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The Doctor, Barbara, Ian and not-short-for-Victoria unfreeze on Xeros, are about to be frozen again, and then help some kids kill lots of grownups.

The Doctor, Barbara, Ian and Vicki, who were frozen in time at the end of the last TV serial, materialise on the planet Xeros and promptly unfreeze. Turns out, the planet is now used as a space museum, even though it ought to be said we only see a few rooms in one building and a total of maybe 25 people, so goodness knows what it’s like on the entire rest of the planet!

The Space Museum, which most likely to accommodate tourists presents all of its signs in English, is run by the Moroks, an evil alien race who have taken over Xeros and enslaved its indigenous adult population while leaving the local adolescents to roam free until they come of age. The latter, however, hormonal brats thirsting for freedom that they are, are obviously going to take up arms, and the arrival of Vicki & Friends is just the impetus they’ve been waiting for. If the Moroks don’t get to them first and turn them into museum exhibits.

Also important is that the troupe has jumped a time track, a pleasant consequence of which is that they now have the chance to McFly their respective futures so that their parents kiss at the big dance, by which is meant that they may beat the Moroks yet.

This is an action-packed thrill-ride of a Doctor Who serial, with plenty of marvellous props, techno babble, WBW tropes and some of the dumbest plot devices hitherto witnessed on the show, including *spoilers* a re-enactment of the deus ex machina from Edge of Destruction (aka Descrution). From the blatant wardrobe change in the beginning that could really only have been accomplished, had the troupe been violated by the Morok, to the fact that Vicki – Freaking Vicks Vaporub! – takes up the reigns as resident Che Guevara, leading a bloody revolution while hacking super computers along the way, this serial is, with little to no exception, absolutely bonkers. You’ll love it.

All in all, a romp worth watching!

The Ratings-and-Reviews section of this podcast episode starts at: 1 hour 3 minutes

PS: In case you’re struggling to find something of merit in this Doctor Who serial, check out this video, in which Doctor Who writer Rob Shearman defends ‘The Space Museum’. Big thanks to Evan for sending us the link, and of course for tuning in to Who Back When to begin with!

#DoctorWho #DrWho #ClassicWho

Here's what we think of C015 The Space Museum

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Flapjack | @12Manymornings


Here's what we think of C015 The Space Museum

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Flapjack | @12Manymornings


Here's what you think 9 Responses to “C015 The Space Museum”
  1. JD / @mariuskane

    The Space Museum

    Barbara and her team get into a really good time paradox due to the TARDIS jumping a time track, as the timelines converge their current and future selves finally arrive – setting up what surely must be a brilliant next episode…

    Which never materialises – the rest of the story just contains Vicki joining forces with three teenagers for the worst revolution this side of Les Miserables…

    The Good

    Episode 1 is Edge-of-Destruction level weird (in a good way Flappy!) with the freezing of the time travelers and the mystery of the clothes changing.

    “But Doctor, we have got our clothes on!” – “I should hope so dear boy!” His entire blase attitude over the changing of the clothes is actually one of the best Hartnell bits in a long time.

    The “Just Barely Okay”

    Vicki’s Irritation Index manages to get to an all time low of 1.8 in this episode – because while she manages to intone the utter twaddle line : “Time, Like Space, Although a Dimension In itself also has Dimensions of its own” with about as much emotional range as a rotten potato; she DOES manage to be more intelligent than any of the non-regular cast.

    The Bad

    The first death of a main character occurs in this episode – Barbara’s Cardigan… Rest In Peace Comfortable Knitware… Rest In Peace…

    The people in the show are SO BLOODY STUPID that the four time travellers simply by landing raised the IQ of the entire planet by at least 20 points.

    The start of Episode 2 (After the amazing Episode 1 ending) spends five minutes of pure
    exposition setting up the political structure on the planet – it’s so mind numbingly dull, it could actually have done with some Zarbi sound effects and maybe a bit of “Insect Movement by Roslyn D’Winter” to liven it up.

    It’s explained at the end of Episode 4 that the reason they jumped the time track was a broken Spring… someone copied and pasted the Edge of Destruction’s ending by mistake.


