Classic Doctor Who: Cyber Sixties

In 1966, Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd desired to inject more hard science into the series, so he appointed Dr. Kit Pedler as science expert. Gerry Davis, who was a story editor and writer on Doctor Who at the time, engaged Dr. Pedler in a discussion about organ transplants and cybernetics. As you can guess, that discussion led to the creation of the Cybermen.

The original Cybermen were from the planet Telos, which is Earth’s twin. The inhabitants of Telos were becoming weaker, and their lifespan was decreasing, so scientists started replacing everything, except the brain, with cybernetic parts.

The Cybermen made their debut in William Hartnell’s final story “The Tenth Planet.” upon first glance, the original incarnation of the Cybermen appear to be nothing more than blokes in bodysuits, with miner’s helmets upon their heads, and air conditioning units strapped to their chests. However, looks can be deceiving. Over the course of the series, their appearance and abilities have evolved. An arguement can be made that in the 2013 episode “Nightmare in Silver” their abilities evolved too far. But that’s another story.

I like the Cybermen, but they don’t always make for the best villain. They tend to arrive in large numbers, but the reality is that it’s four or five guys and they just move around a lot.

During the Patrick Troughton era, the Cybermen replaced the Daleks as the main recurring baddies. While the Daleks had a number of great stories throughout the entire run of the series–both classic and new–for me, the best Cybermen stories took place in the Sixties. Okay, I haven’t seen every Cybermen story, but I am about to start a run that includes “The Moonbase,” “Revenge of the Cybermen,” and “Attack of the Cybermen.” If that’s not enough, if all goes to plan, I will watch “Earthshock” early next year. That my friends, is a lot of Cybermen.


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