a real world point of view
|Attack of the Cybermen|
|Novelised as:||Attack of the Cybermen|
|Main enemy:||The Cybermen|
|Main setting:||London, 1985|
Telos, the 27th century
|Number of episodes:||2|
|Premiere broadcast:||5 January - 12 January 1985|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Twin Dilemma||Vengeance on Varos|
Attack of the Cybermen was the first story of Season 22 of Doctor Who. This story features the return of Lytton, last seen in TV: Resurrection of the Daleks, and features the return of the Cyber-Controller, last seen in TV: The Tomb of the Cybermen. It introduces the Cryons, the native race of Telos, whose world was occupied by the Cybermen. It was the first Doctor Who story to be produced in forty-five-minute episodes.
Attack of the Cybermen was singled out for criticism for Season 22 for being overly-violent. The scenes of Cybermen killing people with their bare hands were the central issue. This is the reason it was given an 'M' rating in Australia, a rating that has only been given to 3 other Doctor Who stories: The Ambassadors of Death, the television movie and The Waters of Mars.
While trying to fix the TARDIS's chameleon circuit, the Sixth Doctor returns to Foreman's Yard on Totter's Lane in 1985, where he meets his old enemies the Cybermen. They have come from the future to change history by sending Halley's Comet crashing into Earth. Lytton, last seen working for the Daleks, is involved in the Cybermen's plot. Is Lytton working for the Cybermen, himself or someone else?
Part one Edit
Two workmen are inspecting a London sewer. They find a new brick wall where none should be. One of them wanders off and vanishes, while his colleague is attacked by an unseen assailant.
The Sixth Doctor is performing repairs to The TARDIS' chameleon circuit, something he has meant to do for years, but Peri is worried that he is over-exerting himself following his regeneration. She suggests he get some rest. He responds that she could also use some relaxation and steers the TARDIS towards Earth. Something begins to draw them off course.
Back in London, the stranded mercenary Lytton now leads a small gang of criminals. They are planning their next job, a diamond heist. One man, Russell, is sent to procure explosives, but instead phones someone to tell them what Lytton is planning.
The TARDIS is undamaged and now following Halley's Comet towards Earth in 1985. The Doctor decides to investigate what affected their flight, despite Peri's misgivings about the comet's reputation as a signal of impending doom. Lytton's gang enters the sewers via a prepared entrance concealed beneath a garage, planning to blow their way into the diamond vault from below. Before he joins them, Lytton adjusts a piece of advanced technology while his two police allies patrol the street.
The TARDIS lands in the scrapyard at 76 Totter's Lane, having tracked a distress signal nearby. Its new chameleon circuit alters the appearance to an ornate piece of furniture inconsistent with a junkyard. As the Doctor and Peri search for the signal's source, they are silently stalked by the policemen.
In the sewers, Russell hears someone following the four thieves. Lytton orders Payne to remain behind to "deal" with whoever is following them while he, Russell and Griffiths proceed into the dark tunnels. Payne is attacked and killed by the shadowy assailant. When he realises the distress signal is relayed via multiple points in the city, the Doctor decides someone must be observing the transmitter to determine when help arrives. The TARDIS, now a pipe organ, materialises at the garage. The Doctor and Peri find the sewer entrance and the armed policemen, whom they overcome before venturing into the sewers. In the dark, they soon find Payne's body.When Lytton's gang reach the newly built wall, Griffiths begins to knock down some of the old brickwork to reach the vault. When the black figure appears in the tunnel, Russell flees while Griffiths shoots at it. Lytton forces Griffiths not to panic as the new wall slides back to reveal Cybermen in a hidden command centre. Lytton surrenders. He explains his extra-terrestrial nature to the Cyber-Leader and offers to serve the Cyber race. The leader states the Cyber-Controller on Telos will determine their fate.
On Telos, a group of partially cyber-converted prisoners toil in a quarry under Cyberman guards. Three of the prisoners attempt an escape. Only two make it out alive. The men, Bates and Stratton, need a third to operate the ship they plan to leave Telos in. Despite this setback, they continue with their plan and head for the Cyber-control building. They accost a Cyber-scout on the way and decapitate him, planning to hollow out his head for a disguise.
Russell finds the Doctor and Peri. He reveals he is an undercover police officer. The Doctor disarms him and learns he was investigating Lytton, who appeared suddenly a year earlier and committed several daring crimes with great skill to build his transmitter. They return to the TARDIS, disabling the black Cyber-scout with a sonic lance on the way. The Cybermen are already at the TARDIS. They kill Russell and the leader orders the death of Peri.
Part two Edit
The Doctor agrees to co-operate with the Cybermen if Peri is spared on the word of the leader and Cyber-Controller, whom the Doctor believed dead. He sets the TARDIS coordinates for Telos and is placed in another room with Peri, Griffiths and Lytton. Lytton explains that the Cybermen have captured a timeship that landed on Telos and have great plans for that ship and the TARDIS as well. The Doctor asks how Lytton knows so much about Telos and the Cybermen's plans, but he does not answer. The Doctor explains to Peri and Griffiths that the Cybermen came to Telos and annihilated the native Cryons to use their refrigerated cities to store cyber troops after the destruction of Mondas, partially at the Doctor's hand, in 1986.
