CONTEXT AND THE RHETORICAL ACT: A Second Look at 'The Ark in
By: Peter Gregg
01 May 2001
To fully understand or explore a rhetorical act, the critic
needs to put the artifact into a context. The rhetoric of a
given event is shaped by the influences on it, both from the
immediate audience exposed and from the circumstances leading to
and following from it. Television shows can be more problematic
in this regard. While a speech can be given as an immediate
response to a situation, television programs often take months to
develop. At each phase of a program's evolution, as the script
moves from writer to producer to script editor and so on, changes
are introduced, often modifying or completely revising the
initial intent of the narrative. Budget constraints, social
pressures and expectations, promotional problems, and cast or
crew limitations force the rhetors to make concessions,
alterations, or omissions.
The British science fiction drama _Doctor Who_ can be
helpful in understanding the role context plays in the formation
of a television show's rhetorical vision. Because of its long
duration, a detailed look at the cultural-historical influences
on a given program, how it evolves and responds to pressures by a
constantly fickle audience, can be explored over a span of
twenty-six years. In particular, "THE ARK IN SPACE," a serial
airing Saturdays at 5:35pm from 25 January 1975 to 15 February
1975 and starring Tom Baker as the Doctor, provides a unique
point to look at historical-contextual influence on the rhetoric
of television. Careful examination of the historical-cultural
context, the rhetor/author, the audience, and competing
persuasive forces will develop the rhetorical problem faced by
the creators of _Doctor Who_ at the time of "THE ARK IN SPACE."
This scrutiny will help us to better understand the rhetoric of
the program and of British television of the day.
Various concerns arise when attempting to analyze the
historical-cultural context of a television program. In addition
to examining the internal dynamics of the show and its creators,
we must also look at the greater socio-political world which
reflects and is reflected by that show. Certainly this is no
easy task. In attempting to narrow the scope of the
historical-cultural context surrounding "THE ARK IN SPACE," we
will examine what we feel to be many of the important elements
which clearly have import to a good appreciation of this
The mid-1970s were a time of social change and political
upheaval in the United Kingdom. Changing social mores,
epitomized by the mid-1960s hippie movement but still strong ten
years later, already were causing a stir within the general
population, and when Edward Heath's Conservative government did
little to help a Britain in the throes of economic recession,
unrest and discontent became the norm. By March of 1974 and
after four years in office, Heath lost his Prime Ministership to
Labour Party member and former P.M. Harold Wilson. The world of
_Doctor Who_ at this time was also in a state of upheaval. Late
1974 saw the end of a five season stint (the longest to thus far)
by the third actor to play the Doctor, Jon Pertwee. Moreover,
producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks left to
pursue other jobs within the BBC and were replaced by Philip
Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes respectively.
As was established practice, the next "regeneration" or
incarnation of the Doctor would be unlike his predecessor. The
already rooted seeds of distrust in authority figures steered
_Doctor Who_ away from the establishment, "dandy" portrayal by
third Doctor Jon Pertwee toward the bohemian, college student
Doctor epitomized by Tom Baker. Even during his first episode,
"ROBOT," we see Baker's casual style contrasted with Pertwee's
proper, upper-class Doctor. By the beginning of "THE ARK IN
SPACE," his second story and first under the Hinchcliffe/Holmes
team, it is clear his Doctor is much less the civilized gent of
any of his three predecessors. Pertwee's era was marked by
a deliberate attempt to remain on Earth in the present day.
Although he did make excursions to other times and places,
Pertwee's Doctor primarily remained on Earth, a move then
producer Derrick Sherwin (and subsequent Pertwee era producer
Letts) hoped would connect the program with fans of James Bond
films, the Quatermass serials, and action television shows like
_Z Cars_ and _The Prisoner_. At this same time, the American
science fiction program _Star Trek_ began airing in England, and
it would not be until Hinchcliffe took the reigns as producer
five years later that the program would fully return to outer
space and the future, beginning with "THE ARK IN SPACE."
