Number : Season 22, serial 1 of 6.
Which One : Sixth meets Cybermen.
Cast : The Doctor : Colin Baker
Peri : Nicola Bryant
Lytton : Maurice Colbourne
Griffiths : Brian Glover
Russell : Terry Molloy
Payne : James Beckett
Stratton : Jonathan David
Bates : Michael Attwell
Bill : Stephen Churchett
David : Stephen Wale
Rost : Sarah Berger
Threst : Esther Freud
Varne : Sarah Greene
Flast : Faith Brown
Cyber Leader : David Banks
Cyber Controller : Michael Kilgarriff
Cyber Lieutenant : Brian Orrell
Written By : Paula Moore
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 5 – 12 January 1985.
Length : 2 x 45 minute episodes.
Plot : The Doctor is drawn back to Totters Yard, Earth – in 1985. To give the newly fixed Tardis chameleon-circuit, a test-run. An alien distress beacon, draws the Doctor into the sewer; where people are being murdered, by unknown assailants.
Whats good : The Tardis has a (partially) working chameleon circuit. The Black Cybermen units. Trotters Lane. Kind of violent.
Whats bad : Kind of violent. The Doctor and Peri’s relationship is still annoying.
Review With Spoilers : Attack Of The Cybermen was Colin Baker’s first adventure, with one of his two most memorable enemies. The first thing about Attack Of The Cybermen, that strikes you; is the notable increase in levels of violence, from Davison’s era.
A man is strangled to death, by a Cyberman. Returning character Lytton, has his hands gorily crushed by the Cybermen, whilst being tortured. Cybermen have their heads bashed off, by prisoners on Telos.
A Cybermen is shot point-blank in the face, with a handgun; multiple times. The violence is particularly unflinching and seems to be a particularly intended facet – of Baker’s season 22.
In terms of story, Attack Of The Cybermen builds some nice early suspense and momentum. Especially, the scenes in the sewers and the introduction of the Cybermen. However, the second half – when the Doctor meets the imprisoned race of Cryons, the proceedings begin to sag – a little bit.
Its nice to gain some continuity though, from previous episodes. The reintroduction of Lytton, last seen escaping in Resurrection Of The Daleks. Most guest stars get killed (or exterminated) in Doctor Who; so some continuity – although rare, is rather nice.
Also, we have Michael Kilgarriff, who appears as the Cyber Controller and who also appeared, in Tomb Of The Cybermen; 18 years previous. Famous character-actor – Brian Glover guests-stars and Terry Molloy, who played Davros – in later episodes.
“You have wasted both our time and energy. I know that you plan to steal or destroy my time vessel [the Doctor’s captured Tardis]. You will tell me how it is to be done!” Cyber-controller
We also have a few nice concepts in this; the Tardis with a (briefly) working chameleon circuit, which turns itself into an ornate stove/organ/archway; amongst other things. We also get a trip back to Totters Yard (in 1985) – where it all started in 1963.
The Sixth Doctor is probably at the height of irritation and arrogance, in this one. The on-and-off bickering, with companion Peri; is most distracting. If they dislike each other so much – why travel together?
They did get the relationship balance, a bit better – by Trial Of A Time Lord but Baker’s Doctor and Peri; were both on borrowed time – by then.
Attack Of The Cybermen is a violent take, on the Cybermen. For the most part, you have to admire its sheer-minded bloody boldness. But its crass, unforgiving and loses its way; just like Baker’s Doctor himself.
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