Fury From the Deep

Written by Victor Pemberton

Directed by Hugh David

There’s loads of freaky shit in the deep sea. Check this fucker out for instance, or this poor bastard. Or read up on exactly angler fish produce their young. Seriously, all crazy awesome. And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It costs rather a lot to go pokin’ about down there, and when you do its pretty dark, so you can only a tiny area. Nobody really has any idea what kind of awesome creatures could be lurking at the seabed. Granted, there’s not much sunlight down there, but there are entire eco-systems powered entirely by geothermal activity, so there really could be anything*.

Even less was known about the more hardcore aquatic life back in 1968 when Fury from the Deep was written, so I was pretty excited to see (hear) what Victor Pemberton had come up with as an antagonist for the Doctor in this story. So imagine how I felt when I discovered that the villain in this story was seaweed.

Fucking seaweed.

Yeah, so its scarry seaweed, it can sting you and everything, sort of like underwater stinging nettles, but you can’t make soup out of them. Yeah, that really had me on the edge of my seat. What would happen if the Doctor touched one of them? He might get a nasty rash! for about half an hour, anyway, then it’d get better.

Much better and more infuriating as an antagonist was Victor Maddern as Robson. Pemberton was clearly a bit ahead of the curve when it came to realising that many people working in the extraction of fossil fuels are cunts. Refreshingly though, Robson does actually have a good side, and even though we don’t get to see it much in the story when he’s under a fair amount of stress, it does  pop up in the end and you can just about see why he got to the position he is. He is, in fact, one of the better written television characters around, and I feed that he gives a sadly underrated performance.

This story does have one outstanding feature though, it introduces the sonic screwdriver and, for once, the Doctor only actually uses it to unscrew things. Pretty soon he’d be using it to cut through concrete, and eventually it’d turn into an all purpose wand like device of infinite power, but thankfully here it’s only actually used for its stated purpose.

I know I said that I wasn’t looking forward to Victoria leaving the show. That was before. She may have been a bit useless for most of her time as the Doctor’s companion, but in this story she just becomes downright whiney. All she does if fucking moan. All the way through. If the writers were trying to make sure that people didn’t mind her leaving then they did a good job of it.

The Doctor, of course, didn’t really need another companion, he had Jamie after all. The creators of the show, though, liked to have at least one pretty woman in the TARDIS for their demographics. Jamie may be in a skirt** and have longish hair, but he’s not going to fool all those dads watching. The main problem with Victoria was that she was basically only their to fulfil that role, and was never given anything to do other than look pretty and scream. Would the next companion get to do more? Find out next time in Wheel in Space.

*Okay, probably just fish, crustaceans and a few mollusks and echinoderms, but I’m not ruling out a pan dimensional cyborg fish-monkey army just yet.

**I don’t care what anyone says, kilts are skirts. A specific type of skirt, yes, but a skirt nonetheless. And I say that as a kilt wearing man.

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Web of Fear

Written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln

Directed by Douglas Camfield

Agatha Christie has sold around 4 billion books. To me that number is incomprehensibly huge. Anything past about 10 million stops having any meaning in this context and just becomes a fuckload. 4 billion if four hundred fuckloads. That’s a shitload of fuckloads*. Its easy to see why. Her books may mostly be poorly written, about nothing and latterly somewhat formulaic**, but there is no arguing that she was a complete master of structure and suspense. There are better mystery writers, such as Christie’s good friend, Dorothy L Sayers, but few could plausibly keep the mystery going right up until the last second the way that she did.

I’m not sure if Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln were deliberately attempting to create an homage to Christie in The Web of Fear, but deliberately or subconsciously the end result bears all the hallmarks of one of her best: a finite group of characters, all suspicious, are trapped in a closed off area, and one of them is a criminal. And in the end, of course, the butler did it, or rather, Staff Sgt. Arnold, whose apparent no nonsense, order obeying, demeanour makes him very much the butler of the piece.

This also marks the first recurring non-villain character in Doctor Who in the form of Travers, who probably looks more like a real yeti than those robot things do. Much as he is great, and everything, far more exciting is appearance halfway through of another recurring character, though at the moment he would appear to be little other than just another red herring to throw the Doctor off the scent for a little longer. Yes, this is the first appearance of Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, or Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart as he is for the time being. I don’t think that anyone had any notion of keeping the character around quite as long as they did at this point***, but they clearly like putting Nicholas Courtney in military roles, as his last appearance was a rather similar character in the Dalek’s Master Plan. Clearly, the Vyons are descended from the Lethbridge-Stewarts.

