‘Oxygen’ centres around malfunctioning spacesuits so in this week’s ‘Blast from the Past’ we bring you a Spacesuit Special, looking back on the spacesuits seen in Doctor Who over the years…

BTS on Doctor Who: The Moonbase: Episode 1 (C) BBC

Classic Spacesuits

Over the years The Doctor has donned a number of fetching spacesuits. ‘Oxygen’ provided a new design of the type of suit capable of protecting the wearer from the harsh environment of space. First to use a spacesuit was in fact the second incarnation of the Time Lord. The Second Doctor and his companions Ben, Polly and Jamie used odd spacesuits with fishbowl helmets to step out onto the moon’s surface in ‘The Moonbase’ (1967). Jamie, and new companion Zoe, would also wear spacesuits during ‘The Wheel in Space’ (1968).

Jon Pertwee in Doctor Who: Frontier in Space: Part Four (C) BBC

The Third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee, also wore a couple of spacesuits during his televised adventures. During ‘The Ambassadors of Death’ (1970) he wore a fetching cream number and in ‘Frontier in Space’ (1973) utilised a different suit, this time complete with helmet. Many years later the Fifth Doctor only required the use of a space helmet for his navigation to the TARDIS during the events of ‘Four to Doomsday’ (1982). He would however need a full spacesuit and helmet when exposed to the vacuum of space during ‘Enlightenment’ (1983).

Schultz and Williams, Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet: Episode 1

Spacesuits worn by other characters

Other characters outside of the Doctor Who regulars have also donned spacesuits during the show. For instance, in ‘The Tenth Planet’ (1966) Schultz and Williams are seen wearing spacesuits aboard Zeus 4. Similarly futuristic stories such as ‘The Space Pirates’ (1969), ‘The Sontaran Experiment’ (1975), Planet of Evil (1975) and ‘Underworld’ (1978) all see characters in spacesuits. Sometimes a spacesuit is worn for show, such as by Charles Grover in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ (1974). On other occasions the spacesuit, and particularly the helmet, is used to hide the person inside as seen during ‘The Invisible Enemy’ (1977). Very rarely a spacesuit is not recognised for it’s true purpose. For example, not understanding their true origins, pieces of spacesuits were worn by Neeva in ‘The Face of Evil’ (1977).

David Tennant, Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars (C) BBC

The Sanctuary Base 6 Spacesuit

Since 2005 spacesuits have also been quite common place. For example, the Slitheen’s kidnapped pig wore a spacesuit as a part of their plot. The Doctor has acquired a few spacesuits too, most notably an orange version with yellow helmet from Sanctuary Base 6. After wearing it in ‘The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit’ (2006), the suit clearly went into the TARDIS wardrobe. The Tenth Doctor would use it again during ‘The Waters of Mars’ (2009) but damaged the helmet during his escape. Behind the scenes the suit was pressed into one additional appearance. Resprayed and with the SB6 logo removed a red version was seen during another Tenth Doctor story ’42’ (2007).

Matt Smith, Doctor Who: Hide (C) BBC

Both the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors would also use the Sanctuary Base 6 spacesuit, returned to it’s orange suit and yellow helmet colours. Matt Smith donned the ensemble  during ‘Hide’ (2013) but had by this point repaired the helmet and removed the SB6 logo. Time traveller Orson Pink also wore this orange suit during the events of ‘Listen’ (2014) before presumably returning it to the Twelfth Doctor. Orange spacesuits were also worn by the Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald and Courtney Woods in ‘Kill the Moon’ (2014). Clara would be seen wearing her orange spacesuit again one more time in ‘The Girl Who Died’ (2015).

Spacesuit from Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe on display at Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff. Photographer: Bedwyr Gullidge

Not to be forgotten is the spacesuit hurriedly put on by the Eleventh Doctor during ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’ (2011). In his haste The Doctor got his helmet on the wrong way round but fortunately had Madge Arwell to help him. Finally, deceased humans in spacesuits parrallels with the Vashta Nerada in ‘Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead’ (2008).

This week’s episode ‘Oxygen’ added yet another spacesuit design to the history of Doctor Who. Can you think of any spacesuit appearances in Doctor Who that we’ve forgotten? Let us know…

2 COMMENTS

  1. Amelia Pond / River Song wore a classic astronaut like suit (albeit it must have been adjusted somewhat) in the Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon (…/The Wedding of River Song)

  2. In the Audio stories of big Finish, Doom Coalition 4 opens with a story ‘Bottle in a ship’ featuring spacesuits : the cover art reuses the orange spacesuit (from a shot from ‘Kill the moon’ I think), so it seems the 8th Doctor used it as well.

    I also like a lot the spacesuit from the other crew in Kill the Moon. Vintage, but effective!

LEAVE A REPLY