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The Moonbase (TV story)

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The Moonbase
The Moonbase
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the Cybermen
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Ben, Polly, Jamie
Main enemy: The Cybermen
Main setting: The Moon, 2070
Key crew
Writer: Kit Pedler
Director: Morris Barry
Producer: Innes Lloyd
Release details
Story number: 33
Number of episodes: 4
Season/series: Season 4
Premiere broadcast: 11 February - 4 March 1967
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 4x25-minute episodes
Production code: HH
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The Moonbase was the partly-missing sixth story of Season 4 of Doctor Who. It saw the reappearance and first redesign of the Cybermen, solidifying their place as one of the series' key villains. This story was the first in Doctor Who history with sequences taking place on Earth's Moon.

Synopsis Edit

The TARDIS arrives in 2070 on the Moon, where a weather control station under the command of a man named Hobson is in the grip of a plague epidemic — in reality the result of an alien poison planted by the Cybermen. Jamie is knocked unconscious and lapses into a delirium, leaving the Second Doctor, Ben, and Polly to fight off a massive Cyberman attack.

Plot Edit

Episode one Edit

The TARDIS makes a bumpy landing on the moon in the year 2070. They go outside in spacesuits and Jamie is injured when they fool around. They discover the Moonbase — a weather control station that keeps Earth's weather in check. It is staffed by international crew under Hobson, the controller. They are using a gravity machine called the gravitron to control the weather. The Doctor investigates a mystery: patients have collapsed in comas and have been infected by a virus. All victims are confined to the sickbay. Jamie is put in the medical wing until his fever subsides. International Space Control responds to the crisis by quarantining the Moonbase, a precaution made more valid as a patient starts to die. Soon a crew member disappears in the food stores without a trace. Jamie, delirious, begins to mumble about the phantom piper, his clan's variant of the Grim Reaper. A Cyberman appears in the medical wing.

Episode two Edit

Polly witnesses the Cyberman abducting a patient. She informs the Doctor and the others, but Hobson does not believe her due to lack of evidence. Hobson soon notices the Moonbase's radio transmissions are being monitored. More people are infected by the virus and the Cybermen abduct them all. The Doctor soon works out the Cybermen have infected the sugar in the food stores to make the virus spread, thus explaining the virus' seemingly random attack pattern — depending on the crew's preference for sugar in their food or drink. They contact base but the radio transmissions are blocked. The Doctor informs Hobson that the Cybermen are definitely on the Moonbase and asks if the men have searched everywhere. After Hobson informs them they have checked everywhere apart from the medical wing, a Cyberman appears from one of the medical wing beds and advances towards them.

Episode three Edit

Bob, a crew member, is killed. The Cybermen contact the Cyber fleet. The leader reveals the dead crew members have been augmented and are under Cyber control. More Cybermen emerge from hiding and take over central control. They intend to use the gravitron to destroy life on Earth and send Doctor Evans, the first victim, to operate it. Ben, Polly and Jamie (now recovered) use a cocktail of certain types of chemicals, each of which attacks a certain type of plastic, to dissolve the Cybermen's chest units. The fleet land and deploy reinforcements, which advance in force across the lunar surface toward the Moonbase.

Episode four Edit

The Cybermen destroy a relief craft and use radio controlled beams to reactivate the augmented crew members, who walk around the Moonbase killing multiple people. They are soon killed by the crew, but their relief rocket has been thrown into the Sun. The Cyberleader threatens that if the resistance continues they will fire, demonstrating by making the base lose oxygen by punching a hole in it. They use a large cannon to fire shots at the Moonbase, which are deflected by the gravitron. The Doctor aims the gravitron at the surface and the Cybermen and fleet are cast off into space. Hobson repairs the gravitron and the Doctor and his companions slip away. Back aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor decides to consult a device called the time scanner, which can give glimpses of the future. An image of a large crab-like claw then appears on the scanner screen...

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Cybermen Edit

  • The Cybermen were believed destroyed ages ago.
  • The Cybermen recognise the Doctor despite his regeneration.
  • The Cybermen can utter electricity out of their hands.

