Revenge of the Cybermen

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Revenge of the Cybermen
Always believe in, because you are – Gold!
 

Part One

Revenge of the CybermenSue: Is there anything I should know about this one before we begin?

Me: Only that this story was the first one to be released on video cassette by the BBC.

Sue: Any particular reason?

Me: Well, fans who attended the very first official Doctor Who convention at Longleat in 1983 were asked to suggest which story they’d like to see released first. And this one won.

Sue: So it must be a good one, then.

Me: The video cost £30 quid to buy in 1983. That’s over £100 in today’s money.

Sue: It’s a bloody good job it isn’t 1983 now or our relationship would be in serious trouble.

I press ‘Play’…

Sue: So what are the Cybermen revenging against? Is it revenge for what the Doctor did to them the last time they met? It seems like a long time ago. I can’t remember what happened so I hope it’s not important.

Revenge of the CybermenThe episode begins with the Doctor, Harry and Sarah floating through space, superimposed over the Nerva Beacon from The Ark in Space.

Sue: Oh, it’s that inflatable beach toy again. At least they got their money’s worth out of it.

Safely back on Nerva, Harry attempts to keep the Time Lord’s Time Ring as a souvenir but it disappears before he can pocket it.

Sue: Poor Harry. He collects antique bracelets, you know.

The Doctor opens a door and a human corpse falls into the room. Sue assumes the dead man must hail from Liverpool if his hair style and tache are anything to go by.

Sue: Is this place cursed or something?

In the corridor are piles of… well, er…

Sue: Is it the Autons? Have the Autons joined forces with the Cybermen?

Revenge of the CybermenMe: Er…

Sue: Wait, don’t tell me they’re supposed to be human bodies! Don’t be ridiculous.

I apologise. Like it’s somehow my fault that the director thought he could get away with littering mannequins all over the floor.

Sue: They must have run out of money at this point. Either that or the Cybermen can turn people into shop window dummies.

When we finally meet Nerva’s surviving crew members, Sue is drawn to William Marlowe as Lester. She vaguely recognises him from The Mind of Evil, or The One in the Prison, if you happen to be Sue, but his pockmarked face reminds her of someone else entirely.

Sue: All I know is he looks like Mark Hamill does today.

Sue also recognises the Cybermats.

Sue: I like the Cybermats. Cybermats are cool. The cats would love a Cybermat to play with. The doors are very impressive in this story, too – they are swishing together very fast, which makes for a nice change.

Revenge of the CybermenMeanwhile, on the planet Voga, two aliens are discussing the threat posed by Cybermen.

Me: I love the way the Cybermen are just dropped casually into the conversation like that. There’s no attempt at all to hold them back as a surprise.

Sue: Er, the clue is in the title, Neil.

When the Vogan named Magrik refers to his companion as Vorus, Sue completely mishears him.

Sue: Did he just say “your arse”? I’m sure he just mentioned his arse… Then again, it’s very hard to hear anything behind that stupid plastic mask. I’m not impressed with this lot, I have to say.

Meanwhile, back on the Nerva one of its crew, a man named Warner, is attacked by a Cybermat.

Sue: Bloody hell! It’s the size of a snake! They’d make wonderful draft excluders.

With Warner dying on the floor, the Beacon’s exographer, Professor Kellman enters the room with a satisfied smirk. He removes a tape that recorded contact with the planet Voga.

Sue: Isn’t it amazing that in the future tape will make a sound when you touch it even when it’s not touching the playback head. Incredible.

Me: There are threads on Gallifrey Base for people like you.

The Doctor and his companions make their way to Nerva’s forward compartment. It looks exactly like its rear compartment.

Sue: They are taking the recycling of sets to ludicrous extremes now…

Meanwhile, Kellman is in his quarters, playing with heavily concealed technology.

Revenge of the CybermenSue: He’s watching old episodes on Doctor Who on his iPhone Netflix app. And he isn’t half keeping his hand steady while he does it.

Me: That’s because -

Sue: Yes, I’m not stupid, you know.

The Doctor describes the Cybermen as “total machine creatures”.

Sue: No they aren’t.

That made me smile.

Sue: And where the hell are they, anyway?

The Doctor and Commander Stevenson debate current events in this part of the galaxy while Warner dies from the Cybermat’s deadly bite. The Doctor only wishes that he could have reached the poor man sooner.

Sue: The Doctor should have spent less time chatting about the episode’s back story and he should have spent more time looking for a bloody cure.

It’s around this point that Sue starts to rebel against the story’s incidental (or is it accidental?) music.

Sue: This isn’t Dudley. This is dreadful.

And talking of dreadful music, when the Doctor describes Voga as the planet of gold, Sue just can’t help herself:

Sue: Gold! Always believe in your soul! La-la-la-la-la-la. You’re indestructible! La-la-la-la-la – Gold!

Revenge of the CybermenThe episode concludes with Sarah attacked by a Cybermat.

Sue: Not bad. I’ve seen worse.

I’m trying to stifle my giggles. This scene looks atrocious! But no one cares about what I think, so I’ll shut up.

Sue: I’m enjoying this. It’s just the music that’s letting it down.

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Part Two

Revenge of the CybermenSue: I had a shirt just like Sarah Jane. It’s a Ben Sherman, I think. She suits the combat look.

It’s always nice to see Sue getting her priorities right as Sarah lies dying on the floor.

Meanwhile, Kellman is back in his pad, up to no good as usual.

Sue: I bet if you made an iPhone case disguised as a silver hairbrush, Doctor Who fans would buy it. The BBC are missing a trick.