I have to admit, much as I like Deborah Watling as an actress, Victoria is beginning to rather get on my nerves as a character. She seems capable of very little other than screaming. Its a real shame that some of the potential for actually doing things shown earlier in the series never came to anything. Clearly, Watling herself was feeling similarly, because the next story would be her last on the show. Can the writers give the character anything that me might miss as viewers in her final romp? Probably not, but join us next time anyway for Fury From the Deep.

*I am actually quite good at maths.

**The formula she devised is actually a really handy writing tool, and well worth learning to use if you ever want to write a mystery story like this one.

***If you count spin off shows like the Sarah Jane Adventures, the Brig’s last appearance was only a few years ago, shortly before Nicholas Courtney’s death.

Enemy of the World

Written by David Whitaker Directed by Barry Letts Last week a series of bombings killed over 30 people across Iraq in attacks that appear to have been motivated by the upcoming elections. The chances are you probably did not hear about that. There is a good chance that you did hear about the bombings at the Boston marathon on the same day. I don’t think that the Boston bombings drew media attention away from the attacks in Iraq: if they hadn’t happened then the media here would have concentrated on something mundane. The fact that the two attacks happened so close together, however, does say alot about how the media covers such events. The Boston attacks were horrific, it’s no wonder that they made headlines for over a week; what’s odd is that the Iraq attacks, in which over ten times the number of people died, were buried deep in the middle of the world news section, where only hardcore current affair junkies (and their friends, like me) would ever see it. As far as I can tell, there are two obvious explanations for this, both of which are about the way those working in the media gauge public opinion. The first, rather depressing one, is that they do not think people in Britain care about folk getting blown up, unless their white. The second, which I hope is more likely, but is still depressing, is that they consider violence in Iraq to be an inevitability, and thus not newsworthy, whereas terrorist attacks on the US are extremely rare.

The idea that attacks in which 33 people died and over 160 were injured were considered too mundane to be newsworthy is something that I’m sure the Doctor would find horrific. That side of his personality is very much at the forefront of this story, with him constantly fighting for a better solution to situations than those put forward by people in positions of authority. In particular, his disgust with Giles Kent’s quickness to propose violent solutions ultimately leads him to correctly identify Kent as being a corrupt little shit, not the freedom fighter he claims to be. At almost every turn the Doctor is pushed towards violence, and at every turn he refuses to sink to that level, finding a better solution.

Jamie and Victoria both have a fair amount t do in this story, but sadly Victoria is still in screamy screamy ooh-save-me mode, not getting to show any of the teeth hinted at a few stories back. also, I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive David Whitaker, and otherwise flawless writer, and one of my favorite scribes in the history of Who, for putting Jamie in anything other than a kilt. Its just not done.

But the real draw of this show is Salamander. Patrick Troughton had already proved his acting chops 100 times over as the Doctor, but this double role allowed him to stretch a very different set of acting muscles. The notion of a villain who looked exactly like the Doctor was not an original one: William Hartnell had played exactly such a double role in the excellent Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, but while the Abbot of Amboise was only revealed to conclusively be a separate character, Salamander is very much the bad guy right from the word go. Troughton’s performance here is very different to his performance as the Doctor, which is fitting as Salamander is everything the Doctor is not, but his total transformation is extremely impressive nonetheless. His whole bearing changes as Salamander. Gone is the affable disheveled demeanor of the Doctor, replaced by confident, slick efficiency. Shame about that accent though.

Unlike many writers, Whitaker manages to keep a story going for six episodes. His introduction rather late in the game of the Fallout style Vault and its inhabitants rather late in the game brings in a whole new dynamic and injects a freshness that was sadly lacking later on in the previous few stories. Like most of Whitaker’s output, the writing on this story is excellent, though I’m still angry about that kilt thing.

This story is something of a rarity in Second Doctor era: a story with no alien or monster elements. Even the Underwater Menace had the fish people. Salamander isn’t even really a mad scientist, more a malevolent politician. Which is probably for the best, given the lameness of some of the recent monsters. But even the lamest of creatures can be at the centre of an effective story. What would happen, for example, if the Doctor was playing detective in an Agatha Christie style mystery revolving around the fluffy robots, the yeti? Find out next time in Web of Fear.

