Doctor Who – Cybermen Set

Yes, it’s another of those themed box sets – the theme this time being the Cybermen[1]. They’d first appeared in the last William Hartnell story, and came back for more several times during Patrick Troughton’s era, but then wandered off for a bit of a rest before returning in:

Revenge of the Cybermen

This story follows straight on from Genesis of the Daleks. The Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Salden) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) are taken back to the Nerva station by the Time Ring, only to find they’ve arrived in a different time altogether, and that things are not altogether well. In this time, the space station is acting as a beacon, warning ships about a new asteroid in the vicinity of Jupiter. The asteroid is actually Voga, known as the planet of gold because it’s got lots of the stuff. And yes, the occupants are called Vogans, not to be confused with Vogons, of course.

As the Cybermen are apparently vulnerable to gold dust (something that hadn’t been mentioned before), they’re not at all keen on Voga, and trouble is coming…

It’s not that bad a story, but compared with the classic that preceded it, it does fall a little flat. The Cybermen are quite nasty, but in this story, at least, they lack the real menace that the Daleks have in abundance. Good fun, anyway.

Extras on this DVD include:

  • The Tin Man and the Witch – the usual “making of” thingy. The witch in question is a rock in the Wookey Hole caves where part of the story was filmed
  • Location report – a little bit of archive BBC local news film. Shown before Tom Baker had appeared as the Doctor, it shows him in fine form during the filming in the caves
  • Cheques, lies and videotape – ooooooh, now this is nice. Almost worth getting the DVD just for this slice of history. Long, long ago, before multi-channel TV and DVDs, before video tapes went mass-market, even, fans resorted to dodgy copies of episodes, trading them for other tapes, memorabilia, or even actual money. Second, third, even tenth generation video copies were passed around (and if you remember what copied VHS tapes looked like, you can imagine how desperate people must have been). This began to change in 1983, when the BBC released the first Doctor Who video tape. As it happened, this was Revenge of the Cybermen. The price at the time was a rather expensive £39.95 – over £100 in today’s money, which makes current DVD prices look like a bargain. This documentary includes a lot of those tape-trading fans talking about those days. Good stuff.
  • Production subtitles, pictures, and a commentary

Silver Nemesis

As part of the twenty-fifth anniversary series, and indeed the story to be shown on the show’s anniversary date, this one, rather like series opener Remembrance of the Daleks, plays with time again. The story involves a bunch of neo-Nazis, a bonkers 17th century sorceress, an unfinished chess game, and those lovely Cybermen again.

Just like the earlier Dalek story, it hinges on a Cunning Plan by the Doctor to sort out an enemy once and for all, and has a parallel or two with that story. (Bonkers bit of Gallifreyan technology, etc…). Still, it’s good fun, with Ace absolutely not having any explosives on her, the Doctor failing to convince the security guys at Windsor Castle that he has to see the Queen, and some lovely silly dialogue between the bonkers sorceress and her much abused attendant.

Apart from the usual commentary, production subtitles and pictures, special features include:

  • Industrial Action – the usual cast and crew reminiscence thingy.
  • Deleted and extended scenes – rather more than usual. Over 20 minutes of bits snipped for timing reasons.

[1] As you might have guessed from the title