The Doctor orders Harry to take Sarah to the surface of Voga via the transmat beam, as this will cure her. If only he could have thought of that before Warner expired.

Sue: I really like this location. It would make a good base for a Bond villain.

Me: It’s Wookey Hole. It’s right next door to Stumphole Cavern.

Back on Nerva, Lester decides to take Kellman from behind.

Sue: Blimey, he’s strong, isn’t he? Look, he’s actually twisting the nozzle of his gun out of shape.

The Doctor explains that the Cybermen are susceptible to only one thing – gold.

Sue: Since when? It’s the first I’ve heard of it. And how can gold suffocate you? Do you have to ram a bullion bar down its gob? And speaking of Cybermen – where the hell are they?

Revenge of the CybermenRight on cue, a strange spaceship appears.

Sue: It looks like a fat, happy seal.

Just thank God this is the only seal that Sue mentions in this story.

And then – finally! – we get to see the occupants of the ship.

Sue: Why has that Cyberman got black handles on his head?

Me: He’s in charge.

Sue: Really? He looks unfinished.

The Doctor threatens Kellman with a Cybermat unless he tells him what’s going on.

Sue: The Doctor has gone all Jack Bauer on his ass. And is that a sound effect or is that supposed to be music? It’s never a good sign when I have to ask that.

When Kevin Stoney turns up as an elderly Vogan named Tyrum, Sue doesn’t recognise him.

I know! I can’t believe it either. So I tell her.

Revenge of the CybermenSue: Packerrrrrr. Why on earth would they bury an actor as good as him in all that plastic crap?

As the Vogans continue to bicker among themselves, Sue begins to lose patience.

Sue: I can’t keep up with who is who and who wants what and why and when and where and how. I just don’t give a shit. I hope the Cybermen turn up soon.

And then, completely out of the blue, Sue is actually impressed by something. It occurs when Sarah Jane runs from a hail of Vogan bullets and they ricochet off the walls around her. It does look spectacular.

Sue: It’s all over the place, this one.

Back on Nerva, the Doctor and company watch nervously as the mysterious spaceship continues to approach the Beacon. Who could it possibly be?

Sue: It’s the ****ing Cybermen, you idiots! You’ve been chatting about them endlessly for hours and you are surrounded by Cybermats. Who the **** do you think it is? The ****ing Master?

Revenge of the CybermenThe ship docks and the Doctor rushes off to the airlock shouting the word on everyone’s lips: “Cybermen!”

Sue: They are laying the marimbas on a bit thick. It must be serious.

The Cybermen emerge from the airlock and they appear to kill everyone, including the Doctor.

Sue: Good cliffhanger. Terrible episode.

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Part Three

Revenge of the CybermenSue: They really should be playing accordion music right now.

Me: That’s very cruel.

The Cyberleader immediately takes control of the Beacon. And he isn’t in a good mood.

Sue: He sounds very angry for a Cyberman. They usually sound very monotone and unfeeling. This is a bit of a departure but I think I prefer it.

Me: What? Are you insane?

Sue: I can understand what he’s saying!

Me: I give up.

Sue: I admit that they aren’t as scary but at least he makes sense. Nice arse, too.

Me: Now I really give up.

Revenge of the CybermenThe Cybermen tie bombs to the Doctor, Lester and Stevenson. They will take them to the center of Voga and crack the planet in half.

Sue: So they are suicide bombers?

Me: Only if suicide entails being blown up by somebody else and you don’t want to die, yes.

Meanwhile, on Voga, the planet of gold…

Sue: I couldn’t give a shit about these Vogans. I tune out every time they appear. I don’t know who’s who, which ones are good, which ones are bad and what the hell they are trying to achieve. And I don’t really care either. And considering that this planet is supposed to be made of gold, it’s a bit of a shit hole, isn’t it? It should look like Lady Ga Ga’s apartment.

The Doctor accuses the Cybermen of being a pathetic bunch of tin soldiers skulking about the galaxy in an ancient spaceship.

Sue: Even the Doctor thinks they’re crap.

We are told that the Cybermen were defeated by something called a glitter gun…

Sue: That’s very glam.

The Cybermen are unimpressed by the Doctor’s bluster and he is sent to Voga with a bomb strapped to his back. Lester and Stevenson follow and they are escorted by two Cybermen.

Revenge of the CybermenSue: When the Cybermen are in dark caves and they don’t say anything, they are pretty good. But shouldn’t these Cybermen be dead already? They don’t like gold because it kills them, and yet here they are, standing in the middle of a planet made of the stuff. This should be like Superman visiting a planet made of Kryptonite. Why haven’t they keeled over yet?

Meanwhile, Harry, Sarah, and what we think are some friendly Vogans, are pinned down by some not-so-nice Vogans.

Sue: They couldn’t hit them and they were standing less than TWO FEET AWAY! Good grief!

Kellman admits that he is a double agent who is really working for the Vogans.

Sue: I don’t get it. If he wanted to work against the Cybermen, why did he try to kill the Doctor?

Me: Maybe he’s a good bad guy. Or a bad good guy. I don’t know! Maybe he just hates everyone.

Suddenly, another Cyberman decides to pipe up.

Sue: Now this guy is playing the part with no emotions. Which just makes the Cyberleader stick out like a sore thumb. Someone hasn’t read a memo.

Revenge of the CybermenAs the Doctor, Lester and Stevenson make their way through Voga’s cave system, the commander is forced to apologise: “I’m sorry, Doctor, I’m a bit wet”.

Sue: He’s not that scared, is he?

When I was writing this up, it dawned on me that what he really said was “I’m a bit whacked”, but it sure sounded like “wet” at the time.