The Ice Warriors

Written by Brian Hayles

Directed by Derek Martinus

There are many reasons that one might use to argue that the classic British Carry On film series was not all that good. The women were objectified, the jokes were predictable and the racial stereotypes were downright insulting. Despite this, for many British people, myself included, they are a beloved part of childhood and a pleasant reminder of a simpler time when the word bum could make you laugh ‘till milk squirted out your nose. Some of them are even respected, with Carry on up the Khyber making it onto the BFI’s list of 100 most important British films of all time. Although most of the Carry on Team are best known for their appearances in the bawdy film series, some of them did actually have the occasional job in something else. Given the sheer number of them, the number of British actors at the time, and the fact the Doctor Who was putting out an episode almost every week, it should not surprising that every so often they would share the odd actor. Both William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee appeared in Carry on films before going on to play the Doctor. Bernard Bresslaw of course, almost had a whole second career, probably mostly due to his outlandish height, playing various monster and giants. Later, he would go on to have roles in awesome low budget ‘80s fantasy films like Krull, and Hawk the Slayer, but back in the 60s his best known monster was probably Varga, the head Ice Warrior in Doctor Who.

Sadly, he doesn’t make a crude innuendo about the size of the earth people’s weapon, Victoria’s chest or what Jamie might keep under his kilt. The Meddling Monk doesn’t even turn up so that the two of them can make dumb fart jokes. In fact, it’s fair to say that Breslaw actually was an actor, and not simply a smut reading innuendo monkey, which was all it really took to be on the Carry on team. His performance as Varga probably would have been pretty chilling, if it wasn’t for the lame costume, that made the ice warriors look like fat-arsed middle aged women attending an aerobics class for people embarrassed by their chronic skin conditions. Indeed, the audio only episodes are probably the most atmospheric.

In many ways the Ice Warriors epitomise everything that was bad about Doctor Who villains at the time. They were slow moving, looked pants, had no real motive, and you needed a decoder ring to figure out what they were saying. Despite this, I’m actually quite fond of them. They’ve had more threatening stories than this one, but no matter how lame they are, they’re still better than the yeti.

After making a bit of progress in earlier episodes, sadly Victoria is mostly back to screaming and waiting to be saved. The most courageous thing she does in this story is probably to tell Jamie that she doesn’t want to wear a short skirt. which is fair enough, but hardly anything to write home about. Jamie and the Doctor are on their usual good form, but even they can’t stop this six episoder from dragging on a bit.
Since the Daleks had gone (supposedly for good) Who had been struggling a bit for villians. When they Cybermen is the best ya got, you know you have a problem. Perhaps what was really needed was a fantastic actor to play the bad guy. Doctor Who already had a fantastic actor on the regular cast, why not get him to do it? Yeah. Why not. What could possibly go wrong with that?

The Abominable Snowmen

Written by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln

Directed by Gerald Blake

When David Attenborough says something, there’s a good chance its right, even if it sounds crazy. Crazy would account for just about half the stuff that animals do after all. Just look up the mating cycle of the anglerfish if you don’t believe me. Just not before dinner. So when he said that yeti could possibly exist, I for one was quite interested. I don’t think that robots that look like overweight teddybears were really what he has in mind though, but then again, scientists are supposed to keep an open mind until conclusive evidence is found.

The Abominable Snowmen is a story that I’ve often found it hard to get through. I don’t think it’s bad, per se, I just find it a bit dull. I think that the main problem is that it just goes on too damn long. Its taken me almost a week to get round to writing this because I really can’t think of much to say about it. The yeti themselves are some of the least threatening monsters in Who cannon, looking like they just need a hug.

Jumping forward forty-odd years to the present, a hopeful viewer might be thinking that the great intelligence has made a return in the form of, rather oddly, a previous Doctor actor, though knowing the way that Moffat writes, introducing an evil intelligence who has a thing for snowmen and regards the London underground as a site of strategic importance may well just be a bit too obvious.
One Second Doctor villain who definitely has made a very recent return though is the Ice Warriors. Their most recent appearance was pretty chilling, what with it being written by Mark Gatiss, a man who’s terrifying even when he’s just brushing his teeth. But were they always scary? Find out next time in their debut, The Ice Warriors. I’ll give you a clue: their leader is played by Bernard Bresslaw.

