The Tomb of the Cybermen

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037 – The Tomb of the Cybermen
Doctor Who serial
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Kit Pedler
Gerry Davis
Director Morris Barry
Script editor Victor Pemberton
Producer Peter Bryant
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Stock music
Production code MM
Series Season 5
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 2 September 1967
Date ended 23 September 1967
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Evil of the Daleks The Abominable Snowmen

The Tomb of the Cybermen is the first serial of fifth season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and is the earliest serial starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor known to exist in its entirety. It was the only serial of the fifth season known to survive for many years, from its recovery in 1991 until the missing episodes of The Enemy of the World were found in 2013. It originally aired in four weekly parts from 2 September to 23 September 1967. It stars Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling as companions Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield and features recurring villains the Cybermen, as well as the introduction of the Cyber Controller and the Cybermats.

Plot[edit]

On the planet Telos, an archeological expedition uncovers a hidden entrance in a mountain. The TARDIS lands nearby, and the expedition is joined by the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria. Parry, the expedition's leader, explains that they are here to find the remains of the Cybermen, who apparently died out five centuries before. The expedition is funded by Kaftan, who is accompanied by her giant manservant Toberman and her colleague Klieg. One of the men is electrocuted opening the doors, but the party manages to enter the chamber. They find a control panel and a large, sealed hatch. Parry and Klieg try to open it as Toberman slips out.

The remaining members of the expedition begin to explore. Victoria and Kaftan come across a chamber with a sarcophagus-like wall inset facing a projection device that was apparently used to revitalise the Cybermen. She curiously climbs inside, and Kaftan secretly seals her in the sarcophagus and tries to activate the projector pointing at the sarcophagus but the Doctor frees her, suspecting Kaftan's to blame. Meanwhile, Haydon and Jamie have been experimenting with a control panel in another room; a Cyberman slides into view and a gun fires, killing Haydon. However, the Doctor figures out that it is not a real Cyberman, but a testing range for weapons.

Outside, Toberman reports to Kaftan that "It is done". Captain Hopper, the expedition's pilot, returns and angrily reveals that someone has sabotaged the rocket ship – they cannot leave the planet until repairs are made. They finally open the hatch, and the men descend, leaving Kaftan and Victoria behind. They find a vast chamber beneath, with a multistorey structure containing cells of frozen Cybermen. Back in the control room, Kaftan drugs Victoria and reseals the hatch. Inside it, Klieg activates more controls in the tomb and the ice begins to melt. When Viner tries to stop him, Klieg shoots him dead and holds the rest at bay as the Cybermen return to life. Klieg reveals that he and Kaftan belong to the Brotherhood of Logicians, who possess great intelligence but no physical power. He believes the Cybermen will be grateful for their revival and will ally themselves with him.

Victoria awakes and confronts Kaftan, who threatens to shoot her if she tries opening the hatch. A small mechanical cybermat revives and attacks Kaftan, rendering her unconscious. Victoria grabs Kaftan's pistol and shoots the cybermat. Not knowing which lever opens the hatch, she leaves to find Hopper. Down in the tombs, the Cybermen free their leader, the Cyber Controller, from his cell. When Klieg steps forward to take the credit for reviving them, the Cyber Controller grabs and crushes his hand, declaring, "You belong to us; You shall be like us." The Doctor realises that the tombs were an elaborate trap: the Cybermen were waiting for beings intelligent enough to decipher the controls to free them. The expedition will be converted into Cybermen in preparation for a new invasion of Earth. In the control room, Capt. Hopper and Callum have figured out how to open the hatch. Hopper descends into the tombs, and uses smoke grenades to distract the Cybermen while the humans make their escape – all but Toberman, who has his arms cybernetically converted.

