ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN

Colin Baker continues to impress Sue in at least one TV show.

Sue: Colin’s lovely. He’s my tip to win. Colin doesn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. He’s the perfect gentleman, always comforting everyone around him. And he’s shedding plenty of weight, mainly thanks to Helen, although she did come good in the end. That was great telly by the way.

But watching I’m A Celebrity… comes at a price. Ant and Dec have revealed to Sue that the Sixth Doctor will encounter Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans, and, even worse, a trivia question set during a mini-trial went something like this: Colin Baker was Doctor Who for how many episodes?

Sue: 32.
Me: How the hell did you know that?
Sue: Well, you told me once that Colin’s is only in 8 stories and 8×4=32. Simple.

Oh dear.

I'm a Celebrity...Me: You’re right, there are 8 stories, and yes, Colin does play the Doctor in 32 episodes (if you count the last-minute of The Caves of Androzani) but in the season we are about to watch, the episodes are double-length.
Sue: They’re 50 minutes long?
Me: Yes, and the programme is back on Saturdays as well.
Sue: So it’s proper Doctor Who.
Me: Yes, it’s proper Doctor Who.
Sue: Colin’s rapping was very funny. He really went for it. Eric Bristow was useless.
Me: You won’t believe this, but that’s not the strangest song Colin’s ever sung. Do you have anything to say about Colin being chained to Rosemary Shrager?
Sue: It’s the weirdest swinger’s party I’ve ever seen. Not that I’m an expert or anything.

 

Part One

Sue: Ooh, Cybermen. And they haven’t tried to hide them this time. Fair enough. So, who’s Paula Moore?
Me: I’ll explain later.
Sue: The last time a woman wrote for Doctor Who, it was excellent.

Oh dear.

Attack of the CybermenAttack of the Cybermen begins in a sewer.

Sue: Hey, John Cleese is in Doctor Who again. That’s nice.

Sadly, John doesn’t make it past the opening scene.

Sue: It’s very atmospheric. This is a very good start.

Elsewhere, the Doctor is fiddling with his TARDIS.

Sue: Has anyone tried watching Colin Baker’s stories in black and white? I’m sure it would help. I’m trying to get past his coat, but it isn’t easy.

Peri’s costume raises an eyebrow too.

Sue: Is there a gym on the TARDIS? Aerobics was very popular in the early eighties, so she just about gets away with it. I bet you’re not complaining. And the music is a bit Play School. I don’t like the music at all.

Suddenly, the action shifts to contemporary Earth and a Euston Film already in progress.

Attack of the CybermenSue: 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. Oh, it’s him. It’s the referee from Kes. He’s brilliant in that. What about him in the front passenger seat, is he famous?
Me: That’s Terry Molloy. He’s big in The Archers.
Sue: And what about the other one in the back?
Me: **** knows.

The TARDIS has materialised next to Halley’s comet in 1985.

Sue: I remember when that was a big deal. People thought the world would end. A bit like this year, in fact. I bet you were terrified, Neil. You always fall for crap like that.

Sue has had a change of heart when it comes to Malcolm’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 don’t like it when they cut back to the TARDIS. Give me some more heist action, please.

Peri isn’t thrilled to be so close to a comet.

Peri: One ill-considered move could cause us to collide with it. I’m scared, Doctor.
Sue: And I thought Tegan was the whiniest companion but Peri is in a different league. It’s her accent. Whenever she’s negative, it really grates. It’s fine when she’s feeling upbeat.

Attack of the CybermenOn Earth, the fake policemen from Resurrection of the Daleks are back on their beat.

Sue: That’s risky after what happened last time. It’s as if the producer is actively looking to court controversy. Bloody JNT.

Sue’s opinion of Colin’s Doctor is as unpredictable as his persona.

Sue: You know, he’d be a lot better if he calmed his face down a bit. He has over-active eyebrows.

Sue is very complimentary when it comes to Attack of the Cybermen‘s direction.

Sue: Who directed this? This is very good.
Me: It’s Matthew Robinson. You liked his direction for Resurrection of the Daleks as well. I didn’t realise until someone commented on the blog, that he is 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 thinking about it.

Attack of the CybermenThe TARDIS materialises in a junkyard in Totter’s Lane.

Sue: Why are they playing the Steptoe and Son theme? And is this a reference to the very first episode?

My heart swells with pride.

Sue: Peri remembered to shut the door behind her! Miracles can happen.

The chameleon circuit transforms 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 strange.

Sue: Why doesn’t he just make himself a zero cupboard? Will he be unstable forever? I thought they’d be well over this by now.

When the Doctor and Peri race down a cobbled alley.

Sue: Peri isn’t wearing the right shoes. This is her fourth story. Is she completely stupid?

The chameleon circuit has transformed the TARDIS into a pipe organ.

Sue: He could play his theme music on it as he’s fighting his enemies.

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 manages to overpower another with some dust from a brick.

Sue: You go, girl! Peri’s not just… well, you know.

The Doctor has knocked his copper into next week (off-screen).