What they don’t realise is that Harry and Kellman are very close. But when they accidentally set off a huge rockfall, it lands on top of the Doctor. Sue can’t believe that it wouldn’t have set the Doctor’s bomb off, but when Harry arrives to find Kellman dead and the Doctor unconscious, he tries to remove the bomb from his friend’s back – but if he succeeds it will go off in his face.

Sue: Another good cliffhanger. That’s about the best thing I can say about this.

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Part Four

Revenge of the Cybermen“Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!”

Sue: You know, I could imagine Matt Smith saying that to Rory Pond.

Me: Only if he got Rory’s name wrong.

Sue: You know what I mean – that jokey shouty thing he does sometimes.

Poor Harry can’t remember what the Cybermen are called.

Sue: Harry’s just like me. I can’t keep up with this story either.

Harry and the Doctor arm themselves with fistfuls of gold and it’s at this point that we are joined by Nicol, who is waiting for us to finish so we can watch The Apprentice.

Nicol: It’s The Crystal Maze. It even sounds like The Crystal Maze. But don’t put that in the blog. I think I mentioned The Crystal Maze once before and everyone will think I’m obsessed with it.

Sue: I don’t remember you mentioning it before.

Nicol: Oh, if I did then I’m sure Neil’s readers will remember it. It’s just a hunch I have.

Sue: Do you know what annoys me the most about this episode?

Me: Go on.

Sue: Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – make your bloody mind up! It keeps jumping around every couple of minutes and it stops the whole thing from flowing together.

Revenge of the CybermenThe Doctor and Harry decide to ambush the Cybermen by jumping on them with fistfuls of gold dust. As they fight, Lester looks down on the scene dispassionately.

Sue: He’s showing less emotion than the Cybermen!

But he was steeling himself to be the suicide bomber that Sue always suspected him to be.

Sue: Oh, fair enough. That was brave. Hang on a minute, the Cybermen intend to blow up an entire planet with three bombs but when that one went off it barely took out a couple of Cybermen. I’m not convinced.

The Doctor arrives at the Vogans’ HQ and when he learns that they are about to blow Nerva out of the sky with a rocket, he asks for 15 minutes so he can rescue his friend, Sarah Jane.

Sue: 15 minutes won’t kill you.

Nicol: Oh, I don’t know, I’m struggling a bit.

The Cybermen decide to revert to Plan B, which involves sending Nerva careering into Voga itself.

Sue: Plan B should have been Plan A – it’s a much better plan. I bet Plan C is a belter.

The militant branch of the Vogans launch their Sky Striker rocket and it looks a lot like Apollo Saturn V rocket, a fact not lost on Nicol, who is currently laughing her head off.

Revenge of the CybermenThe Cyberleader is so angry, he decides to give the Doctor a very vigorous neck massage.

Sue: Down a bit. Left a bit. Yes, that’s it. Just there.

I ask Sue what she makes of the Cyberleader’s habit of strutting around with his hands on his hips.

Sue: Either he’s suffering from back ache or he thinks he’s it.

The Cybermen depart from Nerva, leaving the Doctor and Sarah to face “the biggest bang in history”. Nicol is far from convinced.

Nicol: Really? Are you absolutely sure about that?

The departing Cybermen are destroyed by the Vogan’s Sky Striker.

Sue: Idiots.

The Doctor wrestles with the controls of Nerva, which is now on a collision course with Voga.

Revenge of the CybermenSue: It’s a wood-turning lathe with some shit smeared all over it. I can see what they are trying to do but it looks stupid.

Nicol is laughing too much to get any words out.

The Doctor manages to steer the space station to safety – Nicol tries to interject but I shush her – and then the Doctor’s TARDIS turns up.

Sue: It’s as if it was hanging around waiting for this bloody story to end.

The Brigadier has called the Doctor back to Earth…

Sue: Is he going back to work for UNIT?

Me: It certainly looks that way.

Sue: Thank **** for that.

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The Final Score

Sue: What a load of old rubbish. It started well but it rapidly went downhill. The Cybermen were rubbish, the aliens were rubbish, the locations were wasted, the direction was terrible and the plot was impossible to follow. Tom Baker had some nice moments but that was a mess.

3/10

Me: Well, that was the end of Tom Baker’s first season.

Sue: Really? Wow. It flew by. It wasn’t a great story to finish a season on, though. I hope there are some decent stories along soon.

The experiment continues…
 

Wife in Space Extra

Sue can’t escape from Doctor Who these days. Even at her place of work. Take the work-in-progress video below, which was made by some university students Sue recently supervised. It includes a voiceover from Glen Allen, appearances from Rob Shearman and my good friends Rob Ritchie and John Paul ‘Rise of the Cybermen‘ Green, as well as a blink and you’ll definitely miss her cameo from the Wife in Space (can you spot her?). Even my bookshelves get a look-in. Enjoy!

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If you don’t own this story, why not buy it on DVD? If you use the link below, we get a small cut, which will help pay for the site’s running costs. Many thanks for your support (UK residents only).

 

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Discussion

  1. Adam Birch  March 29, 2012

    For all Revenge’s faults, I still find it endearing. Maybe it’s the nostalgia for its time or a time when it was all you could get of the series on video.

    As to the music, it could be worse. If it was Murray Gold, there’d be 94 minutes of music in a continuous suite called “Revenge of the Wrong Trousers”

    “My Skystriker! My glory…!”

    • DPC  March 30, 2012

      Agreed.

      The story is total pants (with flares!), but yet it remains watchable despite sheer numbers of truly horrible moments.

