Friday 13 May 2011

172 The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 16 September 1967
WRITER: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Victor Pemberton
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Tomb Of The Cybermen

An accident while editing Tomb of the Cybermen episode two meant it has jumped out of sequence - see here for the entry for that episode.

The Cybermen explain their plans for the travellers: They will be Cybertised and sent to Earth to create a new race of Cybermen. Victoria returns with Captain Hopper & Jim Callum. They work the hatch controls out, but Kaftan stops them from opening it until she is overpowered. Once the hatch is opened, Captain Hopper goes bellow and lets of smoke bombs allowing the Doctor, Parry & Jamie to escape. Toberman is captured by the Cybermen but Klieg makes his way to the surface and is let out the Tomb but then imprisoned with Kaftan in the weapons test room. Hopper returns to the rocket to finish repairs while Callum remains with the party. Kaftan & Klieg work on freeing the weapon held by the dummy Cyberman. The Doctor wakes late for his watch shift: Victoria has let him sleep. They talk about his great age and family

The Doctor: Are you happy with us, Victoria?
Victoria: Yes, I am. At least, I would be if my father were here.
The Doctor: Yes, I know, I know.
Victoria: I wonder what he would have thought if he could see me now.
The Doctor: You miss him very much, don't you?
Victoria: It's only when I close my eyes. I can still see him standing there, before those horrible Dalek creatures came to the house. He was a very kind man, I shall never forget him. Never.
The Doctor: No, of course you won't. But, you know, the memory of him won't always be a sad one.
Victoria: I think it will. You can't understand, being so ancient.
The Doctor: Eh?
Victoria: I mean old.
The Doctor: Oh.
Victoria: You probably can't remember your family.
The Doctor: Oh yes, I can when I want to. And that's the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they... they sleep in my mind and I forget. And so will you. Oh yes, you will. You'll find there's so much else to think about. To remember. Our lives are different to anybody else's. That's the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we're doing.
As Victoria goes to sleep the Doctor notices Cybermats moving round the room. Everyone is woken and moves back to the control console where The Doctor runs a cable round them electrifying it and destroying the Cybermats. Klieg and Kraftan enter the room threatening the party, and then a shot is fired....

That's cracking stuff: plenty of action, some sinister monsters and that superb chat between the Doctor and Victoria during the quiet of the night. Fabulous, loved it. OK you can see the Kirby wires holding Toberman up as the Cyberman flings him across the room but it's a small fault and one that probably wasn't visible at the time.

Onto the actors within ranks of the Cybermen in this story: Four of the Cybermen in this story will be back as a different monster in the very next story: John Hogan, Richard Kerley, Tony Harwood & Reg Whitehead are the four actors playing Yeti in The Abominable Snowmen. Interestingly none of them are Yeti in their second appearance, The Web of Fear! Reg Whitehead has already been a Cybermen in The Tenth Planet and The Moonbase, and in addition to the aforementioned Yeti in The Abominable Snowmen he also plays the doomed explorer John in the opening moments of the first episode. He gets a name check in this story when Klieg refers to the fictional "Whitehead Logic" He's not the last member of cast or crew to get mentioned on screen in a Doctor Who story either! It's Tony Harwood's first Doctor Who appearance here, and after his Yeti next story he'll be back as the Martian Rintan in the The Ice Warriors, in The Seeds of Death as another unnamed Ice Warrior) and in The Ambassadors of Death as Flynn. Charles Pemberton returns as an Alien Technician in The War Games - I'd like to think he's related to acting Script Editor Victor Pemberton but can't find any evidence that he is. The Cybermen Voices are all provided by Peter Hawkins in his penultimate Doctor Who role. The leader of th4e Cybermen, the Cyber-Controller, is played by Michael Kilgarriff who'll be back as an Ogron in Frontier in Space, and the Robot in Tom Baker's debut story, Robot, before returning as the Cyber-Controller in Attack of the Cybermen. In the intervening 18 years he'd put on a pound or 2 and thus the Attack Controller is a littler porkier than he should be just for the sake of a nod to the fans out there. A different Controller has returned in new Doctor Who but uses the exposed brain idea suggested by the enlarged cranium of the Controller seen here.

In late Jan/early Feb 1992 one was having a tinsy bit of a bad run: I'd been involved in a serious car accident (write off), my then girlfriend and I had split up and I had fallen down a flight of stairs further injuring my already damaged back. All in the space of 2 weeks. The University health centre decided to admit me and I spent nearly a week as their guest with little contact with the outside world. (worse was to follow: a week later I went down with acute appendicitis and was hospitalised!) Fortunately some friends brought me a paper in most day (The Telegraph: Christopher Martin-Jenkins was writing their cricket and the crossword & obits were good) There one day in the paper was the news that The Tomb of the Cybermen had been found. Much rejoicing was heard in fandom, there's a very good issue of Celestial Toyroom, the Doctor Who Appreciation Society magazine commemorating the recovery.

On May 4th that year, my Birthday as it happens, Tomb was released on video (alongside Claws of Axos: Twin Dilemma had been intended for release, this then became a Woolworths exclusive so some time, also released that day). Checks calender..... May 4th 1992 was a bank holiday and back then most shops didn't open on bank holidays so I'm guessing we didn't get a copy till the next day. Off we all trooped to the Woolworths in Egham, handed our cash over and sat down to watch a Doctor Who story we'd never seen before. It was the first time I'd seen the sixties Cybermen as well: the surviving episodes of The Moonbase and The Wheel in Space weren't released till 6th July that same year as part of Cybermen: The Early Years. I loved Tomb when I first saw it, still do. The only thing that bugged me at the time were the voice, I really didn't like them and still don't to this day.

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