a real world point of view
|The Tenth Planet|
|Novelised as:||Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet|
|Main enemy:||The Cybermen (Mondasians)|
|Main setting:||The Snowcap, Antarctica, 1986|
|Writer:||Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis|
|Number of episodes:||4|
|Premiere broadcast:||8 October - 29 October 1966|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Smugglers||The Power of the Daleks|
- You may be looking for the titular planet.
The Tenth Planet was the second story of Season 4 of Doctor Who. It introduced both the Cybermen and the concept of regeneration. It was the final regular appearance of William Hartnell as the First Doctor and the first (uncredited) appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor.
Many years ago, Earth's twin planet, Mondas, drifted away to the edge of space. Its inhabitants grew weak, so their scientists created spare parts for their bodies. Limbs and organs were slowly replaced by metal and plastic. Emotions were removed. The Cybermen were born.
The Doctor's TARDIS lands at the Snowcap space tracking station in Antarctica in December 1986. A routine space mission starts going wrong. When the base personnel's suspicions are roused, the Doctor informs them that the space capsule is being affected by the gravitational pull of another planet - a tenth planet in the solar system.
The loss of a routine space mission and the appearance of that planet in the sky herald the arrival of the Cybermen, who are intent on the destruction of the Earth and the conversion of all humans into Cybermen. Ben and Polly fight to save the world, but it is a battle that may be the Doctor's very last...
The TARDIS lands at the South Pole, where the 'Snowcap' space tracking station is monitoring the launch of the manned Zeus IV atmospheric testing probe into orbit. The Doctor, Ben and Polly are apprehended just as the Zeus IV space capsule is drawn off-course by an unknown force that drains the energy of the ship and the two pilots, Schultz and Williams.
Observing the crisis, the Doctor announces that he believes he knows the cause of the problems. However, General Cutler, the commanding officer of Snowcap, refuses to take the Doctor seriously. It soon becomes clear though, that the force affecting Zeus IV seems to be a new planet which bears an uncanny resemblance to Earth.
The Doctor’s prediction that they will soon receive visitors from the new world comes true when a spacecraft lands outside Snowcap. A detachment of soldiers sent from the base to investigate the TARDIS are attacked and ruthlessly killed by a group of tall, robot-like creatures with blank, emotionless faces.
While everyone is distracted by their efforts to land Zeus IV safely, the alien invaders easily take over the base and render General Cutler unconscious. The base personnel and Polly plead with the creatures to allow them to save the lives of the Zeus IV crew, but the aliens proclaim that the lives of the humans are irrelevant to them. They reveal that they are known as Cybermen and were once like human beings, but gradually replaced their bodies with mechanical parts and eliminated the 'weakness' of emotion from their brains.
The Cybermen allow the Snowcap personnel to contact Zeus IV, but it is too late to save them. The ship is dragged further away from Earth by the new planet and explodes.
The Cybermen reveal that the new world is their home planet Mondas. It is absorbing energy from Earth and will soon destroy it. They propose to take humans back to Mondas and turn them into Cybermen.
Ben, who has been imprisoned in the base’s cinema projection room after attempting to kill a Cyberman, rigs up the projector to blind his Cyberman guard. He steals the Cyberman’s weapon and kills him. Ben sneaks back into the tracking room and hands the cyber-gun to the revived Cutler, who kills the remaining two Cybermen. Cutler contacts Secretary General Wigner at Space Command HQ in Geneva and is informed that his son, Lieutenant Terry Cutler, has been sent on a mission to rescue the doomed Zeus IV.
As Cutler makes plans to secure Snowcap from further Cyberman invasions, the radar technician announces that a fleet of Cyberman spacecraft have been detected. They are approaching Earth!
Apparently suffering from exhaustion, the Doctor collapses and is taken to the crew quarters to rest.