      Maybe it is the nostalgia and innocence of the time… and that unique feel that season 12 offers…

    • Frankymole  March 30, 2012

      The season flew by because it was only twenty episodes… though you could point out after “Zygons” that that story was made as part of the same season, intended to be shown straight after “Revenge” (and giving Harry a proper exit after his few weeks’ adventuring), until some looney decided to start showing Who in the Autumn and held it over for over 3 months. A ridiculously long wait, thank goodness they don’ty fiddle with the season start dates to that extent these days.

  2. Lewis  March 29, 2012

    Awh, I’m fine with this. Sue mocks it and rips it apart but she seemed to rather enjoy it for all it was – a fun, campy romp. Plus let’s not forget the next story was the intended finale, so I can forgive it for not being a great series closing story. Though the quality has dropped massively since ‘Genesis’. It’s a mish mash, this one, but I love it and I’m glad it appears Sue had fun with it! I was preparing myself for a harsh 1/10.

  3. Paul L  March 29, 2012

    “The Doctor describes the Cybermen as “total machine creatures”.

    Sue: No they aren’t.

    That made me smile.”

    That made me smile, too! :)

  4. Dave Sanders  March 29, 2012

    If Sue’s oggling at their hand-on-hips Cyberarseness now, wait till she gets a load of what Peter Grimwade does with them.

    • DPC  March 30, 2012

      *snicker*

      Yeah, I noticed his camera shots there as well… definitely a fantastic director, and many of his POV shots are inspired (which reminds me of another story, some 6 years distant, that I can’t wait to defend because the camera position was to reflect us, the viewer, along for the ride with the companions to suggest we’re there with *them*), but the one scene in “Earthshock” just has no POV that adds up…

      Looking forward to when that episode gets reviewed. :D

  5. Stuart Ian Burns  March 29, 2012

    That planet is one of my favourite things in Doctor Who. I always imagine someone in a beige coloured short sleeve shirt stroking his Edmunds beard, nodding his head and saying. “Hmm … job done. Pub?”

  6. Glen Allen  March 29, 2012

    For years I swore Magrik was called Margaret!
    I honestly thought that was the name :)

    “Cybermen : Nice arse”
    (Ok slightly edited but I think it or something similair would make a good mug)
    Sorry about yours Neil…err I mean judging from your reaction :)

    • Paul Kirkley  March 29, 2012

      I always thought it was Margaret too – I’m very disappointed it isn’t, to be honest.

  7. Alex Wilcock  March 29, 2012

    I can imagine a t-shirt with ‘Something of the Insert Monster Name Here’ and “Er, the clue is in the title, Neil” below.

    “It’s the ****ing Cybermen, you idiots! You’ve been chatting about them endlessly for hours and you are surrounded by Cybermats. Who the **** do you think it is? The ****ing Master?”

    Glad Sue’s obsessed with arses tonight, too. Well, not completely with arses: “Bloody hell! It’s the size of a snake!” Mind you, she’s missed an opportunity to quote Christopher Robbie: “I admit that they aren’t as scary but at least he makes sense. Nice arse, too” surely merits a “CYBER-BUMS!”

    “Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – make your bloody mind up! It keeps jumping around every couple of minutes and it stops the whole thing from flowing together.” Roger Murray-Leach is usually such a fantastic designer, but even he’s not up to much here. Those caves just don’t look like… Those caves.

    This was only the fifth story I ever saw, and I can’t help loving it for old times’ sake, but Sue’s right. Even its mum would have to admit it’s rubbish. “Nicol is laughing too much to get any words out” sums it up.

    Still, at least there are those brilliant themes of the season one more time: blasted worlds; placing survival at all costs over what makes us human; pitting alien / machine logic and intelligence against humanity… This should have been the perfect battle between humanity and its half-machine ‘descendants’. Yet somehow Bob Holmes manages to miss dead men walking wrapped up in a bow and given him as a present and makes an unholy mess of the script, even before everything goes wrong on screen from the dummies to The Kebab In Space. Everything went so right with the previous story that you’d swear it has a picture of this one in its attic.

    • Glen Allen  March 29, 2012

      Id actually never noticed the dummies before, even on multiple viewings, until I saw it all cleared up on DVD

      • Michael  March 30, 2012

        Same here. Got the DVD and I was gobsmacked by the dummies. I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed them before. I rented this as soon as it came out and copied it (I know, very naughty, but it was incredibly expensive) so perhaps the second generation haze meant I didn’t notice.

    • charles yoakum  March 29, 2012

      good point alex. I’ve always been so annoyed with this story that i never really thought about the fact that, in the most horror specific era of Doctor Who ever, aliens that are basically about body horror should have been Holmes’ greatest moment, and instead they’re one of his worst. Likely he was just exhausted and overwhelmed and couldnt be arsed to write yet another approved and paid for script from scratch… again.

      A truly horrific Cyberman spare parts story would have been so beautifully in line with the Hinchcliffe era that you would have thought that they would have returned to it… but no.

      • solar penguin  March 30, 2012

        The only real weak spot of Robert Holmes was that he couldn’t take an existing race and build a story around that race’s unique characteristics. Instead he was much better at saying “My story needs a bad guy with these new characteristics, so I’ll create a brand new race to match.”

        Whenever he had to re-use old races, they always ended up as generic monster armies. (Even if he created the race in the first place, as in The Two Doctors.)

        What was

        • solar penguin  March 30, 2012

          Oops. ignore the “what was” at the end. I thought I’d deleted that.

    • DPC  March 30, 2012

      Your last paragraph really hits the nail on the head.