The Doctor sabotages the TARDIS, which lands in the catacombs, rather than Cyber-control. It assumes the shape of a tomb. The Cybermen are attacked by a rogue Cyberman, one of many driven insane by faulty tombs. The distraction allows Peri, Lytton and Griffiths to escape. Peri is rescued by Cryon freedom fighters, more of whom find Lytton and Griffiths, explaining that they answered Lytton's distress call and he manipulated the Cybermen into bringing him to Telos. The Cryons have hired him to help them stop the Cybermen from destroying Telos when they have revived all their troops and left. Lytton's mission is to steal the time vessel to prevent the Controller's plan from succeeding. He in turn needs Griffiths to keep him alive long enough to make it to the ship, paying him with a fortune in diamonds, which are very common on Telos.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is confined in a cold storage room, where he meets a Cryon prisoner, Flast. Flast says a few Cryons survived the Cybermen purges. They are fighting a guerilla war, sabotaging the tombs to delay the revivals. She outlines the Cybermen's plan to prevent Mondas' destruction by travelling back in the time vessel and diverting Halley's comet into Earth before Mondas has absorbed too much energy.
Lytton and Griffiths track down the two escaped prisoners outside the city and convince the groups to ally themselves with each other to capture the time vessel, which needs at least three crewmen to operate. Lytton explains that the ship is their only hope and that it will arrive soon. They head into a hidden tunnel, which leads to Cyber-control. As they approach the landing pad, Lytton is captured by a Cyberman patrol while the others continue without him.
The Doctor is outraged at the Cybermen's plan. Saving Mondas would contravene the laws of time. He is surprised the Time Lords are not doing something to stop it. He realises it must have been his own people who sent the TARDIS off course and manipulated him into place to be their agent yet again. Flast shows the Doctor what is in the storeroom - boxes of vastial, a common Telosian mineral, highly volatile above freezing. The Doctor uses a small amount to escape the room and kill the guard, leaving his sonic lance with Flast. She cannot leave the room without being boiled alive by the above-zero temperatures in the corridor, but volunteers to use the lance to detonate the vastial and destroy cyber-control.
Lytton is tortured by the Cyber-controller for information before being forced to undergo cyber-conversion. The Doctor and Peri make their way separately to the TARDIS where, to lure the Cyberman guards out, the Doctor activates a distress beacon on the body of a dead Cyberman. Despite being forced into the corridor and perishing, Flast hides the sonic lance in a box of vastial, where it slowly warms up. When the time vessel lands at the platform, the would-be hijackers, Bates, Stratton and Griffiths, try to board it, but are mercilessly cut down by the Cybermen inside. As the guards leave the TARDIS, the Cryons destroy them at the cost of their leader's life.
The new Cryon leader, Rost, urges the Doctor to leave before Flast's explosion is triggered. The Doctor prepares to go, but Peri urges him to go back and rescue Lytton who, for once, was helping the right side. The TARDIS materialises in the conversion centre (taking the form of a police box), but it is too late to save Lytton, who begs the Doctor to kill him. The Cyber-Controller arrives to stop the Doctor, who surreptitiously puts a scalpel in Lytton's hand. Lytton waits until the Controller is next to him and stabs him in the arm, which is the distraction the Doctor needs. He takes the Controller's weapon and kills both of the Cyberman guards and the Controller himself, but not before Lytton is killed. The TARDIS leaves moments before Cyber-control explodes, leaving the Doctor to reflect on his misjudgment of Lytton.
- The Doctor - Colin Baker
- Peri - Nicola Bryant
- Lytton - Maurice Colbourne
- Griffiths - Brian Glover
- Russell - Terry Molloy
- Payne - James Beckett
- Cyber Leader - David Banks
- Cyber-Controller - Michael Kilgarriff
- Flast - Faith Brown
- Varne - Sarah Greene
- Bates - Michael Attwell
- Stratton - Jonathan David
- Cyber-Lieutenant - Brian Orrell
- Cyberman - John Ainley
- Bill - Stephen Churchett
- David - Stephen Wale
- Rost - Sarah Berger
- Threst - Esther Freud
- Assistant Floor Manager - Pennie Bloomfield
- Costumes - Anushia Nieradzik
- Designer - Marjorie Pratt
- Film Cameraman - Godfrey Johnson
- Film Editor - M A C Adams
- Incidental Music - Malcolm Clarke
- Make-Up - Linda McInnes
- Producer - John Nathan-Turner
- Production Assistant - Llinos Wyn Jones
- Production Associate - June Collins, Sue Anstruther
- Script Editor - Eric Saward
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Henry Barber
- Studio Sound - Andy Stacey
- Theme Arrangement - Peter Howell
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Chris Lawson
- This is Peri's first visit to London.
- The TARDIS lands at 76 Totter's Lane, which was where the First Doctor had his TARDIS during the events of the very first episode, An Unearthly Child.
- Lytton says that he comes from a satellite of Vita 15 (Riften 5) in the star system 690.