    What a Waste of a great idea – Episode 1 sets up a brilliant mystery and has a unique premise – then the rest is just drivel – 1.9

  2. Kyle Rath / @sinistersprspy

    Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 7: The Space Museum

    After leaving the company of King Richard the Lionheart, the Doctor and his companions become frozen in time. They waken from their slumber to discover that the TARDIS has landed on a Xeros, a planetary museum that stood as a testament to The Morocks. The planet itself was once home to the simple yet peaceful Xerons, whose adult population were enslaved by the Morocks. Left behind were the children, now grown, to work in the museum. Exploring the Museum, the TARDIS crew discover themselves, locked in some kind of long term stasis chambers, permanently on display. The Doctor surmises that they have jumped a time track, and are experiencing events at some point in their immediate future. They realize they must work to avoid this future reality by any means necessary.

    What works:

    1) Big Ideas

    This serial tries to tackle the notion of the dimensions of time. We are introduced to a seemingly routine open, only to discover much later that the strange quirks along the way are a result of the crew experiencing their own future as spectators. They can see it, but are unable to interact with it. The lead up was subtle and it isn’t until Vicki tries to touch an object that pieces begin to fall into place. The attention to detail (no footprints, guards oblivious to a sneeze) were nicely handled.

    2) Vicki Warrior Princess

    How refreshing was it for the writer to give Vicki something useful to do for a change!!?? She makes fruitful contact with the Xerons; She rewires a security access station and gains entrance to the armory, and effectively becomes the defacto saviour of the TARDIS crew by assisting and igniting the Xeron revolution.

    Vicki is the hero of the story. WTF?

    What doesn’t work:

    To be honest episodes 2 to 4. The first episode set up an amazing gauntlet for the crew to run through. Unfortunately, we never returned to the complex notion of free will vs determinism suggested by their discovered possible future.

    While i enjoyed this serial, its too bad that the focus droned on to the boring and predictable conflict between the Morocks and the Xerons. The humour, though there was not nearly enough of it, was great.

    And the Doctor, hiding inside the Dalek, saying “I am the master” gave me chills for a moment.

    The Space Museum is for the most part good fun. It is, at times, clever. It highlights the best of each character: The Doctor outsmarting the bad guy; Ian singlehandedly defeating a host of soldiers; Barbara exemplifying what a strong woman is, and is capable of, and Vicki – the consummate outsider finding her groove. But it falls a bit short of the mark by not following through in its initial premise, an issue common with a lot of early Who.

    For me, this serial gets a 3.3.

  3. Gina Guerrero / @GinaGuerrero1

    Firstly, I would like to call this story the Return of Ian: Badass in a turtleneck. But we’ll get to that. I honestly felt that this is the first story that has dealt with both time travel and alien planets. This was disheartening, because the story was okay. I can say there were moments that I absolutely loved. It was interesting to see how the Tardis crew try to change their futures after witnessing themselves as museum exhibits and how each reacted to the time track prediction. I found it fascinating that the Doctor is not okay with changing the future in any other situation, unless it is his own.

    Ian was back in a big way, ranging from irritable and Doctorish with Barbra and Vicki, and determined and heroic while trying to save the Doctor. I think Barbra and Vicki switched roles, because! Barbra’s cardigan was more useful than she was in this story. On the other hand, Vapor rub is put to good use here, rising above the title of “Susan Clone”, showing that she does have some intelligence. Even though, William Hartnell was obviously on holiday for the 3rd episode, I enjoyed his almost gleeful performance. The first episode was amazing with a tension filled cliffhanger, but after that, the remaining three episodes did not live up to the promise of the first.

    Stray observations: The Doctor somehow besting a guard, shouting “Exterminate” and emerging from his hiding place in a Dalek made me laugh out loud. Other favorite moments include the interrogation scene between Governor Lobos and the Doctor, Vicki tricking the security system in the armory, and Ian’s general stone cold badassness. The characters the Moroks and the Xerons were semi-interesting, mostly due to poor acting and the dialogue being mostly exposition. While the Governor, as you guys would say “shit over his lines” and seemed to be to flip flop from overacting to disinterest. This story actually has some depth, the message being some evil must be fought with violence.

