The Ark

21 February 2011

John Wiles was clearly not a Doctor Who producer for whom publicity was a high priority, given the relative lack of photos from his run of stories. With most of these also missing from the archive, it's almost as if he was trying to avoid all record of his time on the show. The relative wealth of photos from 'The Celestial Toymaker', many of them in colour, suggests incoming producer Innes Lloyd felt the programme worth promoting, and maybe he's responsible for what imagery we have from 'The Ark', even though it concentrates on the obvious crowd-pullers of the latest monster and young women in skimpy costumes, plus new girl Jackie Lane.

Luckily Monoids were what I needed as they're the clear villains of the story -- at least in the second half. The first half doesn't really have an enemy, unless you count the cold virus. Actually, you could argue Dodo is the bad guy for this story, as she causes all the problems, although that's not the reason I included her on the cover. The shots of a Monoid carrying a screaming Dodo were clearly the most dramatic, but most were fairly close up and tightly cropped, so my initial thoughts were to have them in a panel against a background of the Earth falling into the Sun. Then I managed to find a good quality photo of Dodo and the Monoid that showed them full length, which allowed me to consider a scene-based composition.

I didn't want just a jungle background, having recently done one of those for 'The Creature From the Pit', and as I'd been thinking about the Earth death already, I decided to have a view through the roof of the Ark showing the Sun swallowing the Earth -- not exactly true to the story but you have to allow a bit of artistic licence. With that in mind, I did try a roof design which approximated that from the show, with circular holes, but it blocked too much of the view. More interesting and open was a nice photo of the incredible glass roof of the British Museum, so I went with this in the end. Just think of it as a section of the Ark we don't see in the programme.

Finding a suitable photo of the Doctor from the story was the trickiest part -- in most he was stroking an elephant! There was just one that was a decent shot, except he had his arms around Dodo and Steven and I could only find a small copy of it. Luckily there was a reasonable version in the DVD's photo gallery -- soft compared to printed photos but a good size. His black jacket also allowed me to paint out Dodo and Steven and create his body shape in silhouette, retaining the hand that had been on Dodo's arm. Once the elements were selected, it just remained to colour them and put them together. This revealed some space on the right into which another Monoid comfortably fitted, and I considered adding the statue (at the risk of giving away the great episode two cliffhanger) but decided this was a bit too much of a squeeze and detracted from the view through the roof, already hidden by some of the cover elements.

Download the final THE ARK cover here

Return to Updates page