Klieg and Kaftan are moved into the testing range to keep them out of mischief while the others decide on their next course of action. Klieg extricates the weapon from the wall, an X-ray laser he calls a cybergun, to coerce the Cybermen to do their bidding. The Cybermen release a group of Cybermats into the main chamber and they attack the Doctor, Jamie, Victoria and the expedition members, but the Doctor saves them. Klieg and Kaftan step out, and Klieg fires the laser in the direction of the Doctor. He misses, wounding Callum. He opens the hatch, and calls for the Cyber Controller. The latter climbs up, accompanied by Toberman, who has been partially cyber-converted and is under the Cyber Controller's control. The Controller moves slowly, as his energy is running low – most of the Cybermen have been ordered back to their tombs to conserve power. Klieg says he will allow the Cyber Controller to be revitalised if the Cybermen help him conquer the Earth. It agrees. The Doctor helps the Controller into the sarcophagus in an attempt to trap it there, but the revitalised Controller is too strong and breaks free. Toberman knocks Klieg unconscious. The Controller picks up Klieg's cybergun. Kaftan shoots it, but the normal gun has no effect and she is shot by the Controller.

The death of Kaftan and the urging of the Doctor shake Toberman out of his controlled state. He struggles with the Controller and hurls it into the control panel, apparently killing it. The Doctor, wanting to make sure the Cybermen are no longer a threat, goes back down into the tombs with Toberman. Klieg regains consciousness and sneaks down with the cybergun and revives the Cybermen once again. Klieg expects to control them now that the Controller is dead, but a revived Cyberman throttles Klieg from behind and kills him. Toberman fights and kills this Cyberman by tearing open its breathing apparatus, while the Doctor and Jamie refreeze the others in their cells.

Hopper's crew have repaired the ship, and the Doctor rewires the controls to the station so they can't be used. He then sets up a circuit to electrify the doors again, along with the control panels and the hatch. The Controller, still alive, lurches for them. Everyone tries to shut the outer doors using insulating poles, but the Controller is too strong. Toberman comes forward, pushes the others aside and uses his bare hands to shut the doors. He succeeds, completing the circuit, and both he and the Controller are electrocuted.

The Doctor and his companions say goodbye to the expedition members who return to their rocket leaving the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria at the tomb. As they prepare to leave, Jamie asks if they've seen the last of the Cybermen. The Doctor replies that "I never like to make predictions". As they leave the scene, they fail to see a lone Cybermat, having survived, approaching Toberman's cybernetic corpse.

Continuity[edit]

The Doctor returns to Telos in the Sixth Doctor serial Attack of the Cybermen, where he also encounters the Cryons, the original inhabitants of the planet.[1]

The story contains a rare reference to the Doctor's family. When Victoria doubts he can remember his family because of "being so ancient", the Doctor says that he can when he really wants to and "the rest of the time they sleep in my mind" because he has "so much else to think about, to remember". The Doctor also mentions here that he is about 450 years old.

Episode 3 refers to the two previous encounters between the Doctor and the Cybermen. The Cybermen note that the First Doctor destroyed their home planet of Mondas in The Tenth Planet; the Second Doctor subsequently surmises that this was what led to their attack on the titular moonbase in their more recent meeting.

Eleventh Doctor actor Matt Smith has stated that it was watching this serial that inspired his own costume as the Doctor.[2]

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

Peter Bryant, who had previously been assistant to Gerry Davis and been newly promoted to script editor on the preceding story, was allowed to produce this serial in order to prove that he could take over from Innes Lloyd as producer later on in the season. Bryant's own assistant, Victor Pemberton acted as script editor on this serial, but left the series after production of the serial was finished, deciding that he didn't want to be a script editor. When Bryant's eventual promotion to producer came, Derrick Sherwin would become script editor. The working titles for this story were The Ice Tombs of Telos and The Cybermen Planet.[3]

Toberman was originally intended to be deaf, hence his lack of significant speech; his hearing aid would foreshadow his transformation into a Cyberman.[3]

Recording[edit]

The cybermats were controlled by various means – some by wires, some by wind-up clockwork, some by radio control, and some by simply being shoved into the shot.[4] The scene of the Cybermen breaking out of their tombs was filmed entirely in one take.[5]

In the scene where the group are at the main entrance of the tomb, Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines worked out in secret, without the knowledge of director Morris Barry, the brief sequence where both the Doctor and Jamie go to take Victoria by the hand and end up taking each others, in the knowledge that, with the recording schedule and the likelihood that re-takes would not be possible, it would have to be left in.[6]