      For only what might have been…

  8. Jazza1971  March 29, 2012

    As I mentioned on Facebook, I got this one on Betamax when I was a young lad and so I will always have a soft spot for it, even though it is really a bit shit. I feel the same way about “The Krotons” due to it being the first Troughton story I ever saw.

  9. Dave Sanders  March 29, 2012

    About the Cyberbombs: I always understood it that the belt buckles had seperate booby-trap explosives in the buckle that would kill the wearer, but not detonate the bomb. The bombs have to be set at a certain depth, so the survivors and their guard could then continue the mission without instant failure. Plus, what would otherwise stop somebody, who knew they were doomed, from detonating their bomb on the station before transport, and taking all the Cybermen with them?

    • Jazza1971  March 29, 2012

      But then surely they would just remove the bomb anyway since they knew they were doomed, why take an entire planet with you if you could just sacrifice yourself?

      • Dave Sanders  March 29, 2012

        Errrrrrr…. you know, Kit Pedlar could have co-written this. It could have made even *less* sense.

        • Frankymole  March 30, 2012

          Cybermen are masters of human psychology (all that “studying” them as they face death) – see how the Cyberleader in Earthshock knows the Doctor’s weakness, by threatening Tegan’s life the Cyberleader can get the Doctor to do whatever he wants.

          Similarly, it’s well known that humans have a “where there’s life, there’s hope” and “something wil lturn up” attitude… hostages will usually go on to the bitter end rather than lose their lives fighting on the spot. There are exceptions, as we saw on one flight on 9/11, but most will cling on hoping for a last-minute reprieve. In Doctor Who, unlike real life, they usually get one!

      • Justin Key  March 30, 2012

        The Cybermen did tell the party they would be given time to escape – another reason (on the off chance the Cybermen were telling the truth) not to kill yourself taking the bomb off early.

        • Jazza1971  March 30, 2012

          Ah, good point!

          • PolarityReversed  March 31, 2012

            The Doctor against the Cybermen is reminiscent for me of classic James Bond (pre gadgets and silly buggers). An evil stratagem is calculated, but in saunters this flippant rogue element, introducing the incalculable – some combination of improvisation, inspiration, determination, the “human factor”. A theme the new series has often explored, albeit often in a rather cack-handed fashion. It comes straight out of the thriller/hardboiled hero genre. Like chess – play the opponent, not the board. This one, for all its flaws, is very much in that spirit and I’m fond of it for that reason.

  10. Harry  March 29, 2012

    I have the dubious honour of being born the day that Episode 4 was first broadcast…still, at least it means I didn’t have to watch it! ;)
    I do think the regulars are watchable, as always, and some of the cloak and dagger stuff on Nerva is passable, but the Vogans, from memory, are a boring bunch, and it’s hard to keep track of who’s who, or what their aims are. The head-mounted blasters for the Cybermen were a good idea, mind.

  11. DPC  March 30, 2012

    “So it must be a good one, then.”

    :)

    “Sue: Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – make your bloody mind up!”

    LOL – Season 12 tried to be uniform with video, but for this one story they just couldn’t get the video cameras for the location shooting… it does end up looking worse than usual, despite some great location filming…

    But Sue’s comments rocked the house!

    Especially regarding the Cybermen lumbering around inside a gold planet and not being affected, despite the story hyping up the (convenient) weakness, not to be made as convenient until a story airing some 14 years later…

    Well, usually they do but for this story she certainly offers no sympathy for what clearly was a badly written script. By the very creator of the Cybermen, now reduced to “total machine creatures” (with emotions!!).

    • DPC  March 30, 2012

      Oops.

      Clarification: “Sue’s comments typically rock the house, but it’s even better that she offers no sympathy for…”

  12. Fred  March 30, 2012

    “Why on earth would they bury an actor as good as him in all that plastic crap?”

    Indeed! And top it off, it’s Stoney’s last appearance in the series! :P

  13. Eve  March 30, 2012

    This irksome issue that some modern tv audiences have with the
    ” Video – Film – Video – Film – Video – Film – Video” issue
    has never has bothered me as it does ,in fact,
    reflect the real life experience of things ‘feeling’ different from an inside surrounding and an ‘outside’ environment.
    In a way these two formats are perfect for conveying the differences & adding to the atmosphere?

  14. Chris Too-old-to-watch  March 30, 2012

    What gets my goat with this (apart from story/direction/acting and production values) is the introduction of yet another way of defeating the cybermen. “OK Benton, we have these incredibly powerful part robotic humanoids who are trying to conquer the universe. Their only weaknesses are radiation, gold, emotions and nail varnish remover. Quick, dispatch the special squad of ultra-camp, blinged up, irradiated drag queens: it’s our only hope.”

    I think probably the main problem was that all the budget had been spent on location filming and decent props for the other stories. By the time they’d got to this, they had to use any old costumes and props that were lying around. If this had happened in a few seasons time, we’d probably ended up with Revenge of the Nimon…….

    • John Callaghan  March 30, 2012

      “…the special squad of ultra-camp, blinged up, irradiated drag queens…”

      This is a spin-off I’d very much like to see. Add “…in space!” to the end of it and it’s my new favourite show.

  15. Dominic Francis  March 30, 2012

    “Who the **** do you think it is? The ****ing Master?”

    Loving the ironic self-referencing. Almost a full Doctor Who fan, almost. ;)

  16. Simon Harries  March 30, 2012

    The mug for this story DEFINITELY has to feature a silhouette of the Cyberleader with his hands on his hips, alongside Sue’s comment: “Either he’s suffering from back ache or he thinks he’s it.”

