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"Shoot him, Peri!"
―The Doctor
Attack of the Cybermen
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 22
Story Number: 138
Doctor: Sixth Doctor
Companions: Peri
Writer: Paula Moore
Director: Matthew Robinson
Producer: John Nathan-Turner
Broadcast: 5th January - 12th January 1985
Format: 2 45-minute episodes
Prod. Code: 6T
Previous Story: The Twin Dilemma
Following Story: Vengeance on Varos

Attack of the Cybermen was the first story of Season 22. This story features the return of Lytton, last seen in "Resurrection of the Daleks," and also introduced the Cryons, the native race of Telos, whose world had been occupied by the Cybermen. It was the first Doctor Who story to be produced in 45-minute episodes.



While attempting to fix the TARDIS's chameleon circuit, the Doctor returns to Foreman's Yard on Totter's Lane in 1985, where he meets up with his old enemies the Cybermen, who have come from the future to attempt to change history by sending Halley's Comet crashing into Earth. Lytton, last seen working for the Daleks, is also caught up in the Cybermen's plot. But is Lytton working for the Cybermen, himself, or someone else?


"This looks familiar..."

Part One

Two workmen are inspecting a London sewer and discover a freshly built brick wall where none should be. One of them wanders off and then vanishes, while his colleague is attacked by an unseen assailant...

The Doctor is performing repairs to the TARDIS' Chameleon circuit, something he has meant to do for years, but Peri is worried that he is over-exerting himself following his regeneration. She suggests he get some rest, to which he responds that she could also use some relaxation and steers the TARDIS towards Earth, but something begins to draw them off course.

Back in London, the stranded mercenary Lytton now leads a small gang of criminals who are planning their next job, a diamond heist. One man, Russell is sent to procure explosives, but instead phones someone to tell them what Lytton is planning.

The TARDIS is undamaged and is now following Halley's comet towards Earth in 1985. The Doctor decides to investigate what affected their flight, despite Peri's misgivings about the comet's reputation as a signal of impending doom. Lytton's gang enters the sewers via a prepared entrance concealed beneath a garage, planning to blow their way into the diamond vault from below. Before he joins them, Lytton adjusts a piece of advanced technology while his two policemen allies patrol the street. The TARDIS lands in the scrapyard at 76 Totter's Lane, having tracked a distress signal emanating from somewhere nearby, where the new chameleon circuit alters its appearance to that of an ornate piece of furniture inconsistent with a junkyard. As the Doctor and Peri search for the signal's source, they are silently stalked by the policemen.

In the sewers, Russell hears someone following the four theives. Lytton orders Payne to remain behind to "deal" with whoever is following them while he, Russell and Griffiths proceed into the dark tunnels. Payne is then attacked and killed by the shadowy assailant. When he realises the distress signal is being relayed via multiple points in the city, the Doctor realises someone must be observing the transmitter to determine when help has arrived. The Tardis, now a pipe organ, materialises at the garage and the Doctor and Peri find the sewer entrance and the armed policemen, who they manage to overcome before venturing into the sewers. In the dark, they soon find Payne's body.

When Lytton's gang reach the newly built wall, Griffiths begins to knock down some of the old brickwork to reach the vault. When the black figure appears in the tunnel, Russell runs off while Griffiths shoots at it, but Lytton forces Griffiths not to panic as the new wall slides back to reveal a group of Cybermen in a hidden command centre, where Lytton surrenders. He explains his Extra-terrestial nature to the Cyber-leader and offers to serve the Cyber race. The leader explains that the Cyber-controller on Telos will determine their fate.
Prisoners and guards

On Telos, a group of partially cyber-converted prisoners toil in a quarry under cyberman guards. Three of the prisoners attempt an escape, but only two make it out alive. The men, Bates and Stratton, need a third to operate the ship they plan to use to leave Telos. Despite this setback, they continue with their plan and head for the Cyber-control building. They accost a Cyber-scout on the way and decapitate him, so that they can hollow out his head and use it as a disguise.

Russell finds the Doctor and Peri, revealing that he is an undercover police officer. The Doctor disarms him and learns that he was investigating Lytton, who appeared suddenly a year earlier and commited several daring crimes with great skill, necessary to build his transmitter. They head back to the TARDIS, disabling the black Cyber-scout with a Sonic lance on the way. When they arrive at the TARDIS, the Cybermen are already there. They kill Russell and the leader orders the death of Peri...

