based purely on audio-space research.
      Steven: Hmm. No wonder you had to bring everything. At least two of each, I suppose.?
      Dodo: Like the Ark.
      Commander: The Ark?
      Dodo: Yeah, Noah's Ark. You know, two-by-two. The flood.
      Commander: I'm afraid I don't know. But we do have the Earth's full population, human and animal.

    • Dodo: Flowers from America, birds from Africa, a snake from Brazil, and now an elephant from India.
      The Doctor: Exactly, my dear.
      Steven: Yes, it's a jungle incorporating things from all over the world.
      The Doctor: Yes, you're quite right, my boy. Yes, and on top of everything else, it's a jungle without a sky.
      Dodo: Hey, look at that, then.
      Steven: No sky?
      The Doctor: No sun, no clouds, merely a metal roof radiating some kind of light.

  • NOTES (5)

    • All four episodes exist as 16mm telerecordings. Negative film prints of all four episodes were recovered by BBC Enterprises around 1978.

    • Novelisation: Doctor Who â€" The Ark by Paul Erickson (ISBN 0 426 20253 8) first published by W H Allen in 1986.

    • Video: Doctor Who: The Ark (BBCV 6609) released in October 1998. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1046) in March 1999.

    • This production is of two separate stories detailing cause and effect. The first two episodes tell a self-contained story; the next two episodes deal with the consequences as the Doctor revisit the Ark 700 years later.

    • Paul Erickson in fact wrote the script by himself, but named his ex-wife as co-writer as part of his divorce settlement.