Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Moonbase

In an effort to find something quick that can be written as part of Daily Doctor Who, we are continuing with Say Something Nice, where I look back at each of the Doctor Who stories and pull out one or two cool things about it.

(Daily Doctor Who #287)

Read the previous entry here. Today, we continue with the sixth story of the show’s fourth season…

The Moonbase

The story features the same regular cast as last time: Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, Anneke Wills as Polly, Michael Craze as Ben Jackson, and Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon.

The serial is written by Kit Pedler, and directed by Morris Barry.

Episodes one and three of this four-part story are missing from the BBC archives, but animated re-creations are available to watch.

Say Something Nice…

(Named for Missy–aka the Master–and her catchphrase from her first full appearance in Dark Water).

The Moonbase is the story which brought back the Cybermen for the first time (only four serials after their first appearance) and thus settled them as major recurring antagonists. They certainly seem powerful and menacing, thanks especially to their more metallic redesign. It is also the first “base under siege” story of the Troughton era, which is something else we’ll see a lot of, and Polly gets to be essential to creating the concoction which will destroy the Cybermen who make it inside the base.

But because we’re equal-opportunity fans here, we’re not going to only be sycophantically complimentary.

You craven-hearted spineless poltroon!

(Another cry from the Master, but not exactly a catch-phrase, this time from The Deadly Assassin)

The idea of the Cybermen being able to get inside the Moonbase but then have to be dependent on poison sugar to defeat their enemies seems a little silly. The Doctor stops Hobson from drinking his contaminated coffee, thus saving him…but has he not had any coffee since all this began? There’s a slowness to the story which makes it hard for the drama to be sustained, particularly when one’s viewing is switching back and forth between the original live-action footage and the animated re-creations.

Catch you next time!

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