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"You've no home planet, no influence, nothing! You're just a pathetic bunch of tin soldiers skulking about the galaxy in an ancient spaceship."
The Doctor
Revenge of the Cybermen
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 12
Story Number: 79
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companions: Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Enemy: The Cybermen
Setting: Nerva Beacon, 29th century
Writer: Gerry Davis
Director: Michael Briant
Broadcast: 19th April - 10th May 1975
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: Genesis of the Daleks
Following Story: Terror of the Zygons

Revenge of the Cybermen was the fifth and final story of Season 12 (although it was not originally intended as the finale). The story saw the return of the Cybermen as lead villains for the first time since the 1968 story The Invasion, and their only appearance (barring flashbacks) until Earthshock in Season 19.

Contents

Synopsis

Everyone but a few men of the crew of Nerva Beacon have been killed by Cybermats. The Doctor realises that the Cybermen are close by and are hoping to destroy the planet Voga, the famous planet of gold. Gold is lethal to the Cybermen and Voga must be destroyed to enable their survival. The Doctor is captured and is sent to Voga with two other humans, all three with bombs strapped to them. The Cybermen hope to detonate them in a sensitive spot in order to destroy Voga. But the Doctor manages to defuse the bombs, so instead the Cybermen decide to fill Nerva Beacon with bombs and crash into Voga. But the Doctor gets to Nerva and prevents it from destroying the planet of gold. Meanwhile the Cybermen retreat into their ship and the Vogans destroy it with a missile of their own.

Plot

Part One

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane use the Time Ring, spinning their way through time and space back to Space Station Nerva. They land back in the control room they left when they last beamed down to Earth, but Sarah notices the TARDIS is not there. The Doctor tells Sarah that the time ship is drifting back in time towards them and they just need to wait for her to catch up. A door slides open, revealing a dead body, and many more beyond, littering the outer ring of the station.

In a communications room, crewman Warner warns off an approaching spaceship away from Nerva Beacon, which is under quarantine due to a plague. Professor Kellman, a planetary surveyor, asks Commander Stevenson how long they can run a 50-man station with three men, but the other officer, Lester, thinks they can continue to manage. Nerva is on a 30-year assignment to warn ships away from Voga, the new asteroid it is orbiting, until its presence is updated on all the starcharts of inbound ships.

The time travellers find a sealed door leading to Section Q. The Doctor surmises that this is the same station they left, but thousands of years in the past, before the solar flares that devastated Earth. As the Doctor tries to get through the door, the trio fail to see a silver, snake-like creature — a cybermat — crawling around the bodies behind them.

Somewhere else, an alien tries to contact Nerva, and barely gets through to Warner before he is shot by two more of his own kind. The only place the signal could have come from is Voga, but Kellman tells Warner that he set up the transmat station there and spent six months cataloguing its rocks. Voga had drifted into the solar system 50 years before and had been captured by Jupiter's gravity. An asteroid of that size drifting between star systems could not support life and he warns against going down to Voga and spreading the plague. Warner logs the call anyway. The Doctor manages to open the sealed door, which activates an alarm.

On Voga, Vorus, leader of the Guardians of the mines, orders his men to bury the dead Vogan that was shot earlier. Magrik, his aide, tells him that the dead Vogan was frightened of Vorus's plan. Vorus tells him that they can trust their agent on Nerva. Gold buys humans, and they have more gold on Voga than in the rest of the galaxy. The reason the agent had not contacted them is probably because the Cybermen are monitoring transmissions.

In the communications room, the Cybermat attacks Warner, biting him before it is thrown off. Warner collapses, glowing veins appearing on his face while Kellman enters and pulls the magnetic log tape from the console. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Harry and Sarah have reached the forward control room, mere seconds before Lester and Stevenson enter levelling their weapons at them. The door behind them slides open to reveal the communications room, and Kellman brings Stevenson to Warner's fallen form.

