With the Cybermen returning this week The Gallifrayan Gazette decided to take a look back at some of the classic stories featuring the Cybermen. Today The Moonbase.
By Kit Peddler
“Funny. Funny. Go to all that trouble to make the men do the work. Why? Do it themselves, easy. They're using the men as tools. Why? Don't know. Yes, I do though. There must be something in here they don't like. Pressure? Electricity? Radiation? Maybe. Gravity! Now there's a thought. Gravity. Oh, yes. Gravity.”
After the events of The Underwater Menace The Doctor made the attempt to get Ben, Polly and Jamie to Mars. Where they ended up was not Mars but in fact the moon. The travelers have fun experiencing the low gravity of the moon until Jamie gets hurt. Luckily there is a base on the moon that is there to help control the weather on Earth. But there is a problem in the base. A mysterious plague has swept over the base only infecting a certain few. The Doctor has no idea what is causing the crew of the moonbase to get infected but once The Cybermen have been seen sneaking around it becomes all the more obvious what is going on.
With the return of the Cybermen in The Moonbase it solidifies their place as a recurring character one that would be only second to the Daleks in popularity. It was the intent of the production crew back then to find a replacement for the Daleks as they believed that they would not be able to use them for much longer with Terry Nation exploring other avenues for them like a US TV series. The Cybermen would be a mainstay in the Troughton era and that all started with his fourth story as The Doctor.
One of the downfalls of The Moonbase is that there were too many characters. Jamie spent most of the story on a medical bed recovering and Ben was mainly lurking in the background with nothing to do. There were some pretty good scenes with The Doctor and Polly and it is a shame that most of Anneke Wills stories are missing as it appeared that she had good chemistry with Patrick Troughton and that Polly might have been a pretty good companion. Another thing is that episodes one and three are missing and have been recreated with animation. This isn’t bad at all but it does take away from the scariness of the story. The animation was done really well and it is something to see this story completed this way.
While The Moonbase will not win any of the best Cybermen stories ever awards it is a pretty decent story with some cool things going on it. With Patrick Troughton, still getting into his own as The Doctor, you start to get a glimpse of how good of a Doctor he will be you can start to see the mannerisms of his Doctor starting to be more prevalent as he is getting more comfortable with the part. The Moonbase is a fun story to watch as you get a feel for the early developmental stages of the 2nd Doctor and The Cybermen.
Grade B –