Part Two

The Doctor agrees to co-operate with the Cybermen if Peri is spared on the word of the leader and Cyber-controller, whom the Doctor believed dead. He sets the TARDIS coordinates for Telos and is placed in another room with Peri, Griffiths and Lytton. Lytton explains that the Cybermen have captured a Time vessel that landed on Telos and have great plans for that ship and now the TARDIS as well. The Doctor asks how Lytton knows so much about Telos and the Cybermen's plans, but he avoids the question. The Doctor explains to Peri and Griffiths about how the Cybermen came to Telos and annihilated the native Cryons to use their refridgerated cities to store cyber troops following the destruction of Mondas, partially at the Doctor's hand, in 1986.

Due to a little sabotage by the Doctor, the TARDIS lands in the catacombs, rather than Cyber-control, and assumes the shape of a tomb. The Cybermen are promptly attacked by a rogue Cyberman, one of many driven insane by faulty tombs. The distraction allows Peri, Lytton and Griffiths to escape. Peri is rescued by a group of Cryon freedom fighters, more of whom find Lytton and Griffiths, explaining that they answered Lytton's distress call and he then manipulated the Cybermen into bringing him to Telos. The Cryons have hired him to help them stop the Cybermen from destroying Telos when they have revived all their troops and left. Lytton's mission is to steal the time vessel to prevent the controller's plan from succeeding and he in turn needs Griffiths to keep him alive long enough to make it to the ship, paying him with a fortune in diamonds, which are very common on Telos.
The natives fight back

The Doctor is meanwhile confined in a cold storage room where he meets a Cryon prisoner, Flast, who explains that a few Cryons survived the Cybermen purges and are now fighting a guerilla war, sabotaging the tombs to delay the revivals. She outlines the Cybermen's plan to prevent the destruction of Mondas by travelling back in the time vessel and diverting Halley's comet into Earth before Mondas has absorbed too much energy.

Lytton and Griffiths track down the two escaped prisoners outside the city and convinces the groups to ally themselves with each other in order to capture the time vessel, which needs at least three crewmen to operate. Lytton explains that the ship is their only hope and that it will arrive soon, so they head into a hidden tunnel which leads to Cyber-control. As they approach the landing pad, Lytton is captured by a Cyberman patrol while the others continue without him.

The Doctor is outraged at the Cybermen's plan, stating that saving Mondas would contravene the laws of time and is surprised the Time Lords are not doing something to stop it. He then realises that it must have been his own people who sent the TARDIS off course and manipulated him into place to be their agent once again. Flast then shows the Doctor what is kept in the storeroom - boxes of Vastial, a common Telosian mineral which becomes highly volatile when warmed above freezing. The Doctor uses a small amount to escape the room and kill the guard, leaving his sonic lance with Flast. She cannot leave the room without being boiled alive by the above zero temperatures in the corridor, but volunteers to use the lance to detonate the vastial and destroy cyber-control in a short while.

Lytton is tortured by the Cyber-controlller for information before being forced to undergo cyber-conversion. The Doctor and Peri make their way seperately back to the TARDIS, where in order to lure the Cyberman guards out, the Doctor activates a distress beacon on the body of a dead Cyberman. Despite being forced into the corridor and perishing, Flast manages to hide the sonic lance in a box of vastial, where it slowly warms up. When the time vessel lands at the platform, the would be hijackers Bates, Stratton and Griffiths attempt to board it, but they are mercilessly cut down by the Cybermen inside. As the guards leave the TARDIS, the Cryons manage to destroy them at the cost of their leader's life.

The new Cryon leader, Rost, urges the Doctor to leave before Flast's explosion is triggered. The Doctor prepares to leave, but Peri urges him to go back and rescue Lytton who, for once, was helping the right side. The TARDIS materialises in the conversion centre, but it is too late to save Lytton, who begs the Doctor to kill him. The Cyber-controller arrives to stop the Doctor, who surreptitiously puts a scalpel in Lytton's hand. Lytton waits until the controller is next to him and then stabs him in the arm, which is the distraction the Doctor needed. He takes the controller's weapon and kills both of the Cyberman guards and the controller himself, but not before Lytton is killed. The TARDIS leaves moments before Cyber-control explodes, leaving the Doctor to reflect on his misjudgement of Lytton.






