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The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric vs. the Cybermen
Believe it or not, this was the first ‘classic’ ‘Doctor Who’ story I saw from watching the new series!
It was in 2006 after seeing ‘Army of Ghosts’/’Doomsday’. I was enjoying the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ so much that I wanted to watch some of the classic stuff. The first story I went for was a classic story with Peter Davison as the Doctor. It featured the Cybermen in it and it was called ‘Earthshock’.
I purchased the ‘Earthshock’ DVD from Tesco in Cardiff and watched it at home with my parents. I enjoyed this four-part story by Eric Saward. I had seen a classic ‘Doctor Who’ story before as I was so used to seeing the new series episodes. People said that I picked a good choice with ‘Earthshock’.
As well as Peter Davison as the Doctor, there’s also Janet Fielding as Tegan; Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric. It was great to see these four TARDIS regular in this adventure. I didn’t know at the time that I would grow to love them and their adventures later on in the series.
I’ve had my DVD cover of ‘Earthshock’ signed by Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse. I’m pleased I’ve had the story’s DVD cover by Peter; Janet; Sarah and Matthew. This adventure means so much, especially as it was the first time I saw these four regulars. I’ve also had the DVD cover of ‘Earthshock’ signed by the excellent David Banks who played the Cyber Leader in the story at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in the Arora Hotel, Gatwick, May 2017.
I had already seen Peter Davison in ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ before ‘Doctor Who’. I was curious as to what Peter would be like as the Doctor since I’d seen him as a vet in ‘All Creatures’. As soon as I saw Peter in ‘Earthshock’, I was quickly convinced that he was the Doctor in this adventure.
I really liked Peter’s youthful enthusiasm as the Doctor throughout this adventure. I also liked the balance of human compassion and alien intelligence Peter puts in his Doctor. Peter started the trend of ‘young’ Doctors like David Tennant and Matt Smith later on and he’s one of my favourite Doctors.
Sarah Sutton stars as Nyssa, my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion. I surprised Sarah at a convention as I told her ‘Earthshock’ was the first time I saw her in ‘Doctor Who’. I told her I didn’t watch ‘Doctor Who’ as a kid. She said she hadn’t either, which made me feel better. I’ve seen Sarah at lots of conventions. It was nice to see her in passing after breakfast once.
Sarah said ‘Earthshock’ is one of her favourite stories from ‘Doctor Who’. But I don’t think Nyssa does much as she’s mostly stuck in the TARDIS. I enjoyed Nyssa’s scenes with Kyle when they see Cybermen on the TARDIS scanner. I also liked Nyssa using a Cyber-gun and having scenes with Adric.
Janet Fielding stars as Tegan. Janet remembers ‘Earthshock’ fondly as it was directed by Peter Grimwade. I enjoy seeing Janet at conventions as she’s likeable and funny to chat to during signings. She’s also great to see at panel talks as she knows her stuff regarding films; television and fashion.
In ‘Earthshock’, I found Tegan a very spirited woman as she tended to be bossy at times. I grew to like Tegan later on. I liked it when Tegan calms the Doctor. She gets to be the action girl and being gun-ho when she get to use a Cyber-gun. It gets tenser when Tegan gets captured by a Cyberman.
Matthew Waterhouse was great as Adric. It was strange for me to see this as Adric’s last story. I’ve met Matthew at conventions and he’s really nice to chat to (I chatted to him in the lift once). I told Matthew how much I enjoyed ‘Earthshock’, saying it’s a great story, and he agreed calling it a ‘classic’.
I found Adric annoying at first. There’s that bitter argument that Adric has with the Doctor when he wants to go home back to E-Space. I grew to like Adric in a strange way and Matthew delivers a good performance in this. I was surprised and ‘shocked’ by what happened to him at the end of the story.
I was very impressed with Eric Saward’s story as he kept the Cybermen’s presence a secret until the end of ‘Part One’. It was a well-kept secret and I’m sure fans were extremely excited to see the Cybermen appear at the end. It was exciting for me too and it made for a tense; atmospheric story.
