Our son is at the perfect age for most classic Doctor Who. As we noted just a couple of months ago, he’s not too old to see the sorry little puppets in “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” as anything other than gigantic and terrifying reptiles. But the transmutation of Noah, criticized by absolutely everybody as an actor struggling against a hopelessly dopey visual effect, failed with even this six year-old critic. “That actually looks like green bubble wrap,” he pronounced.
But his disbelief was not completely shattered. Even though he, like everybody on Earth older than six, saw right through Noah’s glove, the incredibly bleak and doom-laden tone of this story weighed very heavily on him. After a run of Who adventures that he has really enjoyed, this one is “too creepy and too scary.” That doesn’t really bode well for some of what’s to come, does it?
An interesting tidbit about “The Ark in Space” is that the tone is so incredibly different to what we saw over the last five years that something curious happened after part one was shown. The first episode got a little over nine million viewers, which was about what the show had been getting for several years. Apparently they all told their friends that Who was doing something very strange and different in this story. The ratings shot up for part two to almost 14 million, dropping back down to just below 12 for the next two parts. I’m no ratings expert, but a jump of nearly 50% in one week sounds pretty unique to me.