At least Colin Baker continues to impress in one TV show…
Sue: He’s lovely. In fact, he’s my tip to win. He doesn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. And he’s the perfect gentleman, always comforting everyone around him.
But watching I’m A Celebrity… comes at a price. Ant and Dec have revealed to Sue the Sixth Doctor will encounter Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans during his adventures. Even worse, a trivia question set during a mini-trial went something like this: Colin Baker played Doctor Who for how many episodes?
Me: How the hell did you know that?
Sue: Well, you told me once that Colin was only in eight stories, and eight multiplied by four is 32.
Me: You’re right, there are eight stories, and Colin does play the Doctor in 32 episodes (if you count The Caves of Androzani), but in the season we’re about to watch, the episodes are double-length.
Sue: So they’re 50 minutes long?
Me: Yes, and the programme is back on Saturdays as well.
Sue: So it’s proper Doctor Who again?
Me: Yes, Sue, it’s proper Doctor Who again.
Sue: Ooh, Cybermen. And they haven’t tried to hide them this time. So who’s Paula Moore?
Me: I’ll explain later.
Sue: The last time a woman wrote for Doctor Who, it was excellent.
Attack of the Cybermen begins in a sewer.
Sue: Hey, John Cleese is in Doctor Who again. That’s nice.
Unfortunately, the John Cleese lookalike doesn’t make it past the opening scene.
Sue: It’s very atmospheric. Yes, this is a very good start indeed.
Meanwhile the Doctor is fiddling with something in his TARDIS.
Sue: Has anyone ever tried watching Colin Baker’s stories in black and white? I’m trying to get past his coat, Neil, but it isn’t easy. And the Play School music isn’t exactly helping.
Peri’s costume also raises an eyebrow.
Sue: Is there a gym on the TARDIS? Aerobics was very popular in the 1980s, so she just about gets away with it. And I bet you’re not complaining.
The action shifts to contemporary Earth and a Euston Film already in progress.
Sue: Hey, it’s Gangster Man. Is he playing the same part as last time?
Me: Yes, it’s Maurice Colbourne and he’s still playing Lytton.
Sue: Good. Ooh! It’s him, the referee from Kes! He’s brilliant in that. What about the guy in the front passenger seat? Is he famous?
Me: That’s Terry Molloy. He’s in The Archers.
Sue: What about the other one in the back?
Me: **** knows.
The TARDIS has materialised next to Halley’s comet in 1985.
Sue: I can still remember when that was a big deal. People thought the world was going to end. A bit like this year, in fact. I bet you were terrified, Neil. You always fall for crap like that.
And then she has a sudden change of heart when it comes to Malcolm Clarke’s music, and before she knows it she’s happily humming along to the ever-so-jaunty ‘Lytton’s Gang’ theme.
Sue: I love a good heist film. I wish they wouldn’t keep cutting back to the TARDIS. Give me some more heist action!
Peri isn’t exactly thrilled to be in such close proximity to a comet.
Sue: I used to think Tegan was the whiniest companion on Doctor Who, but Peri is in a different league.
The fake policemen from Resurrection of the Daleks are back on the beat again.
Sue: That’s risky after what happened last time. It’s almost as if the producer wants to court controversy.
Sue’s opinion of Colin’s Doctor is almost as unpredictable as his persona.
Sue: He’d be a lot better if he just calmed his face down a bit. He has over-active eyebrows.
At least she has some nice things to say about Attack of the Cybermen’s direction.
Sue: So who directed this? It’s very good.
Me: Matthew Robinson. You liked his direction for Resurrection of the Daleks, too. Actually, I didn’t realise until somebody mentioned it on the blog that he’s Tom Robinson’s brother.
Sue (Singing) 2-4-6-8-Exterminate!
Me: Too late now.
Sue: You see the comments do come in handy sometimes. You should turn them back on again.
Me: I’m still thinking about it.
The TARDIS materialises in a junkyard in Totter’s Lane.
Sue: Why are they playing the Steptoe and Son theme? And is this supposed to be a reference to the first episode?
But before I can get into that…
Sue: Hey, Peri actually remembered to shut the door behind her! Miracles really do happen!
The chameleon circuit turns the TARDIS into an ornate dresser.
Sue: Wouldn’t it be funny if, when they came back, the TARDIS had been sold at an auction?
The Doctor is still acting very erratically.
Sue: Why doesn’t he just make himself a zero cupboard? Is he going to be unstable forever? I thought they’d be over this by now.
The Doctor and Peri race down a cobbled alleyway.
Sue: Peri isn’t wearing the right shoes for this. And this is her fourth story. Is she completely stupid?
The chameleon circuit transforms the TARDIS into a pipe organ.
Sue: He could play his theme tune on that as he fights his enemies.
