Thursday 4 July 2013

171 The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 09 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

The Doctor repeats what Jamie's done revealing that Haydon was shot in the back by a gun that emerged from the wall and that the "Cyberman" was just a robotic target for the weapon. The Doctor identifies the Silverfish creature as a Cybermat. Parry decides to abandon the expedition in the wake of the second death, but Captain Hopper arrives with news that the Rocket has been sabotaged and it will be 72 hours to repair it. Klieg, with more help from the Doctor, opens the main door to the underground chambers. They go bellow leaving Victoria & Kaftan behind. Kaftan drugs Victoria's coffee causing her to sleep and then reseals the main hatch. Klieg starts the sequence to free the Cybermen from their icy tombs. Viner reverses the process but is shot & killed by Klieg who starts the sequence again. He is a member of the Brotherhood of Logicians on Earth, a group of powerful thinkers who wish to use the Cybermen to gain power. Victoria awakens, and with the aid of the reactivating Cybermat overpowers Kaftan and flees to find Captain Hopper. The reactivated Cybermen corner the visitors and free their leader from the Tombs: The Cyber Controller. Klieg attempts to control the Cybermen but is struck down as the Controller proclaims
You belong to us. You shall be like us.

We're still doing The Mummy's Tomb but let's throw in "Something frozen in the Ice" to spice it up a bit. Another piece of the story inspired from horror films is the iceing on the cake leading to the sequence where the Cybermen slowly reanimate and emerge from their tombs. Well done for putting the gun down by your unconscious prisoner Victoria, really clever that!

The Cybermen we see here are essentially the same as their Moonbase equivalents, but we get to see two new additions to the Cyberforces: the first is the silverfish like Cybermats that will be crawling around later in the story. The second is the Controller: no ear handles, head light or chest unit, a darker body & face and an enlarged head with a clear brain like top. It's the Controller that will be doing most of the talking here with an emotionless drone to his voice as used for the Moonbase Cybermen.

Let's have a look at the rest of humans in the party: cast as Kaftan is Shirley Cooklin, who was then the wife of Peter Bryant. The giant Toberman is played by Roy Stewart who'll be back as Tony in Terror of the Autons. George Roubicek, Captain Hopper, has a prominent role in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me as the Stromberg One Captain. and the same year appears uncredited in Star Wars as Commander Praji, one of the Imperial Officers who board the Rebel Blockade Runner at the start of the film.

Here's how Tomb of the Cybermen's return to the BBC came about: In 1991 Asia TV in Hong Kong conducted an audit of their film library and discovered a number of films cans produced by the BBC. They contacted the BBC Film & Video library saying they had a number of episodes of Softly, Softly and 4 of Doctor Who: would they like them back. Yes please says the BBC F&VL. The films never arrived there. They were sent back to BBC Enterprises, the BBC's commercial arm responsible for overseas sales and domestic video releases, who had sold the films to Asia TV (then called Hong Kong Television) in the first place. Enterprise opened the package, discovered it was serial MM, looked it up on a list and found they were holding the missing Tomb of the Cybermen.

Enterprises now had a problem: They knew a repeat season of Doctor Who was being organised for 1992 (it launched with a special documentary, Resistance is Usless and the Hartnell serial The Time Meddler). If they returned the film prints to to the Film & Video library they would almost certainly be used for the Troughton story. But if they hung on to them they could release them quickly onto video and reap the profits of an exclusive video release for a missing story. They let the Film & Video library know they had them but, since they were Enterprise's property anyway, that the F&VL could have them when Enterprises were finished with them. Word had leaked out that there were some returned films knocking around so a cover story was put about that they were merely duplicate prints of An Unearthly Child. When the Mind Robber was confirmed as being the Troughton story in the BBC2 repeat season the recovery of Tomb of the Cybermen was confirmed to the world.

For more details see pages 223-226 of Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes by Richard Molesworth.

1 comment:

  1. Aggh!

    No I've not rewatched this episode! I spotted that there was a mistake in the title, went to edit it and Blogspot has pushed the edited post right to the top.

    Oh that's annoying! #OCD