Sue: Colin’s a bit handy. Peter Davison would have surrendered or run away.

Sue is really enjoying the episode’s sewer scenes.

Sue: The sets are very good. So is the lighting. Even the script comes alive when we’re down here.

When the Cybermen finally appear, Sue is thrilled. She even sings along to their clang-clang-clang theme tune. Or was that just me?

Sue: That was great. Nicely directed. There’s a grittiness to this that I really like. This is a huge step up from last week.

Attack of the CybermenThe Cyber Leader questions Lytton.

Sue: The Cyberman in charge – he has a great voice. It’s just a shame that the one standing next to him sounds so ridiculous.

The Cyber Controller is 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. Look at it. Don’t you recognise it?
Sue: Was that the racist one?
Me: Yes.
Sue: That’s the only thing I remember about it.

Now that we’ve arrived an alien planet, Sue’s patience begins to be tested.

Sue: I’m a bit 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 these two all day.

Attack of the CybermenOn the surface of Telos, two prisoners escape from some the clutches of some slave-driving Cybermen.

Sue: What is Peter Gabriel doing in this?

Deep inside Telos itself, the Cyber Controller is plotting and scheming.

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. Not ever.

Me: Fans call him the Fat Controller.
Sue: There’s hope for Colin yet. You can come back to the show if you pile on a few pounds.

The Doctor and Peri encounter Terry Molloy’s Russell in the sewers. The undercover cop examines the Doctor’s latest gadget.

Russell: What’s this, then?
The Doctor : A sonic lance.
Sue: 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 orders Peri to shoot Russell in cold blood.

Sue: This Doctor doesn’t **** about. Is he always this violent?

The Doctor changes his mind and he reminiscences about Lytton instead.

Me: Do you remember all those electric scenes between 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 arch-enemy.
Me: I know. Maybe the script editor didn’t notice Paula’s mistake.

On Telos, Peter Gabriel’s friend attacks a Cybermen with some piping.

Sue: (Singing) Jeux sans frontiers.

He manages to take the Cyberman’s head off.

Sue: These Cybermen are shit.

Attack of the CybermenPeter Gabriel is thrilled to possess a Cyberman’s head at last.

Sue: As soon as we get back to Earth, this is going straight on Ebay.

Meanwhile, a black Cybermen is patrolling the sewers.

Sue: Is this to stop the story from being racist?

The Doctor disables it by ramming his sonic lance into its chest.

Sue: Seriously, is this Doctor a homicidal maniac? Are they really going to run with this? I don’t think I like it very much.

She’s struggling with the plot, too.

Sue: There’s a lot going on but not a lot is happening. Does that make any sense?

The Doctor, Peri and Russell return to the TARDIS, but they are in for a shock when they step inside the time machine.

Sue: How did a Cyberman get in there? Can’t you lock a pipe organ?

There’s more than one of the buggers on board.

Sue: Hey! That’s just taking the piss.

Attack of the CybermenA Cybermen fells Russell with a blow to the neck.

Sue: Oh no. I really liked him.

The episode ends with Peri sentenced to Cyber death.

Sue: Nice cliffhanger. That wasn’t too bad. It went by pretty quickly. I think I prefer the longer format. It’s a very good start.

 

Part Two

Attack of the CybermenSue picks up on an important detail during the recap.

Sue: The stunt man playing the exploding Cyberman looks genuinely surprised. I think something went wrong with that stunt. It looked great, though.

Lytton (“He would have been an excellent James Bond”) and the Doctor catch up on old times.

Sue: You don’t even know each other!

The TARDIS is heading for Telos.

Peri: We certainly aren’t going anywhere except Telos, wherever that is.
Griffiths: Yes, where is it?
Sue: Yes, Telos where Telos is.

The Cybermen are on Telos because their home planet, Mondas, was destroyed. Lytton teases the Doctor about it.

Sue: The Doctor blew it up, didn’t he? I think I remember that.
Me: Wow. Really?
Sue: I can’t remember which one did it but it might have been William Hartnell. It was a very long time ago. And it just goes to show that the Doctor has always been a homicidal maniac.

The Cybermen were driving Mondas around the galaxy like a car.

Attack of the CybermenSue: Why is everyone obsessed with moving planets on this programme? Why not build a Death Star instead? I’m sure it would be a lot easier.

Complicating matter even further, the Cyber Controller is forced to deal with a batch of rogue Cybermen on his base.

Sue: I can’t understand a word he’s saying. His voice is too muffled. They should have stuck with the guy with the booming voice. He is 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?

Sue finally gets to meet the indigenous life form on Telos – the Cryons.

Sue: They’re rubbish. Women with moustaches? Not a good look. They look like Lindt Easter Egg containers crossed with Christmas tree decorations. Do we really need another alien race in this story? It’s confusing enough as it is.

I inform her that two famous women are hiding beneath the Cryon masks.