I’m afraid I’m not impressed with the 80s Cybermen as I’ve been spoilt by the Cybermen in the new series. I was ‘shocked’ with how the Cybermen looked and they don’t have the ‘ultimate upgrade’. They don’t even say ‘delete’ and the Cyber Leader kept saying “Excellent!” that was annoying for me.
I’ve chatted to Sarah and Matthew about how I felt about these 80s Cybermen during a coffee club session at a convention in Newcastle in October, 2013. I did like it when the Cyber Leader used emotions to weaken the Doctor to his will as there was a moment when Tegan’s life was threatened.
I liked the flashback sequence in ‘Part Two’ that showed the previous Doctors and his encounters with the Cybermen. This included showing the faces of William Hartnell; Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker. I was getting to know the classic series and seeing the flashback sequence was a true delight.
Peter; Janet; Sarah and Matthew were the stars for me in this adventure. But I also liked the performances of the guest cast. There’s James Warwick as Lt. Scott; Clare Clifford as Professor Kyle and Beryl Reid as Captain Briggs. Beryl was good as the toughened starship captain with tango hair.
This fantastic story was directed by Peter Grimwade. Grimwade is known to be hard work with the actors, but he’s done a remarkable job to make this action-packed adventure. It does have a movie feel and shows how committed Grimwade was to get his shots and keeping the pace flowing in this.
The story’s violence and vulnerability is debatable. The violence isn’t as strong as people make out. The story’s very action-orientated and gripping to watch. The Doctor being vulnerable is interesting, as it gets echoed in the new series with the Time War and the Doctor’s concern for his companions.
The story features the last appearance of Adric. I hadn’t known Adric long, so I was surprised to see him get killed in this. I’d already seen Rose’s departure in ‘Doomsday’ but nothing compared to this. I don’t know how affected children were at the time, but it must have been so traumatising for them.
The end credits came up and it was silence. No familiar ‘Doctor Who’ theme music was found after Adric’s death and it was like staring into a void and feeling empty. Silence is golden, but nothing comforted this tragic end. I would have preferred it if the story ended with the familiar theme music.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a making-of documentary called ‘Putting the ‘Shock’ into ‘Earthshock”; a music video celebrating the 40th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’; film sequences; a CGI effects option of the story and a ‘Did You See?’ programme featuring ‘Doctor Who’ monsters.
There’s also a photo gallery; an info text commentary option to enjoy; a commentary with Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse; a music-only audio track option and a parody ‘Episode 5’ of ‘Earthshock’. There’s also an Easter Egg clip to be found on this DVD disc.
‘Earthshock’ is one of the greatest Fifth Doctor stories I’ve seen. I’m glad it was my first experience of a classic ‘Doctor Who’ story when I saw Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse. I’ve never been the same since seeing this story as it embraced as a ‘Doctor Who’ fan.
‘Earthshock’ rating – 9/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – EARTHSHOCK’
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Eighties Cybermen with New Series voices
‘Doctor Who – Earthshock’ is a brilliant novelisation of one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories!
Since ‘Earthshock’ was the first classic ‘Doctor Who’ story I saw from seeing the new series, it was fair that I should purchase the audiobook of the story. I purchased the audiobook in Stratford-upon-Avon as well as the novelization from Amazon. I read and listened to ‘Earthshock’ at the same time.
‘Doctor Who – Earthshock’ is read by the Doctor himself – Peter Davison – with Nicholas Briggs as the Cybermen voices. The Cybermen voices in the ‘Earthshock’ audiobook are very convincing compared to the TV version. The novel is divided into 10 chapters with the audiobook is spread out on 4 discs.
The ‘Earthshock’ book was published in 1983, a year after the TV story’s initial broadcast. It was novelised from Eric Saward’s TV scripts by…Ian Marter! Yes, that’s right! Ian Marter, who played Harry Sullivan with Tom Baker’s Doctor in the TV series, did a remarkable job novelising ‘Earthshock’.
