Doctor Who - Looking back at THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN

First broadcast 48 years ago today, Christopher Morley opens up 'The Tomb of the Cybermen'.

In all the years of Cyber-stories on Doctor Who, there's one which always stands out as a stone cold classic. Begin a descent into the tombs of Telos, then, as we consider the Tomb Of The Cybermen! Having taken Victoria Waterfield as a third member of their TARDIS team following the events of The Evil Of The Daleks, this is her first full TARDIS trip. Its also the introduction of the Cyber-Controller...

...and the Cybermats, plus it was also the story which convinced one Matt Smith, then a relative new boy to all things Who, to make his Doctor a kindred spirit after being cast as the Eleventh incarnation! Indeed, he said at the time that:
"I love Patrick Troughton. 'Tomb of the Cybermen' is one of my favourite stories. It's so creepy. What I think is wonderful about Troughton is he's weird and peculiar but he never asks you to find him weird and peculiar. He was a great actor. And I think the Cybermen are as scary as they've ever been in that one story."
High praise indeed. It seems the Doctor's younger self might be about to temporarily embark on a second career as an archaeologist, thrust as he & his companions are into Professor Parry's expedition to find the lost tombs! A task which may well leave him feeling every single one of his 450 years, at a guess. The Doctor is immediately the object of suspicion as the arrival of the TARDIS coincides with the death of a member of the Professor's team by electrocution......

He gets a gun waved at him by Captain Hopper, the expeditionary force's pilot, though luckily he's eventually able to convince everyone he had nothing to do with the accidental snuffing out of the man's candle so to speak. Viner ( Parry's assistant) is still convinced something about the Doctor isn't quite right, though! He's absolutely convinced that the Time Lord is part of a rival party bidding to sabotage them. The Cybermen are apparently no threat whatsoever, having died out centuries ago. That's that then eh? Or so they'd hope. There's something a bit shifty about Kaftan & Klieg, the two supplying the funding, though, & no mistake! But the Doctor tags along anyway, mention of the Cybermen having piqued his interest.

Its not until after the party makes its way into a control room that we get the first hint of what those dastardly Cybermen are planning. Finding a revitalising unit actually designed to allow safe recharging for the occupants of the tombs, Victoria, Kaftan & Viner have a nose around. Being a bit new to all this Victoria decides that it would be the perfect time to have a look inside- Kaftan, being a villain & all, attempts to take advantage of her curiosity by sealing her in there & trying to kill her! Luckily the Doctor is on hand to help her out of quite a tight spot. Really the big clue should have been the Cyber-head insignia on the thing, but never mind that.

Similarly, Jamie & Haydon- another member of the party- stumble across a Cybermat on the floor of another room. There's a control panel to be explored there, too. But what does it do? Answering that very question, Haydon activates it. A light show worthy of any rock concert ensues, Jamie entranced. Haydon is intrigued, but doesn't have long to act on his curiosity before a Cyberman appears & he's killed. Parry quite understandably now wants to give up & go home. But he/they can't. Somebody's handiwork has sabotaged their ship, & so they're stuck. A hidden agenda is rapidly becoming apparent............

Not long to wait till we find out what it is, either! Kaftan & Klieg are among the members of the Brotherhood of Logicians, seeking to use the Cybermen's strength alongside their own intelligence to enable themselves & other followers of pure logic to seize power. You might think that if they're so logical, why would they want to go doing a thing like that as it surely won't end well- & you'd be quite right. For after making their way down to the tombs & assisting in the reawakening of their planned allies they quickly discover such an alliance isn't going to work. Particularly not after the Cyber-Controller declares that everyone who isn't already will be ' like uzz' in that wonderfully raspy Cyber-voice of his! They've been expecting the Doctor too.

Having frozen themselves for the admittedly very good reason of wanting to survive, the latest part of their plan is coming along nicely. The tombs were actually a trap designed to lure in anyone stupid enough to try to free them, & Klieg's 'reward' for doing so will be to become the first of the expedition to be Cyber-converted in preparation for a fresh attempt an an invasion of Earth after their previous one - the events of The Moonbase said to have happened 500 years earlier. The perils of time travel, eh?

And of course they'll later try to conquer our planet again, making the effort to descend into our corner of the galaxy in The Invasion- forging an alliance with Tobias Vaughn after Zoe Heriot replaces Victoria in the aftermath of Fury From The Deep/ beginning of The Wheel In Space. The kindly side of the Doctor is in full swing as he & Victoria look over their earlier business with the Daleks, too...

To balance that out there's a lot of cunning, as he eventually gets the better of the Cybermen by rigging a circuit to destroy both the tombs & the Cybermen inside- Klieg's bid to become the new Cyber-Controller halted by his death at the hands of those he had intended to lord it over. Little wonder Matt Smith was so fulsome in his praise!

Alongside the bow tie, mannerisms & general eccentricity you might have noticed a return appearance for the hypercube, last seen in The War Games in The Doctor's Wife- another throwback to the Troughtonian Era. A renewed acquaintance with the Ice Warriors as first seen in The Ice Warriors & The Seeds Of Death was a rather large part of Cold War, too. Brothers in arms, or rather abhorring the use of them, you could say?
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