Hinchcliffe explained this move from modern and "establishment"
style to one marked by a sense of "Gothic horror" to build up a
larger audience base:
I felt that the show had become a bit
too childish. I wanted to try and
win over more adults to the audience
as well as keep the children. So the
whole thing became a bit more scary
and a bit more convincing, a bit more
Hinchcliffe also argued that the "student rebellion"
features of the Baker Doctor better represented Britain's loss of
status as a world power after Macmillan and Eden, that Baker was
"youth challenging authority" and "reflected what was going on in
England after Suez." The Suez Canal, held primarily by
England after 1875, was seized by the Egyptian government in
1956. Prime Minister Anthony Eden requested team of French and
English troops to be sent to the region, but they were unable to
wrest the canal from Egypt, and the Suez Canal crisis is
generally regarded as one of the key events which lead to a sense
of disillusionment in England, coinciding with a series of
economic recessions which forced England to become dependent on
the United States and fanned the fire of frustration. Harold
Macmillan's Prime Ministership also tarnished the British
government's image when in 1963 a series of sex and bribery
scandals forced him to resign. By creating a character which
will appeal to a broader audience via and embodiment of their
dissatisfaction with the status quo, the message of the program
would have more influence and resonate better within the
In addition to the popularity of _Star Trek_ with British
audiences, ITV (or Independent Television) , the BBC's primary
competition, began to run _Space: 1999_ in direct opposition to
_Doctor Who_. This program, like _Star Trek_, deals with space
exploration and adventure sometime in the distant future. So
while _Doctor Who_ of the early 1970s remained stationed on
Earth, viewers would be whisked away to strange and distant
worlds on other programs. Hinchcliffe sought to return the
Doctor, an alien in his own right, to his native domain. He was
also aware that ITV exposed viewers to American television shows
like _Planet of the Apes_ and _The Six Million Dollar Man_.
"This means we need bigger and better monsters," he told the
press at the time. The transitional events in the history of
_Doctor Who_ focused public attention back on the program.
Viewers had to tune in to see how the new Doctor would be played
and what sorts of stories (and monsters) the Hinchcliffe/Holmes
team would develop. This opportunity was exploited immediately
in "THE ARK IN SPACE."
Britain's entry into the European Economic Community, later
to be the European Union, in 1973 was regarded as an attempt to
unify England with the rest of Europe; indeed, until that point
the English often did not consider themselves to be "Europeans"
at all. This movement toward unification probably made the
collectivization of humanity via a world government in "THE ARK
IN SPACE" a little more plausible. Already a part of NATO and
the United Nations, England now had begun a process of economic
dependence where it had already begun to have military and
political dependence with the rest of the region.
American space exploration also was in the press. Although
Britain's space program could not compete with NASA, the British
generally considered American endeavors to be on the behalf of
the West as a whole, although this often led to unrest toward the
British and American governments. The American Apollo
missions and the attempts to build a space station laid the
groundwork for _Doctor Who_ to set a story in the future, where
the last bastion of (Western) civilization seeks refuge in one
Space exploration and humanity's role in the future of the
Universe had previously been discussed in _Doctor Who_, so
resistance to its ideas most likely was minimal. Indeed, the
first three seasons of the program made an effort to alternate
between a past/historical narrative and a future/fantasy
narrative. Patrick Troughton, the show's second Doctor, became
known for his Chaplinesque character's battles with aliens from
another world. It is important to note that this tendency to
voyage to humanity's future did become more intermittent with the
Pertwee era, but fans of the program certainly understood and
were ready for stories like "THE ARK IN SPACE." The difficulty
arose in creating an idea which was fresh or new to the audience.
Hinchcliffe noted at the time, "Most television writing does not
require the sort of rollicking good yarn we need. And many
writers find it hard to adjust to our pace of escapist
entertainment because what we need is old-fashioned adventure
with scientific wizardry on top". In other words, Doctor Who
of the time consisted of narratives that were both familiar to
and distinct from other narratives in direct competition.
Various social, political, and economic sources placed
pressure upon the rhetors by the audiences of _Doctor Who_.