Tomb of the Cybermen

Written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis

Directed by Morris Barry

On the whole, I’m a pretty calm person. Not a whole lot of things make me angry. One thing that does is bad science. Like trying to claim that there is a causal link between a vaccine and autism. Anyone who did even five minutes research of their own could easily have dismissed the paper making the claims as lies and bullshit, but a lot of people have a deep set instinctive fear of science, and irresponsible gobshite like Wakefield’s paper unsettles them further, and gives them further cause to avoid using products that could well save their lives. Science only works when new ideas are put forward and old assumptions are tested, but equally, it only works when actual evidence is involved. Ignoring evidence, or just making it up, has led directly to over 600 people having contracted measles recently in Wales. I have studied science, and can comfortably say that even with the well researched stuff, at least half of it is bollox. It’s important to look into things and see the way research is actually carried out. With medical science, sometimes a new treatment will have been rushed and could be dangerous. Just as often someone making claims about a treatment’s potential dangers will be a self promoting irresponsible cunt trying to make name for themselves.

The evidence would suggest that Wakefield falls into that category. It’s that very fear of science that created the Cybermen: the notion that our technology will slowly consume us until we have nothing left of our humanity. Which is probably why I don’t find them particularly scary.

Unlike with some of their appearances, however, their lack of menace does not really detract from this story. The Tomb of the Cybermen does share some similarities with its predecessors, the 10th Planet and The Moonbase; a bunch of scientists/researchers trapped in a remote location being menaced the Cybermen, but this time it’s on the Cybmermen’s home turf, in, as the name would suggest, one of their tombs. This difference of dynamic is enough to give Tomb of the Cybermen a feel all of its own. The Cybermen aren’t even the real threat here, being easily defeated by the technological wonder of a door. The main antagonists are the arrogant human Klieg and his sidekick Kaftan along with her racial stereotype, Toberman. They’re hardly a threat at all though, as no matter how smart they think they are, they’re actually morons. Klieg proudly proclaiming that one handgun will make him invincible is supposed to be threatening, but is really just reassuring, because he’s clearly a fucking idiot.

Much as I’m glad that Tomb of the Cybermen was found, a tiny part of me thinks that it may have worked better as an audio play. The story is great, and the script gives the impression of a wonderfully creepy setting. Unfortunately, good as the sets are for the budget, they don’t quite live up to the story’s potential. The whole thing is also dreadfully over lit. Nevertheless, it remains one of the more atmospheric early Who stories.

Happily, Victoria has grown some semblance of a spine in this story, and refuses to be pushed around by men attempting to treat her like a silly little girl. She’s still not exactly suffragette material, but she’s better than she was before. Its a shame that Toberman, one of the first black characters in Who not to be a white actor and a shitload of bootpolish, is such a demeaning stereotype. He is given a couple of lines to grunt, but on the whole he’s just there to flex his muscles. Having said that, he does have a pretty good arc, going from thuggish villain in the first story to a self sacrificing hero by the end.

With the Daleks gone and the Cybermen defeated (at least for now) who is the Doctor going to face now? Why not some yetti, that’ll probably do. Yeah, yetti. Find out how that goes, next time in The Abominable Snowmen.

Evil of the Daleks

Written by David Whitaker

Directed by Derek Martinus

The Victorians were rubbish, weren’t they. All pompous grandeur, repressed sexuality and class division. Every so often you’d get a Manet or a Kropotkin or a Dostoyevsky to break the tedium, but on the whole they were rubbish. Worse still, the whole era was infested with bloody Daleks. Who’d visit them.

The Evil of the Daleks is an odd beast. On one hand its a generally well written story, with some great tension and moments of real drama, but on the other, it frequently slides into the absurd. David Whitaker was probably my favorite writer of the Hartnell era, but he couldn’t write pseudo-science for shit. Maxtible’s speech about how the Daleks appeared on Victorian earth is too dire for words. Jamie’s solo adventure to rescue Victoria, though, was great, as was the accompanying plot to find the ‘human factor,’ whatever the fuck that is. Here, Jamie demonstrates his never previously mentioned ability to kick the shit out of people much bigger than him in a variety of situations, with his bare hands or with a sword. How Scottish of him. But he also get to show the better side of humanity, demonstrating compassion and kindness to an apparent enemy.

