The Fourth Dimension

The Moonbase


In Episode 3, the Doctor considers what the Cyberman might be afraid of and we hear him holding a conversation with himself. This was achieved by having Patrick Troughton respond to his pre-recorded ‘thoughts’ which were played back into the studio as he acted the scene.


John Levene is inside one of the Cyberman costumes in the third and fourth episodes. He would later take the regular role of UNIT man Benton but before then, Levene would return to play another monster – a Yeti in The Web of Fear.


Despite the destruction of their home and the apparent death of their entire race in The Tenth Planet, the Cybermen are back for their second adventure. They look quite different as well with a more streamlined, metallic appearance and their voices are far more robotic. They also appear to be wearing lace-up silver boots!


The Moonbase is the last story to feature the original Doctor Who title sequence.


She’s the only girl in the whole serial, but Polly proves her worth by devising a weapon to kill Cybermen – inspired by nail varnish remover! She knows nail varnish remover is a solvent and she knows that the Cybermen’s chest units are at least partly made of plastic. So, she mixes up as many solvents as she can find in the moonbase sickbay, pours the ‘Polly Cocktail’ into fire extinguishers and wipes out the invading Cybermen! Then she makes some tea.


When faced with curing the ‘plague’ the Doctor says that he thinks he was once a medical doctor and that he studied with Joseph Lister – a real-life medical pioneer - in Glasgow in 1888.


At the end of the adventure, the Doctor uses the TARDIS’s ‘time-scanner’, a device he has never utilised before or since. It can be employed to predict the future but the Doctor claims that he doesn’t use it very often as it’s unreliable. It displays the image of a giant crab-like claw which means on this occasion at least, it was spot-on as the Doctor does indeed encounter crab-like monsters in the next story, The Macra Terror!


Alan Rowe was cast as Doctor Evans, an early victim of the space plague, so he doesn’t get to say much. Maybe because of this, Rowe was also the voice of Space Control heard over the radio. Rowe would be back for further, more prominent parts in the series in The Time Warrior, Horror of Fang Rock and Full Circle.


Only the first and third episodes of The Moonbase survive in the BBC’s archives. Both were released on DVD as part of the Lost in Time box set in 2004. The full audio soundtrack, with accompanying linking narration by Frazer Hines, has been released on CD and for MP3 download by BBC Audio.

Related Content