Then the Doctor almost falls into a hole.
Sue: That was a bit Chuckle Brothers.
The Doctor fights a bent copper in the sewer while Peri overpowers another one with some dust from a brick.
Sue: You go, girl!
The Doctor eventually knocks his policeman out (off-screen).
Sue: Colin’s a bit handy. Peter Davison would have surrendered or run away.
Sue really seems to be enjoying this episode’s sewer scenes.
Sue: The sets are very good, and so is the lighting. Even the script comes alive when we’re down here.
Sue is thrilled when the Cybermen finally appear. She even sings their clang-clang-clang theme tune. Or was that just me?
Sue: This is great. There’s a grittiness to this that I really like. It’s a huge step up from last time.
The Cyber Leader interrogates Lytton.
Sue: The Cyberman in charge has a great voice. It’s just a shame that the one standing next to him sounds so ridiculous.
The Cyber Controller is based on the planet Telos.
Sue: We’ve been to Telos before, haven’t we? That definitely rings a bell.
Me: That’s where The Tomb of the Cybermen took place.
Sue: Was that the racist one?
Sue: That’s the only thing I remember about it.
Now that we’ve arrived an alien planet, Sue’s patience begins to wear a bit thin.
Sue: I’m totally lost, now. There’s a lot going on all at once. I like these two, though.
She’s talking about Lytton and Griffiths.
Sue: I could watch them all day.
Meanwhile two prisoners have escaped from the Cybermen’s clutches on Telos.
Sue: What’s Peter Gabriel doing in this?
While deep beneath the surface of Telos, the Cyber Controller plots and schemes.
Sue: Hang on a minute… Isn’t that Michael Kilgarriff, the actor who played the original Cyber Controller in 1967’s The Tomb of the Cybermen?
No, of course she didn’t say that. No one has ever said that.
Me: Fans call him the Fat Controller.
Sue: See Colin, you can come back if you put on a few pounds.
The Doctor and Peri encounter Terry Molloy in the sewers and it isn’t long before the undercover cop finds himself on the wrong end of the Doctor’s latest gadget – a sonic lance.
Sue: Just get a new sonic screwdriver. You can’t replace it with something that does exactly the same thing and call it something else! That’s daft!
The Doctor instructs Peri to shoot the cop in cold blood.
Sue: This Doctor doesn’t **** about. Is he always this violent?
But then the Doctor suddenly changes his mind and proceeds to eulogise about Lytton instead.
Me: Do you remember all those amazing scenes featuring Lytton and the Doctor in Resurrection of the Daleks?
Sue: Er… Yes?
Me: No you don’t. They glance at each for a couple of seconds and that’s it.
Sue: But he sounds like he’s describing his archenemy.
Me: I know. Maybe the script editor didn’t notice Paula’s mistake.
Back on Telos, Peter Gabriel attacks a Cyberman with a metal pipe.
Sue: (Singing) Jeux sans frontiers…
He manages to take the Cyberman’s head off.
Sue: These Cybermen are shit!
Peter Gabriel is over the moon with his severed Cyber head.
Sue: That’s going straight on eBay.
Meanwhile a black Cyberman patrols the sewers on Earth…
Sue: Is this to stop this story being racist?
The Doctor disables it by ramming his sonic lance into its chest.
Sue: Seriously, Neil, is this Doctor really a homicidal maniac? I don’t think I like it very much.
She’s beginning to struggle with the plot, too.
Sue: There’s a lot going on, but not a lot is actually happening. Does that make any sense?
The Doctor, Peri and Russell are in for a shock when they step inside the TARDIS.
Sue: How the **** did a Cyberman get in there? Can’t you lock a pipe organ?
In fact, the TARDIS is crawling with Cybermen.
Sue: That’s just taking the piss!
A Cyberman fells Russell with a single blow to the neck.
Sue: Oh no! I really liked him.
And then the episode ends with Peri sentenced to Cyber death.
Sue: Nice cliffhanger. That wasn’t too bad. You know, I think I prefer the longer format. Yes, that was a very good start.
Sue notices something terribly important during the recap.
Sue: The stunt man playing the exploding Cyberman looks genuinely surprised. I think something went wrong with that. It looked great, though.
Lytton and the Doctor reminisce about old times.
Sue: You don’t even know each other!
As the TARDIS travels to Telos, Peri and Griffiths wish they knew where that was.
Sue: Yeah, Telos where Telos is!
The Cybermen are on Telos because their home planet, Mondas, was destroyed.
Sue: The Doctor blew it up, didn’t he? I think I remember that.
Me: Wow. Really?
Sue: I can’t remember which one he did it in, but I think it might have been a William Hartnell. It was a very long time ago. Anyway, it just goes to show the Doctor has always been a homicidal maniac.
