The Lark In Space
An alternate Programme Guide by
Seventy-Eighth Entry in the Charles Daniels Unauthorized Programme Guide
Serial 4C - The Lark In Space -
The TARDIS lands on a BBC set in the Crab Nebula where The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy mini-series is being shot.
This stroke of economic genius allowed two stories to be filmed
simultaneously and Douglas Adams to write only one script.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith have arrived on the B Ark which
is travelling through outerspace. At first it appears to only
contain a few corpsicles, frozen in time until the British
Film Industry recovered enough to give them proper employment.
After a thorough investigation of the station they are taken to
the captain of the station who explains that he was a game show
host back on Earth. Apparently the BBC had decided to gather up
it's more embarrasing actors and ship them off into space, to
be gotten rid of once and for all.
The Doctor smiles and explains this is a WONDERFUL idea because
now the BBC will only be left with the top quality it really wants.
Sarah Jane Smith then mentions to the Doctor that the BBC have
sent THEM there under the excuse of filming this story, and asks
what that means.
The Doctor quickly realizes that this entire plot is an elaborate
TRAP! The BBC have guided him here so that they can be rid of him
once and for all. Not wanting to be trapped with various other
two bit and washed up thespians he rouses his comrades to join
Together they discover the masterminds behind the entire ploy -
a foul race known only as "BBC Executives". BBC Executives are
giant insectoid monsters in cheap suits who hold a parasitic
grip over television - but who for legal reasons I must assure you
would be just wonderful regular old blokes if you met them socially.
The BBC Executives know the tide has turned against them. In
a last ditch effort to maintain control they approach the captain
of the vessel and offer him an executive position. In blind greed
the Captain agrees and thus starts the incredibly ugly and disgusting
process of metamorphosis from grinning game show host to slimy
Through some miracle a small piece of humanity survives the
job promotion and the Captain decides to sacrifice his life
for the sake of the surviving actors and mankind everywhere.
The entire cast is allowed to return to television work in
Britain as the Doctor and Sarah Jane skip over the the set of
Star Trek and get beamed down to the planet Earth.
Book(s)/Other Related - Doctor Who Kills Some Midgets (Canada Only)
Doctor Mysterio Outta' Spacer El Larke Loco
How Do Make A BBC Sci-Fi Serial On 5 Pounds A Day
Sheep Shag Galaxy #12 - Classic Sheep Shaggin'
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed drunk for most of this story
Tom Baker keeps calling the BBC the "BBV" for some reason
Fashion Victims - The entire staff of the BBC is required by law
to wear at least one item of clothing advertising
Eastenders or Take That
The Doctor burst into tears for 3 minutes when
his scarf is cut in half for safety reasons
and is so violently depressed he tries to hang
himself with the half he has left
Goofs - Apparently when this story was shot Barry Letts and Tom
Baker were still arguing over what the 4th Doctor would
be like as in various scenes the Doctor all of a sudden
has a beard, a russian accent, and insists on being addressed
as "His Raspness". This betrays the out of sequence
filming used in the series.
Sarah's knickers are only visible in episode 1
Why does the Doctor not leave the space station in his
TARDIS? Obviously running over to the Enterprise to
get beamed down is done just as a cheap ploy to make
the plot more interesting! The more interesting the
plots are the harder these are to write! Didn't they
ever think "Hey one day they'll have to write up a
programme guide. Why don't we just do some story where
the Doctor just buys a new hat. That one will be easy
to write up!"
Technobabble - In the future life is totally impossible without
the Daniels Hyperdrive. (Actually in the story
it was the Bennet Oscillator named after the director
Rodney Bennet, but if he can do it, why can't I?!)
Links and References -
The Doctor starts asking Sarah Jane if she remembers various bits
of technology from the Loonbase (HH). When Sarah Jane tells the
Doctor she was never with him at the Loonbase he claims to be
Rasputin and hits her harshly over the head with a giant fish
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor tells Sarah that he once went to a planet where
being hit over the head with a giant fish was the highest
compliment possible next to being beaten half to death with
a metal wrench. It is somewhat unfortunate that Sarah Jane
Smith was still incredibly angry over the entire fish slapping
incident and the Doctor chose to tell her this just as she
had a heavy metal wrench in her hand.
Dialogue Disasters -
Captain: It is useless to resist futility!
Viagra: You claim to be Med-techs?
Doctor: Well my doctorate is purely honorary, the only people who
will let me touch them are sailors!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: Homo Sapiens! What an inventive, invincible species.
It's only a few million years since they crawled up out
of the mud and learned how to deep fry chocolate bars.
Puny, defenseless little bastards aren't they?
