Doctor Who: Revisiting THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN

Christopher Morley opens up the Tomb...

Thinking caps on- stovepipe hats and Tam O'Shanters welcome! The question is- could Tomb Of The Cybermen be considered one of the most, if not the most, influential Classic Who story? It certainly left an impression on one Matt Smith. For the man who portrayed the Eleventh Doctor was a newcomer to the wonderful world of Who prior to his casting. Given some past episodes to watch to familiarise himself, he soon fell head over heels for a short mop-topped fellow & would single out one particular adventure of his as a favourite-
"Troughton is my favourite.“The Tomb of the Cybermen” is one of my favourites. The Cybermen are so creepy in it. What’s wonderful about Troughton is that he is weird and peculiar. It’s a wonderful performance. I think the Cybermen were the scariest they’ve ever been in that."
In just a few words, he nailed what it is that makes the whole thing so wonderful and cements its reputation as a high point of both the Troughtonian Period and Doctor Who in general! Luckily for us its also the earliest fully surviving Second Doctor narrative following the BBC's Sixties tape-purging policy. It also represents a first full TARDIS trip for Victoria Waterfield, orphaned following The Evil Of The Daleks. At least the Doctor proves himself a compassionate soul!

DOCTOR: Are you happy with us, Victoria?
VICTORIA: Yes, I am. At least, I would be if my father were here.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know, I know.
VICTORIA: I wonder what he would have thought if he could see me now.
DOCTOR: You miss him very much, don't you?
VICTORIA: It's only when I close my eyes. I can still see him standing there, before those horrible Dalek creatures came to the house. He was a very kind man, I shall never forget him. Never.
DOCTOR: No, of course you won't. But, you know, the memory of him won't always be a sad one.
VICTORIA: I think it will. You can't understand, being so ancient.
VICTORIA: I mean old.
VICTORIA: You probably can't remember your family.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, I can when I want to. And that's the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they sleep in my mind, and I forget. And so will you. Oh yes, you will. You'll find there's so much else to think about. So remember, our lives are different to anybody else's. That's the exciting thing. There's nobody in the universe can do what we're doing. You must get some sleep and let this poor old man stay awake.
But of course he must also show off the 'strategist' side of his personality in dealing with the Cybermen, who've come a long way since their big d├ębut in The Tenth Planet.

They've been lying in stasis in their tombs on Telos, until an expedition team awakens them.

Predictably it doesn't end well, even for Klieg - who'd sought to position himself as their ally & use them to take power himself.
KLIEG: They're coming. And now, gentlemen, you will see how I shall use the power of the Cybermen.
DOCTOR: Use maybe, but you'll never control the Cybermen.
KAFTAN: Eric, behind you!
KLIEG: Stop. You know what this can do to you. That's better. Now you are under my control. We know you must be revitalised or you will perish. If you agree to my terms, I shall let you survive.
CONTROLLER: I will listen.
KAFTAN: Make them release Toberman.
JAMIE: If you think they'll listen to you, you're even dafter than I thought.
KLIEG: Silence. Sit down. First, you release our man.

He had earlier been silly enough to release them, led by their Controller and his terrifying raspy metallic voice. ''Of course. I shall be their resurrector.''. His Cyber-God complex will prove his undoing, though!
"I am Klieg. Eric Klieg. I have brought you back to life. We of the Logicians have planned this. You are alive because of us. Now you will help us. We need your power. You need our mass intelligence. Are you listening? Do you understand me? Now that I have released you..."
He's dismissed as a mere plaything. ''You belong to us. You shall be like us..''. Or 'lyke uzz', as it sounds on screen! At least the Doctor is switched on enough to figure out the true nature of things.
"Ah, I see, a trap. A very special sort of trap, too. They only wanted superior intellects. That's why they made the trap so complicated."
They did, fiendishly so. The one man clever enough to play them at their own game has a solution, though. And its explosive in every sense!
DOCTOR: Quickly. Wait! Stop!
JAMIE: What?
DOCTOR: We'll get a shock. We must find something to insulate. I know, that shoring timber over there! Hurry up! Hurry up, he's coming!
JAMIE: Okay, Doctor!
DOCTOR: Quickly! We must keep him inside or else all our work'll be wasted.
JAMIE: I can't hold mine. Come on!
DOCTOR: You must do!
JAMIE: Toberman!
CONTROLLER: We must survive. We must survive....
TOBERMAN: You are evil!
DOCTOR: Toberman, come away!
JAMIE: Careful, you'll get killed, man!

The burly manservant's sacrifice brings an end to the whole sorry business- & we won't see Cybermats again until Matt, who championed Pat, encounters 'Bitey' in Closing Time.

Come to think of it, all of the second of the bow-tied Doctor's encounters with the men from Mondas have a whiff of Tomb do they not?
"Release the Cybermats. We will use the power of cybernetics. Activate them. The brain of this humanoid will be their target. Now. These Cybermats are dormant through lack of use. Inspect them."
They'll be back with a modified design to menace Sanderson & Grainger! As Val tells the older & similarly-attired Doctor ( the bow tie a tribute to the man before him who wore one) in response to possible strange goings-on at the shop- ''And then there's that silver rat thing.''. Not a rat, a Cybermat. Pleasingly poetic. & ''Exercises the tongue''  as easily as '''Lesterson listen. Lesterson listen, Lesterson listen...''.  Go ahead & '''Try it. Lesterson listen, Lesterson listen, Lesterson listen......''

Only fitting that Matt should like a Doctor like Pat!

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