Doctor Who – Attack of the Cybermen

After last weekend’s desert fun. it’s time for a trip back to 1985. This was the first story in Colin Baker’s first series as the Doctor[1], and included a number of changes. For the first time in a few years, Doctor Who returned to its traditional Saturday late afternoon timeslot after being shuffled around weekday evenings in a seemingly random manner. And in another change, the episode length was changed from 25 minutes to 45[2].

With all those changes, and a still new Doctor, starting the series with a familiar enemy seemed like a good idea, and so we once again meet the Cybermen, who have a very complicated[3] plan to change history and prevent the destruction of their original home planet, by crashing Halley’s comet into the Earth before the events of a much older story, The Tenth Planet. In fact, this story goes into continuity overdrive, with the Tardis, having been drawn to Earth by a distress signal, landing in the junk yard where it was first seen in 1963, and the Doctor trying to repair the chameleon circuit that’s left it stuck looking like the 1960s Police telephone box that we all know and love. Also making a return appearance is the alien mercenary Lytton from Resurrection of the Daleks.

Lots of running around and confusion follows, including some perhaps too realistic violence, most notably when Lytton’s hands are crushed to a bloody pulp by a couple of Cybermen – this was the kind of thing that caused a lot of controversy and complaint at the time, and which we absolutely wouldn’t see in the 21st century series….

There’s the usual collection of extras to enjoy, too:

  • The Cold War – the usual cast and crew looking back at making the story
  • The Cyber Story – the history of the Cybermen in the classic series. A nice little collection of clips
  • Human cyborg – a slightly pointless interview with Kevin Warwick, the academic who implanted a chip in his arm to open doors for him, or some such. He’s a long way from becoming a Cyberman….
  • Production subtitles – lots of background information to read while you watch
  • Plus pictures, PDFs of TV listings and a commentary

[1] In an unusal move, he’d begun his run with the final story of the previous series, The Twin Dilemma, which is now the only Colin Baker story not on DVD.
[2] Doctor Who on Saturdays with 45 minute episodes? Surely that could never catch on? :grin:
[3] Not to mention cunning