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Published on July 31st, 2010 | by Craig Murray

Attack of the Cybermen

As the tale concludes, Flast resolves to condemn the Cybermen to their fate on accepting her own, while at Cyber Control, we witness one of the most graphic scenes in the programme’s long and illustrious history. As Lytton defies the Cyber Controller, his hands are grasped by two Cybermen, who crush them till they bleed as he collapses to the floor; unjustified – possibly; unnecessary – probably. Following closely behind, we see Flast captured by the Cybermen who proceed in throwing her into the warm corridors where her blood boils – but not before placing the Doctors Sonic lance into a box of Vastial, which will slowly lead to the detonation of the planet.

As it slowly warms, the Doctor –  now reunited with Peri and her Cryon captors – head for the TARDIS. Following a deadly exchange with the Cybermen, Peri convinces the Doctor to save Lytton and the pair set off for Cyber Control – but they are too late. A final violent exchange sees a partially converted Lytton attacking the Controller, who is gunned down by our gun wielding Timelord. As Lytton lies dead, the Vastial ignites, destroying Cyber Control – “I don’t think I’ve ever misjudged anybody quite as badly as I did Lytton” laments the Doctor.

What works:

Some great dialogue:

“I suddenly feel conspicuous”  remarks the Doctor, “I’m not surprised in that coat” retorts Peri.

“….. I am known as the Doctor. I’m also a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous.” – Nice plug!

Terrific locations, great sets and wonderful direction – atmospheric from start to finish.

What doesn’t:

Strewn with violence, this was a major departure from the shows history and something that happily ended with the Sixth Doctor’s tenure.

Cryons taking on the Cybermen – full stop!

The Doctor’s aggressive use of weaponry – never before, never again.

A Cyber Controller with a weight problem – it sticks out like a Dalek with a bulging bottom – as if that would ever happen!

Doctor Who - Attack of the CybermenOverall

Utterly reliant on fantastic direction and historical references to cover up for numerous plot deficiencies. A completely transparent attempt to win back the Die Hard fans after a shocking end to season 21, with a host of nostalgia and a body count John McClane would be proud of– but I loved it!

Overall Story Information:

Story Title: Attack of the Cybermen
Production Code: ?
Writer: Paula Moore (Eric Saward)
Director: Matthew Robinson
Script Editor: Eric Saward
Length: 2 episodes (44 minutes)

Colin Baker –  The Doctor
Nicola Bryant – Peri Brown

Ordering this story:

Attack of the Cybermen was released on DVD in 2009 – you can currently purchase from Amazon for just £5.93!


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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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