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, inspired by the real-life technological advancements, of using bionic organs – to fix the human body.
The Cyberman story, which began as a tale of warning – about limitless upgrading of humans. Subsequently, became a revenge tale; after the First 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 Doctor 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 – disappointingly, failed to fire the imagination – on the same footing.
The Wheel In Space, is a by-the-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; 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 bold and unflinching 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 resistance. Of course, the violence is – hyper-realised but still shocking to see.
The serial 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 set in and 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 such as their weaknesses 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 and Ace. All in a race, to retrieve a powerful meteorite, containing a Time Lord super-weapon.
Silver Nemesis is packed with action-galore, some well paced humour – and Nazis!
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 huge spacefreighter, with the intention of 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 set-pieces and 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 Dastardly 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 its Dalek counterpart; The Evil Of The Daleks – explores the Cybermen’s own relationship with surpressing emotions.
An evil human business-magnet, in league with the Cybermen. Plots with the Cybermen to mount an invasion of Earth. Meanwhile, secretly experimenting on captured Cyber-units, to wrestle control away from the Cyber-controller.
Some standout moments, include; an ’emotionally-deranged’ Cyberman staggering menacingly down a sewer tunnel, screaming in pain – towards the Doctor and companion Jamie.
3) “The Tenth Planet” – First Doctor – Season Four – 1966
The Cybermen’s first ever appearance, in The Tenth Planet; is also the First Doctor; William Hartnell’s – last. These Cybermen, are surprisingly far removed from their later upgraded counterparts, with their box-like-torso’s, gaping mouths – and inhuman 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 the Doctor destroying the Cybermen’s homeworld of Mondas; to save 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 . It 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 strong-man 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?