Tenth Planet saw the Cybermen's first screen appearance, although the story
was set in 1985. These original creatures were a haunting, monsterous creation
with ghost-like faces of cloth. Their mouths opened and a stream of synthetic
speech was heard, jumping high and low with no feeling behind the words.
first Cyberman arrived on Earth's polar base when the planet of Mondas, once Earth's
twin, drifted its orbit back to our world. It was established at this stage that
their Cybernetic scientists had replaced their body parts with metal and plastic
and that all feelings had been removed from their brains. Although it passed without
comment, the hands of these creatures remained human at this stage. Sadly episode
four of this story is missing, and episodes one and three are lacking in Cyberman
action. In fact, during this whole story the monsters had relatively little screen
time, something that would be true of several stories in which they featured.
Neverthless, this adventure is worth experiencing and can be bough on audio CD
(link left). Also of fun is a CD available featuring the incidental music.
Parts - The Moonbase / The Wheel in Space
Moonbase saw the appearance of the Cybermen upgraded from flexible cloth-like
skin to their all-metal heads and plastic/metallic skin, which would be a form
to last them to 1988. Their new voices were perhaps the most iconic, foreshadowing
the BBC Micro computer text-to-speech synthesisers that we played with in school
during the 1990s. Both this story and two stories later saw the Cybermen as cold,
calculating, calm, methodical attackers, working slowly to achieve their goal,
in both cases breaking into a space outpost.
The Moonbase saw the
introduction of two characteristics which would be the hallmarks of the Cybermen
at various stages through decades to come: They extended control over certain
humans through telepathic influence and their weaponry shot from their own bodies.
In The Wheel in Space saw a long, complex, multi-phase plan evolve in which
the Cybermen lured humans onto their ship before taking them over and sending
them back on the space station as double-agents. The Cybermen were cunning, adapting
to changes in their plans when needed and they were overseen by a Cyber-coordinator.
The Doctor reinforces the fact that the Cybermen are all machine aside from their
organic brains remaining, but having had all feelings removed so they are more
robot than man.
Sadly both these stories are now incomplete but their surviving
episodes can be seen as part of the Lost in Time DVD collection (top right)
and the audio of The Moonbase can be heard (right).
Tomb of the Cybermen Between
The Moonbase and The Wheel in Space came one of the classic Doctor
Who stories, in which the Doctor and a group of archaeologists uncover the
Cybermen's lost tombs on their second home, Telos. This story continued earlier
continuity with the monsters' weapons being an electrical spark fired from their
hands, and they have the ability to exert mental control over humans. In this
story we also see a part Cybernetic conversion with the limbs of Toberman becoming
those of a Cyberman. Tomb of the Cybermen also introduces the rather curious
Cybermats, an almost inexplicable rodent-like metallic life-form whose origins
are never fully uncovered.
Invasion and then a Rest before Revenge of the Cybermen
adventures on the Wheel, the metal monsters returned for an eight part epic called
The Invasion which saw a full blown attempt to flood contemporary Earth
(well, slightly-in-the-future-Earth) with cyber forces. Once again the Cybermen
were manipulative and calculating creatures whose plan in part was to use a broadcast
signal to exploit their abilities to control the human mind. Their
weaponry emerged from their chest units as in The
Wheel in Space but they also carried guns that packed more of a punch.
Pertwee never saw any Cyberman action and when they reappeared again it was in
a story some would like to forget. Revenge of the Cybermen saw the Cybermen
acting in an emotional and often comical way which began the decline of their
legend as impassive killers. Even the story title includes the suggestion they
are vengeful, which should be an alien concept to them! Their plan to destroy
the planet of gold (a weakness to gold is a new, rather silly addition) lacked
the subtlety of previous exploits and their leader, with hands on hips, is best
saw the Cybermen appear in the 1980s after another long gap and, although
continuing down a more emotional portrayal of the monsters, was an excellent adventure
and undoubtedly one of Peter Davison's best. The Cybermen sadly have lost all
their quirks though. Full of emotion in their voices, carry weapons like any other
baddie, and showing none of their old power to control human minds. However they
did construct an interesting plan, although lacking the over-complexity of the
old stories! Despite its Cybermen continuity deficiencies, the story stands up
well in its own right, with more action than you can shake a mathematics badge
at, this DVD adventure is definately worth owning as one of the great Doctor Who
New Series - Series 2 - Vol. 3 Limited Edition with Unique Dr
Who Top Trumps Playing Card
the Cybermen returned in the new incarnation of Doctor Who. In Rise of the
Cybermen and The Age of Steel they are reborn in an alternative universe
with many of their original characteristics: Taking control of humans and shooting
electricity from their fingers. Marching in unison in huge numbers made them look
more effective than they have ever been on screen before! This DVD is a must-have.
is only the beginning. We are entombed but we live on.