‘Doctor Who’ On The Moon: A History

The Judoon on the moon

Well, fairly complete anyway. You can’t blame the writers of Doctor Who for seeking inspiration from the moon from time to time. Frankly, when the entire universe, now and always, is your playpen for making up dramas, you’re going to occasionally cast about you for inspiration, seizing upon anything you can see and starting from there. We’re just lucky no one has seriously pitched an alien race that looks like a laptop on a desk with a big empty white page on its screen, although it’s bound to happen sooner or later.

So, here is a reasonably concise list of the times the Doctor has gone to visit the moon, or referred to the moon, or being involved in a thing that is influenced heavily by the moon. I say reasonably because a) this only applies to TV stories and b) I might’ve missed one, or two.

Let’s see, shall we?

(Note: as we’re delving into an incomplete archive, some of these clips are merely decorative)

The Moonbase

Having arrived in the Whoniverse riding a twin planet to Earth, called Mondas, the Cybermen next appear walking on the surface of the moon, in the year 2070 (so, only 57 years from now). Their attempts to take over the base are foiled by the Second Doctor, Jamie, Ben and Polly, who fight back using, among other things, nail varnish remover.

The Invasion

In which, among other things, the Cybermen have a weapon on the moon, and they’re shooting it at the Earth. The Second Doctor doesn’t actually visit the moon to sort it out, but it’s OK, he’s been there before.

The Seeds of Death

Back at the other end of the 21st Century, there’s another moonbase, or possibly the same one, and this time it’s been invaded by those rotten Ice Warriors, who are dead set on an Earth invasion. The Second Doctor. Jamie and Zoe, who must be getting fed up of all of this lunacy (*winks to side-camera*), sort it all out in the end, of course.

The Silurians

Even when the Third Doctor was exiled to Earth, the moon continued to crop up as a plot device. In this case his first meeting with the Silurians, an ancient lizard race that hid underground when they saw the moon heading Earth-wards, before it settled into orbit. And now they’re fed up because these ape-descended humans sprouted up and took over while they were away.

Frontier In Space

There’s a lot of to-ing and fro-in in this particular adventure, but one detail that does emerge is that, in the 26th Century, the moon is being used for a penal colony. The Third Doctor is sent there after being accused of helping the Draconians attack Earth, a sentence so harsh it’s practically draconi…oh.

The Masque of Mandragora

Another story in which the moon is an active participant in the plot. This time it’s a lunar eclipse in 15th Century Italy, which is misinterpreted by the locals for darkly ceremonial purposes, amid an attack from the Mandragora Helix. Luckily the Fourth Doctor is on hand to generally thwart all the bad stuff.

The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

Has a werewolf in a circus, triggered by artificial moonlight. Does that count?

Tooth and Claw

And if it does. Here’s another one, all up in Queen Victoria’s grill.

Smith and Jones

In which the Tenth Doctor is inside a hospital that has been stolen by rhino-faced space-cops called the Judoon and plonked on the moon so their target can’t get away. Simple, really.

And the obvious exception:

Day of the Moon

TV footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing may be in Day of the Moon, the space-suits worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts may be in Day of the Moon, but is the moon in Day of the Moon? It is not. Had it been called Night of the Moon, everything might have been so different.*

*Because the moon comes out at night, obv.

Go on then, what did we miss?

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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