Number : Season 4, serial 2 of 9.

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 episodes.

Plot : The Cybermen plan to destroy Earth – as their own Planet Mondas is drifting too close – and threatened with destruction.

Whats good : The First Doctor’s swansong. The Doctor’s final scenes. The Cybermen. The Cybermen original look. General Cutler. The idea to regenerate the Doctor – is inspired.

Whats bad : The Cybermen design is a little too S & M. Planet Mondas encroaching Earth is not believable. The Cybermen’s voices aren’t electronised enough. Episode 4 is missing – and the pivotal regeneration scene has only survived – as clips.

Review With Spoilers : The Tenth Planet is the second serial of season 4 and marks the First Doctor’s final regular appearance; before regenerating.

The Tardis lands at a U.S. Radar Military base in the Arctic – in 1986. The Doctor, Ben and Polly are taken prisoner by the Military; who are also monitoring a planet-sized radar blip.

Meanwhile, the tenth planet in the Solar System; planet Mondas – home of the Cybermen. Has drifted too close to Earth and is threatening mutual destruction.

The Cybermen invade Earth, with the express intention – of destroying it; to save Mondas. The Doctor thwarts the Cybermen 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

The Cybermen’s early look is a tad ridiculous – and their sing-song and slightly electronic voices – are hilarious. However, the overall effect is still an effectively creepy one. Especially their immobile gaping mouths, when they speak – and their first appearance, slowly plodding out of a snow blizzard.

Additionally, the ‘planet Mondas drifting too close to Earth’ scenario is just too unbelievable – even for Who. 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 First Doctor. The First Doctor 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 creates the on-running means for the show to keep going. 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.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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