First of all, although it is technically independent of the
British government, the BBC board of directors is appointed by
the parliament, contrasted to the American-created, commercially
driven ITV. As a result, the BBC is especially susceptible to
pressure from public groups and complaints. Its very mission
places the BBC in a position to be impartial and objective. The
British also regard the BBC to be the flagship of high class
values, broadcasting news and high culture programming. Thus,
sexuality and especially violence are not held in esteem by this
generally Victorian attitude. Changing cultural standards
following the "Swinging Sixties" and competition from ITV forced
the BBC to become more permissive and violent by 1975. Mary
Whitehouse, spokesperson for the watchdog National Viewers and
Listeners Association, frequently cited _Doctor Who_ for its
violence. Because many people regarded _Doctor Who_ as a
"children's show," she felt compelled to quell the seemingly
increasing occurrence of violent means to end conflict:
It can cause nightmares and bed-wetting
among the under-sevens, doctors have
told me. The programme is screened too
early in the evening. Although it is
technically brilliant, it is more
suitable for adults. Young children
often remember vividly the horrific
pictures of creatures and go to bed in
a tense state.
Script editor Robert Holmes and former script editor
Terrance Dicks argued in response that children know the monsters
are not real and that often children enjoy being a little
frightened. Moreover, Dicks emphasized, "Every kids' show has to
have a monster or a villain. Without them, it is like a Western
without a gunfight.". Star Tom Baker even went so far as to
say, "Some children do get a bit frightened, but the series have
to be exciting or no one would watch... Anyway, I was a
compulsive bed-wetter until I was eleven and that wasn't caused
by Doctor Who." The discourse regarding the portrayal of
violence would span the duration of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes
tenure, from 1975 to 1977, mitigated finally by the arrival of
producer Graham Williams.
Whitehouse's criticisms point to a greater area of conflict
and pressure within Doctor Who and in the BBC. At this point,
ITV, with its more violent and more "adult" programming, was
sapping viewers from BBC television shows, but because the public
considered the BBC to be upright and moral, it could not respond
to the loss of viewers in kind without attracting criticism. The
idea that the BBC promoted a certain "way of life" for the
British, while ITV imported American ideals and attracted viewers
in droves, put pressure on producers of BBC programming. How
then to retain viewers and attract new ones? As noted earlier,
Hinchcliffe wanted to make the series more adult, but with that
adulthood and increase in viewers came an increase in the
portrayal of violence and outcry from Whitehouse. As a result,
he also hoped to exploit the notion of "BBC as 'British'":
We have that special relationship
with our audience... we've not been
obliged to observe strictly
commercial criteria that say a
producer on American television has
had to observe when everything has
to be reduced and ironed out and
made to actually work... That's not
the way British television works...
Certainly not the way the BBC works.
So it's a peculiarly British
institution and a reflection if you
like of British society, or British
audiences and British television...
We suddenly woke up and realized
that it wasn't just a kids'
programme but there was something
in this sort of Englishness that
was valuable and was prized by the
audience... that sort of slightly
ITV, with its commercial ties to America, was becoming
"Americanized." With the current atmosphere in England one of
ambivalence toward America, _Doctor Who_ could commodify and
capitalize on its very existence as an artifact of "Britishness."
In "THE ARK IN SPACE" we have a "British" alien traveling to a
future where Britain has become the dominant force for humanity,
all humans (and Wirrn) the Doctor meets amazingly have British
accents, a cricket ball is used to distract the defense machine,
and so on.
Watching _Doctor Who_ and adopting much of the philosophical
bent of "THE ARK IN SPACE" was not without stigma. First, to
this point in the program's history Doctor Who could not escape
the epithet of "children's television." It ran before supper on
Saturdays, often around tea time, after the sports and before the
news. All "serious" dramas would run after the children were
bathing or in bed, after seven o'clock. Often, the British media
would ask children what they thought about last week's episode,
completely omitting the opinions of the children's parents, and
when adults were asked, their answers were framed around the
opinions of the children around them. Second, "THE ARK IN
SPACE" was pure science fiction, and consequently adult audiences
were considered to be juvenile, "college student" viewers.
Perhaps as a means of support, at this same time, scores of
university-based _Doctor Who_ viewing societies cropped up in
England, but condensing and reinforcing public notions of
adult-viewers-as-collegians. Additionally, to watch _Doctor
Who_ is to accept or at least to condone its ethics and norms.
