5 Doctor Who Stories Set On The Moon - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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5 Doctor Who Stories Set On The Moon

...Or the egg, perhaps?

Whether visiting in the TARDIS, taking a T-Mat or being instantly transported by intergalactic police, the Moon has featured in many Doctor Who stories over the years. Here are five of the best, spanning 50 years of the series, that saw the Doctor get up-close and personal with la Luna...

The Moonbase
Partly missing from the archives, this Second Doctor adventure began February 11th 1967 and saw the return of the Cybermen (after their debut in the First Doctor's swansong, The Tenth Planet), and, as would become the norm, their first 'upgrade' in design.

The Moonbase arrived a little over two years before the first manned Moon landing, and so it very much capitalised on the zeitgeist of the era. The Moonbase sees the Doctor and his travelling companions Ben, Polly and Jamie McCrimmon arrive on the Human colonised Moon in 2070, and at that time, given the one-upmanship of the US/Russian space race, a colonised Moon must've felt like a very real option within this timescale. Perhaps not so much now.

On the Moon the Cybermen are attempting to remotely destroy the Earth by affecting its weather patterns with a device called the Gravitron. I'd argue there are probably easier ways, but let's go with that eh? However, the Gravitron is used against them, hurling them into space.

Fun fact: The Moonbase features the Doctor Who debut of actor John Levene who, although uncredited, plays a Cyberman. Levene would return as a Yeti in the following year's The Web of Fear, before finally showing his face and playing the regular character Corporal/Sergeant Benton from 1968's The Invasion (another Cybermen story) to 1974/5's Robot.

The Seeds of Death
Almost a decade after this 1969 adventure, the Fourth Doctor encountered The Seeds Of Doom. Death... Doom... neither are great options really, are they? The common factor? Seeds. So perhaps we should all be more weary of seeds? Also technology. Because if you become overly reliant on it you'll be right-royally stuffed if it all goes wrong!

Broadcast just weeks before the 1969 Moon landing, The Seeds of Death is set at the end of the twenty-first century when manned space exploration is a thing of the past. Why is that? Well, it's all thanks to teleportation technology called T-Mat which has replaced not just rockets but all traditional forms of transport, allowing people and objects to travel instantly anywhere. Think the Star Trek transporter, but even more micro-budget in realisation.

Like The Moonbase and it's first return for the Cybermen, The Seeds of Death sees the return of the Ice Warriors (after their eponymous debut adventure two years earlier). The story sees the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe Herriot arrive in a museum on Earth run by Professor Daniel Eldred dedicated to the obsolete technology of rockets, just as something goes amiss at the T-Mat vital relay station on the Moon and the system breaks down. Timing, they name is Doctor Who.

After a strange TARDIS MacGuffin involving its inability for short-distance travel (?), the Doctor and companions man one of the moon rockets to get to the bottom of things, eventually discovering the Ice Warriors' plot to make the Earth's atmosphere inhospitable to humans but viable for the Ice Warriors to invade. Like The Moonbase, weather patterns come into play here, but even watched back-to-back it's significantly different enough to not feel like a rehash at all.

Fun fact: Frazer Hines had originally intended to leave Doctor Who at the end of the preceding adventure The Krotons, and new companion Nik was to feature in The Seeds of Death. Informed that the TARDIS trio would be the Doctor, Zoe and Nik, writer Brian Hayles began work on his script including this new companion. Part way through the script, Hayles was informed that Hines' status on the show was now uncertain and he should write for Jamie instead. Shortly after that, and the script almost completed, another communication informed him Jamie was out and Nik was in, and then, finally, days before the submission deadline, Hines' status on the show was confirmed when Patrick Troughton asked his friend to stay... at least for another 6 months, as Troughton decided it would be three and out for him and he'd like Jamie to remain with his Doctor to the end. Hayles, not knowing if he was coming or going, submitted his completed script with references throughout to 'unspecified male companion'.

Smith and Jones
Opening the third series of revived Doctor Who, back in 2007, Smith and Jones introduced new companion Martha Jones as well as intergalactic space rhinos, the Judoon. The alien police-for-hire transport London's fictional Royal Hope Hospital to the Moon to hunt down a shapeshifting alien fugitive called Florence Finnegan, who is posing as a human patient inside. Again, I'd argue there was probably an easier way, but sure, the Moon, why not?

