Last week, I hit on some of Doctor Who’s suits — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the just plain how the heck is that supposed to work? But a sci-fi show with a 50 year history has more to offer than that. 😉 So here goes with another batch!
Titan crew suits, “The Invisible Enemy”
These suits again are clearly not pressurized, nor sufficiently skin-tight to offer mechanical pressure assistance; in fact, they appear to be basic flight suits with some cool gloves and helmets. But maybe that’s okay; they’re on Titan, after all, which does have a substantial atmosphere. All they really need is something to protect them from the extreme cold (natural gas falls as rain there) and an oxygen supply.
EVA Suits for the Wheel, “The Wheel in Space”
This is a surprisingly good-looking suit, used by the crew of the Wheel for maintenance spacewalks. It’s got a very sturdy helmet that pivots, oxygen fed directly into it, sealed joints that connect the gloves up to the body of the suit . . . in sort, it looks like a real pressure suit. And that’s because it actually is. These are Windak Full Pressure Suits, developed for the RAF by Baxter, Woodhouse and Taylor Ltd to support development of high-altitude fighters and bombers, which would fly above 50,000 feet. At some point, the RAF moved away from it, and surplus suits found their way into costume departments. For instance, you may recognize it on the bounty hunter Boskk in “The Empire Strikes Back”:
Of course, that’s not the only connection that scene has to “Doctor Who”. The rather more famous bounty hunter on the left, Boba Fett, was played by Jeremy Bulloch, who had previously appeared as Hal the Archer in Sarah Jane Smith’s debut serial, “The Time Warrior”. (“Empire Strikes Back” is actually riddled with Who performers and crew, including but not limited to Julian Glover and Michael Sheard, both of whom played multiple roles on “Who” through the years.)
Earth Empire suits, “Frontier In Space”
The suits were first intended for an escape attempt from the lunar penal colony, except the Doctor soon discovered that it was a trap — someone had emptied the oxygen cylinders (which here look like SCUBA tanks, rather than the rebreather style apparatus needed for a spacewalk, where maintaining pressure is important):
But the Doctor was able to use a suit later on to spacewalk into the flight deck of the Master’s ship. Here’s another view of the suit, with helmet in place:
This design obviously uses the “really huge, fluffy wrist and neck pieces” to conceal the lack of a real seal at the interfaces. And once again, it’s pretty obviously unpressurized. The holes in the chin of the suit probably wouldn’t help either, though I’m sure they helped keep actor Jon Pertwee more comfortable. 😉
Tesh Suit, “The Face of Evil”
I decided to call this one a “Tesh Suit” because the only intact one we see is worn by one of the Tesh. We don’t get a terribly good look, but it’s a fairly typical cheap sci-fi spacesuit. The coiled tubing going to the head resembling a warrior’s mohawk is an interesting touch, though, especially given how the Sevateem were using their copy of the suit: the revered the suit as the image of their god Xoanon, and bits of it were used as sacred relics.
I particularly like how Neeva wears the glove as a headpiece. The suit itself as worn by one of the Tesh isn’t all that special, but the dismantled and distressed bits used by the Sevateem are brilliantly done. It definitely gives the look of a spacesuit that is long past its useful state but which was at one time a rather sophisticated bit of attire. The articulations in the glove would be very handy for a person spacewalking; a pressurized glove is very hard to work in, and real astronauts have said that an eight-hour spacewalk is a bit like squeezing a tennis ball for eight hours straight.
Space Pirate Suits, “The Space Pirate”
Two space pirates are laying charges in advance of boarding the crippled station. The suits are fairly good, with a very believeable helmet and boots and gloves that clearly connect up in some way, but I what I find most remarkable is how good the spacewalk looks in the still image. This is one of the great missing serials, so I’ve never seen this episode. Maybe they look less convincing then, but looking at them here I’m really put in mind of the ISS EVAs. (And hey, there was one just today, to fix up a power relay and take care of some other stuff.)
It’s getting late once again, so I’m going to leave it there, but hopefully this has given you a nice taste of the spacesuits — both high and low fidelity — that have appeared on “Doctor Who”. 😉