    Incidentally, I was amused by the editing of the student film which causes us to see a good thirty seconds of JPG slating David Tennant’s Doctor for being too knowing, to the extent of seeming arrogant, and then a minute or so later we see him waxing lyrical about his appearance alongside Tennant!

  17. Frankymole  March 30, 2012

    “Oh, fair enough. That was brave. Hang on a minute, the Cybermen intend to blow up an entire planet with three bombs but when that one went off it barely took out a couple of Cybermen. I’m not convinced.”

    There is a smaller charge in the belt buckle to kill any of the three guys who remove their own bomb pack; an individual deterrent. The Cybermen want the big bombs to go off in the centre of the planet – if the main backpack bomb detonates (and destroys the other bombers as well) they’ll have failed in their Revenge on Voga!

  18. Darren Mackay  March 30, 2012

    “They’re utterly ruthless, total machine creatures”

    No, no, no – he’s not talking literally! He means they’re single-minded, completely focussed on their task and utterly determined, surely?

    This is always going to be one of my favourite stories for the simple fact that it was the first non-current Doctor story I ever saw. And those funky disco Cybermen, love them.

    Mark me down as another one for the ‘hands-on-hips silhouette’ mug by the way, genius idea :)

  19. Fuschia Begonia  March 30, 2012

    I only watched this story a few weeks ago and spent most of the first episode utterly confused as to who was attempting to do what to whom. After that, I really didn’t care, but it was nice to hear Silver (David Collings, who also did the voice of Monkey, if I remember right) buggering about on a planet of gold.

    • PolarityReversed  March 30, 2012

      Collings pops up in Who again somewhere, I think. One of a whole batch of damn good actors who’d do the gig for the beer money. I’ll always remember him as the voice of Legolas in Radio 4′s Lord of the Rings.

      The Vogan political intrigue was okay up to a point, but it was the scenes of little old men in gold lame cardigans shooting at each other that really dragged for me. And that cyberleader. I’ve seen more emotionally subdued performances in sodding Wagner…

      Oh and whatsisface on the video: “I’m not really a diehard fan.” Framed in front of a bookcase rammed full of action figures and a collection of Daleks lovingly laid out in what looks like strict evolutionary order. If that’s a 3 fan on a scale of 1-5, then your scale must be logarithmic, mate!

      • Paul Mudie  March 30, 2012

        Collings does indeed pop up again, in The Robots of Death. :)

        • Leo  March 30, 2012

          And Mawdryn Undead.

          • Paul Mudie  March 30, 2012

            Aha! I haven’t seen that one since it was first on the telly. I’ll be seeing it this Saturday though, because my partner and I are doing a sort of lightweight version of “Wife in Space” (we’re only watching stuff that’s on DVD, and we only watch it on Saturdays) and Mawdryn is next on our list!

        • Leo  March 30, 2012

          And indeed, he was also in a Big Finish Unbound story, in which he played the Doctor.

  20. Russell Watson  March 30, 2012

    Nooo, 3/10???? Say it ain’t so!

    No, I can see where Sue’s coming from here but this one will always have a special place in my heart being the first Doctor Who I can clearly remember watching when my brother got the video crica 1990. Got it on DVD for my birthday recently & thoroughly enjoyed it. It was actually the first time i’d seen it in episodic format.

    There are several “Eh?” moments, given the previous Cybermen story was Invasion, it’s as if they’ve not seen any of the prvious ones. The Gold thing is flippantly & needlessly added in and I console myself that The Cybermen can only stay on the edges of Voga or something.

    One (sad) point though. When Sue states about Lesters bomb not blowing up much, it was only the booby trapped buckle that went off. That said, the scenes like that and the rockfall do totally negate the Doctors threat to drop a Cyberbomb, they’re obviously very resiliant. ]

    But I still love this story.

  21. Matthew Marcus  March 30, 2012

    One wonders if this show (which a fair few people seem to have at least half of a soft spot for) suffers from having to follow all-time fan favourite Genesis.

    Of course, being as I don’t especially care for Genesis, it goes the other way for me and I like Revenge much more than everyone else seems to! Yes, it has multiple counts of extreme naffness, but this is Doctor Who we’re talking about, gotta love it even when the production misses what the script was aiming for by a wide margin.

    I do think Season 12 is a lot overrated though. The debut of a great Doctor, a new production team that definitely has some Big Ideas, one arguable (okay, not arguable except by me ;) classic and an early attempt at a dodgy story arc (story arcs rarely fare well on Doctor Who, am I right?) – and yet it somehow adds up to less than the sum of its dismembered body horror parts. Still, lots to look forward to…

    • PolarityReversed  March 30, 2012

      re story arcs:

      I quite enjoy a bit of gentle tidy linkage between stories. It’s the arcs where you’re expected to recall detail from a scene broadcast three months ago to make sense of things that bug me.

  22. Paul Mudie  March 30, 2012

    It’s a hard story to defend, but I do have a soft spot for it because it was the first time I ever saw the Cybermen on the telly, and the caves are pretty. :)

  23. John Williams  March 30, 2012

    Very funny update and a fair score even though I brainwashed myself into liking this story by watching it about a million times when it came out on video. One of the reasons I watched it a lot was to get value for money – it was my Christmas present that year and it cost *£39.99* – not £29.99. I think Pyramids of Mars (the third release) was £29.99.

  24. Jazza1971  March 30, 2012

    Just got round to watching the video. A nice piece that I feel would sit easily amongst other classic series DVD docs.