Attack of the CybermenSue: 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, I think – she’s played by Faith Brown.
Sue: Faith Brown the comedian? The one who did all the Maggie Thatcher impersonations?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Mad.
Me: And another Cryon is played by Sarah Greene from Saturday Superstore.
Sue: The one who married Mike Smith and crashed a helicopter?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Even madder. And what is the bloody point? You can’t see them, so why bother?

The Doctor and a Cryon named Flast get friendly in a freezer.

Sue: Colin’s definitely pulled.

Peter Gabriel reveals that he is really half-Cyberman.

Sue: That’s a very 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 might burst into tears any minute?

Attack of the CybermenThe Cryons suffer from the condition known as ‘wandering hands’.

Sue: They keep invading Peri’s personal space. I’d have slapped their hands away long before now.

Malcolm Clarke’s contribution continues to baffle Sue.

Sue: I can’t get a handle on the music at all. One minute it’s great, the next minute it’s atrocious. It’s all over the place. Just like the script.

The Cybermen have locked the Doctor and Flast in a room containing high explosives. They didn’t bother to search the Doctor, either. The idiots.

Sue: They deserve everything they get. That’s bad planning.

Lytton, Griffiths climb a ladder leading to Cyber Control.

Sue: That’s the wobbliest set in Doctor Who so far. And it’s on camera for absolutely ages.

However, when a Cyberman’s hand appears out of nowhere to grab Lytton’s ankle, Sue actually gasped.

Sue: That really shocked me. The direction is excellent. It’s completely wasted on this script, though.

The Doctor sets a Cyberman on fire, which Sue loves, and then he leaves Flast alone to detonate the explosives with his sonic lance.

Sue: Yay! Let’s all root for the suicide bomber!

Meanwhile, Lytton is interrogated by the Cyber Controller.

Sue: Gangster-man is the best thing in this by a mile. He should definitely… OH MY GOD!

Attack of the CybermenThe Cybermen have crushed Lytton’s hands to a bloody pulp.

Sue: NOT FOR KIDS! Blimey, I bet Mary Whitehouse threw a Benton over that.

The Doctor interferes 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 the head instead. That was silly.

The Cybermen interrogate Flast.

Sue: This show is really sadistic. You’d never get away with this today.

The Cryons battle the Cybermen.

Sue: Why doesn’t the heat from this corridor kill all the Cryons? I’m very confused by this.

The Doctor is about to do a runner when Peri convinces him to save Lytton. The Doctor takes his TARDIS to Cyber Control.

Sue: It’s a police box again. Thank God for that. Now stop pratting around with it. He was just making it worse.

Sue feels sorry for Lytton, but the Doctor can’t save him and all hell breaks loose in Cyber Control.

Attack of the CybermenSue: What was that? That wasn’t Doctor Who, that was a Sam Peckinpah movie!

And then everything blows up.

Sue: That was pretty good, even if it’s trying to be like The A-Team.

The story concludes with the Doctor chastising himself for misjudging Lytton.

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.

 

The Score

Sue: That was all over the place. The direction was pretty good but there were too many plots going on. Colin was good, though. I like the way they are doing something radically different with his Doctor. The first part was really good but it went downhill when the Cryons turned up. You didn’t need them.

6/10

We watch the DVD’s Making Of documentary, mainly so Sue can figure out who Paula Moore is.

Sue: I don’t know why anyone 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 it all on Ian Levine.

 

Coming Soon

 

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Comments

  1. Ingrid's Titts  November 23, 2012

    I’m surprised Sue didn’t spot the …err…’shape’ of one of the cryons and ask who was playing her. You can see ’em a mile off.

  2. DPC  November 23, 2012

    The Cryons look like walking Christmas ornaments, but are otherwise an interesting race – and one to sympathize with, despite their cold nature (no pun intended).

    The Stratton/Bates double-act was useful for showing their half-Cybertized nature (which explains why they can bat the head off a Cyberman, with their enhanced strength) but their death scene was so flat and feeling “by the numbers” that if there was a greater point (e.g. “struggle against futility” as some would say), I didn’t see it. Or believe it.

    Lytton’s capture was, on the other hand, effective, and the Cybermen do feel most Cyber-like in this story. Only the highest show anything we’d consider as emotions, and they exude no emotion when using means to get information out of captors. These Cybermen gave nightmares, in terms of what they do and how they are made. The ones in a certain 10th Doctor story (or any of them, rather) simply don’t.

    And, yep, the sonic lance was a daft one-time reintroduction to the sonic screwdriver…

    Oh,

    “That’s a very nice twist. No wonder he’s so angry all the time. I wonder what else they replaced.”

    LOL!

    OUCH!!

    But LOL!!!!!!

  3. John G  November 23, 2012

    This is definitely one where I agree with Sue. I do rather like the first episode, with its effective sewer sequences and London location filming, but the fanwanky plot disappears up its own posterior in part two, and the Cryons are a bit naff. Sue’s reactions to the violence were interesting – I think it is justified by the action-adventure nature of the story, though the hand crushing is certainly borderline. I will be interested to see what Sue makes of the fourth story of the season, where to my mind the violence is far more dubious…