The Doctor willingly intervenes on the Ark, kills other species,
and so forth. If ratings go up because the show is more violent,
then it could be argued that the new viewers are responsible for
the increase in violence.
Certain cultural values are at work in "THE ARK IN SPACE"
which relate to the current context. Because Britain at this
time is in social disarray and economic recession, seeing a
future where a "Britishness" survives may have been heartening.
Ideas of colonialism and exploration abound in "THE ARK IN SPACE"
and harken back to British history. In the case of "THE ARK IN
SPACE" the narrative allows for the lower class bohemian to save
a rigidly intellectually classist society. The political
movements of the day also lend credence to the Doctor's ideas on
conformity and human nature. Unlike the Britain of the 1950s,
modern British culture began to argue that an England of the
future must have room for people to freely move from station to
station, must have the means to allow people to do as they wish,
and that this will lead to a future for humanity.
It is difficult to indicate the sole rhetor of a television
program. As Howe et al. note, "The production of a TV drama
series relies heavily on teamwork, with many different people -
script editor, writers, directors, designers and actors among
them - all influencing the form and content of the finished
product." They conclude that it is the producer who has the
greatest ability to contribute influentially. The producer has
final say on scripts, directors, cast, and crew with BBC
productions. The producer on _Doctor Who_ tends to work with
his or her script editor and lead actor most closely, and an
examination of these three influential actors will help
illuminate the characteristics of the rhetor-authors in "THE ARK
"THE ARK IN SPACE" is Philip Hinchcliffe's first story as
producer. Even at this stage in his producership, he has a clear
interest in true science fiction ideas and myths, contrasting
harshly with the Pertwee era's "soldiers running around on Earth
and kiddy monsters" version of science fiction. His tastes
tend to favor the Gothic, exemplified by the possession issues
within "THE ARK IN SPACE." Hinchcliffe also made a deliberate
effort to borrow from contemporary film and television. This
referencing added to the resonance and appeal of this era, and
developed the Gothic atmosphere of which he was aiming.
Robert Holmes had already written many scripts for _Doctor
Who_ before his appointment as script editor. The vast majority
of them dealt with the future of humanity, but it was not until
"THE ARK IN SPACE" where he was able to create a script as writer
and then "modify" (or in this case, not modify) the script as
script editor. Thus, his script is largely as-written; the ideas
within it are limited only by budget and producer constraints.
His view of _Doctor Who_ as Gothic resonates wholly with
Hinchcliffe's notions. As is the case with many producer/script
editor teams, both individuals generally saw eye-to-eye on the
future of the program and its subject matter. Holmes, like
Hinchcliffe, wanted to get away from what he perceived as the
_Star Trek_ moralizing of the Pertwee era. Holmes worked
within a genre approach to "creativity": his stories consistently
re-combine already existent elements of various genres into the
science fiction model to create new, unique ideas from those old
ones. "THE ARK IN SPACE" sees a re-visitation of haunted
house tales, murder mysteries, Gothic/demonic possession, and
propaganda films but in such a way that these homages are not
Tom Baker, it has often been noted, was in many ways the
character he played. Only a few days prior to his hiring as the
fourth Doctor he worked as a construction worker, well-outside
the norms of a man who had received critical acclaim and some
financial success for his role as Rasputin in _Nicholas and
Alexandra_. Well into his first season he lived in a small
apartment and slept on a mattress on the floor, surrounded by
boxes of books. By all indications, he led the Bohemian
lifestyle his character embodied. Additionally, Baker's
Doctor appealed to the "newer Pinteresque rhetoric, 'that of the
clown, the buffoon, who challenges the social reality of the
audience'." This ability to be the fool or buffoon helped to
make the social messages of _Doctor Who_ more palatable to
audiences who normally might have been hostile to the ideas of
"THE ARK IN SPACE." His personable style, broad grin, and goggle
eyes immediately made him a star to the fans and a darling of the
Certain restrictions existed for the rhetor-authors of "THE
ARK IN SPACE." Continuity from story to story limits the choices
available to the rhetor-authors of "THE ARK IN SPACE." Sarah,
Harry, and the Doctor by this point already have established
relationships with each other and with any "strangers" they
encounter. They must act benevolently and curiously. The Doctor
will have insight to a problem, and if not, he will act to
achieve knowledge. Additionally, the _Doctor Who_ Universe has
certain rules that have already been established. The
rhetor-authors can not violate given facts created by past
episodes: the Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey in
the constellation of Kasterborous, he has two hearts, Sarah is a
newspaper reporter, and so on. If the Doctor has helped humanity
in the past to survive trials and tribulations, it is likely that
he will in this new case. If the Doctor believed in the
uniqueness of the human spirit in past narratives, he most likely
will in this case. Because "THE ARK IN SPACE" exists as a part
of a larger continuum of continuity, the rhetor-authors must know
these past rules and work within them. As a result, Hinchcliffe,
Holmes, or Baker can not radically alter established norms within
the program without some risk of alienation. Because the series
is already twelve seasons old by the airing of "THE ARK IN
SPACE," past influences on the past rhetor-actors alter the range
of options available to the current rhetor-authors.
