the control of the Time Lords, the TARDIS takes the Doctor
and Jo to the planet Uxarieus in the far future. There they
find human colonists threatened by failing crops, hostile
native creatures and the unscrupulous activities of a powerful
first six-part tale in this Master-themed boxed set marked
the Third Doctor's first trip to another planet in the TARDIS
(unless you count the parallel Earth visited in Inferno).
Colony in Space was the show's first alien setting
in almost two years, and also the first such setting to be
depicted in colour.
if to demonstrate how rusty the production team were at realising
this type of adventure, the TARDIS door is accompanied by
the Dalek door sound effect from the 1960s. And the time machine
does not fade in and out of existence as it did previously
(and since) but instead appears and disappears instantaneously.
Director Michael Briant later claimed that this was because
the TARDIS was under Time Lord control - which is pure nonsense,
of course, because the Master's TARDIS behaves in exactly
the same way during this story!
Hulke's plot, slow though it is, makes a nice change from
the "alien threat to 20th century Earth" scripts that had
preceded it. The concept of a once great alien civilisation
now reduced to savagery had never been depicted so fully within
the series before, although the idea would be regurgitated
several times in later years. The Master's (Roger Delgado)
scheme is also rather different this time around - instead
of simply wanted to take over or destroy a planet, his stated
desire of bringing peace to the galaxy via the threat of a
doomsday weapon is almost sympathetic. Despite the alien setting
and the absence of UNIT, the production team still finds time
for a lengthy shoot-out with old-fashioned weapons in Episode
production values of Colony in Space are decidedly
cheap and cheerful. The TARDIS interior set includes a photographic
blow-up wall, as it did during many 1960s episodes. While
the series could just about get away with a photographic wall
in the days of 405-line monochrome videotape, it definitely
can't get away with it in vivid colour (even on a recording
converted from the 525-line NTSC format, as this story is).
The model Adjudicator ship is also far too small to be even
remotely convincing, while the "claws" that the Interplanetary
Mining Corporation fit to their robots are laughable.
is a worthy and sincere story, as one would expect from the
moralistic Malcolm Hulke, but rather lacking the fun factor.
is assigned to monitor the testing of a process called TOMTIT
- the Transmission of Matter through Interstitial Time. But
the project's brainchild, Professor Thascales, is not all
he appears to be. He intends to use TOMTIT to summon Kronos,
a dangerous creature that feeds on time itself...
Time Monster has to rank as Roger Delgado's most camp
performance ever as the Master. But what choice does he have
when given dialogue such as "I'm sorry about your coccyx too,
Miss Grant!" and "Nothing and nobody can stop me now!" The
latter line is a variation on the infamously OTT catchphrase
of Professor Zaroff in The Underwater Menace, a story
which, like this one, featured the lost city of Atlantis -
freaky coincidence or what? This adventure also includes the
Master's dodgy Greek accent, which Delgado keeps forgetting
to use, as well as the evil Time Lord's (unintentionally)
hilarious attempts to hide from UNIT personnel by suspiciously
keeping his radiation suit on.
to Jo Grant's coccyx are not the only bits of innuendo, either.
The Doctor's time sensor also looks distinctly phallic, while
"tomtit" is, of course, a famous piece of Cockney rhyming
Sloman's story is indeed slow (man) and fairly plotless. The
rival Time Lords' attempts to delay one another during the
middle two episodes are obviously also delaying tactics on
the part of the writer. Their excursion to ancient Atlantis
towards the end of the story is pretty much a two-part tale
grafted on to the four episodes that are set in the 20th century.
And the Master's futile attempts to control Kronos are unfortunately
similar to his summoning of Azal in The Dæmons, a story
that was co-written by Sloman.
serial does have its niftier moments, however, as when the
passage of time is slowed down by TOMTIT, an effect to which
the Doctor's Time Lord physiology is immune. The merging of
the rival Gallifreyan's TARDISes is another irresistible gimmick
(one that was reprised in Tom Baker's swansong story, Logopolis).
The redesigned console room set, which sadly made its only
appearance here before the previous design was reinstated
in The Three Doctors, looks pretty cool too.
story might not be Roger Delgado's finest hour as the Master
(both The Mind of Evil and Frontier in Space
are far superior to either of the offerings within this boxed
set). Nevertheless, The Time Monster remains good fun
and a jolly time waster!
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