Cutler decides it is time to take the fight to the Cybermen. He contacts Geneva for permission to launch the powerful Z-bomb to destroy Mondas. Secretary Wigner at Geneva refuses permission, but Cutler decides to proceed anyway. Ben and Polly argue against using the bomb. Ben says the Doctor believed that Mondas will destroy itself anyway when it absorbs too much energy. The chief scientist at Snowcap, Doctor Barclay, is also concerned. He says the radiation caused by the exploding planet would cause great loss of life on Earth. Unswayed by the arguments and annoyed by the interruptions, Cutler orders Ben imprisoned with the Doctor.
Polly persuades Dr. Barclay to help them stop the bomb being launched. Barclay tells Ben how to sabotage the rocket to prevent it from reaching Mondas, but Cutler notices Barclay's absence. He goes to investigate, catches Ben while he is sabotaging the rocket and knocks him unconscious.
A second Cyberman ship lands near Snowcap, but Cutler is prepared this time. The attacking Cybermen are repelled by the General's men using captured cyberweapons.
Meanwhile, the countdown to the launch of the Z-bomb has started. Ben regains consciousness but is disorientated and cannot remember if he sabotaged the rocket before being discovered by Cutler. The countdown approaches zero.
Episode 4As the countdown to launch the Z-bomb reaches zero, the engines fail on the launch pad. Cutler is enraged. He threatens to kill Ben, Barclay and the Doctor, who has regained consciousness and returned to the tracking room. Driven mad with grief by the apparent death of his son in the Zeus V rescue capsule, Cutler is oblivious to the warnings that another force of Cybermen are attacking the base. As he is about to carry out his threat and kill the Doctor, Cutler is killed by the invading Cybermen. They take the Doctor prisoner. Earth's proximity to Mondas causes the twin planet's energy to drain and Mondas begins to break apart. The Cybermen all collapse, their energy source destroyed. Ben rescues Polly and the Doctor. The weary Doctor returns to the TARDIS and collapses to the floor. Ben and Polly watch as the Doctor's features begin to blur and transform into a younger man...
- The Doctor - William Hartnell
- The Doctor - Patrick Troughton (uncredited; at the end of Episode 4 only)
- Polly - Anneke Wills
- Ben Jackson - Michael Craze
- General Cutler - Robert Beatty
- Dyson - Dudley Jones
- Barclay - David Dodimead
- Schultz - Alan White
- Williams - Earl Cameron
- Tito - Shane Shelton
- American Sergeant - John Brandon
- Wigner - Steve Plytas
- Radar Technician - Christopher Matthews
- Krail & Jarl - Reg Whitehead
- Talon & Krang - Harry Brooks
- Shav & Gern - Gregg Palmer
- Geneva Technician - Ellen Cullen
- TV Announcer - Glenn Beck
- Cyberman Voices - Roy Skelton, Peter Hawkins
- R/T Technician - Christopher Dunham
- Terry Cutler - Callen Angelo
- Assistant Floor Manager - Jenny McArthur
- Costumes - Sandra Reid
- Designer - Peter Kindred
- Make-Up - Gillian James
- Producer - Innes Lloyd
- Production Assistant - Edwina Verner
- Script Editor - Gerry Davis
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Howard King
- Studio Sound - Adrian Bishop-Laggett
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Space fatigue is hypothesised as the cause of the Zeus IV pilots' tiredness, influenced by Mondas' gravity.
Foods and beverages
- Polly makes several cups of coffee.
- Snowcap is a base of the Internation Space Command in Antarctica.
- International Space Command is based in Geneva.
- Polly amazes about the stock of clothes in the TARDIS' wardrobe and she ironically wonders if the Doctor went shopping in Carnaby Street.
- The observatories of Jodrell Bank and Mount Palomar are said to confirm the appearance of Mondas in the sky.
- Terry Cutler leaves Earth from the Woomera cosmodrome.
- Ben calls Polly "Nanook of the North" because of her fur coat.
- International Television News is the television channel which announces the appearance of Mondas.
- Space flights are governed by a multinational body known as International Space Command.
- Tito sings an excerpt of the song La donna è mobile from the Italian opera Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi.
- When the Doctor announces a visitor, Ben jokes about being visited by Father Christmas.