Still, there were other influences on the rhetor-authors
decision making. Baker, Holmes, and Hinchcliffe shared a
fondness for the macabre and Gothic. To the extent that "THE ARK
IN SPACE" contains Gothic elements like a decaying home,
obsession with inheritance, succession, dynastic extinction,
possession, graveyards, a claustrophobic sense of enclosure, we
find that these rhetor-authors both have an affinity for the
Gothic subtext and believe in those particular imagery and
narrative conventions as a means to develop science fiction.
These beliefs carry over into and add to the overarching themes
of "THE ARK IN SPACE." They permeate throughout the narrative
and affect it in ways that others without such a background would
Because Holmes, Hinchcliffe, and Baker are answerable to the
BBC, they must act within the range of its ideology. When a
person works for the BBC, there always exists a chance for
promotion, demotion, or movement from job to job. Because the
programs are not independent of the BBC, the producer must always
be sure the program he creates is acceptable to his or her boss,
in this case the BBC's head of drama. Because of the BBC's
aforementioned susceptibility to criticism, the rhetor-authors of
"THE ARK IN SPACE" are equally susceptible. This may explain
their willingness to respond to criticism by Whitehouse and the
BBC's moving of _Doctor Who_ to a later time slot a few seasons
after the airing of "THE ARK IN SPACE." More immediately, after
filming, Hinchcliffe removed a scene in which Noah as Wirrn
pleads with Vara to kill him because it was felt to be too
disturbing. Ratings also play a fundamental role to the work
of the rhetor-authors. They need to be sure that the program
they make and the messages it carries will be acceptable to the
viewers and ideally that more viewers will tune in to the
program. Thus, the subject matter and the cliffhangers to each
episode must be persuasive; it is the rhetor-authors' job to make
By all indications, the rhetor-authors believed in the
messages of "THE ARK IN SPACE." Although there were external
demands upon them to move Doctor Who back into outer space, they
could have chosen any number of narratives to inaugurate this
movement. Like many stories written by Holmes or of this era,
the problems of structural hierarchy or the ability of the
individual to rise out of conformity has thematic importance (cf.
"THE KROTONS," "CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS," "GENESIS OF THE DALEKS")
as do notions of scientific awakening and human ingenuity (cf.
"THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA," "THE FACE OF EVIL").
Not everyone who watched "THE ARK IN SPACE" saw all four
parts. An average of 11.1 million viewers watched the story,
making it the second most watched story of the three
Hinchcliffe-produced seasons. These exceptionally high
ratings put it well over those of rival show _Space: 1999_.
An examination of each of the four parts makes it clear that the
thematic ideas run constantly through the story; thus if a viewer
only watched one or two episodes, that person still would have
been exposed to the arguments presented for the ability of humans
to overcome adversity and rise over conformity. Moreover, as
noted above, Holmes, Hinchcliffe, and Baker frequently revisit
the themes of "THE ARK IN SPACE," thereby guaranteeing even the
casual viewer of _Doctor Who_ will be exposed to their ideology.
