If the Daleks are most associated with First Doctor / William Hartnell’s tenure, then the Cybermen definitely came-of-age during the Second Doctor / Patrick Troughton’s era.
After the Daleks, the Cybermen are the next most featured monster in Classic Doctor Who, with (exactly) 10 full appearances; in the original-series run.
Created by Scientist and Who writer Kit Pedler as a natural progression of the technological advancement of using bionic organs to fix the human body; taken to a nightmarish conclusion.
Their story, which began as a tale of warning about technological advances in medical upgrading of humans. Subsequently, became a revenge tale; after the Doctor destroyed the Cybermen’s home-world of Mondas. And finally, their scratchy existence afterward; as they tried to replenish their forces.
Some episodes in our top-ten, could in some ways; qualify as the best ever episodes of Classic Who. Episodes like; The Moonbase, Tomb Of The Cybermen and The Five Doctors – amongst others.
Therefore, here are Old Who’s Top Ten : Best Cybermen Adventures.
10) “The Wheel In Space” – Second Doctor – Season Five – 1968
The Wheel In Space took place during the Troughton years. When the Cybermen went on to forge a successful monster pairing with the Second Doctor (due to the Dalek’s enforced hiatus).
Riding on the coat-tails of the highly memorable The Moonbase and Tomb Of The Cybermen, The Wheel In Space disapointingly failed to fire the imagination – on the same footing.
The Wheel In Space is a by-numbers invasion tale, in the same vein as The Moonbase but without any of the mystery or execution.
Indeed, much of the episode is badly paced and given over to the day-to-day working of the space wheel and the futuristic inter-politics of the base personnel.
By the time the Cybermen do eventually turn up, hidden in inbound cargo; you kind of wish that they would convert everyone – including Zoey.
The Wheel In Space🔵🔵🔵⚪⚪
9) “Attack Of The Cybermen” – Sixth Doctor – Season Twenty-One – 1984
Colin Baker’s first season (22) is as horrifying and bold an experiment, as has ever been carried out by a mainstream children’s show.
Attack Of The Cybermen best personifies this unflinching new approach, more than any other. A Cyberman strangles a poor human to death. Another character shoots a Cyberman, point blank in the face with a handgun.
Another character, who is about to be converted into a Cyberman, has his hand’s gorily crushed to prevent escape. Of course, the violence is hyper realised; but still shocking to see.
The episode makes a good stab at featuring the Cybermen from the beginning and their nefarious plot. Later parts sag though, due to an over-extended plot and lack of pacing.
8) “Revenge Of The Cybermen” – Fourth Doctor – Season Twelve – 1975
Revenge Of The Cybermen is the final episode of a truncated season 12, featuring stories all set around the space-station Nerva.
At first glance, it is an important story as it marks the first return of the Cybermen, after a 7-year absence folowing their previous turn in 1968’s –The Wheel In Space.
It also makes reference to the fact that the Cybermen are not the force they once were. Indeed, the Fourth Doctor makes jokes at their expense about touring the galaxy in a “tinpot old ship”.
With other indelible introductions to Cybermen lore of cyber-mats and their weakness against exposure to gold. Revenge Of The Cybermen marks a welcome if slightly over-long, return to form.
7) “Silver Nemesis” – Seventh Doctor – Season Twenty-Five – 1988
Silver Nemesis is a slightly barmy, retrieval mission episode. Featuring the Cybermen, a bunch of Nazi’s, a time-travelling medieval baroness and the Doctor – in a race to retrieve a powerful meteorite, containing a Timelord super-weapon.
Silver Nemesis is packed with action-galore, some well paced humour and Nazi’s.
Whether it is companion Ace, taking down a whole platoon of Cybermen with gold arrows or the Doctor hilariously jamming Cyber-transmissions with jazz music played on a ghetto-blaster.
Silver Nemesis plays as a showcase to the classic episodes of yesteryear, in the anniversary season 25.
6) “Earthshock” – Fifth Doctor – Season Nineteen – 1982
The Cybermen make a cleverly staged eleventh hour shock appearance in Earthshock, to hijack a spacefreighter bound for Earth, with the intention to crashing it into Earth.
The sight of Cybermen bursting out of their cargo boxes and mobilising to takeover the spacefreighter, is perhaps as iconic a moment as Fifth Doctor Who ever envisaged.
The standout moment is the dialogue between the Fifth Doctor and the Cyberleader, aboard the bridge as they debate the follies of human emotion.
5) “The Five Doctors” – Fifth Doctor – Season Twenty – 1983
Whilst not exclusively about the Cybermen. The Five Doctors features them heavily enough as the main threat of the Time Lord Death Games.
As a showcase of the first 20 years of Doctor Who, The Five Doctors features many stand-out moments.
Including the impressive takedown of a whole Cyber-patrol by a cunning Rastan Warrior Robot. The demise of another Cyber-unit at the hands of The Master – on a chequerboard style trap, in Rassilon’s tomb.
The Five Doctors⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4) “Invasion” – Second Doctor – Season Six – 1968
A big-budget but sadly missing invasion tale which like it’s Dalek counterpart; The Evil Of The Daleks explores the Cybermen’s own relationship with emotions.
An evil human business-magnet – in league with the Cybermen, unblocks suppressed emotions in Cybermen units to wrestle control away from the Cyber-controller.
Some standout moments include an emotionally deranged Cyberman staggering menacingly down a sewer tunnel, towards the Doctor and companion Jamie.
3) “The Tenth Planet” – First Doctor – Season Four – 1966
The Cybermen’s first appearance in The Tenth Planet, is also the First Doctor’s (William Hartnell) last. These Cybermen, are surprisingly far removed from their later upgraded counterparts with their box-like-torso’s, gaping mouths and eriee sing-song electronic voices.
There is much in The Tenth Planet to like. Including the beginning of the Doctor’s long-running feud with the cybernetic race. Due to destroying the Cybermen’s homeworld of Mondas, which is dangerously encroaching planet Earth.
The Tenth Planet (part 4 missing)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2) “The Moonbase” – Second Doctor – Season Five – 1967
The excellently claustrophobic The Moonbase sets up the beginning of the successful Troughton / Cybermen double act and serves as the standard monster infiltration and invasion template for future episodes.
A few standout moments include the fleeting glimpses of a lone Cyberman stalking moonbase personnel and appearing at companion Jamie’s hospital bedside. The finale sees the Cybermen memorably striding over the moon’s surface and being sent floating off into space, by the Doctor.
1) “The Tomb Of The Cybermen” – Second Doctor – Season Five – 1968
The image of the slumbering Cybermen breaking out of their icey tombs, is probably about as iconic – as the show has ever produced, in The Tomb Of The Cybermen.
The Cybermen have been missing for a generation and Earth Archeologist’s unwisely decide to go looking for one of their legendary lost tombs.
Apart from escalating the sense of menace of the Cybermen (including their impressive display of super-strength when one throws a strongman across the room like a ragdoll). The Tomb Of The Cybermen also introduce the Cyber-controller as a large domed Cybermen. Rather than as a flashing computer beacon.
Well that was our top-ten Cyber-adventures, what would yours be?