Broadcast, archive and reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
Archive
"Episode 1" 2 September 1967 (1967-09-02) 23:58 6.0 16mm t/r
"Episode 2" 9 September 1967 (1967-09-09) 24:44 6.4 16mm t/r
"Episode 3" 16 September 1967 (1967-09-16) 24:14 7.2 16mm t/r
"Episode 4" 23 September 1967 (1967-09-23) 23:22 7.4 16mm t/r
[7][8][9]

On 24 February 2013, the episode aired in the United States on BBC America as part of a year-long celebration and acknowledgement of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.[10] Prior to the episode's airing that evening, a short documentary was aired which featured interviews with former, current and original Doctor Who production staff who shared their memories and perspectives of Patrick Troughton.[11] It also appeared on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's iView exclusively, part of their celebration for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary.

Reception[edit]

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping wrote favourably of the serial in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), despite some criticism, "The first two episodes are wonderful, a well directed and expensive looking restating of the series' basics, but once the Cybermen are released from the Tombs, they go back in again." [12] In The Television Companion (1998), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker stated that the serial was similar to the previous Cybermen stories, but it "manages to develop the idea to greater advantage and, as a result, achieves a considerable success" and was "well-paced, gripping and, in places, genuinely frightening". They praised the Cybermen, but said the noise they made while being attacked was "silly", and also criticised some of the direction and Deborah Watling's Victoria, whom they felt was an inconsistent character.[13]

In 2009, Mark Braxton of Radio Times wrote that the story "does deserve its reputation" as a classic.[14] DVD Talk's J Doyle Wallis, in a review of the original DVD release, gave the serial three and a half out of five stars and called it "a very entertaining story".[15] In a review of the special edition DVD for the same website, John Sinnott gave The Tomb of the Cybermen four stars. Sinnot praised Troughton's performance and the subtlety of the guest acting.[16] Reviewing the serial for The Independent in 2012, Neela Debnath praised the "impressive production values" and faster pace.[17] Christopher Bahn of The A.V. Club was less positive. He said that the story's "flaws are awfully apparent today" due to the "huge gaps in story logic and some really unfortunate racial stereotyping". Bahn was positive towards Troughton and the plot's buildup, but felt that the rest "just kind of peters out" and the villains' motivations were "convoluted".[18]

In 2010, Charlie Jane Anders of io9 listed the cliffhanger to the second episode – in which the Cybermen break out of their tombs – as one of the greatest cliffhangers in the history of Doctor Who.[19]

Archive[edit]

When the BBC's film archive was first properly audited in 1978, this serial was one of many believed missing (although it is absent in earlier 1976 listings). This story was prepared for release in early 1992 on cassette as part of the "Missing Stories" collection, with narration by Jon Pertwee. Then in late 1991, telerecordings of all four episodes were returned to the BBC from the Hong Kong-based Rediffusion company. In May 1992, the serial was released on VHS with a special introduction from director Morris Barry. The VHS release topped the sales charts throughout the country. This was the only original Doctor Who episode from the original era to top the UK charts.[citation needed]

Between 1991 and 2013, the serial was believed to be the only complete story from Season 5 (and the only complete serial to feature Deborah Watling) before the complete run of The Enemy of the World was returned from Nigeria in 2013.

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen
Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen.jpg
Author Gerry Davis
Cover artist Jeff Cummins
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
66
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
18 May 1978
ISBN 0-426-11076-5

A novelisation of this serial, written by Gerry Davis, was published by Target Books in 1978, entitled Doctor Who and The Tomb of the Cybermen, an audio reading of the novelisation read by Michael Kilgarriff will be released in March 2013.

A transcript of the transmitted version of the serial, edited by John McElroy, was published by Titan Books in August 1989. It was the second in that publisher's series of Doctor Who script books, following The Tribe of Gum. There was no video copy of The Tomb of the Cybermen in the BBC archives at the time that the book was prepared.[20]

Home media[edit]

UK DVD original release front cover

With the recovery of the film prints, the planned soundtrack release was delayed until 1993, when contractual obligations forced its release. See List of Doctor Who audio releases.

