Written by Malcolm Hulke
Directed by Michael E. Briant
Mid last week a bunch of crybaby rightwing pisspots finally gave in and let America go back to work*. They really should have known better; Obama is clearly a man of many faults, or else he wouldn’t be a politician, but a man with that much cool is never going to lose that sort of battle. The thing that upset the pisspots in the first place was the apparently heinous notion that they should care about other people and maybe offer an insultingly basic level of healthcare. The sort of attitude on display here is some of the foulest Randian selfish gobshite imaginable; that this tiny group of people think that they should be able to hold the entire planet’s economy to ransom for their own unpopular self serving agenda, all the while putting thousands of people out of work, while demanding to get paid for not turning up to their own jobs.
It is exactly the sort of attitude shown by IMC, the villains mining corporation in Colony in Space. In many ways it is not at all surprising that the villains of this story would exhibit that sort of anti-capitalist, corporations-are-cunts sort of attitude which I’m so fond of, since it was written by hard line Marxist, Mac Hulke. The folly of unhindered corporate expansion, virtue of the worker and the importance of putting others before yourself are all themes intricately explored in Colony in Space, topped off with a good helping of pacifism and ultimately a subtle push for nuclear disarmament. Great as all of that is though, what really shines though as brilliant in Mac Hulke’s work is his unwillingness treat any group or race as anything other than a collection of individuals. Among his colonists are more than one dafty who thinks that hitting shit will solve something. Among his corporate shills dwells the ultimately very heroic Caldwell.
Not that it’s all plain sailing for Colony though; it does have a good number of issues. Not least, the notion of supporting colonisation of an already populated planet. When the fuck has that sort of thing ever ended well? The planet sure as hell shouldn’t be sued for mining, but those colonists really ought to fuck right off and find their own damn planet, that one already has an indigenous population of ‘primitives.’
The biggest problem on display, though, is that it can at times be really fucking boring. Like many stories from this era, 6 episodes is just too damn many.
So after almost two years there was finally a story where the Doctor actually got to go further than the earth’s orbit. And it was, in many ways, a good one. Issues aside, this story drove home a (mostly) positive message about the importance of pacifism and the dangers of corporate power. It also probably has my favorite Brig moment ever, which was sadly really the only Brig moment at all. Now that the Doctor had returned to alien environments would he be able to settle back on earth? I hope not, but probably. Find out next time in The Dæmons.
*Of all the stories covering this, that is clearly the best one, since it has the title of episode 13 written in huge letters about a quarter of the way down.