They've survived disco, teletubbies, Reaganomics and
Pet Rocks, they've survived invasions from electrical
alien cloned space Hitlers, and now, here they are...
out among the stars doing..well they're...
MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY DOING??!?!?!?!
Doctor: It may be irrational of me, but humans are quite my
favorite dessert topping.
Dialogue Oddities -
Many times subtle changes in the script are required for the
ever evolving art of television. Minor changes in the printed
word, suggested humbly by actors, can provide an occasional
additional layer to a performance -- AND THEN THERE'S TOM
BAKER...who takes the classic "napalm" approach to altering
scripts. Here is an example from The Lark In Space -
The Doctor: I'm amazed to see what the BBC has accomplished
in this era. This set for instance is totally
spaceworthy. Also these monsters look so incredibly
realistic. Yes, in the future as is today, the service
offered by the BBC more than justifies the humble
amount required for a licence.
Tom Baker: Oi? The telly inspector van make it's way out here
Viewers' Quotes -
"This story was in the worst possible taste. I have been a
BBC Executive for many years and never once have I regressed
back into my truly vile insectoid body in front of the viewing
public." - John Wirrn (1975)
"I got the video at my local outlet, eh? What a disappointment!
I felt like I was totally hosed. The book had the Doctor killing
midgets and like, I get the video and where did the midgets go, eh?
The Canadian novelization is was Doctor Who is all a boot. So that's
our topic for today." - Bob McKenzie (1982)
"It was simply a fabulous story! I hadn't worked in British
television in years, not since a brief cameo on Blue Peter
in 1968 when they tried to explain to the children what it
meant to be a "Washed-Up Actor". Even though I only had a
bit part in the production and I was never credited, I was
still invited to give MY opinion of the story for this programme
guide. It all starts from here! Got to get my name out there!"
"This story shows the beauty of Doctor Who. It has that
childish magic and wonder, dunnit?"
- Some Fanboy from Toxteth who says this about every single Doctor
Who story hoping someone somewhere will quote him.
"This was a Doctor Who story."
- Me because It's my programme guide and I can quote any damn
thing I say without hassling for permission (2000)
Tom Baker Speaks!
Tom Baker has insisted that I can't accurately cover his era WITHOUT his
keen insights and insider information of that period of the show's
history. So I present him with a forum, and you the reader with....
"As I recall The Lark In Space was one of my stories, wasn't it?
Well if I remember correctly the interesting thing I can say about
this story is that during the filming there was this guy named
David..no, Sam..yes this fellow named Sam and he was very keen
on being on Doctor Who at the time and I told him that the best
way to get on Doctor Who was if he..oh no, wait his name was TIM!
So yeah, Tim I said if you want to ever work for the BBC and get
on Doctor Who the number one thing you must do is talk to my friend
Tim and he'll...NO! Okay I got this now. My friend was name Tim
or Sam, who worked with the BBC and this guy who wanted to be on
Doctor Who was David, or maybe his name was Elizabeth and he was
a she. Anyway either way, Tim used to tell everyone that if you
bought me some drinks at the local pub after filming that was a dead
sure way to get into Doctor Who. That was a TOTAL and unashamed
lie, but fans used to buy us so many drinks thinking that. I had
great fun with Tim. I wonder what ever happened to him. You know
come to think of it he's dead...yes, what a sad story.
No, wait, what the hell am I talking about? Tim isn't dead, he's
Norwegian! I always get those mixed up."
Rumors & Facts -
A few things can be said about this story, most of them total lies
I'll just make up to pad out this section, but I'll put in enough
facts that you'll have to read it anyway.
Firstly, no one but the regular cast bothered to show up for filming
the first week. So the entire first episode had be improvised between
Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen in a way that Doctor Who had not done
since The Hedge of Destruction.
It is confusing that the actors would MISS an entire week's filming
especially considering that they each needed all the screen time they
could grab. Some minimal research shows however that they took up
the pass time often enjoyed by British Actors --- getting so pissed
on rubbing alcohol you simply don't care if you miss the next few weeks
altogether work or not!
Many fan publications and discussion on the internet has suggested
that the yo-yo the Doctor uses to test the gravametric forces on the
set was actually a military prototype gravametric detector loaned to
the Doctor Who production offices to test in the serial. This rumour
is quite frankly a load of pants. I recently acquired the original
prop yo-yo from the Lark In Space from eBay via a very respected seller
named Fatboy42. The prop does not only fail to function as an accurate
gravametric detector but doesn't work as a yo-yo very well either!
This story is perhaps one of the the most praising of humanity,
as survivors, as creators, as innovators, and as delicious snacks.