Earth technology Edit

Foods and beverages Edit

Places Edit

  • When the Gravitron goes out of alignment, hurricanes threaten Hawaii first, then Miami.

Planets Edit

References to popular culture Edit

  • Hobson calls the Doctor a "proper Rip Van Winkle".
  • While jumping on the Moon, Polly jokes about Ben having had ballet lessons.
  • Jamie mistakes a Cyberman for a piper phantom of his Scottish culture.

Science Edit

TARDIS Edit

  • The Doctor suggestes that the TARDIS is a sterile craft.
  • A chest in the TARDIS provides space suits for the Doctor and his companions.
  • The TARDIS has a time scanner, rarely used by the Doctor, able to give a glimpse of the future.

The Doctor Edit

Story notes Edit

  • This story had the working title Return of the Cybermen.
  • The final clip of the episode leads into The Macra Terror.
  • In an early edit of the script, the Cybermen had names.
  • Talkback from the headphones of the crew on the studio floor is clearly audible at times during episode four (the same problem as had earlier caused the opening episode of The Daleks to have to be remounted) — for example, a voice can be clearly heard saying "Cue" at the start of the scene where the controlled scientists are first activated by the Cybermen.
  • Alan Rowe is credited as 'Voice from Space Control' and 'Dr. Evans' (separate on-screen captions) for episodes one and three, only as 'Voice from Space Control' for episode two and only as 'Dr. Evans' for episode four. He is billed as 'Voice from Space Control/Dr. Evans' in Radio Times for episode three.
  • All of the actors playing the scientists were credited without specific roles under the heading 'Others in Cast' in Radio Times.
  • Mark Heath is credited as 'Ralph' for episode one, and as 'Scientist' for episode three. He is billed without specific role under the heading 'Others in Cast' in Radio Times for episode three.
  • John Wills and Sonnie Willis, playing Cybermen, are credited without specific role under the heading 'Others in Cast' in Radio Times for episode one.
  • Another of the unnamed scientists is played by Victor Pemberton, who went on to write TV: Fury from the Deep and AUDIO Doctor Who and the Pescatons.
  • Episode 3 features a rare sequence in which the viewers actually hear the Doctor's thoughts. Even more unusual -- the Doctor actually replies to his internal monologue.
  • The scene in which the Doctor asks Polly to make coffee is often cited as an example of sexism in Doctor Who. In her comments on the 2014 DVD release, Anneke Wills disputes this, pointing out that Polly is responsible for devising the method used to destroy the Cybermen inside the base. Ironically, while the coffee scene is frequently replayed, another scene in which Ben outright tells Polly that going after the Cybermen "is man's work" is forgotten.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode 1 - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 8.9 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 8.2 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 8.1 million viewers

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In episode two, when a Cyberman tries to zap Polly while she tends to Jamie in the sick bay, he misses, but she falls anyway.
  • Hobson notes they need to keep a hurricane in the Pacific Ocean. However, the Gravitron is pointed at the Atlantic and the hurricane is threatening Miami.
  • Close-ups of the transparent dome from the outside only show the Gravitron, not any of the desks, controls, people etc.
  • The examination tables in the sick bay are very light and wobble frequently. The most obvious cases are when the Cyberman takes one of the crew off one and later when he hops up off the table, almost knocking it over completely.
  • When Evans sneaks into the Gravitron control room, he puts the cloth helmet on back to front (in the next scene it's the right way round).
  • When the Cybermen's spaceships land, the wires holding them are clearly visible.
  • Due to a mechanical problem during recording of Episode 4 (described in "Story Notes," above), the director's voice can be heard at least once.
  • The Moonbase control room set is noticeably smaller, among other differences, in Episode 4 compared to the other episodes. This is due to the aforementioned need to relocate production of the final episode to another studio. Although the set was rebuilt as close as possible to how it looked in the previous three episodes,. there was no escaping the fact the new studio was physically smaller.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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