The BBC did not take audience appreciation figures until the
1980s, so no such data exist. The press did poll viewers,
however, so some information is extant. Tom Baker was generally
well received. One writer noted, "I should not be at all
surprised if Tom Baker did not find himself becoming something of
a cult figure." Some children did not care much for Baker,
concerned that he is not athletic enough, but during the
broadcast of "ROBOT" he won them over. By later in the
season, Sean Day Lewis writes in the Daily Telegraph, "My
children have come to like Baker's version of Doctor Who [sic],
considering him quite as clever as his predecessors and much
funnier." The discourse surrounding Holmes or Hinchcliffe in
essentially non-existent, in that television viewers typically
discuss and judged based on star-appeal and star-status, not the
behind-the-scenes inner workings and creators of the program.
It would seem that in general viewers of _Doctor Who_ have a
large degree of involvement with the program. First, the
college-viewing societies are a testament to this. It is
doubtful that most programs develop a cult following the likes of
_Doctor Who_ at this time. Second, children tend to "buy into"
the ideas (and merchandise) of the program, evidenced in the
sixties by Dalek-mania and Tom Baker-mania in the seventies.
Also, media parodies of the program began to spring up, including
a British-only _Mad Magazine_ spoof of "THE ARK IN SPACE" with
the characters named "Doctor Ooh," "Hairy," and "Squarer," and
lines like "Doctor! There's a plastic bag full of ping-pong
balls crawling toward you!" filling the pages. Spoof and
parody indicate that the general British television viewer had
enough background on the show that he or she could appreciate the
new refashioning of the _Doctor Who_ mythos.
The degree of audience involvement regarding the themes of
the program can only be implied, but our earlier examination of
the historical-cultural context tends to indicate the messages
within "THE ARK IN SPACE" most likely had some importance and
relevance. In a Britain marked by union strikes, unemployment,
and a loss of faith in the government, a message affirming in
viewers a faith in humanity and the future probably would be well
received. Because of the large exposure to _Doctor Who_, using
that program to advance those ideas had prudence. In addition to
hearing a good story, the audience also finds something on which
It is also essential to note that _Space: 1999_ and _Star
Trek_ had already discussed (in their own ways) these ideas and
had not suffered outcry or diminished ratings as a result. The
strong ratings of both programs probably confirmed the need for
or acceptance of the themes of "THE ARK IN SPACE." It could be
argued that _Star Trek_ had already boldly gone where _Doctor
Who_ had not gone before, and although _Star Trek_ was cancelled
in 1969 after three seasons, in Britain ITV still broadcast it in
syndication; however, these themes had not been conveyed through
the filter of _Doctor Who_'s "Britishness."
COMPETING PERSUASIVE FORCES
Perhaps the most obvious competing force to the ideas within
"THE ARK IN SPACE" deal with collectivism and conformity, but one
must be careful not to read into the politics of the story.
Although certainly not endorsing capitalism or socialism, the
narrative argues that although a hierarchy is needed, human
beings have the ability to adapt and change to demands placed
upon them, a facility unique to them. Thus, it is inherently
anthropocentric and fundamentally Western. First, it is assumed
that people should leave Earth if it were to be destroyed by
natural disaster. Also, intelligent parasites and insects (or,
for that matter, self-aware "others") do not deserve to live in a
Universe in which human beings have to struggle to avoid becoming
food and to survive; even in the future, humanity must be at the
top of the food chain. Additionally, the world of the future is
flawed because a rigid hierarchy exists, much like the
traditional East. People have come to accept their station and
are unwilling to operate outside it. The future of humanity also
required that we decided which people were essential and who were
not; it would seem from a quick scan of the hibernation rooms and
cast that mostly white, British people deserved to survive.
Co-operation between species is impossible, because the nature of
existence involves competition with outsiders and strangers.
People who hoped for a "multi-colored" future (ala Uhuru in
_Star Trek_) or one in which humanity loses its aggressive nature
permanently most likely would have been disappointed by "THE ARK
Outside the thematic content of the story, we find
competition on _Doctor Who_ from science fiction shows like it.
_Star Trek_, _Space: 1999_, and others appealed to a different
type of viewer. Both were fundamentally "American," had larger
budgets with corresponding special effects, and were generally
considered to be more adult. A fan of these two shows
probably would not have carried the stigma of watching a
"children's drama" or carry any of the baggage of _Doctor Who_'s
generally lower-tech, more pacifist means of conflict resolution.
