‘RISE OF THE CYBERMEN’/’THE AGE OF STEEL’
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“Delete! Delete! Delete!” – The Cybermen return
This two-part adventure is from Series 2 of the new series of ‘Doctor Who’, starring David Tennant as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose. It also features the return of the Cybermen in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. The Cybermen have become one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ monsters in the series!
I’ve had the original DVD cover of ‘Doctor Who – Series 2 – Volume 3’ signed by director Graeme Harper at the ‘Pandorica 2015’ convention in Bristol, September 2015 and Colin Spaull, who played Mr. Crane in the Cybermen story at the ‘Dimensions 2015’ convention in Newcastle, October 2015.
This review by me is dedicated to Roger Lloyd Pack who played the villainous John Lumic in ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’. Roger Lloyd Pack sadly passed away whilst I was writing the review at the time. It was great seeing him in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ and he’s also a great ‘Doctor Who’ villain!
‘RISE OF THE CYBERMEN’ (Part 1)
As I was getting into watching ‘Doctor Who’, I was told that a popular enemy of the Doctor’s would return. This was the first Cybermen story I saw and I was terrified by them and what they represent.
This two-part story is by Tom MacRae who reinvents the Cybermen brilliantly for a new TV audience. It is also brilliantly directed by Graeme Harper, a classic ‘Doctor Who’ director from the classic series!
The Doctor, Rose and Mickey travel in the TARDIS, until they get dragged down out of the time vortex. They land with a crash, the TARDIS becomes dead and the trio soon walk on a parallel Earth.
It’s like Earth but it’s a little different. There’s a President of Great Britain instead of a Prime Minister and there’s a company called Cybus Industries. Most importantly, Rose’s dad Pete Tyler is still alive.
David Tennant has settled well as the Doctor in this story. He enjoys playing the part and balances the emotions right for the role. He gets on well with Rose and gets to wear a James Bond suit in this.
I liked Billie Piper as Rose in this. She goes through a range of painful moments when seeing her dad again. It’s hard for her to resist talking to her dad, but she can’t help but connect and bond with him.
Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith steals the show. Mickey becomes more interesting when he feels left out by the Doctor and Rose. He once had a grandmother who he visits again in this parallel universe.
Noel gets to play two parts in this story as there are now ‘two Mickeys’, although the other is called Ricky. Ricky is the opposite of Mickey, as he’s tougher and fearless whereas Mickey’s more cowardly.
Camille Coduri returns as Jackie Tyler. But this is the parallel version of Jackie and she’s not Rose’s mum. Jackie in this universe is rather nasty and a snob as she’s wealthy due to Pete Tyler’s success.
Shaun Dingwall returns as Pete Tyler. Here Pete’s older and is a business success. He’s still the same nice bloke and is Jackie’s long-suffering husband. He gets into the business nature with John Lumic.
The main villain is Roger Lloyd Pack as John Lumic. Lumic is like a Cyber Davros of the Cybermen, since he created them. Lumic is a sick man who’s wants to sell his project of the ‘ultimate upgrade’!
The cast also includes Andrew Hayden-Smith as Jake Simmonds and Don Warrington as the President of Great Britain. There’s also Colin Spaull as Mr. Crane and Helen Griffin as Mrs. Moore.
The Cybermen are brilliant in this story. They are fantastic in their re-design. I found it horrifying when the Doctor describes to Rose that the Cybermen really are as they they’re worse than robots.
The Cybermen were once human, but their humanity died out with them. The humans have their brains planted inside these suits of armour and they have their emotions removed ‘because it hurts’.
The cliff-hanger for this first episode is so intense. The Doctor and party get surrounded. The Doctor calls out for their surrender. But despite the Doctor’s protests, the Cybermen declare that ‘man will be reborn as Cybermen. But they will ‘perish under maximum deletion’. “Delete! Delete! DELETE!!!!”
The DVD special features on this episode on ‘The Complete Series 2’ DVD are as follows. On Disc 3, there’s a commentary with Noel Clarke; Camille Coduri and Andrew Hayden-Smith. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Cybermen’.
‘THE AGE OF STEEL’ (Part 2)
ZAP!!! The Cybermen are incinerated by the Doctor, as he and his friends manage to escape.
Soon, everyone in London has their ear pods activated and they (including Jackie) are in a hypnotic trance. They soon march towards the factories of Cybus Industries to get ‘upgraded’ into Cybermen.
The Doctor and his friends scatter to meet up away from the Cybermen. Ricky and Mickey are on the run and very soon the Cybermen catch up with Ricky climbing over a fence and they electrocute him.
The Doctor and his friends have to stop the Cybus Industries’ factories converting the human population at Battersea power station. They find three ways to get inside – above, between, below.
The Doctor and Mrs Moore take the ‘below’ entrance by going through the coolant tunnels. They walk down a corridor of coolant tunnels, past a line of Cybermen. I was so scared from seeing that!
Rose and Pete take the ‘between’ entrance by walking in with the crowds and wearing fake ear pods to bluff their way in. They discover to their horror that Jackie has been ‘upgraded’ into a Cybermen.
Jake and Mickey take the ‘above’ entrance to shut down the ear pods from Lumic’s zeppelin on the factory’s roof by disabling the transmitter. Mickey also earns new respect from the Doctor and Rose.
The actual conversion of people into Cybermen was so frightening. People go in like ‘sheep’ and seeing the drills and needles working fast and brutally was very horrible when people are converted.
The Doctor, Rose and Pete meet up in Cyber Control with John Lumic, who’s now been ‘upgraded’ as the Cyber Controller. I liked that moment when he’s revealed and he says “This is the Age of Steel and I am its creator!”
I love the scenes where the Doctor’s confronting Lumic as the Cyber Controller and he tells him on what it means to be human. Lumic just doesn’t get it as he’s determined to carry on with his plans.
The Cybermen get defeated when the Doctor uses Rose’s phone with Mickey’s help to deactivate the emotional inhibitor in their heads. It causes every Cyberman inside the Cybus factory to go berserk.
The story ends with the Doctor putting the power cell back into the TARDIS, restoring it to full power and they’re ready to go. Rose tries to tell Pete that she’s her daughter, but he doesn’t want to know.
This episode features the emotional departure of Mickey who has become a stronger character and less cowardly. He stays behind to carry on the fight against the Cybermen and says goodbye to Rose.
Rose returns to find her mum still alive in the ‘real’ universe, whilst Mickey and Jake go off to save the ‘world’ in a ‘van’ to stop the Cybermen. It truly is a lovely way to end the episode on a high note.
‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’ has been a fantastic story and it is one of my favourites from the David Tennant era. It was my first encounter with the Cybermen and they are now one of my favourite monsters in ‘Doctor Who’.
The DVD special features on this episode on ‘The Complete Series 2’ DVD are as follows. On Disc 3, there’s an in-vision commentary with director Graeme Harper, Nicholas Briggs and Paul Kasey. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘From Zero to Hero’.
‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’ rating – 10/10
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