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The Moonbase

Sorry for the mucho Doctor Who posting this weekend, a combination of not feeling like doing much else and catching up with stuff I've watched ages ago and never got around to blogging. Anyway this will be a fairly short post.

The Moonbase was a four-part series broadcast just before I was born in 1967. It is set entirely on the Moon, at a base from which the world's weather is controlled; the Doctor and his three companions (Ben and Polly from 1966 and eighteenth-century Jamie) arrive in time to avert the conquest of Earth by the Cybermen their second appearance after The Tenth Planet. It's not easy to watch, because episodes 1 and 3 are lost; in the end I played the soundtrack off my Lost In Time DVD while flicking through the BBC photonovel, and then watched episode 2 and 4 directly.

I have to differ with the fannish consensus that this is better than the Cybermen's previous outing. I found the Cybermen more difficult to understand, the plot implausible even making allowances for scientific hand-waving - the base commander ought to have been shot for his attitude to security - and the direction seems to consit of lots of actors standing around waiting to say their next line.

On the other hand, the look of the sets is pretty good; two years before Armstrong and Aldrin, they do a decent lunar landscape and setting. The incidental music is great. And Troughton is brilliant, though Ben is annoying, Jamie comatose for much of the story, and Polly is repeatedly patronised - noticeably the only female character, told to go and make the coffee, told she can't take part in the final attack as it is "men's work". I don't find myself especially mourning the two missing episodes.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
I'll always have a soft spot for The Moonbase because the Target novelisation was the first I bought. Gerry Davis' Doctor Who and the Cybermen was wonderful, introduced me to Troughton and Jamie, and scared me (the phantom piper in the ward being one scene). I quite like the surviving episodes and note that the personnel are very much in the Gerry Davis/Kit Pedlar line where space-based work is mutli-national. Jamie's comatose state is explained by his late joining of the team and the need to amend scripts at quite short notice. His arrival sadly down played Ben's role. The Hartnell stories with Ben and Polly suggest that they were two characters that really could ahve been developed. Sadly it was not to be.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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