After this week’s breathless events on the mining station Chasm Forge, we thought we might consider some of the other space station environments the Doctor has visited in his travels.
And there have been plenty, from W3 (‘The Wheel in Space’), which suffered a nasty Cybermat infestation, to ‘Terminus’, final destination for those suffering from Lazar’s disease and where the Doctor said goodbye to Nyssa.
More recently, the Doctor and Clara encountered the Sandmen on the Le Verrier station in Neptune’s orbit during ‘Sleep No More’.
Here’s our list of the Top 5 space stations we think are best avoided…
The Time Lord’s Space Station from ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’
The pinnacle of the Time Lord justice system, and named Zenobia in ‘The Eight Doctors’ novel, this station was the massive floating court house where the Sixth Doctor faced an inquiry into his actions, led by the sinister Valeyard.
With an ornate court room, handy access to the Matrix – the Time Lord’s repository of all knowledge – and a nice line in temporal tractor beams, Zenobia might sound like a pleasant place to visit… but you wouldn’t want to find yourself on trial there – as Sabolom Giltz observed, the Inquisitor in charge appears to be “carved out of something hard and nasty”.
Space Station Chimera from ‘The Two Doctors’
A scientific research station in the Third Zone, Chimera (also referred to in some places as Camera or J7) was the location for Kartz-Reimer time travel experiments which caught the eye of the Time Lords. They promptly despatched the Second Doctor to shut them down as he was pals with the station’s head of projects, Joinson Dastari.
While Jamie McCrimmon colourfully described the station as looking “like twenty castles in the sky”, the computer defence system can be a bit ruthless and there is a fair chance you will end up on the menu thanks to the lusty Androgum chef Shockeye. That’s if the Sontarans don’t attack, of course!
The Game Station from ‘Bad Wolf’ / ‘The Parting of the Ways’
Home to a myriad of reality TV shows, each with a deadly twist, the Game Station was a front for some of the Doctor’s oldest enemies who were oppressing and sifting through the human population to swell their ranks. You could face the Anne Droid in The Weakest Link, get de-fabricated in What Not to Wear or endure the horrors of the Big Brother house.
Of course, the Game Station was a place familiar to the Doctor, who had visited with Rose and Adam Mitchell a mere hundred years previously when it was “Satellite 5” – full of Cronk burgers, data spikes and journalists. On that occasion, he wrestled the control of all of Earth’s media from the clutches of the Mighty Jagrafress of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe and its frosty human minion, the Editor.
Space Station Nerva from ‘The Ark in Space’
The Fourth Doctor’s first proper in the TARDIS brought him, with Sarah Jane and Harry, to Space Station Nerva in the far future. While pesky solar winds had ravaged the Earth, humanity’s future had been put on ice; unfortunately, the sleepers remained suspended far past their alarm call thanks to an infestation of giant space insects called the Wirrin.
Bright gleaming surfaces await, even if the base defence system is a little over zealous and there is half a chance you’ll get cryogenically frozen too. Or mutated into green bubble wrap.
Centuries earlier, in a nice spot of recycling, Space Station Nerva was simply known as the Nerva Beacon. It was no less dangerous to visit though, thanks to a killer virus spread by Cybermat (‘Revenge of the Cybermen’) – and was almost crashed into Voga, the errant planet of gold it was meant to be warning the space lanes about.
The Crucible from ‘Journey’s End’
Despite their having shown little interest in the game before, the planet sized Dalek space station concealed within the Medusa Cascade took its name from Sheffield’s famous venue for the Snooker World Championship.
Well, maybe not, but the Crucible was the Dalek mothership at the heart of their scheme to destroy the whole of the multiverse with a reality bomb.
As well as being infested with Daleks, including the oversized Dalek Supreme with its natty red livery and gold embellishments, the station also contained a Z-Neutrino energy core capable of destroying a TARDIS and a vault – home to their genius creator Davros and his insane, open-cased oracle pal Caan.
In truth, there’s not much to recommend it and you are pretty unlikely to make it out alive, even if your planet has been pulled across the heavens to get there.
Honourable mention: Think Tank from ‘Shada’
An invite to come at work at the Think Tank, home of the Foundation for the Study of Advanced Scientists, only comes to the cleverest minds in the universe.
Unfortunately Dr Skagra, a genius with a penchant for rather camp outfits and an intense manner, is not much for the internal decor or indeed the physical comforts – he will be after your brain to add its skills to his universal mind. It’s really best not to RSVP.
What’s your favourite space station in Doctor Who? Let us know below…