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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"That's an alien world out there Jo..."
―The Doctor
Colony in Space
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 8
Story Number: 58
Doctor: Third Doctor
Enemy: The Master
Captain Dent of the IMC
Writer: Malcolm Hulke
Director: Michael Briant
Producer: Barry Letts
Broadcast: 10th April - 15th May 1971
Format: 6 25-minute Episodes
Prod. Code: HHH
Previous Story: The Claws of Axos
Following Story: The Dæmons



The Time Lords discover that the Master has stolen their secret file on the Doomsday Weapon and decide to send the Doctor to retrieve it for them.


The Time Lords discover that the Master has stolen their secret file on the Doomsday Weapon, and decide to allow the Doctor temporary control of the TARDIS for him to deal with the situation. The Doctor is showing Jo around the TARDIS for the first time when it activates and dematerializes.

They arrive on the planet Uxarieus in the year 2472, where they encounter a struggling agrarian colony from Earth. Their crops are failing without explanation, the outer settlements are being attacked by a mysterious monster, and they fear they will lose their charter in favor of the powerful and corrupt Interplanetary Mining Corporation. Almost coincidentally, a man arrives claiming to be the last survivor of another colony that was wiped out, further disheartening the colonists. Even more coincidentally an IMC mining ship lands nearby, claiming mineral rights to the planet - Uxarieus is rich in the much-needed mineral duralinium - and are 'shocked' to discover an agrarian colony already there. Surely an Adjudicator would have to be summoned from Earth.

The Doctor investigates and discovers the 'monster' is actually an IMC robot (with a holographic device to create the image of an enormous lizard). The refugee colonist is actually an IMC employee, and he vandalizes the colony's power supply. The IMC ship's Captain Dent attempts to force the colonists to leave, first with implied and then overt threats. Armed hostility erupts between IMC and the colonists before the Adjudicator arrives, who much to the Doctor and Jo's surprise is actually the Master. He is posing as the Adjudicator in order to discover the location of the Doomsday Weapon, which was developed by the ancestors of the mute Uxariean primitives and is hidden somewhere on the planet. Jo is kidnapped by the primitives and taken to an underground city. The Doctor follows and discovers the ancient Guardian, overseer of the city, who lets them go free provided they never return.

The Master rules in favor of IMC, and the colonists are forced to abandon their colony and leave in their spaceship. The ship is in poor condition and explodes shortly after takeoff.

The Master discovers the Doomsday Weapon, which can cause any star in the Universe to go supernova, in the Guardian's chamber. He intends to use the threat of the Weapon to rule the Universe and offers the Doctor a partnership, but the appalled Doctor declines. The Doctor convinces the Guardian that the Doomsday Weapon is responsible for the fall of the Uxariean civilization. The Guardian then allows the Doctor and Master to leave, and destroys himself, the Weapon, and the ancient city. The Master escapes, but the Doctor is overjoyed to learn that the colonists are safe; they escaped shortly before takeoff except for their leader Ashe, who sacrificed himself to launch the ship. Dent and his henchmen are overpowered by the colonists, and there is enough evidence of Dent's illegal activity to ensure the real Adjudicator will rule in their favor. The radiation from the Doomsday Weapon was the cause of their crop failures, and the Doctor ensures the colonists that their future is now secure. The TARDIS returns the Doctor and Jo to UNIT seconds after they left.



  • The Doctor, investigating the wrecked dome, is menaced by an IMC robot.
  • The Doctor is caught between Morgan and the IMC robot, now fitted with lizard-like appendages.
  • Jo is captured by the Primitives and taken to their underground lair.
  • As armed conflict erupts between the colonists and IMC, the Master pulls a gun on Jo and the Doctor, annoucning they're about to be the victims of 'stray bullets.'
  • The Master prepares to release poison gas in the capsule containing Jo.
  • The TARDIS returns the Doctor and Jo to the UNIT lab only seconds after departing.





  • IMC has a mining contract for Uxarieus.


  • The Doctor recognises the planet Uxarieus.
  • Earth during this period is home to 100 billion people, and is polluted, with a repressive government.
That would be not too far off from the description given of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire in DW: The Long Game.
  • In a discussion between the Doctor and the Master, it is revealed that the Earth's sun will explode about 10,000,000,000 years from the point of this story.
As the Master is specifically referring to the moment the Sun explodes, this figure may or may not be in conflict with other episodes' statements about the Solar System's future. In particular, one might wonder how this figure compares to the one given in The End of the World and The Ark.

Story Notes

  • David Tennant was born the day after the original broadcast of Episode 2.
  • Director Michael Briant spoke the commentary accompanying a propaganda film watched by the Doctor on the IMC spaceship in Episode Two. This was a late cast change, and was originally intended for Pat Gorman – who was subsequently still credited on Episodes One and Two as Primitive and Voice.


