Doctor Who

The moonbase (1967)

About this serial

This was a four-part serial, first broadcast between 11th February - 4th March 1967. The serial was written by Kit Pedler, produced by Innes Lloyd and directed by Morris Barry. The script editor was Gerry Davis.

What I've seen:

An animated version of part 1 Part 2 An animated version of part 3 Part 4

Episodes two and four, and animated versions of episodes one and three.

Plot summary

The Doctor and companions Polly, Ben and Jamie find themselves near a weather station on the moon. When the station personnel contract a mysterious disease and start disappearing, the stage is set for the Doctor to meet some old enemies.


when I first reviewed this serial, I only had soundtracks of the first and third episode. My comments then:

Having access to the animated versions of the missing episodes means that I find myself more focussed on following the story, but the incidental score (consisting of well-chosen stock music) is still one of the things that I enjoy most about this serial.

Some more good things about this story:

The less good bit:

The really not good bits:

This story comes hot on the heels of 'The tenth planet', in which the Cybermen made their first appearance, and which I hadn't seen when I wrote the previous version of this review. Though both stories are extremely similar, the Cybermen that we meet here are markedly different from those in the earlier serial:

On the whole, this is a simpler and more straight-forward story than 'The tenth planet'. The Cybermen are evil robots who have little motivation for their actions other than being evil robots. The moonbase leader is a good guy who, after some not unreasonable initial distrust, fully co-operates with the Doctor in order to combat the Cybermen. The rank-and-file crew members are all well-meaning and competent and apart from their nationality, where 'The moonbase' thankfully avoids the 'funny foreigner' clichés of the earlier serial, there's little to set them apart as individuals. (Having the most prominent French crew member played by a native French speaker is a nice touch, though.) There is also no real resolution to this story - two Cybermen attacks are repelled, but it only seems a matter of time before the next one will arive. Although this serial is by no means boring, compared to 'The tenth planet' it is a bit bland.

The bottom line

Quite good, actually.

This is basically a companion piece to 'The tenth planet', stronger in some aspects and weaker in others, and which of the two you prefer is a matter of taste. My vote goes to 'The tenth planet', since I enjoyed the innovative plot elements and the great scenery in the earlier serial more than I do the smoother storytelling in this one.

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