Art from the cover of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Martians. This is by Peter Elson and it's rather nice. We'll be looking at more of Elson's stuff in the future as I'm something of a fan. It's just a shame this is a blog about spacemen as that excludes a lot of his other stuff. Go look him up.
It was quite a surprise to find a spaceman lurking in a story about dinosaurs that are being time scooped into modern London and you have to watch the whole six episodes to find out why but there it is.
Looks good. Looks almost exactly like one of the space suits from Doctor Who producer Barry Letts' between seasons distraction Moonbase 3. Which is understandable given that it is. That show didn't go down very well and was unlikely to ever have been offered a second series. They have added some detail to the helmet but otherwise its the very same thing. Makes you wonder why more of the props, models and costumes didn't end up adding value to the next season or two of Who.
As a side note I'm going to have to confirm that the dinosaurs in this Who story, particularly the T-Rex, are pretty bad and pretty distracting and ruin what actually turned out to be a fantastic story. Lets have a special edition with some nice CGI monsters.
Meanwhile here are some more pictures of the spacesuit.
Created by Doctor Who producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dick during the break in production between series 10 and 11. Moonbase 3 was intended as a more realistic strand of TV science fiction and dealt with the day to day problems faced by people living on the moon in futuristic 2003.
I've only watched 2 episodes so far and would agree with the general consensus that its so busy being realistic and taking its self seriously that at times it almost forgets to illustrate the wonders of living in space. That said there's something about BBC TV and especially BBC sci-fi from this era that I find enormously charming.
If anything unusual happens in the sixth and final episode, such as the cybermen knocking on the airlock doors or the entire base turning out to be a testing ground for another Kraal invasion, then I'll come back and blog some more. Otherwise I'll just mention that I quite like the space suits and that I am a little surprised that I've only found a couple of cameo appearance by them in other BBC productions.
It was back in January 2011 that I first posted about The Android Invasion and then it was about these chaps.
I think I said that the DVD release was long overdue and I was looking forward to watching it again at some point. Well, this week I did just that and what a treat it was. It's not perfect but its a perfect representation of what good 1970's Doctor Who was all about. Killer robots with gun fingers, gravel voiced monstrous aliens, spooky English villages with spooky English villagers, soldiers with guns, cold emotionless duplicates of the heroes and a top-secret Space Defence base within easy walking distance.
And what would you expect to find in such a place? That's right, a spaceman.
This is Guy Crayford as played by Milton Johns and beneath that eye-patch lurks a plot hole the size of black hole but if you were 7 years old - or Terry Nation - you probably wouldn't think about it too much.
Anyway lets talk space suits.
The keen eyed may recognise that as a Thal space suit last seen in The Planet of the Daleks (1973)
And yes, if you look closely that is the same style of safety helmet that is customised still further to become the androids helmet in this story.
And because I've been doing this for a while now, and because I know there is a Barry Letts connection, I can tell you that the space helmet beneath Crayford's arm is one of the helmets from the BBC tv series; Moonbase 3 (1973)
Originally published as a 4 story collection in 1959 and then with an extra fifth story at some point after1962. The Outward Urge is a history of the Troon family as humanity venture out into space.
This is the cover from the 1980's rejacketed collection of Wyndham novels published by Penguin. All covers were by Peter Lord and you either love them or hate them, I think. I remember picking this up in a bookshop in 1980/81 and disliking it. Odd because I really like it now and odder still because I actually own every other book in the set and bought all of them over the period of a couple of months yet somehow managed to forget all about this one with the passage of time. Just as well I like 2nd hand book shops and a good hunt, because it will be mine.
Noted as the first (or is that the last) appearance of River Song, this 2 part Doctor Who story also gave us the Vashta Nerada.
The Vashta Nerada are a microscopic swarm creature, indistinguishable from shadow that happen to have a taste for flesh. Capable of stripping a victim to the bone in seconds, if your wearing a space suit and they get in then you have a very good chance of ending up looking like this.
And if that's not bad in enough, when they're gathered in sufficient number, they manifest a hive mind and come lumbering after you in a very spooky way.
Its a couple of the finest episodes of new who you'll ever see so go and have a varda at the Vashta Nerada.