  25. wholahoop  March 30, 2012

    I cannot look at the Cyber Leader in this story and help but think of the two guards in the scene in Blackadder II where Blackadder and Melchie escape from captivity

  26. Matt Sharp  March 30, 2012

    Ah. that screen grab alone is enough for the old Radiophonic theme for BBC Video to play in my head…

    ‘Diddle le diddle le Diddle le diddle le Diddle le diddle le Diddle le diddle le Diddle le diddle le pong pong pong PONG pong ping pong pong trattatata trattatata trattatata bududum vwonNNNGG dudum.’

    They don’t write tunes like that any more…

    You can’t get the wobulators, you know.

  27. BWT  March 30, 2012

    Hehehe… yes, it is shit – but it’s shit of the highest and most enjoyable order. I can’t help liking this story – it’s naively charming…

    T-shirt? “It’s the ****ing Cybermen, you idiots! You’ve been chatting about them endlessly for hours and you are surrounded by Cybermats. Who the **** do you think it is? The ****ing Master?” It’s a bit long but it’ll do…

  28. Bryan Simcott  March 31, 2012

    When you do the book , can we have some more additional comments from Neil, as I disscussed (pointed a finger at accusingly) of not watching Dr Who with me to my Husband. He said, the experiment is a nice Idea but what effect is it having on the poor Doctor Who Fan who is getting his hero and fave TV series talked about ripped apart or even loved by his Wife, Nicol and sometimes brother in law Gary.

    How does that make Neil feel. now after all this time of the experiment.

    Revenge is a dish served cold. Late winter nights, dim lighting and put the DvD on. its great fun and maybe is worth 5/10 but there are so many problems, its hard to list them all

  29. WhoCares  March 31, 2012

    Your wife seems like a bit of a sour c**t really. One of those hipster Who fans who think themselves superior to the very show that they purport to be a fan of to begin with, and who are the attention seeking bane of regular fans everywhere. I pity you and your ‘experiment’.

    • Lewis  March 31, 2012

      Give up reading, we don’t need people like you around thanks. You clearly have no sense of humour, or can’t hack someone disliking something you clearly adore. Why get personal when you don’t even know Sue or Neil? That says a lot about you, to be honest, and you sort’ve come across as rather stuck up and arrogant yourself. Just my opinion thoough. I pity you and your lack of decency/manners/sense of humour.

    • Jazza1971  March 31, 2012

      Wow, I’m too polite to say what you seem like.

    • Patrick Sanders  March 31, 2012

      How horrible to take the time out just to post such a nasty post. Apart from anything else, the whole point is that Sue isn’t a fan of the show, but is approaching it with an open mind. She hates some episodes because she’s grown to appreciate just how good it can get. I love watching the show through a non-fan’s eyes.

      You c*ck-faced wh@re master.

      • Patrick Sanders  March 31, 2012

        Sorry I was trying to be polite for Sue’s honour but an insult escaped.

        • Frankymole  April 1, 2012

          It’s just spam – clearly WhoCares hasn’t been reading the blog, calling Sue a “fan”!

      • Dave Sanders  April 1, 2012

        Nononono, that’s the wrong vowel. It should be ‘wh0re master’ on the internets as any fule no.

        • Patrick Sanders  April 1, 2012

          Up yours b•mh*lé.

          I’m terribly sorry. It seems once you start it’s hard to stop. How embarrassing. But then we’ve said much worse to each other over 35 odd years :-) have you moved? We are on a ferry to Wales as I type.

      • Antinous  April 1, 2012

        Bless Colin I feel less soiled now.

    • Dave Sanders  April 1, 2012

      Wow. Epic point-missing there, congraturation.

    • Paul Mudie  April 1, 2012

      And you seem like the kind of nasty troll that gives “regular fans” a bad name.

    • Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 1, 2012

      Speaking as someone who has watched the series since it started in 1963 (so not a hipster Who fan), I can freely admit to being a fan, but a realistic one who knows that some of the stories, actors, effects and even seasons are total and absolute pants. I suggest that WhoCares takes their highly self-inflated head and sticks it even further up their capacious arse.
      Anyway I thought hipsters were a type of trouser worn by Polly (and possibly Ben)

      • Neil Perryman  April 1, 2012

        Sue is actually *very* upset by this. She can’t believe that someone a) thinks she’s hip and b) thinks she’s a fan of Doctor Who. I’ll try and talk her down.

        • Jazza1971  April 1, 2012

          But does she think herself superior to the show, Neil?

          • Dave Sanders  April 1, 2012

            To paraphrase the Ninth Doctor; she doesn’t have to, we know how good she is.

        • Lewis  April 1, 2012

          Good to see you both taking this in your stride. The original comment says more about the poster, too shy to post his name.

          Let the experiment commence, and let all cunts fuck off (put bluntly, anyway).

    • Matt Sharp  April 1, 2012

      P’shaw, relax everyone, it’s just a type one Troll (Deliberately Obtuse). Don’t attack it with flame, you’ll just send the whole place up. This isn’t Dungeons & Dragons, you know.

      Just ignore it, they hate being ignored.

      See how it attempts to distract from it’s attention seeking with a preemptive accusation of attention seeking? Why, it’s a rank amateur…

      • PolarityReversed  April 1, 2012

        Oddly apt and amusing that such a puerile piece of online shouting “f**k you” and running away should attach to a “cyber” story. But then, the term “cyberspace” is already getting rather dated and charming – much like 70s Who…

        Anyway, I feel that even a diehard fan delights in affectionately knocking the show’s shortcomings. Surely you can’t appreciate Who at all unless you’ve got a bit of a soft spot for knowing silly whimsy?

