Number : Season 4, serial 6 of 9.
Which One : Base on the moon.
Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Polly : Anneke Wills
Ben Jackson : Michael Craze
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Hobson : Patrick Barr
Benoit : André Maranne
Nils : Michael Wolf
Sam : John Rolfe
Ralph : Mark Heath
Space Patrol (Voice) / Dr Evans : Alan Rowe
Rinberg (Voice) : Denis McCarthy
Scientists : Barry Ashton, Derek Calder, Arnold Chazen, Leon Maybank, Victor Pemberton, Edward Phillips, Ron Pinnell, Robin Scott, Alan Wells, Mark Heath
Written By : Kit Pedler
Produced By : Innes Lloyd
First UK Broadcast : 11 February – 4 March 1967.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Tardis miscalculates a trip to Mars – and ends up on the moon, where the quartet find a human moonbase; under quarantine.
Whats good : Original base-under-siege number. Episodes 1 & 2 – are Atmospheric and uncomfortable. Cybermen redesign. Music.
Whats bad : Episodes 3 & 4 are less effective. A silver tray repairs a hole in a dome to the vacuum of space? The Cybermen spaceship landing effects are terrible. Episodes 2 & 3 – are lost.
Review With Spoilers : Moonbase is the sixth episode of season 4 and marks the return of first the Cybermen, since Hartnell’s finale; The Tenth Planet.
The Doctor attempts to take the Tardis to Mars but ends up on the moon – instead. Following a spacewalk and Jamie sustaining a freak head-injury, the quartet find a human moonbase; which controls the weather on Earth; by using gravity.
The Moonbase is under quarantine, due to a strange disease; which is striking down the personnel, one-by-one. Worse, Cybermen have arrived and are stealing the sick and injured men from the medical unit.
The Doctor attempts to solve the mystery of the disease – and stop the Cybermen, with help from the moonbase’s Gravity generator.
“It’s you. The phantom piper! …. …..No! No, I’ll not go with you. Do you hear me, piper?” Jamie
The Moonbase, can best be thought of – as the original ‘base-under-siege’ story; which formed a template for all similar future Who stories. Think Web Of Fear, The Horror Of Fang Rock, The Ark In Space, – to name but a few.
The Cybermen are back, following their previous appearance in The Tenth Planet. With a (visually) better streamlined, metallic re-design – and a more spooky electronised voice; after their bizarre under-processed tones – in The Tenth Planet.
The first two episodes of The Moonbase, best capture the close-knit and ominous tension – of unseen foes stalking humans; within the base. Also helped by a nicely atmospheric music soundtrack – to set the tone.
Part 2’s cliffhanger, which features a Cyberman hiding under a sheet – in the medical-bay; (given away by it’s big silver boots poking out) has to rank as one of the creepiest reveals; in Who history.
Episode’s 3 & 4 – aren’t as strong – and don’t build on the promise of the first 2 – once the actual Cybermen base take-over begins. That said, the Doctor’s eventual method for dealing with the Cybermen, has to count as one of his most ingenious – in Who history. Using the Gravitron gravity generator – to hilariously bounce all of the Cybermen off – into space.
A couple of bizarre scenes (threaten to unsurp proceedings) though, including a tea-tray put across a hole in the base window – to plug the vacuum of space (I mean really?). Also, some of the Cybermen spaceship model-landing shots; look terribly executed – even for 60’s Who.
The Cybermen hilariously attempting to continually shoot the moon-base, with a laser rocket-launcher and the Gravitron harmlessly deflecting the blast over the top of the base.
Still, aside from this. The first 2 episodes and the final pay-off, have to stand up as some of the best close-knit horror that Troughton Who managed – and maybe – all of Who.
The Moonbase is a successful exercise in suspenseful horror; helped by focused direction – and a quality turn by the Doctor’s – second most popular baddie.
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