- Mondas is Earth's twin planet.
- An Earth expedition has just returned from the Moon.
- The Doctor appears to know of Mondas, and predicts that its inhabitants will be coming to Earth.
- Nuclear Z-Bombs, able to destroy a planet or turn it into a star, can be launched via a Demeter rocket.
- According to Ben, locks are different than the 1966 ones, so he cannot force them.
- This is the first time the regeneration process is seen, from William Hartnell's Doctor into Patrick Troughton's Doctor. The process is not given a name until 1974 in Planet of the Spiders.
- Episode 4 is missing from the BBC archives. Only short clips of footage exist, among which are the regeneration sequence itself; the sequence exists thanks to it having been included in an early 1970s edition of Blue Peter that discussed the transition to the new Doctor. The regeneration is one of several sequences from lost episodes (Katarina's death in TV: The Daleks' Master Plan being another) that were inadvertently preserved through their use on Blue Peter episodes that were not wiped.
- William Hartnell left Doctor Who due to bad health, but upon leaving had said, "If there is one man in England who can replace me as the Doctor, it's Patrick Troughton!" Troughton took over the role of the Doctor when Hartnell regenerated into Troughton. Hartnell returned in The Three Doctors in 1972 to celebrate the show's tenth anniversary. He died three years later.
- The Doctor does not appear in Episode 3, as William Hartnell was unwell during the week when it was recorded.
- Special "computer tape"-style opening and closing title graphics were created for this story by graphic designer Bernard Lodge.
- This is the only story to give Cybermen characters individual names (Krang, Jarl, etc). After this, Cybermen were only ever named by rank (Cyberleader, Cybercontroller, etc). This might reflect the Mondans' further descent into cyber-conversion and removal of emotion by phasing out individuality.
- At the time of the serial's original broadcast, as well as the timeframe of the serial (1986), Pluto was still considered a planet and therefore the story title and dialogue referring to Mondas as the solar system's tenth planet was correct. In 2006, Pluto lost its planetary status, which would make Mondas officially the ninth planet, not the tenth. Note: By the newly-adopted criteria which excludes Pluto, Mondas would technically not be considered a planet either. Also, the later serial TV: The Sun Makers, set in the far future, describes Pluto as a planet and also identifies another tenth planet named Cassius, suggesting that in the Whoniverse another realignment of the solar system's makeup occurs in the future.
- Some fans don't fully accept the fact that the Doctor died of old age. They speculate that Mondas plundered not only Earth's energy but the Doctor's as well, shrinking his lifespan. Growing weaker with each passing moment, the Doctor eventually met his demise. The story itself does not specify the exact cause of "death".
- Episode 1 - 5.5 million viewers
- Episode 2 - 6.4 million viewers
- Episode 3 - 7.6 million viewers
- Episode 4 - 7.5 million viewers
- An attempt was once made to colourise parts of this story. (This was an April Fools' joke in Doctor Who Magazine.)
- A test regeneration was filmed during production of TV: The Smugglers. (This too was an April Fools' joke in Doctor Who Magazine.)
- The master copy of Episode 4 was lost in 1973 after being lent to the BBC's children's magazine programme Blue Peter for a feature they were compiling about the series. (It is unknown how this episode came to be lost; the episode that was lost after being lent out to Blue Peter was The Traitors, the fourth episode of The Daleks' Master Plan.)
- The writing credit for Episode 1 has Kit Pedler as "Kitt Pedler" and title music is credited to "ByRon Grainer" (and due to all letters beig capitalized it appears to be "Byron Grainer", as in the first name "Byron"), when it should read, "By Ron Grainer"; for Episode 3, Gerry Davis becomes "Gerry Davies".
- In BBC Video's reconstruction of Episode 4, William Hartnell is credited as "Doctor Who" instead of the usual "Dr. Who".
- Sometimes the Cybermen start to talk before their mouths open.
- In Episode 1, when one of the Cybermen is shot, his "ears" flap about.