    • Russell Watson  April 12, 2012

      what an awful awful person you appear to be. Even if it’s not truly meant, which would be bad enough, you’re probably trolling which is worse. As has been said, obviously no idea what the blogs really about. I know this was a while back now but can’t believe this. It’s no wonder Neil’s felt like a break on things if it’s stuff like this (and no doubt worse) they’ve been subjected to.

  30. John G  March 31, 2012

    An amusing entry – let’s face it, Sue is generally at her funniest when discussing stories she dislikes! Her display of Cyberlust was a little disturbing, however…

    I actually don’t mind Revenge, though maybe that’s because my expectations were very low when I sat down to watch it. For all its flaws it is at least entertaining, though I agree with Sue that Kevin Stoney – possibly my favourite Who guest star – is badly wasted here. The Cybermat attacking Sarah scene is also irrdeemably naff, and it is curious that the co-creator of the Cybermen should so badly emasculate his own inventions.

    “I hope there are some decent stories along soon.”

    I can’t wait for Sue’s take on Season 13, particularly as she has given 12 a rather lukewarm reception overall. As someone who finds the next season distinctly overrated for the most part, it will be fascinating to see if she concurs…

  31. David Rolinson  March 31, 2012

    “WhoCares” (hiding behind a pseudonym like all members of the troll community, unless he changed it by deed poll to reflect his love of cutting-edge protest records) weighing in with some lovely self-defeating irony there. “hipster Who fans”? What next? “warmongering animal-torturing Belle and Sebastian fans”? You’re right to say that someone on here is being sour-faced and attention seeking…

    So people who think that some episodes of Doctor Who are maybe not quite as good as others “think themselves superior to the very show that they purport to be a fan of”? Cobblers. It’s the sort of conversation that fans have all the time as part of our affection for the series, and it’s also a way that we define the ones we love the most. Did you see the score for Genesis?!

    There’s a type of Doctor Who fan who gives everyone else a bad name and makes non-fans climb out of fourth-floor windows rather than engage in any sort of social discourse with a Doctor Who fan. To rewrite your post (and thereby give more thought to it than you obviously did), someone who “thinks themselves superior to anyone who is in any way critical of Doctor Who”. Fandom has never meant “suspend all critical faculties and think the whole thing perfect and post foul-mouthed abuse if anyone deviates from it”. Or if you’re going to disagree, how about using some of the humour, charm, respect or love that the series is itself about, and thereby indicate that it in some way enriches your life or that you understand it?

    It is possible to adore Doctor Who and yet think that Revenge of the Cybermen is possibly not the best example of it.

    • Dave Sanders  April 1, 2012

      I had just finished rewatching The Invisible Enemy before checking up on the site and finding this palaver going on. Sometimes fans will forgive or accept literally anything… just not each other.

  32. Glen Allen  April 1, 2012

    Ive just found this clip of one of my intros to this story on UK Gold. Skip to about 1’25” if you’re interested.
    If not, don’t :)

    • Jazza1971  April 1, 2012

      Ahhh…happy memories!

  33. encyclops  April 2, 2012

    This is one of those stories I find difficult to hold in my mind, though I know I watched it often enough to remember the Cybermats and that creepy glowing vein effect their poison had. THAT I found scary and effective, at least at the time, and it is to me the mark of a proper Cybermat. I was and remain more frightened of small things that scuttle about and can hide in unexpected places than large lumbering monsters, and I hold the Cybermats (and Mr. Sin) partially responsible for this.

    Also, may I recommend that you not feed the trolls? I too am tempted to defend Neil, Sue, and the blog against comments like the above, but I find it more distressing to read the replies than the original post (the kind of nonsense long years wasted on the internet have taught me to ignore). I’m never certain what motivates people like that, but I have to assume that part of it is delight at seeing the hornets’ nest stirred up.

  34. Professor Thascales  April 3, 2012

    I agree with Sue that the first episode is good and then it goes bad. I always liked episode 1, but when the main action moves to Voga I find it more and more boring. Even when the Cybermen massacre the Vogans, it’s so slow and one-sided that it almost puts me to sleep.

  35. Colin John Francis  April 11, 2012

    “When the Cybermen are in dark caves and they don’t say anything, they are pretty good. But shouldn’t these Cybermen be dead already? They don’t like gold because it kills them, and yet here they are, standing in the middle of a planet made of the stuff. This should be like Superman visiting a planet made of Kryptonite. Why haven’t they keeled over yet?” – I’ve always countered this plot ‘hole’ with this rejoiner (and it makes sense to me), “I can drown in water, doesn’t stop me swimming in the swimming baths” :-)

  36. farsighted99  May 27, 2012

    Not Robert Holmes best story. It says on the credits Gerry Davis wrote it, and Holmes was script editor, so perhaps that’s why. I did like a lot of it though. It just fell down at the end. The aliens of Voga were beyond bizarre-looking. They looked like you could knock them over with a toothpick, The fact they were fighting each other seemed odd to me. Eventually I didn’t care about them at all. I lost track of who was who. I had this fixation on their long blond hair and varying degrees of baldness. :D The Cyberman… they were too chatty, for one thing. And the voice acting was awful. And what’s up with the guns built into their foreheads? They just stood there and rained bullets and hit a target almost every time, hands to their side. Looked silly to me. Iiked the cybermat the best! Tom Baker was great, I love his wackiness.

    Vorus said, when talking about his rocket, that “I had a dream” and that made me laugh. And I really couldn’t believe how realistic those “video devices” they made for this show look like stuff we have today. Well, sort of. Hard to beat The Tomb of the Cybermen. And that’s it for Cybermen until the 5th Doctor.