Tomb of the Cybermen

Written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis

Directed by Morris Barry

On the whole, I’m a pretty calm person. Not a whole lot of things make me angry. One thing that does is bad science. Like trying to claim that there is a causal link between a vaccine and autism. Anyone who did even five minutes research of their own could easily have dismissed the paper making the claims as lies and bullshit, but a lot of people have a deep set instinctive fear of science, and irresponsible gobshite like Wakefield’s paper unsettles them further, and gives them further cause to avoid using products that could well save their lives. Science only works when new ideas are put forward and old assumptions are tested, but equally, it only works when actual evidence is involved. Ignoring evidence, or just making it up, has led directly to over 600 people having contracted measles recently in Wales. I have studied science, and can comfortably say that even with the well researched stuff, at least half of it is bollox. It’s important to look into things and see the way research is actually carried out. With medical science, sometimes a new treatment will have been rushed and could be dangerous. Just as often someone making claims about a treatment’s potential dangers will be a self promoting irresponsible cunt trying to make name for themselves.

The evidence would suggest that Wakefield falls into that category. It’s that very fear of science that created the Cybermen: the notion that our technology will slowly consume us until we have nothing left of our humanity. Which is probably why I don’t find them particularly scary.

Unlike with some of their appearances, however, their lack of menace does not really detract from this story. The Tomb of the Cybermen does share some similarities with its predecessors, the 10th Planet and The Moonbase; a bunch of scientists/researchers trapped in a remote location being menaced the Cybermen, but this time it’s on the Cybmermen’s home turf, in, as the name would suggest, one of their tombs. This difference of dynamic is enough to give Tomb of the Cybermen a feel all of its own. The Cybermen aren’t even the real threat here, being easily defeated by the technological wonder of a door. The main antagonists are the arrogant human Klieg and his sidekick Kaftan along with her racial stereotype, Toberman. They’re hardly a threat at all though, as no matter how smart they think they are, they’re actually morons. Klieg proudly proclaiming that one handgun will make him invincible is supposed to be threatening, but is really just reassuring, because he’s clearly a fucking idiot.

Much as I’m glad that Tomb of the Cybermen was found, a tiny part of me thinks that it may have worked better as an audio play. The story is great, and the script gives the impression of a wonderfully creepy setting. Unfortunately, good as the sets are for the budget, they don’t quite live up to the story’s potential. The whole thing is also dreadfully over lit. Nevertheless, it remains one of the more atmospheric early Who stories.

Happily, Victoria has grown some semblance of a spine in this story, and refuses to be pushed around by men attempting to treat her like a silly little girl. She’s still not exactly suffragette material, but she’s better than she was before. Its a shame that Toberman, one of the first black characters in Who not to be a white actor and a shitload of bootpolish, is such a demeaning stereotype. He is given a couple of lines to grunt, but on the whole he’s just there to flex his muscles. Having said that, he does have a pretty good arc, going from thuggish villain in the first story to a self sacrificing hero by the end.

With the Daleks gone and the Cybermen defeated (at least for now) who is the Doctor going to face now? Why not some yetti, that’ll probably do. Yeah, yetti. Find out how that goes, next time in The Abominable Snowmen.

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