Number : Season 19, serial 6 of 7.
Which One : The Cybermen – one where Adric dies/leaves (yipee!).
Cast : The Doctor : Peter Davison
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Nyssa : Sarah Sutton
Adric : Matthew Waterhouse
Scott : James Warwick
Kyle : Clare Clifford
Walters : Steve Morley
Snyder : Suzi Arden
Mitchell : Ann Holloway
Briggs : Beryl Reid
Berger : June Bland
Ringway : Alec Sabin
Cyber Leader : David Banks
Cyber Lieutenant : Mark Hardy
Written By : Eric Saward
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 8 – 16 March 1982.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric land on a bomb-primed planetoid and stop a Cybermen-led plan to destroy Earth. The Cybermen have a backup plan of crashing a giant spacefreighter – into Earth.
Whats good : Good rollicking Cyberman adventure. Adric dies.
Whats bad : It took till the end of season 19 to get rid of Adric. They gave him silent credits at the end. WTF?
Review With Spoilers : Every Doctor has a career defining brawl with one – or both, of his two greatest enemies; Daleks and Cybermen.
Davison fought both, but Resurrection Of The Daleks, promised a great deal but was a strangely flat – and lacklustre affair. Earthshock on the other hand, is probably up there with Caves Of Androzani; as two of Davison’s best Fifth era stories.
Earthshock is the first reappearance of the Cybermen, since Tom Baker’s – Revenge Of The Cybermen; 7 years previous.
They are also sporting a nifty modern redesign, from the classic look – in Revenge Of The Cybermen; which will see them through, to the end of the 1980s; as Doctor Who’s (second) most recognisable baddy.
Earthshock is an action-driven piece, with plenty of fighting between the Cybermen and the spacefreighters security detail. Alot of humans get killed and Cybermen trashed, one is even teleported inside a solid door, by the Doctor.
Earthshock has some standout Cyber-moments too. Including : the Cyber-army bursting out of their containers aboard the spacefreighter, invoking memories of Tomb Of The Cybermen as they march in unison away from the cargo-hold.
“Emotions have their uses… ….They also enhance life! When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?…. ……For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!” The Doctor
Also, Davison has an argument with the Cyberleader, about the simple pleasures of life; which in terms of the Fifth Doctor’s character, pegs the character down – as the most accessibly “human” Doctor.
The other highlight of Earthshock is the death of Adric, the second most annoying companion in the history of the show, after Mel.
To be fair, they send him off in style – for such a fandom-loathed character. He pilots and dies aboard the spacefreighter, as it crashes into Earth – 65 million years ago, to kill the dinosaurs. So to recap, all humankind can thank Adric’s sacrifice, for giving us mammals, an evolutionary chance!
The Doctor is especially troubled by Adric’s death. Partly because of the responsibility of having brought Adric (inadvertantly) from E-Space, as a stowaway. Adric also, at the beginning of this story; expresses a desire to return to his homeworld of Alzarius
The story ends with silent credits, to mark Adric’s passing; this is not something the show, had done before – or has done, since.
A solid career-defining story, for Davison’s Doctor. It’s a shame that they couldn’t repeat this formula, more often, in his run.
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