  • Episode 1 - 7.6 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 8.5 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 9.5 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 8.8 million viewers
  • Episode 6 - 8.7 million viewers


  • The main action of this story takes place on the planet Exarius. (The name given to the planet in Malcolm Hulke's script for Episode One is Uxarieus.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • The manner of TARDIS dematerialization and rematerialization is quite different to how it had been depicted during the 1960s. Both TARDISes in this story "pop" in and out of frame, rather than fading in and out. Given that TARDISes would return to "fading" after this serial, the depiction here can be seen as an error. Although the TARDIS typically "fades" in and out, this is not always the case. Sometimes by intent, sometimes due to mechanical/pilot error, the effect can appear different. Two examples of differing materialization/de-materialization effects are The Christmas Invasion and The Runaway Bride.
  • IMC still use tape spools. In Genesis of the Daleks, the Kaleds use Magnetic Tapes, so its not beyond the possibilty that goverments have returned to that medium for storage, much like records/vinyls becoming popular again in the 21st Century in our world. Also, it is strongly implied that the future has become a grim, over-populated place in which resources have to be very carefully managed, in which case it is by no means unlikely that obsolete equipment would be returned to service in lieu of more sophisticated but more expensive alternatives (hence also the use of obsolete firearms).
  • In episode two the monitor screen on board their ship turns bright blue in every close up.
  • The Brigadier is fortunate that when he walks to where the TARDIS vanished and tells it to 'come back at once', that it does so in a different corner of the room. With the exceptions of 'Logopolis' and 'Parting of the Ways', when the TARDIS is being specifically directed to materialize around someone/thing, the TARDIS never materializes around an object or person, or even inside solid matter. It is reasonable to assume that the TARDIS performs some kind of scan of the area it is about to arrive in and thus deflects its exact point of materialization accordingly to avoid causing damage or harm to anyone/thing.
  • Jo's skepticism about the TARDIS being mobile is odd as she saw it dematerialize in the last story. In the short time that she has known him, the Doctor has shown little ability to make it mobile when he wants it to be.
  • If the Master was so ready to kill the Doctor at the end of episode four, why does he use a non-lethal gas when the Doctor goes into his TARDIS? He only learns that the Doctor can guide him into the primitive city after he releases the gas. The Master has shown that he would rather kill the Doctor with a more personal touch. Remote control from a distance away, without being able to gloat about it, would be unexpected.
  • Dent radios Earth referring to his ship as "Survey Ship 43" but the tail is clearly labeled 157. The label refers to some other designation then, such as the model of ship that it is.
  • When Jo and the Doctor are sneaking into the Master's TARDIS, the Doctor jostles one of the doors that had the alarm beam. This would certainly break the beam. And why does the Master's alarm use a light beam instead of going off when the door is opened? Besides, given the placement of the beam, it would have been broken until the doors were open. The alarm should have gone off the second the Master closed the doors. He set the system up himself, and somewhat recently (it was not there in Terror of the Autons). He clearly would not set it up so that it went off when he simply closed the door, but only when something breaks the beam from in between the sensors.
  • When Morgan finds the key to the Master's TARDIS, the "ground" it is on is a flat concrete floor with a little sand thrown on it. Having never been on an alien planet personally, it's hard to say that none of them would have ground like that. A flat, rock surface with a shallow layer of sand does not seem unreasonable.


  • This is the first time since DW: The War Games that the TARDIS traveled to another planet.
  • From the Brigadier's perspective, the Doctor and Jo were only away from UNIT headquarters for a matter of seconds. It is thus the only televised example of Rose Tyler's admonition to her mother in DW: World War Three that the TARDIS is "a time machine. I could go traveling around suns and planets and all the way out to the end of the universe, and by the time I get back, ten seconds would've passed. Just ten seconds."
  • This story gives us a glimpse of Time Lords on Gallifrey. Time Lords are again depicted as wearing black and white robes, as they were in DW: The War Games.
  • The Doctor and Jo gain entry to the Master's TARDIS using the key the Doctor obtained in DW: Terror of the Autons. However, the Doctor appears not to have the key at the conclusion of this story.
  • This is the first time Jo Grant sees the interior of the Doctor's TARDIS. Much of the first half of episode one revolves around Jo's adjustment to her new status as a time/space traveller. Though having been the Doctor's companion for some time, she reveals that she never really believed that the Doctor could travel in time and space until this story. Thus, this story has many features of the traditional "first story" for a new companion.
  • The Adjudicators are expanded upon in NA: Lucifer Rising and Original Sin.

DVD, Video and Other Releases

Video Releases

Released as Doctor Who: Colony in Space



Main article: Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: Colony in Space
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Colony in Space
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Colony in Space
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Colony in Space
  • The Tardis Library see here [1] and here [2] For video release information
Season 8
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons
The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time

This article uses material from the "Colony in Space" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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