Sadly, not all of the Doctor’s companions are quite as good in this story. Polly was never really a beacon of feminism, but she did fight her corner and didn’t let the blokes push her about. Sadly, the same can not be said about Victoria Waterfield. The best things you can say about her are that she’s very pretty and extremely good at screaming, which is not what you want from a companion really. Their not faults as such, but not the basis of a character either. She doesn’t get to do much in this story other than to sit about in various goal cells and get rescued by men. And scream. A lot. don’t get me wrong, I’d probably like her as a person, but I hate whatever it was going through the producers’ heads when they decided to create such a stereotypical damsel in distress for a companion.

As for the Daleks themselves, it’s hardly their worst appearance, but not their best either. After the spectacular creepiness of Power of the Daleks, Evil of the Daleks is a bit of a let down. This was originally supposed to be their final appearance in Doctor who, and does a reasonable job of drawing a line under them, but it’s nothing like as great as ‘Power’. And much as I’m really rather fond of Alpha, Beta and Omega, friendly Daleks are not great for preserving the threat of the monsters. The cleverness and structure of the plot though, with the build up of Dalek and Human ‘factors’ is much more like a current Moffat written story than a classic who, but unlike the current 45 minute episodes, this 2 and a bit hour marathon does allow for exposition, so no one can make up accusations of plot hole because they weren’t paying attention.

The Second Doctor’s first year ended here, and while it probably wasn’t as good as the very first season of Who, it was by far the best thing since then as far as I’m concerned. Troughton is great as the Doctor, and he has a solid crew to accompany him on his adventure. Some of the writing is great too, with a couple of all time classic stories.

So the Daleks have gone forever (yeah fucking right), who’s going to replace them as the Big Bad of the series? Well, there was only one choice really. No prizes for who the Doctor faces next time in Tomb of the Cybermen.

The Faceless ones

Written by David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke

Directed by Gerry Mill

Yesterday Margaret Thatcher died. Some people were sad about this, which I don’t really understand because she was a vile excuse for a human being, and the world is better off without her. Some people were happy, and I don’t really understand this either, because she hadn’t been a direct influence on anyone’s life, outside those of her own acquaintance, for over twenty years, and celebrating death is not a particularly pleasant thing to do. What I really didn’t understand was cunts banging on and on about respecting the dead. Fuck the dead, they don’t care. “Respect the living, to the dead we owe only truth”*. I had very little reaction at all, other than mild irritation at the media’s sudden obsession with her, positive or negative, allowing some of the current Thatcher inspired vile scumbags in charge to get away with bullshit like this or this, without anyone really noticing.

I’m pretty sure that the Doctor would be with me on this, given his treatment of the Chameleons, the villains of the Faceless Ones. They go around killing folk and stealing other folk’s identity and he just lets them off with no repercussions at all, even offering to help them. And quite right too. To the Doctor justice was never about punishment or comeuppance, it was about the preservation of peace and prevention of crimes. Which is probably why it was never a particularly big show in the US, a country obsessed with punishment.

This being Ben and Polly’s last story, you’d expect that they’d get a bit more action than normal, but nope, not in classic Who. Sadly they’re barely in it, getting kidnapped at the start and only appearing again briefly at the end. At least, unlike Dodo, they get a proper goodbye and unlike just about every other Who companion so far, Ian and Barbara aside, they actually get to go home as if nothing had ever happened. Sure beats a desolate war zone.

In the absence of Ben and Polly, Jamie really gets to shine. He even gets a wee romance, which is pretty unusual, and usually ends with the companion in question being stranded in one of those war zones. Not Jamie though, he’s back on the TARDIS in a flash.

Every story so far has ended with the Doctor and his companions back in his TARDIS, ready to go and move on to the next chapter in their adventure in time and space. Not this time though, no, the TARDIS is missing. Can the show sustain two consecutive stories in the same era? Probably not, but lets find out next time in The Evil of the Daleks.
*To be a little pretentious and quote Voltaire. And if you think I’ve misquoted it (which I might have done) fuck you, he said it in French, I’m quoting a different translation.

The Macra Terror

Written by Ian Stuart Black

Directed by John Davies

Nowadays when a politician utters a sentence from their mewing filthy gobhole, most peolpe’s first reaction is to try and count how many lies it contained. This is of course impossible, since you can’t count to Infinity. Even a small infinity. Even, confusingly, Countable Infinity. But the widespread realization that people who actually want to be in charge are probably cunts wasn’t always around. It’s pretty damn old, don’t get me wrong, but it comes and goes. The second world war had given the world some proper old fashioned Bad Guys to really fucking hate, and as a result people had rallied behind the forces of good, and those leading them enjoyed a level of trust that was higher than average. But by 1967 that trust was waning and the old suspicion was beginning to return. The Doctor had always been a pretty anti-authority sort of guy, but never more overtly than in The Macra Terror.

