Saturday 14 May 2011

173 The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 23 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

Jim Callum throws himself in front of the Doctor taking most of the blast in his shoulder. In the chambers bellow, many of the Cybermen retreat to the tomb they occupied leaving the Controller with a smaller group of Cybermen. Klieg opens the hatch and summons the Controller and the partially cybertised Toberman to the surface. The Controller uses the revitalising machine to repower his weakening form. Attempts by the Doctor and Jamie to trap him in it fail. Controlling Toberman he gets him to strike Klieg down and taking his gun shoots Kaftan dead. Toberman flings the Controller into the console damaging him. The Doctor goes bellow with Toberman to seal the Cybermen in their Tombs but while everyone is tending to the wounded Callum, Klieg sneaks bellow and halts the process. The Doctor engages him about his plans for world domination
The Doctor: Don't you see what this is going to mean to all the people who come to serve Klieg the all powerful? Why, no country, no person would dare to have a single thought that was not your own. Eric Klieg's own conception of the, of the way of life!
Eric Klieg: Brilliant! Yes, yes, you're right. Master of the world.
The Doctor: Well now I know you're mad, I just wanted to make sure.
Klieg is ambushed by one of the remaining Cybermen and killed, while the Cyberman is killed by Toberman. They return to the surface, the Doctor electrifying the doors, hatch and console but as they leave the Controller reactivates and attempts to prevent them closing the doors. Toberman shoves them closed at the cost of his life as he's electrocuted with the doors completing the circuit as they close. Parry, the sole survivor of the expedition proper, leaves with Hopper, Callum & the rest of the rocket ship's crew.

Great stuff again. The Cybermen retreating to the tomb has had some flack over the years but from the Controller's behaviour afterwards it should be obvious they've got energy problems and their plan relied on getting to the revitalising machine quickly. The dying Cyberman, with foam emerging from it's battered chest unit took flack for the BBC at the time for being too gruesome. I think Tomb's a cracking story: decent monsters & villains, fabulous sets and some really good lines for Troughton. But since it's 1992 return it's taken a bit of a battering from fans compared to it's previous high reputation. Don't care. I love it.

Tomb of the Cybermen, by Gerry Davis, was one of the first Troughton stories I encountered, possibly THE first. My local library had two Troughton books, both in Hardback: this was one, Web of Fear was the other. Their copy of Web now sits on my bookshelf thanks to a withdrawn book sale. It's complete with a once again inaccurate cover showing, like the Cybermen (the Moonbase's novelization) the wrong sort of Cybermen: both covers feature the Invasion version.

In 1983 the BBC held a vastly over subscribed 20th anniversary Celebration convention at Longleat House in Wiltshire. During the weekend a poll was taken to determine which story would be the first released on video. Tomb of the Cybermen won. One problem: Tomb didn't exist at the time. So the BBC went for the next best thing that did exist: Revenge of the Cybermen. The first Revenge video release upheld the "wrong Cybermen on the cover" tradition by appearing with an Earthshock Cyberman on it's front! We'll forgive them the neon logo as that was in use by the series at the time!

As we've said previously, Tomb was eventually released on video on May 4th 1992. It had been planned as a missing story audio release but the story's recovery temporarily shelved that. The audio cassette, with narration by Jon Pertwee, was eventually released in June 1993. Tomb's recovery affecting the release schedules was rumoured to put a stop on further missing episode releases presumably because the BBC thought more recoveries were imminent. I'm not sure this theory holds up: The audio cassettes were selling very, very well at the time. A new Tomb of the Cybermen Soundtrack CD was released in 2006, with new narration by Frazer Hines, completing Season 5 on BBC CD.

Tomb of the Cybermen was released on DVD on the 14th January 2002 and was the first release to feature Patrick Troughton or, indeed, black and white material. This release wasn't VIDFIRED to restore the video look due to the process being in it's infancy at the time. However Planet of the Giants was already out on Video and does use the VIDFIRE process and there's a small Easter Egg of Vidfired material on this release. Tomb of the Cybermen was the earliest Doctor Who DVD to be deleted. A new version, with VIDFIRE and loads of new extras is due in the Revisitations III boxset to be released in late 2011.

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