The movement by Hinchcliffe and Holmes to make _Doctor Who_ more
adult was an attempt to counter this association.
Outside of example, there are no supporting materials per se
in "THE ARK IN SPACe." It is important to note that the thematic
relevance, consistency, timeliness, and bias do have importance
within the examples given within the narrative. The story as
example creates the relevance to the theme. That is, without the
narrative itself, there is no theme by which relevance is judged.
The narrative example consequently becomes the litmus test to
measure consistency, timeliness, and bias. The examples within
the story are generally consistent. Each person who can adapt to
their environment survives or helps others to survive. Those
people who can not become absorbed by the Wirrn. Additionally,
the human spirit and will to survive overcomes the stranglehold
of the Wirrn, embodied by Noah's "return" at the end of the
narrative. There exists a timeliness of these examples, proven
by the contemporary social structure and political situation of
the mid-1970s Britain, already discussed earlier. A bias within
the examples does run through the narrative, primarily in
response to competing persuasive ideals.
Most people would agree the rhetor-authors of "THE ARK IN
SPACE" are not "experts" on human nature by any means, if such
can even be said to exist. It has been noted above that certain
pressures put them in a position to present the story as they
did. They each have a particular philosophy, one that is
reflected by the narrative itself. Their experience with working
inside the BBC helped them to develop ideas that they held and
would be acceptable to the viewers of the program.
"THE ARK IN SPACE" does not exist within a vacuum. Various
demands helped to shape it and affect audiences' responses to it.
To be able to fully analyze the thematic and ideological content
within the narrative, a careful examination of these forces is
essential. It has become clear that demands placed upon the
program forced its rhetor-authors to make certain changes and
statements within it. Armed with knowledge of its
historical-contextual background, its creators, its audience, the
myriad other forces and sources surrounding the text, we can
begin to analyze the implications of the specific thematic and
ideological choices made by Hinchcliffe, Holmes, and Baker, in
particular the Western, anthropocentric focus.
(c) Copyright Peter Gregg, 2001
1) Haining, Peter, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_, (London: W. H.
Allen, 1984), 88.
2) Tulloch, John, and Manual Alvarado, _Doctor Who: The Unfolding
Text_, ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983), 58.
3) Ibid, 112.
4) Sked, Alan, and Chris Cook, _Post-War Britain: A Political
History_, ( Middlesex (UK): Penguin Books, 1984), 135-137.
5) Quoted by Haining. Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_,
6) Morgan, Kenneth O., _The People's Peace: British History
1945-1989_, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 340.
7) Cannon, John, _The Oxford Companion to British History_,
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 946.
8) Quoted by Haining. Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_,
9) Quoted by Haining. Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_,
10)1 Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_, 146.
11) Ellipses added by author. Quoted by Haining. Haining,
_Doctor Who: The Key to Time_, 146.
12) Quoted in Tulloch. Tulloch and Alvarado, _Doctor Who: The
Unfolding Text_, 178.
13) Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_, 147.
14) Ibid, 153.
15) Howe, David J., Mark Stammers, and Stephen James Walker,
_Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Handbook_, (London: Virgin Books,
16) Ibid, 159-160.
17) Tulloch and Alvarado, _Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text_, 111-
18) Howe, Stammers, and Walker, _Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor
19) Tulloch and Alvarado, _Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text_, 112.
20) Ibid, 177.
21) Ibid, 199-200.
22) Ibid, 67.
23) Barnes, Alan, "Tales from the Crypt," _Doctor Who Magazine_,
Issue #282 (22 September 1999), (London: Marvel Comics (UK),
24) Howe, Stammers, and Walker, _Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor
25) Ibid, 247.
26) Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_, 149.
27) Quoted in Haining. Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_,
28) Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_, 149.
29) Quoted in Haining. Haining, _Doctor Who: The Key to Time_,
30) Tulloch and Alvarado, _Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text_, 198.
31) Howe, Stammers, and Walker, _Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor
32) _Mad Magazine_, Issue Unknown, (? (UK): ?, ?), 233-234.
33) Tulloch and Alvarado, _Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text_, 148.
34) Ibid, 149-150.
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