Ian Stewart Black had already well and truly proven his leftist credentials and ability to weave a sophisticated point into a Doctor Who story with The Savages. Though the anti-propoganda/general anti-authority message in The Macra Terror is somewhat more simple it is nevertheless a well structured story and satisfying viewing (listening). Importantly, unlike me, it doesn’t paint all authority as out and out villains, with the Pilot being more of a spineless goon than a bad person.

The villains are very much the Macra themselves. Personally, I love the Macra in this story, They never directly communicate, never even talking directly through a puppet spouting some cheesy bullshit “this is the voice of the Macra” noncery. despite this, they are clearly highly intelligent creatures, at least on a par with humanity in the brain department. The idea of a highly intelligent monster with whom we have no direct way of communicating takes an extraordinarily gifted writer to pull off, but when it works it is terrifying in a way that is hard to describe. Thankfully, Ian Stewart Black is easily good enough to pull it off*. The end result is the polar opposite of the completely un-scary self obsessed monologuing villain, and is significantly more satisfying.

If you though I used to get a bit gushy about William Hartnell then brace yourself, because I have a lot to say about Patrick Troughton, and I’m pretty sure none or it is bad. He is, as he always is, marvelous in this story. It’s not often that he lets people see his intelligence, but the childlike innocence and delight he displays when figuring out some of the colony’s closest guarded intelligence is spectacularly charming. His companions get to play to their strengths as well, with Jamie in particular getting to shine, at one point literally dancing his way out of trouble.

There is an argument that if you want to make a serious point about something, don’t make it by writing about giant crabs running around a Butlins. The Macra Terror shows this argument to be made of tissue paper and gobshite. Having watched it, I think that every story should involve oversized arthropods and space holiday camps at some point. Or package holiday tours, which is what the villain in the next story is. Find out just how evil they can be, in The Faceless Ones.

*Russell T Davis probably is too, when he’s not spewing mawkish bollox all over a script, so the fact the he “de-evolved” (not a thing) them into brainless wee shites in gridlock made me pretty angry.

The Moon Base

Written by Kit Pedler

Directed by Morris Barry

Nothing looks as dated as yesterday’s view of the future. Given the way technology was moving in 1967 its not really surprising that people would predict that by 2070 there would be functional permanent settlement on the moon, but that computers would take up a whole room and still use tape for memory. Understandable maybe, but it still looks pretty dated though, given that nowadays the opposite is true. Having said all of that, there are still another 57 years to go, so the notion of a base on the moon isn’t all that far fetched, and who knows, maybe computers will buck all recorded trends, balloon in size and reprise the use of cumbersome and inefficient storage media.

Technological quaintness aside, The Moonbase is a story that has a lot to offer. Its true that most of what it has to offer can be found in other Doctor Who stories, but it’s there nonetheless. Plotwise, this is the same story as the Tenth Planet, the main difference being that this one is set on the moon, not in Antarctica. The details are a bit different, but the basic thrust is the same.

Sadly, Jamie doesn’t get much screen time here, spending a lot of it unconscious or delirious. Polly does get to show off a bit here, in between the somewhat demeaning task of getting everyone coffee, by coming up the a way of giving the cybermen a metaphorical kick in the nuts. With science and everything. Not bad for the 60s. Shame they made her get so much coffee. She did also get to ignore Ben telling her that something was “men’s work,” so it’s a start.

I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the cybermen. I do appreciate the cold emotionless efficiency with which they perform their tasks. It’s terrifying in a completely different way to the hatred of many sci-fi villains, but at the end of the day I think I enjoy their American shameless knock-offs, the Borg, more. ‘Assimilated’ is just such a good word, and ‘futile’ is much better than ‘useless’.
One of the strengths of Doctor Who is that it can use sci-fi as a framework to talk about something bigger. The Moonbase, sadly, doesn’t say a lot that wasn’t said in The Tenth Planet. The next story might be about a bunch of giant arthropods on a beach, but it has plenty to say. Find out what, next time, in The Macra Terror