- Peri mentions the Doctor referring to her as Tegan, Zoe, Susan, Jamie and the Terrible Zodin.
- The Cyber-Controller has met the Doctor before.
- The Doctor and Peri view Halley's Comet from the TARDIS.
- The Cybermen speak of preventing Mondas' destruction.
- The Cybermen have tombs on Telos.
- The Doctor mentions Jaconda.
- The Doctor almost fixes the TARDIS Chameleon circuit. It becomes a dresser, iron gates and an organ.
- When the Doctor and Peri observe Halley's Comet, the background music is Malcolm Clarke's music for the 1982 BBC documentary, "The Comet is Coming".
- When the TARDIS lands in the junkyard, the music playing is a distorted version of the theme music to Steptoe and Son, a BBC sitcom about a couple of rag-and-bone men. The original music was written by Ron Grainer, who also wrote the Doctor Who theme.
- The Doctor plays the opening of J. S. Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" on the TARDIS/organ. A variation on this piece was used in the film "Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.".
Story notes Edit
- There is much contention over who exactly wrote Attack of the Cybermen - it was written under the pseudonym Paula Moore.
- Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis can/could also be credited as the inventors of the Cybermen.
- Attack of the Cybermen was first broadcast in two weekly parts; beginning with this serial and continuing for the remainder of Season 22, episodes were forty-five minutes in length (as opposed to previous episodes which were twenty-five minutes long) for syndication. In some markets, this serial is re-edited into four twenty-five-minute segments. The cliffhangers to Episodes 1 and 3 are the emergence of the Cybermen from sewer control and Flast's revelation that the Cybermen intend to prevent Mondas' destruction, respectively.
- Atypically for the title sequence used from Seasons 18 through 23, the story title is rendered in all capital letters.
- This story had the working title The Cold War.
- This is Terry Molloy's only on screen appearance in Doctor Who playing a character other than Davros.
- Part One - 8.9 million viewers
- Part Two - 7.2 million viewers
- This story replaced one called "The Opera of Doom," featuring Jago and Litefoot, Padmasambhava, Omega, the Master, the Rills and the Cybermen. (This was a rumour deliberately started by fans and printed as fact in the news magazine DWB.)
Filming locations Edit
- Glenthorne Road (UCI House), Hammersmith, London
- Davis Road, London, W3
- Birkbeck Road, Acton
- Becklow Road, London, W12
- Gerrards Cross Sand and Gravel Quarry, Gerrards Cross
- BBC Television Centre (TC6), Shepherd's Bush, London
Production errors Edit
- The scorch mark on the TARDIS wall, caused by Russell firing one of the Cybermen's weapons, is present several scenes before the actual event.
- When Flast is being dragged out of the refrigerated chamber, a couple of the floor crew can be seen kneeling behind some boxes on the right-hand of the screen.
- Near the end of episode 1, a Cyberman gets shot. When he falls, the back of the actor's head is clearly visible.
- This story revisits 76 Totter's Lane, the setting of TV: An Unearthly Child.
- The Cybermen are trying to prevent the upcoming destruction of Mondas in December 1986, which was depicted in TV: The Tenth Planet.
- Dialogue seems to indicate these Cybermen are from a period after TV: The Tomb of the Cybermen, in which Telos was introduced.
- TV: The Invasion likewise featured Cybermen in the London sewers.
- Lytton last appeared in TV: Resurrection of the Daleks.
- The Cybermen have a spaceship on the dark side of the Moon. They had a base there during the events of TV: The Invasion.
- Shortly afterwards, the Doctor and Peri would return to the London sewers as the Doctor detected a Time Wake in the Time Vortex, which linked London in January 1986 to London in 1720. (PROSE: Time Wake)
- Peri claims that this is her first visit to London. However, she previously visited to the city in the company of the Fifth Doctor and Erimem in both 1597 and 1483. (AUDIO: The Kingmaker)
- The Doctor and Peri would later encounter time travelling Cybermen from the distant future in Fell's Point, Baltimore, Maryland, USA in September 1984. (AUDIO: The Reaping)
DVD, Video and CD Releases Edit
VHS RELEASE Edit
- Attack of the Cybermen was released in a tin boxed set with The Tenth Planet in 2000 on VHS.
- Editing for the VHS and DVD releases was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
DVD release EditAttack Of The Cybermen was released on DVD in the UK in March 2009.
Bonus Features Edit
- The Cold War - The making of Attack of the Cybermen.
- The Cyber Story -A brief history of the Cybermen in the classic series.
- Human Cyborg
- The Cyber-generations - A gallery of Cybermen throughout the series.
- Coming Soon - Image of the Fendahl.
- Easter egg - On the second page of the Special Features menu, move down to "The Cyber Generations" then hit left. The Doctor Who logo will appear on the screen, and clicking on this will take you into "The Cybernetic Autonomous Dalek", a short extra piece with Professor Kevin Warwick.
- Attack of the Cybermen at the BBC's official site
- Attack of the Cybermen at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of Attack of the Cybermen at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Attack of the Cybermen at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Attack of the Cybermen at The Locations Guide