Which One : First appearance of the Cybermen.
Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Polly : Anneke Wills
Ben Jackson : Michael Craze
General Cutler : Robert Beatty
Barclay : David Dodimead
Dyson : Dudley Jones
Schultz : Alan White
Williams : Earl Cameron
Terry Cutler : Callen Angelo
American Sergeant : John Brandon
Tito : Shane Shelton
Wigner : Steve Plytas
Radar Technician : Christopher Matthews
Geneva Technician : Ellen Cullen
R/T Technician : Christopher Dunham
TV Announcer : Glenn Beck
Written By : Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
Produced By : Innes Lloyd
First UK Broadcast : 8 – 29 October 1966.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Cybermen plan to destroy Earth, as their own Planet Mondas is drifting too close and threatened with dedtruction.
Whats good : The First Doctor’s swansong. The Doctor’s final scenes. The Cybermen. The Cybermen original look. General Cutler.
Whats bad : The Cybermen design is a little too S & M. Mondas is unbelievable. Their voices aren’t electronised enough. Part 4 is missing.
Review With Spoilers : The Tenth Planet is the second episode of season 4 and marks the First Doctor’s, final [main] appearance – before regenerating.
The Tardis lands at a U.S. Radar Military base in the Arctic – in 1986 and the Doctor, Ben and Polly are taken prisoner by the Military; who are monitoring a planet-sized blip on their Radar.
Meanwhile, the 10th planet in the Solar System; planet Mondas – home of the Cybermen. Has drifted too close to Earth and is threatening destruction.
The Cybermen invade Earth, with the express intention of destroying it – to save Mondas. The Doctor trys to stop them but is feeling like his body has finally worn out on him.
The Tenth Planet is an epic Hartnell finale and whilst most would imagine, that the First Doctor would probably face-off against the Daleks – in his final conflict. In a masterstroke, a new (soon-to-be-cult) monster is introduced into the mix instead; The Cybermen.
These Cybermen however, are radically different from their follow-up appearance in Moonbase. With their weird gimpy cloth heads and large bulbous chest attachments.
“What did you say, my boy? “It’s all over?” That’s what you said… but it isn’t at all. It’s far from being “all over”…!” The Doctor
They do look a bit ridiculous and their sing-song and slightly (but not enough) electronised voices – are hilarious. However, the overall effect is still an effectively creepy one. Especially their immobile gaping mouths, when they do speak and their first appearance slowly loping out of a snow blizzard.
Additionally, the ‘planet Mondas drifting too close to Earth’ scenario is just too unbelievable – as a concept; but thankfully, forms only a small part of this. It is mainly used, as a plot device – to motivate the Cybermen’s actions.
Robert Beatty is majorly effective, as the secondary antagonist; General Cutler – who runs the Arctic base. His desperately mega-lo-maniac turn is impressive, especially when taken in context; against the show-stealing first appearance of the Cybermen.
Most notable, The Tenth Planet marks the final main appearance of William Hartnell’s Doctor. He collapses in the Tardis, following the vanquishing of the Cybermen and turns into the Second Doctor; Patrick Troughton.
It makes for probably the most shocking end to an episode and on-running cliffhanger of Who; in it’s entire 26-year original run. Throughout, The Tenth Planet the First Doctor makes references to feeling tired and that his old body has worn out.
It also makes a nice conclusion, that the Doctor returns to his Tardis and that the Tardis itself; somehow senses that the end is near for the Doctor – and eases the Doctor into his new regeneration.
The Tenth Planet is more than a fitting send off, for the First Doctor; in an adventure of epic proportions. The introduction of the Cybermen is a masterstroke and the regeneration is poignant.