  • The Doctor and Peri view Halley's Comet from the TARDIS.
  • The Cybermen speak of preventing Mondas' destruction.
  • The Cybermen have tombs on Telos.

Races and species



  • When the Doctor and Peri observe Halley's Comet the background music is Malcolm Clarke's music for the 1982 BBC documentary, "The Comet is Coming".
  • When the TARDIS lands in the junkyard, the music playing is a distorted version of the theme music to "Steptoe and Son", a BBC sitcom about a couple of rag-and-bone men. The original music was written by Ron Grainer, who also wrote the Doctor Who theme.
  • The Doctor plays the opening of J. S. Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in B Minor" on the TARDIS/organ. This piece had already been used in the film "Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD".

Story Notes

  • There is much contention over who exactly wrote Attack of the Cybermen, it was written under the pseudonym Paula Moore.
  • Attack of the Cybermen was first broadcast in two weekly parts; beginning with this serial and continuing for the remainder of Season 22, episodes were 45 minutes in length (as opposed to previous episodes which were 25 minutes long) for syndication, in some markets, this serial is re-edited into four, 25-minute segments.
  • Atypically for the title sequence used from Seasons 18 through 23, the story title is rendered in all capital letters.
  • This story had the working title The Cold War.


  • Part One - 8.9 million viewers
  • Part Two - 7.2 million viewers


  • This story replaced one called The Opera of Doom featuring Lightfoot and Jago, Padmasambhava, Omega, the Master, the Rills and the Cybermen. (This was a rumour deliberately started by fans and printed as fact in the news magazine DWB.)

Filming Locations

  • Glenthorne Road (UCI House), Hammersmith, London
  • Davis Road, London, W3
  • Birkbeck Road, Acton
  • Becklow Road, London, W12
  • Gerrards Cross Sand and Gravel Quarry, Gerrards Cross
  • BBC Television Centre (TC6), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • How did the Cybermen get into the TARDIS before the Doctor arrived. The Cybermen might be advanced enough to break into the Doctor's TARDIS. It's also possible that the Doctor simply forgot to lock it, which he's done in the past.
  • Why do the Cybermen let the Doctor tamper with his controls when they are holding Peri?
  • It is established that the Cybermen went to Telos after Mondas was destroyed to use the freezing chambers. So why are there Cybermen in the freezing chambers in this story? They haven't come there yet. Yes they have. They have been on Telos for ages. The ones we see in the beginning are probably survivors from The Invasion who have somehow got in touch with the rest of their kind. Actually, it is clearly established that the Cybermen on Earth have traveled back in time to 1985. The Doctor is concerned that the Cybermen have discovered the 'secrets' of time travel, to which Flast (while they are both captive on Telos) assures him that they have only captured a time vessel, but that they don't understand why or how it works, just that it does.
  • It seemed like a very crude plan for the Time Lords to send him to stop the Cybermen against his will, without him knowing what he has to do? He has been sent on this sort of mission before (DW: The Brain of Morbius)
  • Cybermen can not feel emotions, meaning they can not laugh, so when the Doctor threattened not to co-operate if Peri is killed and a Cybermen told him they'd kill him if he didn't, that Cyberman smirked when they said they'd still have his TARDIS.
  • A couple of seconds before the credits roll after cliffhanger of episode 1, Nicola Bryant, who was supposed to be playing a terrified Peri as she was about to be killed, smiled.



DVD, Video and Releases

  • Attack of the Cybermen was released in a tin boxed set with The Tenth Planet in 2000 on VHS.
  • Attack Of The Cybermen was released on DVD in the UK in March 2009.
  • Editing for VHS and DVD release completed by Doctor Who Restoration Team.


Main article: Attack of the Cybermen (novelisation)

See also

to be added

External Links

Season 22
Attack of the Cybermen  • Vengeance on Varos  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Two Doctors  • Timelash  • Revelation of the Daleks
Cyberman Television Stories
Original Cybermen: The Tenth Planet  • The Moonbase  • The Tomb of the Cybermen  • The Wheel in Space  • The Invasion  • Revenge of the Cybermen  • Earthshock  • The Five Doctors  • Attack of the Cybermen  • Silver Nemesis
Alternate Universe Cybermen: Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel  • Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday  • The Next Doctor
Torchwood: Cyberwoman
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Attack_of_the_Cybermen. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "Attack of the Cybermen" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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