The Cybermen were driving Mondas around the galaxy like a car at the time.
Sue: Why is everybody obsessed with moving planets around on this programme? Why not build a Death Star instead? I’m sure it would be a lot easier.
The Cyber Controller has to deal with a batch of rogue Cybermen running amok on his base.
Sue: I can’t understand a single word he’s saying because his voice is too muffled. They should have stuck with the guy with the booming voice, he was very good. And why has this one got a funny-shaped head? Is it because he’s really brainy, or did something go wrong with his mould?
Then we meet the indigenous life forms on Telos: the Cryons.
Sue: They’re rubbish. Women with moustaches? That is not a good look. They’re a cross between a Lindt Easter Egg container and a Christmas tree decoration. And do we really need another alien race in this story? This is confusing enough as it is.
I tell her that two famous performers are hidden beneath the Cryon masks.
Sue: How am I supposed to recognise them? I don’t bloody know… Una Stubbs?
Me: You’ll never get it so I’ll put you out of your misery. One of them – the one with the Doctor right now – is Faith Brown.
Sue: Faith Brown the comedian? The one who did all the Maggie Thatcher impersonations?
Sue: But that’s mad!
Me: And another Cryon is played by Sarah Greene from Saturday Superstore.
Sue: The one who married Mike Smith and crashed a helicopter?
Sue: That’s even madder.
Me: I know.
Sue: And what was the bloody point? You can’t see them, SO WHY BOTHER?
Peter Gabriel has a dark secret – he’s half-Cyberman.
Sue: That’s a nice twist. No wonder he’s so angry all the time. I wonder what else they replaced…
The Cryons introduce themselves to Peri.
Sue: Are they called Cryons because they keep bursting into tears?
The Cryons have a bad case of wandering hands.
Sue: They keep invading Peri’s personal space. I’d have given them a slap by now.
Unfortunately, Malcolm Clarke’s contribution to the programme still manages to baffle Sue.
Sue: I can’t get a handle on the music at all. One minute it’s great, the next it’s atrocious. It’s all over the place. Just like this script.
The Cybermen lock the Doctor and Flast in a room packed with high explosives. They don’t bother to search the Doctor, though. The idiots.
Sue: They deserve everything they get.
Lytton and Griffiths climb a ladder that leads to Cyber Control.
Sue: That’s easily the wobbliest set in Doctor Who so far.
But when a Cyberman’s hand appears out of nowhere to grab Lytton’s ankle, Sue actually gasps.
Sue: That really shocked me. The direction is excellent. It’s completely wasted on this story, though.
The Doctor sets a Cyberman on fire, which Sue adores, and then he leaves Flast to detonate the explosives with his sonic lance.
Sue: Yay! Let’s all root for the suicide bomber!
Meanwhile the Cyber Controller interrogates Lytton.
Sue: Gangster Man is the best thing in this rubbish by a mile. He should definitely… OH MY GOD!
The Cybermen crush Lytton’s hands to a bloody pulp.
Sue: NOT FOR KIDS!
Meanwhile the Doctor tinkers with the head of an immobilised Cyberman.
Sue: Shouldn’t it be more organic inside? This makes them look like robots, and even I know the Cybermen aren’t robots. The Doctor should have opened up the back of its head instead. That was silly.
The Cybermen interrogate Flast.
Sue: This show is really sadistic all of a sudden. You’d never get away with that today.
The Cryons engage the Cybermen.
Sue: Why doesn’t the heat in this corridor kill all the Cryons?
The Doctor is about to do a runner when Peri convinces him to save Lytton instead.
Sue: Oh, the TARDIS is a police box again. Thank God for that. I hope he stops pratting around with it, he was only making it worse.
Sue feels sorry for Lytton, but the Doctor can’t save him and all hell breaks loose in Cyber Control.
Sue: This isn’t Doctor Who. This is a Sam Peckinpah movie!
And then everything blows up.
Sue: That was pretty good, even if it is trying to be like The A-Team.
The story concludes with the Doctor chastising himself for misjudging Lytton so badly.
Sue: He shouldn’t be so hard on himself. He hardly knew him! If Lytton hadn’t been so smug, and he’d told the Doctor what he was up to, none of that would have happened.
Sue: That was all over the place. The direction was pretty good but there were too many plots. Colin was good, though. I like the way they’re doing something radically different with his Doctor. The first part was better, but it went downhill when the Cryons turned up. You didn’t need them.
Sue agreed to watch the DVD’s making of documentary with me, mainly so she could figure out who Paula Moore was.
Sue: I don’t know why anybody would want to claim responsibility for that story. The script was the worst thing about it. If I were Eric Saward, I’d happily blame Ian Levine.