Ian has written a number of Target novelizations based on original TV stories, including ‘The Dominators’ and ‘The Invasion’. He also wrote ‘Doctor Who and the Sontaran Experiment’ in which he was in. ‘Earthshock’ is his fifth novel and he adapts the story splendidly with a ‘novel’ approach.
In terms of plot, not much has changed. Although Ian has slightly amended and adjusted certain scenes to work better compared to the TV story. He also provides more descriptive dialogue to story settings, making it more dynamic and action-packed, especially concerning character development.
One thing from this novel is how Ian described the caves at the beginning, making them like the face of a skull. The deaths of Snyder and some of the troopers are handled well. The death of Kyle was a little disappointing, as she died heroically in the TV story whereas in the novel she died by accident.
Another moment was when the Doctor causes an ‘accident’ in Cyber Control to revive the dormant Cybermen as he and Tegan are taken to the TARDIS. This would have explained why the Cybermen woke up unexpectedly in ‘Part Four’. I wish that was included in the TV story to make more sense.
The dialogue is sharper compared to the TV story. I found the characters easier to enjoy with their sharper dialogue compared to some of the dodgy lines on TV. The Cybermen’s dialogue has also improved since they sound less emotional and more logical like robots compared to the TV version.
I liked how Ian handled the TARDIS regulars in describing who they are, including Nyssa’s aristocratic, pretty nature and Tegan’s ‘red hair’ and bossy attitude. Their dialogue was enjoyable too. I liked Nyssa’s scenes with Kyle in the TARDIS; and when she rebukes Scott after mourning for Kyle’s death.
Peter Davison reads this novelisation of ‘Earthshock’ very well. I’ve heard Peter read another one of these ‘Doctor Who’ audiobooks, which was his first story ‘Castrovalva’. Peter has a very good reading voice and gets the character voices of Nyssa; Tegan and Adric sound as they were from the TV series.
I like Peter’s impersonation of Tegan’s voice in the story with her Australian accent. I also like how Peter does Nyssa’s calm tones and Adric’s obnoxious attitude before shifting to his compassionate side before his tragic fate. Peter’s energy shines throughout as he’s enthusiastic reading this story.
Nicholas Briggs voices the Cybermen in this audiobook. I didn’t like the Cybermen voices in the TV version of ‘Earthshock’ and their design was terrible. Reading the book and hearing the CDs made me feel that they weren’t eighties Cybermen anymore. They were like the new series Cybermen.
The Cybermen sounded exactly like what Nick Briggs did for them in ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’. The Cybermen’s dialogue was exactly right and the way Nick says the lines is brilliant. They still say “Excellent”, but it doesn’t sound so silly and emotional as it seemed to be in the TV version.
I liked Ian’s description of the Cybermen, as he goes deeper into how their hydraulics worked. Even the sound effects in the audiobook helped. I was convinced these Cybermen were more robotic compared to the TV version. The scenes between the Cyber Leader and Doctor are greatly improved.
The scene where a Cyberman clutches his chest unit in reaction to the word ‘gold’ was inspirational. Ian should know about the Cybermen and their dislike of ‘gold’ shouldn’t he? He was in ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ after all. The scenes where people react to Cybermen’s oily vapours were fascinating.
The final end with Adric’s death was effectively handled as it carried the same emotion and weight that it had from the TV version of the story. I found myself emotionally drained and ‘shocked’ when reading/listening to the end of the story. It took me a while to settle down to sleep after hearing it.
This is a great novelisation of a TV story. ‘Doctor Who – Earthshock’ is brilliant with Peter Davison reading it and Nicholas Briggs voicing the Cybermen. You’ll enjoy this with Ian Marter’s writing on descriptions and dialogue and the audiobook will provide extra thrills to the ‘Earthshock’ experience.
‘Doctor Who – Earthshock’ rating – 9/10
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