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on 18 October 2010
Parallel lives: The Doctor and The Prime Minister. William Hartnell? Harold Macmillan. Patrick Troughton? Harold Wilson. Jon Pertwee? Edward Heath. Tom Baker? James Callaghan. Peter Davison? Well, there's no convincing analogue for him but Colin Baker? Margaret Thatcher, definitely.

It's predictable that the prevailing zeitgeist (and a great deal of hindsight) throws up similar ideals for authority figures. All of the above have at least some appropriate synchronicity but the closest fit is Troughton-Wilson. It's not just that Harold Wilson was the British Prime Minister throughout all of the Troughton era but that he and The Second Doctor are oddly similar icons of a certain strand of 60s culture. They are both slightly comical but also highly intelligent, extremely canny, wilfully idiosyncratic and loved and respected by many; while fulfilling the same role as his patrician predecessor, The Second Doctor, like Wilson, was much more of the common man.

Before becoming PM, before Dr Who was even broadcast, Harold Wilson made a speech in which he coined the phrase "the white heat of technology". Stories like 'The Moonbase' (and later on, 'Fury From The Deep' and 'The Wheel In Space') are its cultural analogue. Technology (and the future of technology) in the mind of the average citizen was merely a matter of perseverance: the patient unveiling of electronic miracles that would transform everyone's lives, sooner rather than later. Controlling the weather for example, as the denizens of the eponymous Moon Base do. A world of levers and dials and significant beeping.

It's a pity that Dr Who's embracing of this idea of the techno-future spawned one rather unfortunate consequence for The Moonbase's villains. Gone were the uncanny, totally alien vocal characterization of 'The Tenth Planet' Cybermen. Instead, an earthbound machine version (and an occasionally unintelligible one), something that a human scientist of the 1960s was actually capable of, rather than something very odd from way out there in the vastness of space. The visual design is likewise normalized; the Cybermen were born-again boring.

'The Moonbase' can be a tad boring too at times but it is a genuine improvement on previous stories in many ways. The Radiophonic Workshop conjure up some very eerie and hypnotic sounds, the supporting cast is a lot more believable and the plotting is that little bit more joined-up. Polly may still be on coffee duty but she is also instrumental in polishing off the first wave of Cybermen (and the two boys almost coming to blows in their attempts to impress her is an unexpectedly adult twist; in my opinion, not at all a welcome one).

Like it or not, this is the first airing of the Cybermen as we know them today: logical, functional, comprehensible machines. They were to become the Doctor's main foe until the end of the decade and were in that time to leave us some of the most unforgettable images in the show's history.
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on 12 July 2004
The Moonbase features the return of the Cybermen, and following this story, they had firmly established themselves as 'second favourite monsters' with the fans (the Daleks being first of course!)
A story from the 'cross-over season' when Hartnell relinquished the role, sees Troughton firmly settled into his new role, unlike previous stories - i.e. Power of the Daleks and The Highlanders, this story establishes Troughton's character as was continued for the remainder of the actors' time with the show.
Whilst some have argued that the Moonbase is merely a re-write of the Tenth Planet several months earlier, I would urge listeners to ignore that, true the story is about a base under-seige (but most Doctor Who stories at that time used similar plots!) but the characters and the content of the story are different.
Presumably most fans will have seen the two surviving episodes, however, listening to the complete audio soundtrack, allows the storyline to develop comfortably across the four episodes whilst hiding disasterous holes that were apparent on the visual material i.e. The Cyberman hiding like a Scooby-Doo villian at the end of an episode!!
The cast themselves come across well on audio, Troughton, as ever, having settled into the role, is excellent and the supporting cast are reasonable. However, the only nag might be that the introduction of Fraser Hines as Jamie has limited the dialogue of Craze and Willkes, and some of the base personnel are hardly represented.
Obviously the return of the Cybermen is a welcome for fans, and this story, being their second outing, is still fresh and effective. Being written by their original creator, Peddler, the story is well thought out. Furthermore, the new Cybermen voices give them a greater sense of power, unlike the 'sing-song' voices of The Tenth Planet.
Overall, the story comes across well on audio, the background music is chilling and helps to give the story suspsense on the audio medium. The narration is good, although at times it is lacking in places, and the Cybervoices are difficult to distinguish at times. Not a bad place to start for Troughton adventures, and the price is fairly reasonable.
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on 4 October 2006
"The Moonbase", by Kit Pedlar, is one of those shaky 1960s stories that is enjoyable in its quaint own way without being particularly dramatic or exciting. It represents a classic example of the "base under siege" format that would typify the later Troughton years and benefits by being produced before the format became too formulaic.

