Rise of the Cybermen was the fifth episode of series 2 of Doctor Who.

It was the first part of a two-part story. The story featured the first televised appearance of a parallel Earth that would recur through series 2 and 4, along with said universe's Cybermen. Tardisode 5 served as the episode's prologue, hinting toward the return of the Cybermen, with additional allusions to the presence of a resistance called the Preachers combating the Cyber-threat.

Head writer Russell T Davies decided that it made "little sense", when a cyborg foe would inevitably encounter the Doctor, for the writers to invent an entirely new cyborg race when the Cybermen were already an "established success". Nonetheless, Davies, who was aware of the Cybermen that originated in the Doctor's universe gaining a complicated backstory over prior televised serials, decided against building on said backstory. Instead, he chose to include their creation in a parallel universe. Davies felt that the "original 1960s fears" of organ replacement weren't as relevant for the 21st century. He instead wanted to focus on the fact that the upgrade of a human into a Cyberman granted people immortality through making them "uniform and emotionless". (DWMSE 14)

The story was inspired by Marc Platt's 2002 audio play Spare Parts. Davies decided he wanted the two-parter Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel to be loosely adapted from the Big Finish play, with a similar "feel", just as series 1's Dalek was adapted from Jubilee. Platt was paid a fee for Tom MacRae reusing the basic concepts of Parts and was given a credit for both Rise and Steel. Initial drafts of the parallel Earth story were very close to Mondas' depiction in Spare Parts as a "dying world". (DWMSE 14)

Along with inspiration from Parts, writer Tom MacRae was supplied the television serials The Tenth Planet, The Tomb of the Cybermen, Earthshock, the DWM comic story The Flood and David Banks' Doctor Who: Cybermen. Director Graeme Harper also read Banks' book in preparation for this two-parter, along with the surviving episodes of The Invasion, which Harper's mentor Douglas Camfield directed. (DWMSE 14)

MacRae hoped to reimagine the Cybermen not so much as "mere villains", but as "sad" figures which he thought could be made "terrifying" through the notion of victims being upgraded into Cybermen rather than being killed; as such they were "a cross between vampires and zombies". (DWMSE 14) MacRae also felt that his desire to make the Cybermen more human and distanced from being "straightforward monstrous villains" would have made the species scarier. After being offered the job of "reviving and updating" the Cybermen as the episode's writer, MacRae wanted the Cyberman's backstory to be faithful to the backstory and concept of the original Cybermen from the Doctor's Earth and also that they couldn't be interchangeable with any other mechanical being. (TEDW 1)

It aired during the fortieth anniversary of The Tenth Planet, the story that introduced the original Cybermen. It marked the first time a director involved in the 1963-89 series, Graeme Harper, had directed a revival-era episode. With the exception of other stories directed by Harper, no other director as of 2018 has returned to direct the 2005 version of the show.

Synopsis Edit

Upon landing on an alternate version of the Earth, The Doctor, Rose and Mickey learn that Peter Tyler is apparently alive and well. Lurking in the shadows are creatures made to destroy - one of The Doctor's greatest fears have come true...the Cybermen are reborn.

Plot Edit

In a laboratory, Dr Kendrick examines a humanoid metal form and declares, "It's alive", and his wheelchair-bound boss, John Lumic, expresses his pride in this achievement. However, Dr Kendrick warns him that they must tell the authorities in Geneva about their new development, as this is a new form of life. Lumic orders his new creation to kill the luckless doctor, which it does. Lumic then tell his staff to set sail for Great Britain.

Meanwhile, Rose and the Tenth Doctor are laughing about a prior adventure when the Doctor notices that Mickey is holding a control. The Doctor says he can let go. As Mickey indignantly asks if he was forgotten, the Doctor protests that he was calibrating. Suddenly, there is an explosion and the TARDIS crashes.

The entire console room suffers a blackout and all its mechanisms shut down. Gas masks drop down from the ceiling, triggered by the possibility the artificial atmospheric generators have failed. While the trio recovers from the nasty landing, the Doctor dreads to believe what has happened. The TARDIS has fallen out of the Time Vortex. Worse, he declares the TARDIS is dead. If it has perished, it cannot be fixed, and as the only TARDIS in existence, the TARDIS species is extinct. Rose asks where they've landed, thinking it has to be somewhere. The Doctor tells Rose, "We fell out of the vortex, through the void, into nothingness. We're in some sort of no place. The silent realm. The lost dimension." They've crashed in the Void, beyond the universe from which the TARDIS draws energy. Mickey rushes outside to find they've arrived in what turns out to be London in a parallel universe: almost, but not quite, the same. There are Zeppelins in the sky, the population use advanced EarPods instead of mobile phones, and Rose's father Pete is alive and a very successful businessman, marketing a health drink called Vitex.

The Doctor manages to find a small part of the TARDIS which is still alive and gives 10 years of his life to help his ship regenerate. Since this will take around 24 hours, he reluctantly agrees to let his companions explore the parallel Earth, but he chases after Rose to persuade her not to seek out her 'father'.

Hope is kindled

The Doctor finds the last remnant of the TARDIS.

One of the powerful players on this Earth is John Lumic, owner of Cybus Industries. Lumic is obsessed with the extension of life through cybernetics since he is confined to a wheelchair by a fatal condition. His latest experiment, a human "upgrade", is nearing completion, and Lumic has one of his scientists killed for raising ethical objections. He has his henchmen round up bands of homeless people and take them to the Cybus factory at Battersea Power Station to "upgrade" them. He also later has a meeting with Pete Tyler and the President of Great Britain, the latter of whom refuses to allow Lumic to carry on his experiments. Knowing that the President will be attending Jackie Tyler's birthday that night, Lumic accesses the security arrangements and house plans in Jackie's mind via her EarPods and orders a new batch of upgrades be created.