    Even though the Doctor gets the better half of his battle of wits with the Governor, it is only when Ian marches in with a gun that the Doctor is revived and freed Lastly, when the Doctor began to explain how lights work and why the Tardis skipped time, I was overcome with Edge of Des! crusion flashbacks. The laziness in the writing is obvious with Barbara experiencing no long-term effects from the zaphra gas and the final battle in which the rebels run around, shoot rayguns and uneventfully defeat their oppressors and take back their planet, is similarly dull. So my rating is a 3.6 for a great first episode, bringing Ian back to his former glory and actually giving Vicki something to do. Love you guys mucho!!!!
    *figured it was time you guys earned an extra exclamation point*

  4. Davis Williams / @ShrubThe

    This episode is by far the best episode so far. Hartnell clearly loves this as well. In fact, let’s celebrate by listing my favorite moments of this episode involving the Doc. 
    -“it’s just putting 2 and 2 together to make 3” (Episode 1)
    -“I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of traveling or my life”(Epsiode 1)
    -The doctor in the dalek. (Episode 2)
    -The Doctor and the Thought TV thingy. (Episode 2)

    Anyways, this episode was awesome. It actually played with the idea of time travel and I thought that was done really well. Also, Ian went darker than usual, showing a new side of him. Finally, Vicki is constantly getting Susan’d by the Doc, so she learns to be quiet. Such an improvement! Then she leads a revolution. Oh well.

    I give this serial a 4.7, because it was hilarious and really well done. I only mark off because of the convoluted armory lock, which made no sense when Vicki “fixed” it. Still I loved this story, and have high hopes for the upcoming Dalek story.

  5. Not a review, just a comment, but there’s a line Barbara has in this serial, in episode 1 I believe (but it could be episode 2, which to me accurately describes the Doctor from First to Current:
    “The Doctor’s curious. That means we stay.”

  6. Peter Zunitch

    Another episode I have a soft heart for. There’s some unique concepts here that not only make for an interesting story but set up concepts that will be used in further adventures. This is not the last time we will hear about “jumping the time tracks”.
    There are some weird acting moments that in this day we consider cheese, and some strange staging direction that in this day we would consider cheats, mistakes or at least compensations for the limitations of the time. In this story more than others I find it hard to overlook them. Mainly because they are rather blatant when they occur. That and the utter ineptness of the guards (there does seem to be an incredibly amazing quantity of guards for a museum), and people passing out from the gas, and subsequently coming around again to save the day are the two that stand out the most for me. I’ve been back and forth on the Vicki with the secret key machine thing. It never bothered me in the past, but now that you’ve talked about it it’s a bit of a stretch that wasn’t set up (or at least explained) properly enough to be believable.
    If I were to produce this story today, I would make the following changes: Don’t call them guards, call them curators (evil curators), that way their campy bumbling can be chalked up to lack of training. Don’t make it a revolution at the end, just make it a “get off our planet”. Barbara never collapses under the gas. Maybe it’s as simple as Earth humans aren’t effected by that type. Provide a better lead-in to Vicki being good at computers (perhaps all the way back to the rescue). Make the story less serious overall.
    The first episode is phenomenal, the Dr playing at Daleks is phenomenal. The idea of the space museum is phenomenal (though I wish there were more props on display there). This episode is a little campy in its characters and staging, but aside from some awkward moments I really enjoy it and find something new that holds my interest every time I see it. 3.5

  7. I really loved this episode. In fact, I agree with Davis Williams who said it was his favorite episode so far. So when I heard it had been panned, I was quite surprised. I actually liked Vicki for the first time here. She was both clever and spunky. Hope this continues. I think the thing that makes an episode one of my favorites is when it’s wibbly wobbly timey wimey and makes me think about how time works. Perhaps that’s why I find the modern weeping angel episodes so enjoyable.

    One thing I haven’t seen pointed out anywhere else has to do with Barb’s sweater. Notice when she is in the case, she is wearing it. Perhaps as the sweater unravels, the future does as well.

    Thanks for all the great podcasts! I have decided to use the extended hiatus to watch the original episodes, and I enjoy your take on each one as I go. You both make me laugh, which is something I need more of. Shamalamadingdong.

  8. Team TARDIS are sucked down to a peculiar and spooky museum planet where nobody can see them and they leave no footprints. The Doctor’s explains that they have slipped forward in their own timestream and are temporarily no more than ghosts getting a glimpse of their own future. Alarmingly, this future appears that it will result in them being turned into wax dummies and exhibited in the museum.

    Returning to real time, the team are presented with a dilemma. Should they stay or should they go? Which is more likely to ‘change the future’ and foil their destiny? Inevitably, they are dragged into bigger conflicts as the militant museum staff deal with an uprising of angry young men.

    The first episode is delightfully mysterious. Appearing in different clothes, time re-winding, the crew leaving no footprints, the enigma is unravelled until at last the Doctor makes his conclusion “We are not really here.” It’s very engaging.

    So far the time-travel aspect of “Doctor Who” has only been used to get the TARDIS and the crew to different time periods. There has been little exploration of the complexity of the fourth dimension itself. To be fair, Vicki’s explanation is bizarre: “Time – like space – although a dimension in itself, also has dimensions of its own.” But the story gets kudos for at least trying to explore some of the paradoxes of time travel.

    Even though the main story – guards v rebels – is an underdeveloped cliché, this main hook for the story continues to work – by and large. Are all their choices made freely? Are they moving towards escape? Or inevitably predestined to end up in a museum case?

    The guest cast are pretty appalling in this episode. The museum staff are older men; they wear white and have hedgehog haircuts. The rebels are younger men; they wear black and have huge hairy eyebrows. These visual differences aside, all of them are equally wooden. To some extent the rebels can be forgiven. They are written as faceless, spineless boys unable to take any initiative until Vicki implausibly turns up to lead them to victory. But the museum staff are dreadful. The curator is written with a certain characterisation, but acted completely flat. The man shows no surprise, anger, pride or even any interest in what’s going on around him. His depute is even worse – he ruins every scene he turns up in. He totally misinterprets his lines, delivering them without thought, care or conviction. He has only turned up to collect his BBC paycheck and thinks if he stands in the right space and says the right words in the right order that that somehow counts as acting.

    – Ian: “Doctor, we’ve got our clothes on!” – Doctor: “Well I should hope so, dear boy!”
    – Barbara: “Oh look – spaceships!” Is that what they are supposed to me? They looked to me like upturned dustbins with extra knobs on.
    – The doors of the museum swing open and some guards are walking towards the crew. After two or three seconds standing in full view, the Doctor cries “Hide” and they all move about a metre to the side of the doorway. Even the Voord in ‘Keys of Marinus’ tried a little harder!
    – There’s a Dalek on display. Later, the Doctor hides inside it, to emerge giggling hysterically at the trouble he is causing.
    – As the time-streams converge and the crew move into the proper present, we get some really epic orchestral music and some footprints appear in the sand. It’s a fantastic climax to the ‘good’ section of the story, before everything goes downhill.
    – There’s a lot of comic banter about whether you go left or right and which way you are facing when you do so. It’s not only fun, but it highlights that if you are trying to evade destiny, then every decision – left or right – is important.
    – The curator laments that nobody comes to the museum any more. “Have you tried reducing the admission fee?” asks the Doctor.
    – Ian tried to unravel Barbara’s cardigan as a handy marker through the maze of museum corridors. “Hey,” she protests, “That’s a good cardigan!” Meanwhile, Ian is literally trying to bite through it…
    – Asked where he has come from, the Doctor shows the curator a walrus colony on his ‘Mind-screen’ device. “What are these creatures?” growls the curator. “Oh just some friends of mine” replies the Doctor.
    – “What are you here for?” the computerised armoury guard asks Vicki. “Revolution!” she replies, and the door opens. It’s a moment that makes no sense logically, but it pretty impressive as a moment in itself.
    – “There are no tricks in science – only facts.” It’s a good line from the curator. A shame he has the charisma of an anaemic jellyfish.
    – “Thanks to you,” the Doctor congratulates Ian, “I’m now de-iced.” Good to see the process didn’t alter his sense of humour!

    ‘The Space Museum’ has got one good idea, which is explored in the first episode and referred back to in the remainder. But the overall plot is nowhere near strong enough to keep up with this idea, and the story as a whole feels like an intellectual exercise rather than an adventure. Even at this level, however, it fails: there is no great thought about destiny and free will; there is no clear sequence of decisions that is shown to go one way or the other; in fact, most of the story shows our protagonists as being passive or merely reacting to events. Ultimately the explanation given is a superficial ‘Edge of Destruction’-style stuck switch, which demonstrates the flimsy nature of this whole story. Good ideas, but no development and really poor production.

    Overall: 2.1

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