My Thoughts on Story 033 – “The Moonbase”

There aren’t any truly great Cyberman stories. The closest we get are “Earthshock”, “The Invasion”, and “Tomb of the Cybermen”, and all three of those have some fairly large problems. But on the other hand, there aren’t really too many terrible Cybermen stories, either. Most, like “Silver Nemesis”, are kind of bad, but saved from true awfulness by little moments within them. “The Moonbase” is a lot like that.

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What to say about “The Moonbase”? The story itself involves the Cybermen invading the Moon to steal some sort of gravitational-based weather control technology. They need this for reasons. In the process they visit a plague upon the station because that’s easier than just going in and slaughtering everyone, apparently. Meantime, Polly makes coffee, Jamie lies down a lot, Ben does Ben stuff, and the Doctor gets some inner monologue.

The story is rather bland and doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The final resolution is a laugh and a half. But the story is saved from awfulness by those little moments I mentioned. Things like the Doctor’s inner monologue, where we first get some idea of how he thinks about what’s happening. There’s also the bit where the base personnel have to override various safeties in order to execute the Doctor’s final plan. I also quite liked Jamie putting the Cybermen into his own terms, and thinking that one that’s menacing him is a sinister piper, come to take him to the great beyond.

Those moments are few, but they do go a long way. It’s also nice to have the newer, improved Cybermen costumes, which are a far cry from what we had in “The Tenth Planet”, a mere four stories ago.

I’d also like to mention that the animation is much better in this story than it was in “The Reign of Terror”. Every single gesture in that one was way overdone. Here, everything is much more restrained, and that’s to the story’s benefit.

So I can’t hate this story, but it isn’t great. It’s a decent way to pass some time, and that’s about the best I can say.

Cast
Others
  • Patrick Barr — Hobson
  • André Maranne — Benoit
  • Michael Wolf — Nils
  • John Rolfe — Sam
  • Mark Heath — Ralph
  • Alan Rowe — Voice from Space Patrol / Dr Evans
  • Denis McCarthy — Voice of Rinberg
  • Barry Ashton, Derek Calder, Arnold Chazen, Leon Maybank, Victor Pemberton, Edward Phillips, Ron Pinnell, Robin Scott, Alan Wells, Mark Heath — Scientists
  • John Wills, Sonnie Willis, Peter Greene, Keith Goodman, Reg Whitehead — Cybermen
  • Peter Hawkins — Cybermen Voices
Production
Writer Kit Pedler
Director Morris Barry
Script editor Gerry Davis
Producer Innes Lloyd
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Stock music
Production code HH
Series Season 4
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing 2 episodes (1 and 3)
Date started 11 February 1967
Date ended 4 March 1967
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