The Cybermen have had a makeover since their first appearance in The Tenth Planet and now appear much more impassive and menacing, complete with their new electronic, monotone voices.

The supporting characters avoid being completely generic by the introduction of a convincing Frenchman named Benoit (André Maranne) and one of those gruff, pragmatic salt-of-the Earth types in Captain Hobson (Patrick Barr). The rest of the supporting players blend into one another, but all do a decent job.

The episodes that survive in video, meanwhile, display imaginative production design given the budget available, and the model work is more convincing than some. The lunar surface is quite well-conveyed, too; it's not obvious where the set ends and the static backdrop begins. The sight of an army of Cybermen striding across the barren landscape is quite an iconic image, and I was glad to have the opportunity to see the final part of the story on the screen (they are available on the DVD set "Lost in Time"). On the audio recording, clear narration is provided by Frazer Hines.

With fair sound design and familiar music cues, "The Moonbase" is an unremarkable but solid entry into 1960s Doctor Who canon.
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on 19 December 2014
Can't stop playing it,would love more Doctor Who stories on CD.
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on 25 July 2013
It was all I expected and more good quality and arrived promptly I would recomend this to anyone who was thinking of buying this CD
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on 28 April 2001
Despite the Doctor's assurances to Ben, Polly and Jamie that he will pilot the TARDIS to Mars, a strange force buffets the ship and it arrives somewhat short of its target - on the Moon. Exploring, Jamie understimates the impact of reduced gravity and ends up injured and taken into the moonbase, from which the Earth's weather is controlled. But things are not well here, and a mysterious space plague is laying the staff low. This artificial plague is the first wave of a the plans of the Cybermen...
Featuring the return of the Cybermen (previously seen in 'The Tenth Planet'), this story is the first of many in the Second Doctor's era to feature these metal monsters. The story also continues the Doctor Who semi-utopian view of the future - the moonbase is inhabitted by a multi-nationality crew. In some respects, the story anticipated things like the current international space station.
The story gives each member of the TARDIS crew something to do (although Polly and Jamie come off worse than Ben and the Doctor), and the Cybermen seem more competent this time than previously.
The pace of the story is probably a little slow compared to current science fiction TV and movies, but it is a good example of an average Doctor Who story at the time. It does, however, come from one of the less interesting periods in the show's history - which got more interesting in the following year.
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on 20 September 2002
An encampment of humanity facing a threat from outside- mysterious events: People going missing, deaths, strange radio interferences but above all the Doctor and his companions are singled out as the instigators of these horrors.
The Moonbase- a true Doctor Who classic from the golden age of the Patrick Troughton era and what better way for the series to enforce its science fictional elements then have the story set on the moon.
Here you get a tense, mystery filled space chiller featuring the return of some very effective villains: The Cybermen!
Their reasons and motives for their actions are just as chilling as their monotonous metallic voices.
They are relentless in their mission to invade and take control of the moonbase.

Here you can see how truly effective these silver giants are when told about revenge and other human concepts.
'We know of this weakness of yours, we are fortunate. We do not possess feelings!'
So if you there's nothing on the box in the evening, plug in your CD player and slip on the headphones and stare up at the night sky and the moon high above. Then picture the Doctor and his friends as they battle against the evil menace of the Cybermen...
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on 29 July 2006
In the second ever Cybermen story the Doctor, Ben, Jamie and Polly land on the moon in 2070 where the Moonbase is being overun by a disease when the Doctor and his friends turn up and are blamed for the disease but there is more to the disease than meets the eye!
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on 1 June 2005
This is one of the first and best Cybermen stories. The mysterious illness is extremely intriguing, the answer to it is ingenious. The strange occurences are creepy and bizarre, and you are desperate to find out more. A good plot, great mystery and creepy Cybermen make this one of the best stories including one of the Doctor's arch enemies.
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on 7 April 2001
This is an excellant bbc audio of one of Patrick troughton's lost adventures featuring the ever popular cybermen.
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