- You may wish to consult
1963 (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
1963: The Space Race was the one hundred and seventy-ninth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Jonathan Morris and featured Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown.
November 1963, and the Soviet space programme reigns supreme. Having sent the first animals, then the first men beyond Earth's atmosphere, now they're sending a manned capsule into orbit around the Moon.
Just as Vostok Seven passes over into the dark side, however, its life support system fails. Only the intervention of the Sixth Doctor and Peri, adopting the identities of scientists from Moscow University, means that contact with the capsule is regained.
"This is Baikonur Control calling Vostok 7. Do you read me?"
10 November 1963. Cosmonaut Marinka Talanov is just about to enter the Moon's orbit, and will become the first human to gaze upon its "dark side" in twenty minutes. As she approaches, though, something goes wrong, and total system shutdown ensues. Baikonur Control loses contact with the ship as the Moon's blocking it.
TARDIS lands elsewhere, and Peri Brown remarks that it's even colder outside. The Sixth Doctor explains that the circuit that controls his ship's heating is not working, a problem he's seen only once before. The TARDIS also can't move without this circuit. They deduce that they're in some sort of desert, and see an overturned jeep in the distance. As they approach it, they find three people who have been shot. Sitting in the front are — as the Doctor gathers from their IDs — Doctors Christina Bushkin and Grigori Kalashnikov, from Moscow University.
The third individual, a woman, has no identification on her. The Doctor takes their coats to fend off the cold. Before Peri can argue, though, she notices a time bomb beneath one of the seat, with 20 seconds left before detonation...
With no time to diffuse it, they ran as far as they can and manage to escape just in time. The Doctor explains that whoever set the bomb did so to remove any evidence of foul play — no one will ever know that these people were shot. They're interrupted by the arrival of another vehicle, looking for Bushkin and Kalashnikov. They take the Doctor and Peri for them, and the two just happen to have their IDs in their new jackets. The TARDIS team is taken to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which the Doctor knows is a secret Soviet base in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, back at Baikonur, they still can't make contact with Marinka in Vostok 7. They do have transceiver feedback, but they're not getting any replies. The Doctor, just arriving with Peri, recommends that they send loud, high-pitched feedback to the capsule to wake her up from whatever shock she's endured.
It works, and Marinka regains consciousness — but she's lost large portions of her memories. She can't remember who she is, where she is, or who she's talking to. She's not even aware that she's floating in space. The Doctor tries to calm her down, and requests that she get returned to Earth.
Three days later, Leonid Kurakin is doing what Peri calls fishing. He's relieved to find out she and the Doctor are not a couple — "he's not my type" — and lets her know he's single too. Leonid remarks on her accent, which sounds more "western", and lists some countries she might have come from. Peri goes with Latvia, and they're interrupted by a bell; it's his shift for guard duty. He leaves behind a paper, though, which piques Peri's interest.
Back at the research station, Lerisa Petrov tries to explain to Marinka to use the red button to replenish her oxygen supply — she can't even remember colours. They activate remote guidance system, but it won't respond. The Doctor fixes their system, which he says was sabotaged, and it finally starts responding. The capsule is due to come down in just under an hour's time.
Peri, following what she read on the paper, goes to Research Area 4, authorised personnel only. There, she finds empty space suits. They've also secretly built a lunar landing module. A man[who?] reveals that he knows they're imposters, and that he sent for her and "Kalashnikov" to find a rat. This traitor, Valentina, with whom he was in love, disappeared just before they arrived — and fits the description that Peri gave of the woman in the back of the jeep.
Finally, Vostok 7 is coming down to Earth. They get there, and open the capsule.
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- The Doctor - Colin Baker
- Peri Brown - Nicola Bryant
- Larisa Petrov - Karen Henson
- General Mikhail Leonov/General Paterson - David Shaw-Parker
- Captain Alexei Kozlov/Captain Andrews - Tom Alexander
- Sergeant Leonid Kurakin/Scientist - Stuart Denman
- Marinka Talanov/Female Worker/Laika - Samantha Béart
- Kalashnikov was born in 1919 while Pushkin was born in 1940.
- Peri refers to the Baikonur Cosmodrome as "the Soviet Cape Canaveral."
- Before travelling to the Moon on the Soviet lunar capsule, the Doctor tells Peri that he is far more qualified for space travel than Yuri Gagarin.
- The United States government has built a moonbase on the far side of the Moon. It was named after former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- The American moonbase was designed to contain a viable minimum population. In the event of a nuclear war, the plan was for its inhabitants to eventually return to Earth and rebuild human civilisation.
- The Doctor refers to Stephen Hawking.
- The Doctor considers the 1960s to be one of Earth's "most turbulent periods."
- The Doctor and Petrov discover a human skeleton on the Moon. This is a reference to the urban legend which alleges that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin discovered a skeleton at the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969.
- This story was recorded on 28 and 29 May 2013.
- The Doctor mentions that he once spent several months travelling across China with Marco Polo in 1289 after heating in the TARDIS broke down. (TV: Marco Polo)
- Peri tells Sgt. Kurakin that she is a vegetarian. (AUDIO: The Eye of the Scorpion)
- Dr Petrov refers to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. (PROSE: Heart of TARDIS; AUDIO: 1963)
- According to another account, Laika died in space. The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith buried her on Quiescia. (PROSE: Alien Bodies)
- The Doctor refers to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on 22 November 1963. He tells Petrov that he has always intended to travel back and witness the assassination. He would later do so during his ninth incarnation. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy, TV: Rose) The Eighth Doctor once claimed that he had been accused of the assassination. (AUDIO: Zagreus)
- Peri refers to the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969. (TV: Blink, The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon)
- While the Doctor was returning to the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard the US Rocket Lincoln on 23 November 1963, eight other versions of him were present in England on the same day. One of these was another version of the Sixth Doctor, who was likewise travelling with Peri. Over the course of two hours, the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors and their respective companions Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, Jamie McCrimmon, Zoe Heriot, Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, Nyssa, Peri, Ace and Charley Pollard all visited Bob Dovie at 59A Barnsfield Crescent in Totton, Hampshire, much to his annoyance. (AUDIO: The Light at the End)
- Aside from visiting Bob Dovie in Hampshire, the Seventh Doctor would return to November 1963 on three subsequent occasions. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks; PROSE: The Algebra of Ice; AUDIO: 1963: The Assassination Games)