Doctor Who – The Tomb of the Cybermen

Like The Three Doctors, which I mentioned recently, this is a new edition of a previously issued DVD. The first version came out in 2002, and represented the best that could be done at the time in the business of restoring old black and white footage to broadcast condition. Well, the toold and techniques have come a long way since then, so a revisitation[1] is more than welcome.

This was first shown in September 1967, and starts Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, accompanied by Frazer Hines as Jamie and Deborah Watling as Victoria. Oh, and some Cybermen, who were nicely established as recurring enemies for the second Doctor.

All the fun and games occurs on the Cyberman planet Telos at some point in the future. The Cybermen, long believed to be dead, are actually, in a manner quite unlike a Norwegian Blue, just having a kip[2]. And in the finest traditions of horror movies involving tombs, it’s all a bit of a nasty plan, which involves them waking up, which is not a Good Thing at all. The fact that the Cybermen, being quite clever, have set it all up as a trap to capture archaeologists[3] and turn them into more Cybermen, makes things a wee bit more complicated.

And it all works pretty well. There’s some nice shots of the awakening Cybermen coming out of their honeycomb-like tombs, and the shiny giants have never been more menacing.

This being a Special Edition, there’s a good selection of extras, spreading onto a second DVD. In addition to the usual stuff and some small clips, we have:

  • Late Night Line-Up – A 1967 BBC arts programme sends Joan Bakewell to talk Jack Kline of the BBC visual effects department
  • The Final End – a bit of recovered footage showing the end of the previous story, The Evil of the Daleks, which was intended at the time to be their actual final end. Not so much because the Doctor Who team wanted rid of them, but more because their creator Terry Nation had plans to make their own TV series in the US. Which never quite came off. Interesting to see a small piece of one of the lost stories.
  • The Lost Giants - the now traditional cast and crew looking back at the making of the story
  • The Curse of the Cybermen’s Tomb - in which actual egyptologists Sir Christopher Frayling and Dr Debbie Challis look at the historical inspiration for the Cybermen’s tomb
  • Cybermen – Extended Edition – Matthew Sweet presents the history of the silver giants
  • The Magic of VIDFire – an interesting documentary on the technology that makes old film copies look like the original video.  Clever stuff.
And there are various other bits to enjoy too.
As one of the very few  intact Patrick Troughton stories, this is an essential part of any fan’s collection. And it’s definitely a good one.

[1] Did you see what I did there?
[2] Yes, I did just drop a Monty Python reference into this post.

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