- The script requires the Cybermen to pass for human in their parkas, an effect ruined by the lamps on their heads.
- The Cyberman helmets were held together with Sellotape, which can clearly be seen in this episode.
- When the Cybermen are ambushed outside, one of them has part of his headpiece (one of the "jug handles") come loose.
- The dialogue between Cutler and the technician at the beginning of Episode 3 is slightly different from that which closed Episode 2.
- In episode 4, Michael Craze commits a Spoonerism, accidentally saying "Plonet Mandos" instead of "Planet Mondas."
- In Episode 2, while Krail is proposing his plan to take the humans to Mondas (and after the Doctor has shouted his objections), his head-mounted lamp / "third eye" starts reflecting studio lights.
- At the beginning of episode 2, when a re-shot of the final scenes of episode 1 are taken, when the Cyberman's head is in focus, the camera goes outside the backdrop and into the studio (looking to the left, you can see the sky end.)
- In episode 4, when the Doctor has just awoken, he says "What did you say, Michael?" to Ben (Ben's real name is Michael Craze). The Doctor clearly says, "My boy", as he often does to his male companions.
- Occasionally, the Cybermen's mouths do not look like they open at all when talking.
- Mondas' origins prior are explored in AUDIO: Spare Parts.
- The Cybermen would later attempt to gain access to time travel, hoping to destroy Earth in 1985, and thus preventing the destruction of Mondas. However, their efforts were thwarted by the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown. (TV: Attack of the Cybermen)
- The Cybermen had seemingly been monitoring transmissions from Earth in preparation for their planet's approach, as the Mondasian Cybermen native to 1984 were familiar with the Anno Domini Gregorian calendar when a reference was made to that year by a Cyber-Leader from the future. (AUDIO: The Reaping)
- Ben and Polly take some time to adjust to the Doctor's new appearance, as does the Doctor. (TV: The Power of the Daleks)
- The Doctor would later return to Antarctica in the 1970s during his fourth incarnation (TV: The Seeds of Doom) and, during his seventh incarnation, in 2006 (PROSE: Iceberg), 2012 (AUDIO: Frozen Time) and 2045 (AUDIO: The Word Lord).
- Twenty years after they helped the Doctor prevent the return of Mondas in their personal timelines, Ben and Polly - who had gone their separate ways in life following their return to Earth on 20 July 1966 - reunited on 31 December 1986, which was by then their present. Ben believed that numerous governments may have covered up the return of Mondas and the Cyberman invasion of the Snowcap. Even after twenty years, Ben still had nightmares about the Cyberman in the projector room. (PROSE: Mondas Passing)
- In the aftermath of the attempted Cyberman invasion, Professor Allison Williams led the scientific team which examined their ship. (PROSE: The Power of the Daleks)
- Unbeknownst to the Doctor, his regeneration into his second incarnation was witnessed by his deceased companion Oliver Harper, who was killed by the Vardans on Grace Alone but remained as a ghost in the TARDIS. (AUDIO: The First Wave)
- Despite the televised announcement about the coming of the planet Mondas and the "massive landings" of the Cybermen all over the world, people of Earth remain unaware about extraterrestrial intelligent life until 2006. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
- Earth will be again threatened by the approaching of a whole planet in 2010, in that case Gallifrey. (TV: The End of Time)
- The Ninth Doctor will see the head of a Mondasian Cybermen in a museum in Utah in 2012.(TV: Dalek)
Home video and audio releases
- This was released on VHS video, with a reconstruction of the missing Episode 4.
- Editing and reconstruction for release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- The soundtrack to this story, with linking narration by Anneke Wills, was first released on 1 November 2004, as part of a metal box set titled Doctor Who: Cybermen. It was re-released as a single CD on 9 January 2006, and again as part of the box set Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes - Collection Three on 4 August 2011.
- A DVD has been announced and will be released in autumn 2013. The fourth episode will be animated. 
- The Tenth Planet at the BBC's official site
- The Tenth Planet at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Tenth Planet at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Tenth Planet at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Tenth Planet transcript