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Published on July 31st, 2010 | by Craig Murray

Attack of the Cybermen

The exploration of the characters darker side, to which we were first exposed as poor Peri was strangled following his regeneration, is an ongoing theme throughout the Sixth Doctor’s tenure, though we see more Jekkyl than Hyde as the season wears on and he settles from his post regenerative stress. This ultimately culminates in the unveiling of the Valeyard during Trial of a Time Lord, who we are told is the Doctors penultimate incarnation. We can assume therefore that the traumas of his current ‘near death’ experience and the effect on his character, have synergies with those he will encounter near the end of his lives.

Despite an apparent head start, the Doctor and his companions are somehow ambushed aboard a conveniently unlocked and heavily disguised TARDIS and forced to set course for Telos. Queue a rather baffling sequence where the Cyber Controller, devoid of any human emotion, sends Peri off to get changed into something more suitable, before their arrival on the frozen planet. I mean, do Cybermen really have favourites? Only I don’t recall them giving Adric a crash helmet before aiming him at the Earth.  What next – Slitheen handing out air fresheners? Weeping angels handing out matchsticks?

Doctor Who - Attack of the Cybermen

Anyway, to the dismay of the Cyberleader, the TARDIS materialises slightly off course within the Tombs. It is here we are presented with our next big question, as a deranged incumbent bursts from his resting place; how have the entombed Cybermen kept pace with the latest Cyber fashions? I’ll leave you to ponder that one…

Back in the underbelly of Telos, the Doctor meets the Flast, a Cryon who finally reveals the Cybermans latest plot – to prevent the destruction of Mondas. They intend to use a stolen time machine to send Halley’s Comet colliding with the Earth, disabling its defenses and leaving it open to attack from Mondas the following year. We also discover that Lytton has been working with the Cryons from the outset and, back on Telos, he and Griffiths unite with partially converted escapees Bates and Stratton to prevent the Cybermen from leaving the planet.

Doctor Who - Attack of the Cybermen


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3 Responses to Attack of the Cybermen

  1. avatar Carn says:

    the violence never bothered me as a kid, still doesn’t. maybe i was used to it having seen films like robocop, terminator, american werewolf in london and alien(s) before i was 10.

  2. avatar Rick714 says:

    The Brits always seemed to get hung up on the rainbow coat and had a lot of trouble seeing past it. Yes, it was a tasteless, awful coat and JNT had the absolute worst taste in costuming. No doubt about it. That being said, Colin’s first full season, #22, was a great season, no more violent than Baker/Hinchcliffe/Holmes years. Great villains like Sil and the Rani, great guest stars and Doctors! After three bland years of Davison with only really 3 high quality adventures in 3 years (Visitation, Earthshock and Caves of Androzani), I and many others welcomed an original, bold take on the Time Lord.

    No, the “Beginning of the end” came with the 18 month hiatus and the return to smaller, lesser seasons. Never really recovered after the hiatus and then the BBC just seemed like they were ready to try anything to destroy the show once and for all. Placing it up against Coronation street and blackmailing JNT to stay and further ruin it.

    I love RTD but you’d think that in a show like Doctor Who, he and so many others would be able to see past the coat.

  3. avatar 23skidoo says:

    All the concerns about the Sixth Doctor’s use of violence have always seemed odd to me, because the Doctor – in the classic series – was always violent to a degree. I just watched the Space Museum in which One tacetly allows the Trogs to massacre a group of aliens. Seven manipulates people to a degree far more disturbing than anything Six did — his calling Ace an “emotional cripple” in Curse of Fenric was far more upsetting than seeing Six attack Peri, in my opinion. And as for weapons, everyone seems to have forgotten Five’s shooting down of a Cybermen with a BFG, and more than a few others have picked up arms from time to time, including Romana who shoots some poor guy dead in The Pirate Planet (and looks guilty for about 5 seconds before shrugging it off). The whole “no guns ever” attitude really didn’t arrive on screen at least till Nine, though to be fair we saw a bit of this during Seven, too.

    The Sixth Doctor’s era had many problems, not all of which were the production team’s fault. And some were (a stinkbomb is a stinkbomb and nothing can really rescue Twin Dilemma). But the “darkness” of the Doctor made this era, taken as the sum of its parts, in many ways ahead of its time.

    The fatal flaw was the continued, misguided notion held by the BBC and the writers back then (and still held to some degree today) that Doctor Who is a “children’s show”. As such when opportunity to present more adult storylines and concepts, the weren’t really able to handle this very well in the writing department, and audiences (many of whom may have also been brainwashed into thinking the show was just for kids) rejected it, and McCoy’s just-as-dark-if-not-more-so era, too. Yet nothing these guys did was anywhere near as bad as what the heroes do in many of the anime programs kids watch, or in shows such as Buffy. I love the new Merlin series to bits, but man that show doesn’t have half the body count, including several episodes in which the title character basically commits murder. Yet no one bats and eye today.

    Back in 1986 the Doctor shoots a Cyberman (which qualifies as a mercy killing per recent episodes), and people were up in arms. One can only imagine the fits people might have thrown had the writers decided to pursue the “companion loves the Doctor” arcs of the recent series!

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