Gift shops, kissing, and straw-sucking (that's not a euphemism for anything) all take place as the oxygen levels drop and the Tenth Doctor attempts to foil a plan by Finnegan to destroy all life on the Moon and the half of the Earth currently facing it in an effort to escape captivity. In the end, it's Martha who comes through and exposes Finnegan as non-human and the Judoon transport the hospital home in time for tea.

the debut of Freema Agyeman's character Martha Jones here in Smith and Jones does make it seem as if she was being introduced as another love interest for the Doctor, after the recent departure of Rose Tyler. The kiss, although perfectly innocent within the confines of the plot, feels very much included as an audience-pleaser (at least, a segment of the audience), to keep that forbidden love vibe going which Russell T Davis had milked excessively in the previous series. A first date on the Moon was always going to be hard to top though, so thankfully Martha's storyline did gradually take a different turn.

Fun fact: The Royal Hope Hospital name was reused in the pilot episode of Law & Order: UK, which starred Freema Agyeman and was written by current Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall.

The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon
The 2011 two-part opening adventure of series six sees the Doctor, along with companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, archaeologist River Song and FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III, attempt to lead the human race into a revolution against the Silence, a religious order of aliens who cannot be remembered after they are encountered.

Set in America 1969, the Doctor discovers the Silence have been controlling humanity by guiding their technological advances and have influenced humanity into the Space Race. Given the setting of the adventure, there's a lot of crossover with the actual Apollo Moon Landing, from modified NASA space suits to the Doctor altering part of the command module of Apollo 11, to live broadcast footage of the landing itself - again, doctored (no pun intended) with a message to "kill us all on sight", solving the Silence problem.

A darker turn for the Eleventh Doctor, after a disjointed first season, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon is trademark Steven Moffat in both its timey-wimeyness and in the fact that for every question it answers it delivers two more. It's also a key adventure in the furthering River Song mystery, which plays out across the season.

Fun fact: The wonderful Mark Sheppard, who has appeared in everything from Battlestar Galactica, to Firefly, Supernatural, and Warehouse 13, plays Canton Everett Delaware III. For the scene depicting the older Canton, the producers originally planned that Sheppard would appear older using makeup effects. However, Sheppard suggested instead that his father and actor, William Morgan Sheppard, play the role, a suggestion that was accepted.

Kill The Moon
One of the most genuinely creepy episodes of Doctor Who since the show's return in 2005, Kill The Moon is unfortunately often remember solely for that scene above - the hatching egg which is, apparently, our Moon. Prior to that though, Peter Harness' debut script for the series delivers an atmospheric, creepy 45 minutes involving a weaponised spaceship on a suicide mission to the moon, over-sized spiders and an impossible moral dilemma.

In his first year as the Doctor, Peter Capaldi reintroduced a darker sense of mystery to the character, with the "Am I a good man?" theme running across the season. The answer to that question wasn't always entirely clear, and never moreso than when the Twelfth Doctor essentially abandons Clara on the Moon, leaving her to make the hardest decision alone.

Polarising reviewers upon release, much of the negativity surrounding Kill The Moon (aside from the scientific impossibility of the hatching egg scene) came because it was essentially an allegory for the ongoing debate surrounding abortion and a woman's right to choose her own future. I would guess, depending on your feelings about that, it will likely cloud what you get out of the episode.

Fun fact: When Steven Moffat commissioned the story he instructed Peter Harness to "Hinchcliffe the shit out of it for the first half" (a reference to producer Philip Hinchcliffe, who produced Doctor Who from 1974–1977, a period known as especially frightening during the classic series). As well as thematically, Harness included several references to the era. For example, the Twelfth Doctor uses a yo-yo to test the Moon's gravity inside the shuttle, just as the Fourth Doctor did to test gravity in the Nerva space station in The Ark in Space (according to executive producer Brian Minchin, when he read the script Peter Capaldi requested the yo-yo to be similar to the one that Tom Baker had used before), and when the Doctor tells Clara that "Earth isn't my home", it echoes the Fourth Doctor's statement in Pyramids of Mars that "The Earth isn't my home, Sarah."

There you go then, five Doctor Who adventures set on the Moon. Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

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