The Doctor and Rose discuss Mickey, and Rose tells the Doctor that he was raised by his grandmother after being abandoned by his parents until she died a few years earlier after tripping down the stairs. As the two realise that they take Mickey for granted, they witness a crowd pause as the EarPods they wear download information directly into their brains, and this advanced technology piques the Doctor's interest. The EarPods are manufactured by Cybus, who also own Pete's company, Vitex. The Doctor decides to attend Jackie Tyler's birthday celebration since the President and many other high profile guests will be there and he may be able to find out more about the Pods.

Mickey has been left to his own devices, and so seeks out his grandmother, Rita-Anne Smith, and has an emotional reunion with her. He finds that, like Pete, she is still alive, but is puzzled when she calls him "Ricky". He is then suddenly abducted from Rita's doorstep by two people in a blue van, Jake and Mrs Moore, who take him back to their base where they meet Ricky, Mickey's counterpart from this universe.

The three of them are the "resistance", a team who have been investigating Cybus' abductions of homeless people with the help of an inside agent. Their contact has just advised that a group of "upgrades" is leaving the Cybus factory. The resistance head off to tail the Cybus truck, taking Mickey with them.

Rose and pete fancy

Rose and another version of her father.

Disguised as catering staff, the Doctor and Rose infiltrate the party, but before they can find out anything useful Lumic's "upgrades" arrive, and the Doctor recognises them as "Cybermen". They smash their way into the house and kill the President before rounding up the rest of the guests to be upgraded into Cybermen themselves while killing those who resist.

Rose, the Doctor and Pete manage to get outside, where they meet up with Mickey and the others, but Ricky and Jake's guns are useless against the Cybermen, who surround them. The Doctor tries to surrender, claiming he volunteers for the upgrade, but the Cybermen refuse; as "rogue elements", they are to "perish under maximum deletion."

Cast Edit

Uncredited cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor explains that the destruction of the Time Lords made it near-impossible to cross between universes now.

Individuals Edit

Technology Edit

  • Jackie's EarPods can pick up signals from Venezuela.
  • Mrs Moore suggests that Cybus Industries could have perfected human cloning.
  • Cynaps is part of the conversion process.
  • The Daily Download is a news service.

Foods and beverages Edit

Pete's world Edit

Story notes Edit

  • Early reports erroneously gave the title of this story as Rise of the Cyberman.
  • When Rose's phone picks up the Cybus network and connects, a video plays during which a man can be heard saying, "And it's good news for Great Britain as John Lumic returns to the country of his birth. Mr Lumic, the inventor of high contact metal, has denied reports of ill health."
  • This is the first episode of the 2005 version of Doctor Who to be directed by Graeme Harper, the only director of the 1963 version of the show to direct for the revival.
  • This is the first episode in which the Doctor breaks tradition of wearing white plimsolls with his brown suit, red plimsolls with his blue suit and black plimsolls with his black suit by wearing black ones with his brown suit. This occurs again later in The Impossible Planet, Love & Monsters and Fear Her in which he wears the same combination as in this episode.
  • According to Russell T Davies, the fact that Jackie has her 40th birthday in this episode was a deliberate, if obscure, reference to the fact that Rise of the Cybermen occurred in the 40th anniversary year of The Tenth Planet. (DOC: Doctor Who at the BBC: The Tenth Doctor)
  • This is the first TV story to not feature any extraterrestrial elements other than the Doctor and the TARDIS since Black Orchid.
  • On a somewhat trivial note, this story reintroduces the Cybermen's iconic teardrop motif after a 31-year absence. This aspect of their design had last appeared in 1975's TV: Revenge of the Cybermen, having been present on their faces since 1968's TV: The Wheel in Space; all Cyberman appearances from 1982's TV: Earthshock to 1988's TV: Silver Nemesis featured the Cybermen sporting their original circular eye-holes. The teardrop motif would reappear in all future Cyberman designs as of Series 8.

Ratings Edit

  • 9.22 million (BARB official; UK final)[2]

Myths Edit

  • According to The Sun, Lloyd Pack broke his leg just days before filming began on the episode, requiring the scripts being rewritten to place his character, John Lumic, in a wheelchair. Writer Tom MacRae told Doctor Who Magazine in issue #369 that no rewrites were necessary: the script had always had Lumic in a wheelchair.

Filming locations Edit

  • The scene where Mickey, the Doctor and Rose all split up away from each other in the alternate universe was filmed outside the recently built Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport.

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Mickey meets his Gran, the boom mike operator is reflected in her dark glasses.
  • As Peter opens his car door, the glare of a film light can be seen on it.
  • As Pete's car pulls up at his house, it can clearly be seen that the two registration plates on the back and front of the car are completely different.
  • During the scene in which Mickey, the Doctor, and Rose split, there is a drastic change in lighting and colour palette without narrative explanation.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit


Series 2 Volume 3 DVD Cover

DVD releases Edit

Blu-Ray releases Edit

  • This story was released in the Series 2 Blu-Ray set in November 2013 along with the rest of the series. Despite not being filmed in HD, the Blu-Ray features an upscaled picture and fewer compression artefacts.
  • This release was initially bundled with the first seven series of the revived Doctor Who.

Digital releases Edit

  • This story is available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased on iTunes.
  • It was also released in the Monsters: Cybermen bundle on iTunes, alongside The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel.

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit