‘Attack of the Cybermen’ (TV)

‘ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Cold War with Cybermen and Cyrons on Telos with the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Lytton

It’s time for Colin Baker’s first full-on season of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1985! 🙂

I always get a buzz when a new Blu-ray box set of a classic ‘Doctor Who’ season is announced via the official ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel. This is especially the case when the Blu-ray trailer entitled ‘The Eternal Mystery’, starring Nicola Bryant as Peri, was released on YouTube back in January 2022.

This was of course to promote Season 22 of ‘Doctor Who’ on Blu-ray with Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. There’s also Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and Frazer Hines as Jamie, who guest star in ‘The Two Doctors’. We’ll discuss more about them another time.

It was nice to see Nicola Bryant reprise Peri as an older person, following the events of ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ where presumably she managed to cheat death. Mind you, I’m not sure which one of these Peris this is supposed to be. There’s like five Peris established in ‘Peri and the Piscon Paradox’.

It was also lovely to see Sarah Sutton, Peter Davison and Janet Fielding joining the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items for Season 22, according to the trailer. I check out these ‘Collection’ Blu-ray box sets even if Sarah’s not in all of them, but it’s always a great pleasure to see her in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items. 🙂

There are also some other brand-new items in the Season 22 Blu-ray box set to check out, including some Matthew Sweet conversations with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant as well as one with Michael Grade, the man responsible for cancelling ‘Doctor Who’ initial Season 23 in 1985. Wow! Astounding!

There’s also a new making-of documentary for ‘The Two Doctors’. I’m pleased ‘The Two Doctors’ has the making-of documentary on Blu-ray. I’m disappointed it wasn’t on the DVD. ‘A Fix with Sontarans’ with the Sixth Doctor, Tegan and Gareth Jenkins is also on Blu-ray, but that’s for another occasion. 🙂

The Blu-ray box set of Season 22 of ‘Doctor Who’ is an 8-disc set. The six stories of Season 22 are ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, ‘Vengeance on Varos’, ‘The Mark of the Rani’, ‘The Two Doctors’, ‘Timelash’ and ‘Revelation of the Daleks’. ‘Vengeance on Varos’ and ‘The Two Doctors’ get the 2-disc treatment. 🙂

Season 22 of ‘Doctor Who’ is a…fascinating season to say the least. Not only was this the first ‘Doctor Who’ season to feature Colin Baker’s Doctor on TV, it was also a season that received a lot of scrutiny, both from the BBC as well as the general public, considering the violent content that it had.

This is something we’ll explore further as we go through each story of the season, but dare I say it, Season 22 of ‘Doctor Who’ was pretty bold in depicting some pretty graphic and violent imagery in certain scenes of each story. ‘Timelash’ is not such a huge issue, but most of the other stories are. 😐

All of this was mainly down to how the producer John Nathan-Turner and (in particular) script-editor Eric Saward handled Season 22. They were attempting to make the show darker, violent and unpleasant. It was something that the BBC and certain members of the public strongly objected to. 😦

The result of this was that the BBC decided to postpone ‘Doctor Who’s following season – Season 23 – for 18 months. The negative reaction to this decision was very hot. Fans protested against the BBC for making such a decision. Nevertheless, with the decision made, ‘Doctor Who’ was put on hiatus. 😦

Whether you agree or disagree with the criticisms made against the TV show at the time by the BBC and the general public is entirely up to you. But make no mistake. ‘Doctor Who’ found itself in jeopardy. Season 22 is a season that could’ve easily killed the series if the BBC went to that extreme.

I’ve no objection to Season 22 overall. I enjoyed it for the most part and Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are highlights as the Sixth Doctor and Peri throughout each story. The Sixth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ has a place in many people’s hearts and no doubt they’re more positive than negative.

But there’s no denying that the bombastic approach to making these ‘Doctor Who’ stories, especially with the violent imagery and Colin’s Doctor often coming across as brash and unlikeable, makes Season 22 debatable as to whether it’s great or not. There are flaws as well as positives throughout.

It’s also interesting to note that Colin Baker’s Doctor doesn’t actually start in ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, the first story of Season 22. Colin’s Doctor actually began in ‘The Twin Dilemma’, the very last story of Season 21, which is Peter Davison’s third and final season as the Fifth Doctor on TV.

Hmm. Interesting that Colin’s Doctor actually began at the end of Peter Davison’s final season on TV as opposed to the beginning of his first TV season. I’m currently curious on what the Season 21 Blu-ray box set cover of ‘Doctor Who’ will look like. Will it have both Peter Davison and Colin Baker on it?

Regardless, Colin Baker’s first full season of ‘Doctor Who’ was transmitted from January to March 1985 on BBC TV. And it was shown on Saturdays as opposed to the weekdays which Peter Davison’s seasons of ‘Doctor Who’ were transmitted on. So, how much good is there than bad in Season 22? 😐

Well, let’s find out! As established, the season begins with ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, a two-part 45-minute episode story. Yes, the episode format changed for this particular ‘Doctor Who’ season. Usually, ‘Doctor Who’ stories were four or six-parters with each episode about 25 minutes in length.

Here in Season 22, it was decided to change the episode lengths to 45 minutes instead. So, what would’ve been the first two episodes of a four-part story is now combined as ‘Part One’. And the last two episodes of a four-part story is combined as ‘Part Two’. Some prefer the episodes as 45 minutes.

I know Eric Saward prefers the episodes being 45 minutes instead of 25 minutes. There are advantages to having the episodes to 45 minutes, as it gives you more breathing space to develop the story and the characters. You’re not restricted to having each episode conclude on a cliffhanger.

There’s like only one cliffhanger to worry about in a two-part 45-minute episode story as opposed to worrying about three cliffhangers in a traditional four-part 25-minute episode story. The 45-minute episode length has been carried through into the new ‘Doctor Who’ series from 2005 to present day.

I don’t have an objection to the 45-minute episode length, as any episode length is fine for a ‘Doctor Who’ story. Mind you, I find the pacing in the 45-minute episodes of the Colin Baker era to be less pacy compared to how pacier the episodes of the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant eras are.

I also enjoy it when you have more cliffhangers in ‘Doctor Who’ so you can worry about your main characters. The jeopardy factor isn’t as important when you’re watching a two-part 45-minute story, unless you’ve combined all the three cliffhangers for the end of one episode as opposed to three. 😀

As established earlier, Season 22 of ‘Doctor Who’ was shown on Saturdays from January to March in 1985 as opposed to Mondays and Tuesdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Thursdays and Fridays for the Peter Davison era. I like the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes shown on Saturdays instead of weekdays.

I have enjoyed Jodie Whittaker’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ being shown on the Sundays, but Saturday is like the traditional day to show a ‘Doctor Who’ episode at teatime. I’m currently wondering whether Russell T. Davies will have his neo-‘Doctor Who’ era shown on the Saturdays as with his previous era.

As well as featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri, ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ of course features the return of one of the Doctor’s oldest foes – the Cybermen. Clearly, the surprise factor is instantly gone with audiences knowing what monsters they’re going to expect.

Then again, it’s always a challenge to repeat the surprise factor in a ‘Doctor Who’ story like ‘Earthshock’. And of course, it’s the 1980s ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen that Colin Baker’s Doctor has to deal with, including David Banks as the Cyber Leader, but not Mark Hardy as the Cyber Lieutenant. 😐

Brian Orrell plays the Cyber Lieutenant instead and there’s also John Ainley, who I think plays a ‘wobbly’ Cyberman at Cyber Control on Telos. 😀 And there’s Michael Kilgariff who returns as the Cyber-Controller from ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’. I’ll talk about more about the Cybermen later. 🙂

Again, this is Colin Baker’s second ‘Doctor Who’ story in his tenure of the TV show, following his rocky start in ‘The Twin Dilemma’. I can imagine some audience members found it a challenge to get used to Colin Baker’s Doctor, since he came across as brash and unlikeable in ‘The Twin Dilemma’. 😐

As I’ve been able to gather, Colin Baker’s Doctor was meant to start off like that before he gradually became nicer as the series went on. This is certainly demonstrated in ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ before the BBC curtailed his era abruptly. It’s also in his Big Finish audio stories.

I’ve had my DVD cover of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ signed by Colin Baker at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016. When I asked him whether he preferred Cybermen or Daleks, he couldn’t decide. Of course, he’d say Daleks whenever Terry Molly is at a convention. 😀

Mind you, Colin Baker did say that the Daleks used to frighten him when he watched ‘Doctor Who’ back in the 1960s and that Jacqueline Pearce is a terrifying ‘monster’, when he was interviewed for ‘Saturday Superstore’ back in January 1985. 😀 I enjoyed the ‘Saturday Superstore’ interview on Blu-ray.

I quite like it that for the opening story of Season 22, the production team decided to have Colin Baker’s Doctor fight against the Cybermen. It provided a great start to the new season at the time in 1985, especially since it compensated for audiences getting used to Colin’s brash, aggressive Doctor.

Mind you, things could have turned out differently if the story didn’t end up becoming so violent as Eric Saward had written it in the scripts. It was Eric’s way of trying to emulate the Philip Hinchcliffe/Robert Holmes era from the 1970s. That can often be too much of a bad or a good thing.

Speaking of which; there has been a debate about who the author of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ is. The story is credited to Paula Moore, who provides her only contribution to the series. Paula Moore is actually a pseudonym, as Eric Saward actually wrote the scripts with some help from other people.

The name Paula Moore is based on an ex-girlfriend Eric Saward had, whose actual name was Paul Woolsey. Honestly, I don’t know why the pseudonym ‘David Agnew’ wasn’t used for this story. Or did people actually find out by then that ‘David Agnew’ didn’t exist at all in behind-the-scenes terms.

There’s also been an argument that the unofficial continuity advisor on the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series named Ian Levine contributed as a writer to the story. Eric Saward denies this and says Ian Levine only contributed certain story ideas, including having the Cyber-Controller and the Tombs of Telos. 🙂

Honestly, the identity of who authored ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ has been muddy-watered over the years. I’m willing to trust that Eric Saward is the actual author of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, since a lot of the writing feels like it’s him and it’s made clear that Eric is a huge fan of the Cybermen anyway. 🙂

In the story itself, the Doctor and Peri are in the TARDIS when they detect a strange alien signal emanating from the planet Earth. They track the signal to London, 1985. Soon, the Doctor and Peri arrive in an urban setting, as the TARDIS ends up in 76 Totter’s Lane. A place familiar to the Doctor. 🙂

As well as having links to previous Cybermen stories, there’s a nice link to ‘An Unearthly Child’ when the Doctor, Peri and the TARDIS return to 76 Totter’s Lane. Mind you, it’s better when the Doctor later returned to Shoreditch, London in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, as the location would be well-utilised.

In terms of other links to previous Cybermen stories, as well as ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ and ‘Earthshock’, there are links to ‘The Tenth Planet’, the first ‘Doctor Who’ story with the Cybermen. There’s also a link to ‘The Invasion’, when the Cybermen are walking about in the sewers of London.

Whilst these links to the previous Cybermen stories are nice enough, it doesn’t help to make the Cybermen’s history in ‘Doctor Who’ any clearer. You may have noticed that my Cybermen timeline on ‘Bradley’s Basement’ isn’t as up-to-date as I would like it to be with lots of Cyber history going on.

There have been many versions of the Cybermen’s origins as well as in ‘Spare Parts’, including a version in the ‘Doctor Who’ comics where the Cybermen and the Voord from ‘The Keys of Marinus’ are connected to each other. I find that a big revelation to swallow, since not everything is added up.

‘Attack of the Cybermen’ is also a sequel to ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’, since it features the return of Maurice Colbourne as Lytton, a mercenary who worked for the Daleks. This adds to my belief that Eric Saward penned ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ himself, since he initially created Lytton’s character. 🙂

This story also happens to be directed by Matthew Robinson, who previously directed ‘Resurrection’. Matthew is clearly an action director and I’m pleased he returned to direct another ‘Doctor Who’ story with Cybermen in the TV series. He’s directed both the Daleks and the Cybermen in his career.

Back to the story, the Doctor and Peri end up going down into the London sewers where the Cybermen lurk. They soon get caught by Cybermen in the TARDIS and they’re taken to Cyber Control on Telos where the revived Cyber-Controller is waiting for them and where the Cyrons happen to be.

In general, I found ‘Attack of the Cybermen’…okay. It’s not one of my standout favourites from classic ‘Doctor Who’. There is merit to be found in the story, but it doesn’t always deliver what it promises. As established, there are continuity elements and plot threads to wrap your head around.

Having watched the story recently and with the new 5.1 surround sound audio option on Blu-ray, I’ve been able to gain more insight into what’s going on, especially after watching it on DVD more than once. But it’s likely to confuse a viewer who may not be very familiar with ‘Doctor Who’ as I am.

And as I keep reiterating, the violence issues featured in this ‘Doctor Who’ story are debatable, especially as the series was going for a more adult atmosphere by this point. Whilst I’m okay with the series being more grown-up, there’s a fine line that needs to be drawn concerning the violence.

The story’s continuity elements might be obvious to hardcore ‘Doctor Who’ fans, but I don’t think the general public would have got them. Some of the story’s continuity elements can be hard to follow. These are nice touches of continuity for the fans by Eric Saward, but it doesn’t feel satisfying.

It’s like too many toppings on a pizza you’ve ordered from Domino’s. Speaking of which, my parents and I purchased a Domino’s pizza takeaway meal from our new local store, which we had whilst revisiting ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ on Blu-ray. It was nice to do, especially on a pretty hot sunny day.

There also needs to be more variety in a season of ‘Doctor Who’. You can go from a light-hearted adventure to a darker and violent story before going back to a light-hearted adventure again. Having most of the stories featuring violent elements one after the other doesn’t provide that much variety.

In terms of the cast, Colin Baker delivers a marvellous performance as the Sixth Doctor. He continues to be the brash and abrasive Doctor from ‘The Twin Dilemma’, but he’s clearly able to find his feet. It’s incredible how Colin is able to express such enthusiasm into a character he clearly enjoys playing.

I enjoyed the Doctor’s relationship with Peri, although they tend to bicker a lot in the TARDIS. I wondered how Peri was able to put up with the Doctor, as often, he wasn’t very nice to her compared to Peter Davison’s Doctor. But it’s clearly indicated that the two seem fond of each other.

It was nice when the Doctor realised that he misjudged Lytton, as he didn’t know he was working for the Cyrons and not the Cybermen. This is emphasised when he sees Lytton partly converted into a Cyberman and when he shares a scene with Peri in the TARDIS, as he reflects on misjudging Lytton. 🙂

Mind you, it’s odd that Colin Baker’s Doctor would know who Lytton is in ‘Doctor Who’, since Peter Davison’s Doctor didn’t have many scenes with Lytton or share lines of dialogue with him in ‘Resurrection’. Mind you, it’s established more clearly regarding the Doctor and Lytton’s relationship in the ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ novelization.

Nicola Bryant is lovely as Peri. I liked it when Peri showed concern for the Doctor, as she’s finding him to be ‘unstable’ following his regeneration. This is something that the Doctor categorically denies, especially when he goes “Unstable? Unstable?! UNSTABLE?!!!!!” and with ‘a very loud voice’.

The Colin Baker’s Doctor repeating Peri’s words three times is a sort-of common thing in Season 22. 😀 I really liked it when Peri showed concern for the Doctor towards the end when he was emotionally drained and reflecting on misjudging Peri. It’s not always arguments between the two. 🙂

Whilst Nicola Bryant as Peri is a sexy lady – she looks very glamourous in that sexy pink outfit she’s wearing as well as the red outfit he wears to keep warm on Telos – I question why she would run around in high heels. Surely, it’d better to run in trainers rather than in high heels in an adventure. 😐

It was interesting to see Peri interact with the Cyrons when they rescue her from a rogue Cybermen breaking out of its tomb on Telos. Peri easily makes fun of the Doctor, especially when he’s wearing the multi-coloured coat and when the TARDIS doesn’t quite work with its ‘refitted’ chameleon circuit.

Oh yeah, that’s a new thing the producer John Nathan-Turner tried to go for in this story. The Doctor manages to fix the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit in the story, compared to when he had difficulty in it being fixed and he had ‘to go to Logopolis to sort it out once and for all’. Even that failed at that time.

The TARDIS gets to change into a painted French dresser as well as an organ in the story. There was an outcry from the general public about the TARDIS ridding its blue police box exterior. A campaign was made to stop it from happening. Thankfully, JNT didn’t go to that extreme regarding the TARDIS.

It was clearly a set-up ruse to promote publicity in the newspaper tabloids when ‘Doctor Who’ was being made in the 1980s. You can’t really get rid of the blue police box exterior of the TARDIS, as that’s like an icon and has remained with the series ever since it first began back in November 1963.

I found Maurice Colbourne great as Lytton in ‘Attack of the Cybermen’. He continues to be tough as ever following ‘Resurrection’, but he isn’t the bad guy as we assumed he’d be. Initially, the story leads you to think he’s working with the Cybermen. But it’s developed later on that he isn’t with them.

He’s actually working for the Cyrons. I like how this story provides more depth to Lytton compared to how he was presented in ‘Resurrection’. Had Lytton survived the events of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, he could’ve had an encounter with the Seventh Doctor with perhaps say…the Master? 😀

The story also features Terry Molloy as Russell, an undercover policeman who works for Lytton during a robbery heist. Terry Molloy is well-known for playing Davros in ‘Doctor Who’. In fact, he previously played the character of Davros in ‘Resurrection’, which was the first time he played him. 🙂

It was surreal to see Terry Molloy in the flesh and playing a human character in ‘Attack of the Cybermen’. He looks young and less menacing compared to his Davros performance in ‘Resurrection’. It was nice to see him as a different character and have scenes with Colin and Nicola.

The rest of the guest cast includes Brian Glover as Griffiths, who’s also one of Lytton’s mob. Brian Glover would later play Magersfontein Lugg in the TV series ‘Campion’ with Peter Davison. Griffiths is quite a down-to-Earth Yorkshireman, who’s quite out of his depth once Cybermen are involved. 😀

There’s James Beckett as Payne, who gets killed early on in ‘Part One’. There’s also Michael Attwell as Bates, an angry half-human, half-cyborg on the planet Telos. Michael Attwell also played Bill Sykes in the 1985 BBC TV production of ‘Oliver Twist’. Terry Molloy also starred in that BBC TV production.

Joining Michael Atwell as Bates is Jonathan David as the well-mannered Stratton. I felt sorry for Stratton when he was forced by Bates to wear a Cyberman’s helmet, which they beheaded in order to get into Cyber Control to pilot a spaceship. Stratton distracting a Cybermen on patrol was funny to see.

As established, the Cybermen in this ‘Doctor Who’ story are the ones from ‘Earthshock’. They’ve also appeared in ‘The Five Doctors’. If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you know that these Cybermen aren’t really my favourites, as I find them pathetic-looking and often acting less robotic. 😐

I appreciate there are ‘Doctor Who’ fans who are fans of these 1980s Cybermen in the TV series, but I can’t get over the Cyber Leader saying “Excellent!” a lot in his ‘Doctor Who’ appearances in the 1980s. Nothing against David Bank’s performances, but the way that he says “Excellent!” is a misstep.

It doesn’t make the Cybermen very threatening when you watch them in the TV series, especially when you can clearly see that they’re men in suits and not men in robotic armour, despite the impressive robotic heads they have. I prefer the ‘chunkier’ Cybermen in the new ‘Doctor Who’ series.

And then there’s Michael Kilgarriff as the Cyber-Controller. (sighs) I’ll just say it, the Cyber-Controller looked more impressive in ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ than in ‘Attack of the Cybermen’. I wish the production team didn’t bring back the Cyber Controller. I don’t mean to disrespect Michael Kilgarriff.

I’m sure it was nice for him to say the lines of dialogue rather than have Peter Hawkins voice over his dialogue as in ‘Tomb’ (although I prefer that really), but Michael Kilgarriff looks rather chubby in his Cyber Controller suit. Also, the Cyber-Controller is rather underused as a villain throughout this story.

Eric Saward shared his reservations about this too in ‘The Cyber Story’ featurette, both on DVD and Blu-ray, as he felt there were too many talking heads with the Cyber-Controller and the Cyber Leader in competition with each other. Honestly, I enjoyed Michael Kilgariff far more in ‘The Moon Stallion’.

And there are the Cyrons! Oh boy! The Cyrons! I found the Cyrons rather disappointing quite frankly. These were the original inhabitants of the planet Telos before the Cybermen took over. It’s a nice idea, but the Cyrons didn’t convince me as being worthy opponents for the Cybermen in this story. 😦

Yes, the fact the Cyrons have to live in sub-zero temperatures is sound enough, but their costumes and makeup (If it was make-up. Or maybe they were masks) looked daft and silly. The Cyrons also seem to be female with twirly moustaches and long fingernails. It looked embarrassing once you see them.

The Cyrons are played by four ladies – comedienne Faith Brown as Flast, presenter Sarah Greene as Varne, Sarah Berger as Rost and Esther Freud as Threst. Honestly, with the Cyrons looking so alike, I couldn’t tell which was who. They only appeared in ‘Part Two’ of the story, making them forgettable.

At the beginning of the story, there are two workmen in the London sewers before they get killed off by a black Cyberman. They’re Stephen Churchett as Bill and Stephen Wale as David. Fun fact: Stephen Churchett would go on to play Councillor Druggett in ‘The Brittas Empire’. Extraordinary! 😀

As reiterated, the issues of violence and death is debatable, especially in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. Eric Saward didn’t back down from killing characters and having scenes of violence in the stories he wrote and script-edited. This included Bates, Stratton and Griffiths getting killed off in the TV story. 😦

This is especially when after all the effort they put into getting into the spaceship, they’re thwarted by a bobby-trap and a Cyberman that kills them. There’s also the scene where Lytton has his hands being crushed by Cybermen and they bleed, which was so disturbing to watch on DVD and Blu-ray. 😐

I honestly feel this is the wrong way to do things in ‘Doctor Who’. Action and fight scenes in ‘Doctor Who’ is fine, but it mustn’t be too gory. Lytton having his hands bleeding by Cybermen is near the knuckle. I’m really surprised that ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ wasn’t rated 15 instead of PG or 12 here.

In fact, when ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ was released on DVD in 2009, it was given a U rating. U! How could the DVD producers muck that up? Was Lytton’s bleeding hands okay for kids to watch, according to the DVD producers? I’m glad the ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ Blu-ray disc has at least a 12 rating to it. 🙂

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was a mono sound audio mix option for the story and an audio commentary with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Terry Molloy (‘Part One’ only) and Sarah Berger (‘Part Two’ only). There was also an isolated music option by Malcolm Clarke to enjoy and an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was a making-of documentary called ‘The Cold War’, featuring behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There was ‘The Cyber Story’ featurette, which is a brief history of the Cybermen in the classic ‘Doctor Who’ TV series. There was also ‘Human Cyborg’, featuring cybernetics scientist Professor Kevin Warwick. There was a photo gallery of the story and ‘The Cyber Generations’ photo gallery. There were BBC trailers and continuity announcements of the story; and PDF materials, including ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDFs of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ and ‘The Invasion’ (which wasn’t on ‘The Invasion’ 2-disc DVD set for some reason 😐 ), and a 1969 article from ‘The Listener’ magazine by Cybermen co-creator Kit Pedler. There was also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Image of the Fendahl’ with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. And there was an Easter Egg to look out for on the DVD, which happens to be Professor Kevin Warwick’s ‘Cybernetic Autonomous Dalek’.

On Disc 1 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 22’ Blu-ray, the mono sound audio mix option, the DVD audio commentary, the isolated music option, ‘The Cold War’ making-of documentary, ‘The Cyber Story’ featurette and ‘The Cyber-Generations’ photo gallery can be found on there. The info-text commentary option, the photo gallery and the BBC trailers and continuity announcements for ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ have been updated for 2022 on the Blu-ray. ‘Human Cyborg’ and the ‘Cybernetic Autonomous Dalek’ Easter Egg are combined as one on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ with Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Terry Molloy (Davros) as well as Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) as well as Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor) and Wendy Padbury (Zoe). There’s the ‘Colin Baker: In Conversation’ interview conducted by Matthew Sweet; a ‘Breakfast Time’ item with Faith Brown; a ‘Saturday Superstore’ item with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Mary Tamm, Jacqueline Pearce, Sarah Greene and producer John Nathan-Turner; and a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Vengeance on Varos’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. There’s also a 5.1 surround sound audio option for the story to enjoy.

On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, there are production documents; scripts for the story, including two rehearsal scripts, two camera scripts and the script for ‘Cold War’ (not sure if ‘Cold War’ was the original working title for ‘Attack of the Cybermen’); the BBC Audience Research Report for Season 22 and the 1986 ‘Doctor Who Annual’. The ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of ‘The Invasion’ and the 1969 article from ‘The Listener’ magazine by Cybermen co-creator Kit Pedler aren’t included on the ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ Blu-ray disc.

‘Attack of the Cybermen’ isn’t great, but I found it enjoyable enough with the Cybermen in it. I’ve mixed feelings about this ‘Doctor Who’ story. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are great as the Sixth Doctor and Peri, though the story depends on other ‘Doctor Who’ stories that have gone before it. 😐

This includes ‘The Tenth Planet’ and ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’. Despite the convoluted nature of the story, it does make for a good season opener to Colin Baker’s first full season as the Sixth Doctor. The story opens Season 22 with bang and I can readily appreciate it, despite the flaws it has throughout.

‘Attack of the Cybermen’ rating – 7/10


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4 thoughts on “‘Attack of the Cybermen’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    I enjoyed this one very much & remember the show returned to Saturday’s with this season 22 opener.

    I remember loving this season & Colins Doctor because it was such a terrifying idea that the Doctor could be unpleasant & unpredictable, the scenes of gore push the boundaries & Lyttons blooded hands traumatised me as it was shocking for 1985.

    A great review Tim, you given a excellent synopsis on the characters, the story & the DVD extras in a tightly written review.

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  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Thanks for sharing your memories of watching these stories when they were first shown on TV, Simon. I’m sure they must have been exciting times for you when seeing ‘Doctor Who’ in the 1980s.

    I found this season interesting in exploring Colin’s early stages as an unlikeable Doctor. The violence issues are debatable, especially in this one with the Cybermen and Lytton’s hands bleeding which is still shocking to see to this day. I’m amazed the production team boldly went for those decisions to make it gory and violent with ‘Doctor Who’ in the 1980s.

    Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you’ve enjoyed my synopsis on the story as well as on the characters and DVD extras for ‘Attack of the Cybermen’. Tim. 🙂

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  3. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ wasn’t great, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. It was good to see Maurice Colbourne returning as Lytton, as well as Terry Molloy getting a role in the flesh rather than in a mask. Brian Glover as Griffiths was my favourite character. I still have a soft spot for the ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen, even if you don’t. That being said though, some of the voices were hard to follow at times. As for the Cyber Controller looking chunky, maybe they did that to make him stand out. I agree about the Cryons though.

    I also agree about the Doctor being abrasive towards Peri at times. I will say though, and I mentioned this in my ‘Twin Dilemma’ review, Peri never really thanks the Doctor for sacrificing himself at the end of ‘The Caves of Androzani’. That doesn’t excuse the Doctor’s behaviour though.

    I’ll share my thoughts on your review of ‘Vengeance on Varos’ tomorrow, followed by ‘The Mark of the Rani’ the following day, the latter of which I will be starting my review on soon. My thoughts on ‘The Two Doctors’, ‘Timelash’ and ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ will be shared after I’ve watched them.

    P.s. do you think Maurice Colbourne looks a lot like Eric Roberts?

    Take care, WF92.

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    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ and I’m pleased you enjoyed the story for what it was, despite it not being that great. I’m glad you enjoyed Maurice Colbourne as Lytton, Terry Molloy as Russell and Brian Glover as Griffiths. I’m also pleased you have a soft spot for the ‘Earthshock’ Cybermen. Good for you. I just can’t take to them, since it was ‘The Age of Steel’ Cybermen I was introduced to first in ‘Doctor Who’. Glad you agree with me about the Cyrons and interesting thoughts you have about the Cyber Controller. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Sixth Doctor and Peri compared to me.

      Looking forward to your thoughts on the rest of Season 22 of ‘Doctor Who’. I didn’t think Maurice Colbourne looked like Eric Roberts. It never occurred to me until you mentioned it. Perhaps they are related. 😆 Thanks for the insight.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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