Doctor Who: The
Tomb Of The Cybermen (BBC Special Edition DVD)
Picture: C+ Sound: B- Extras: A+ Episodes: B
Eleven men have played Doctor
Who over it near fifty year history, but Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor
(1966 - 1969) has suffered from the least exposure, as many of his episodes
remain “lost” to the BBC’s tape archives.
As copies of shows have been recovered and revitalised through various
means, Who fans have gotten to see more Mr. Troughton’s groundbreaking early
work on the series.
Story no. 37 “The The Tomb of
the Cybermen” represents one such episode that has been found, restored,
and now re-released as a two-disc special edition. The story itself finds the Doctor, Jamie
(Frazier Hines), and Victoria (Deborah Watling) arriving on the planet Telos to
witness the culminating moments of a very special archaeological expedition.
Expedition leader Professor Parry (Aubrey Richards) and his crew are about to
uncover the lost tomb of the Cybermen, a race of robotic men believed to have
died out more then 500 years ago. One of
the expedition members is the mysterious and wealthy woman Kaftan (Shirley
Cooklin), who is always accompanied by her powerful assistant and bodyguard,
Toberman (Roy Stewart).
It’s notable to mention Mr. Stewart’s performance as Toberman, as he
was one of the few characters of color in the early stories. He plays his role wonderfully and with proper
menace, and although his character meets with a bad end, is it ever really “the
end” for a Doctor Who badguy?
Although this assemblage of explorers seems congenial enough,
something is amiss. The team’s rocket
ship is sabotaged as they begin to explore the ruins where the Cybermen are
entombed, ensuring that they must stay the course on their expedition no matter
what. It seems team leader Klieg and his primary funder, Kaftan, wish to awaken
the Cybermen and use them for sinister purposes. The very presence of the team
succeeds in awakening the slumbering robotic menaces, and soon Cybermen and
their tiny Cybermat companions are trundling around up to no good!
Although a bit ragged in spots due to dodgy special effects, the
performances in this story and its overall themes of the dangers of messing
with powers you do not understand, along with the sheer image of the Cybermen
themselves (and their brilliant symbol) have stayed with fans over the years.
The extras on the second disc include the wonderful featurette “The Lost Giants” which details the
making of the episodes. Interviews
include cast members and crew commentaries.
“The Curse of the Cybermen’s Tomb”
is a second feature that compares this story to the discovery of King Tut’s
tomb in the 1920’s. It includes
interviews with notable scholars and some great still photographs from around
the time of the discovery. A neat
feature on the VIdFIRE technology used to restore stories like this one sheds
light on the amount of work and ingenuity that goes into bringing old episodes
like these back “from the dead.” A
number of other smaller extras round out this package, and help to make this
set a fitting piece of the Doctor Who legacy.
- Scott Pyle