Friday 22 April 2011

151 The Moonbase: Part Three

EPISODE: The Moonbase: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: 25 February 1967
WRITER: Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Moonbase
TELESNAPS: The Moonbase: Part Three

One of the base staff draws a weapon on the Cybermen but is quickly gunned down. The Cybermen, like the Daleks before them, recognise the Doctor. The remaining men with the virus are taken to the Cyberman spacecraft where they are operated on to install a control device. Jamie is recovering in sickbay as Ben & Polly plan how to attack the Cybermen. The Cybermen bring the controlled humans back to the base and use them to control the Graviton, intending to use it to destroy all life on Earth. Polly, inspired by nail varnish remover, is brewing up a cocktail of solvents to dissolve the Cybermen's chest units. The Doctor discovers he can interrupt the Cybermen's control using the base's communication device and wonders why the Cybermen aren't controlling the Graviton: he concludes they have a weakness for gravity. Ben, Polly & Jamie load the cocktail into spray cans. They sneak into the control room and spray it on the Cybermen killing them as the Doctor breaks the Cybermen's control. Benoit goes out onto the surface to look for the missing crew members but is pursued by a Cyberman. Ben follows him outside and kills the Cybermen with more of the cocktail. They return to the base where something is spotted on the moon's surface: An army of Cybermen is approaching the base.

This sounds and looks from the telesnaps like a cracking episode full of action and Cybermen. The Cybermen are on screen for most of the episode and up close to the humans in the base. Their previous weakness for radiation is recalled,along with a decent reason why it can't be exploited here together with a sensible line of reasoning for the attack they do use. The spray bottle used in the episode do look worryingly plastic in the telesnaps which might have been part of the reason that Gerry Davis has the fluid loaded into fire extinguishers in the novelization.

Although the episode is missing from the BBC archives, a film can for it (sadly empty of film) was found in New Zealand. Several other empty film cans have been found over the years in odd places and in one case the film that was in it (Dalek Masterplan 2: The Day of Armageddon) turned up years later. So I live in hope that somewhere in New Zealand someone is hoarding a copy of this episode as I'd love to have this one back.

Moonbase 3 was the title of a science fiction series developed by Terrance Dicks & Barry Letts during the 1970s. Several people, both in front and behind the camera, are involved in both series.

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