Number : Season 25, episode 3 of 4.

Which One : Seventh meets the Cybermen.

Cast : The Doctor : Sylvester McCoy
Ace : Sophie Aldred
De Flores : Anton Diffring
Karl : Metin Yenal
Lady Peinforte : Fiona Walker
Richard : Gerard Murphy
Scholar : Leslie French
Security Guard : Martyn Read
Mrs Remington : Dolores Gray
Skinheads : Chris Chering, Symond Lawes
Cyber Leader : David Banks
Cyber Lieutenant : Mark Hardy

Written By : Kevin Clarke

First UK Broadcast : 23 November – 7 December 1988.

Length : 3 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : A deadly meteorite called ‘Nemesis’ is heading back to Earth. There are a number of interesting parties involved in its attempted recovery. Among them, the Doctor and Ace, a Nazi Fourth Reich movement, Lady Peinforte and the Cybermen.

Whats good : Solid, “first to the prize” retrieval mission.

Whats bad : Its slow in places, even for three parts.

Review With Spoilers : Silver Nemesis is the 150th episode in Doctor Who and a showcase story for the 25th Anniversary.

It can be almost forgiven for being a carbon copy of Remembrance Of The Daleks with the Cybermen supplanted here, instead of the Daleks.

The Cybermen, like the Daleks – are attempting retrieval of a Timelord superweapon from Earth (in this case a metal substance called Validium) for their own domination aims.

Also after this, is a time-travelling Sorceress from the 16th Century called Lady Peinforte; who had ownership of the Validium and fashioned it into her own likeness and dubbed it Nemesis, before the Doctor retrieved it and sent it off-Earth on an asteroid ship.

The use of Windsor Castle and its surrounding estates – on location, adds an air of authencity – especially to the 1600s feel.

It also gives the Cybermen some serious short shrift here, with many of them killed and destroyed with gold tipped arrows.

Its fun watching them die by the bucketload though but you think they would have finally gotten around to protecting that chest respirator, a bit better after Earthshock.

“Unfortunately, Lady Peinforte discovered it was something rather more unusual. A living metal. Validium!” The Doctor

The theme here is a game of chess, as the Doctor plays off one group against the other, in an attempt to prevent Nemesis falling into the wrong hands.

We also have some time out to listening to some jazz, as the Doctor and Ace listen to a live act play and then later, use a jazz playing tapedeck to disrupt the communications to the Cyberfleet.

When McCoy Who pulls some of its tongue out its cheek and puts on a more semi-serious episode, the whole thing just works so much better.

There’s elements of humour here too, though. Although much less heavy handed; such as the Cybermen standing around scratching their heads listening to the Doctor’s favourite jazz blocking the Cyber fleet signal.

Bar some slow parts, Silver Nemesis is a fun Who adventure and showcases the McCoy years much better than most of his other episodes.

There is an intentional attempt to hint at darker secrets in the Doctor’s past, which Lady Pinaforte learns from the Nemesis. It was a definite shift from the carefree and juggling clown, to a much darker past on Gallifrey. This mysterious backstory to the Doctor’s past was eventually carried on into the post 2005 series.

Along with Remembrance Of The Daleks, Silver Nemesis is another highpoint in the 25th anniversary season.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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