In the UK the DVD was released 13 January 2002. This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in issue 73 on 19 October 2011. A special edition of the DVD, with new bonus features and the entire story now treated with the VidFIRE process was released in the UK on 13 February 2012 in the third of the ongoing Revisitations DVD box sets.

Following the 1993 cassette release, on 1 May 2006 the soundtrack was released on a 2-CD set with linking narration by and a bonus interview with Frazer Hines. This was the first existing story to be released on audio in the same format as the missing story range.

Music release[edit]

Music from The Tomb of the Cybermen
Soundtrack album
Released 1997
Genre Soundtrack
Length 22:40
Label Via Satellite Records
Doctor Who soundtrack chronology
Doctor Who: 30 Years at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
(1993)
Music from the Tomb of the Cybermen
(1997)
Doctor Who: Original Soundtrack Recording
(1997)

Stock music and sound effects from this story was released on a "mini-album" by Via Satellite in 1997. It is composed of 2 versions of the Doctor Who theme music, sound effects from Doctor Who: 30 Years at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and stock music used in the story. It was planned to be the first in a series of mini-albums, with The Faceless Ones and Inside the Spaceship being mooted as future albums. Neither was produced.[21][22]

Track listing[edit]

Track # Composer Track name
1 Ron Grainer
(realised by Delia Derbyshire)
"Dr. Who Theme"[a]
2 Brian Hodgson "Tardis Interior"[a]
3 "Tardis Landing"[a]
4 Dick Mills "Tardis Doors Opening"[a]
5 M. Slavin "Space Adventures (Parts 1-3)"
6 J. Scott "Palpitations"
7 E. Sendel "Astronautics Theme (Parts 1-7)"
8 H. Fleischer "Desert Storm"
9 Wilfred Josephs "Space Time Music (Parts 1-4)"
10 Brian Hodgson "Tardis Take Off"[a]
11 Ron Grainer
(realised by Delia Derbyshire)
"Dr. Who Theme (A New Beginning)"[a]

^a This recording does not actually feature in The Tomb of the Cybermen[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Attack of the Cybermen. Doctor Who. 1985-01-5–1985-01-12. BBC. BBC1.
  2. ^ Doctor Who Magazine (Panini Comics) (418). 3 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Howe, Walker, p 184
  4. ^ Morris Barry. Tombwatch. Event occurs at 8:20. 
  5. ^ Morris Barry. Tombwatch. Event occurs at 15:13. 
  6. ^ "DVD REVIEW: Doctor Who – Tomb of the Cybermen Special Edition". Geek Syndicate. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Tomb of the Cybermen". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  8. ^ "The Tomb of the Cybermen". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  9. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2008-03-22). "The Tomb of the Cybermen". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  10. ^ McAlpine, Fraser (12 February 2013). "'Doctor Who's Day Roundup: Prepare A Frosty Reception...". BBC America. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "'The Doctors Revisited: The Second Doctor'". BBC America. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Tomb of the Cybermen". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  13. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed. ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  14. ^ Braxton, Mark (20 June 2009). "Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Wallis, J Doyle (16 August 2002). "Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen". DVD Talk. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Sinnott, John (20 March 2012). "Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen". DVD Talk. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  17. ^ Debnath, Neela (2 May 2012). "Review of Doctor Who 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' (Series 5)". The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Bahn, Christopher (12 June 2011). "Tomb of the Cybermen". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  19. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (31 August 2010). "Greatest Doctor Who cliffhangers of all time!". io9. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Davis, Gerry; Pedler, Kit (August 1989). McElroy, John, ed. Doctor Who – The Scripts: The Tomb of the Cybermen. London: Titan Books. pp. 2, 5–7. ISBN 1-85286-146-0. 
  21. ^ Music from The Tomb of the Cybermen (CD Booklet). Glasgow, Scotland: Via Satellite Recordings. 1997. V-Sat ASTRA 3967. 
  22. ^ Ayres, Mark. "Doctor Who Compact Disc Catalogue". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  23. ^ "The Millennium Effect". Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]