When Stevenson sees that his crewman has the plague, he prepares to shoot Warner to stop the infection's spread, but the Doctor stops him. The Doctor lies, saying that they are a medical team sent from Earth, and convince Stevenson to let Harry examine Warner. They take Warner to the crew quarters as Kellman returns to his own room and spies on the Doctor and Stevenson in the communications room using an assembled device. Stevenson tells the Doctor about the asteroid, formerly named Neo Phobos, but renamed Voga by Kellman. The Doctor recognises the name: Voga, the Planet of Gold, and realises that Cybermen are involved. Stevenson says the Cybermen died out centuries before, but the Doctor points out they merely vanished after attacking Voga at the end of the last Cyber-War. Hearing all this, Kellman contacts a Cybership nearby, its crew commanded by a Cyber Leader with a black helmet. The ship moves towards Nerva.

Warner is dead. When the Doctor examines the body he finds two puncture wounds, indicating that Warner was injected with poison and confirming the Doctor's suspicion that there is no plague. The Doctor says that if he had seen Warner earlier he might have been able to use Nerva's transmat to filter out the poison from his system. The Doctor has another suspicion; investigating Kellman's quarters, he finds the communications device as well as some gold. The Doctor hides when Kellman returns, but Kellman realises that someone has been inside the room. He sabotages the room, electrifying the floor and sending gas pouring up from it. Keeping off the floor, the Doctor reaches the door to open it with his sonic screwdriver. Meanwhile, Sarah is attacked by the cybermat.

Part Two

The Doctor escapes Kellman's room and hears Sarah scream. He throws the Cybermat to the floor and kills it with some gold dust, but Sarah has already been bitten. The Doctor carries her to the transmat chamber, handing her to Harry, and prepares to beam them down to Voga and back. However, Kellman has taken the transmat's pentalium drive. The Doctor reconfigures the transmat to bypass the sabotaged system while Stevenson and Lester go and confront Kellman. On Voga, Vorus observes a giant rocket, the Sky Striker. He tells Magrik that his agent has informed them that the Cybermen are heading for the beacon. Vorus wants the Sky Striker fitted with its bomb head in four hours.

Obseving the incoming craft via radar

The Doctor jury rigs the transmat, and Harry and Sarah beam down to Voga. With the poison filtered out, Sarah instantly recovers. As Harry notices that the cavern floor is littered with gold, Vogans arrive and capture them. Harry and Sarah are brought before Vorus, who wants to know who is still alive on Nerva. However, the answers will have to wait. Harry and Sarah are taken away while Vorus answers a call from Councillor Tyrum, who arranges for them to meet.

Lester and Stevenson capture Kellman. The Doctor explains that the Cybermen fear Voga because gold, as a non-corrodible substance, plates their breathing apparatus and suffocates them. The Doctor cannot get Harry and Sarah back without the pentalium drive, but Kellman feigns ignorance, trying to buy time until the Cybermen arrive. The Doctor uses a control box he found in Kellman's room to activate a Cybermat, threatening Kellman with it until he reveals that the drive is around his neck.

Harry and Sarah are chained up in a cave, where Harry notes that the chains are solid gold, which is soft metal that perhaps they can file through. Meanwhile, Tyrum tells Vorus that he knows that aliens have come to Voga. He also knows that Vorus wants Voga to emerge as a trading power again and not hide from the Cybermen, who apparently disappeared centuries ago. Because of this, Tyrum no longer trusts Vorus or the Guardians, and will send his Militia to take over the mines. Vorus is furious, but Tyrum says his troops have orders to crush any resistance.

Fighting breaks out in the mines between the Guardians and the Militia. Vorus tells Magrik to keep Tyrum from finding out about the Sky Striker, and to kill the two humans immediately. Harry and Sarah have managed to free themselves, however, and get away before the execution team arrives. They are pursued by more Guardians, who fire at them. Harry and Sarah are cornered and about to be shot when Militia troops appear, forcing the Guardians to stand down.

The Doctor has repaired the transmat, but is unable to lock on to Harry and Sarah as they have left the receptor circle. At that point, Lester detects an incoming ship, but it does not respond to their signals. As the Cybership docks, the Doctor recognises it for what it is, but is unable to lock the hatch. The Cybermen come through, impervious to gunfire, and shoot all three men down.

Part Three

The Cyber Leader tells Kellman that the three men are not dead, merely neutralised, as they are necessary to their plan. Kellman set the transmat receptors mere yards from a shaft that leads into the core of Voga. As the environment is hostile to Cybermen, the three men will carry explosives down to Voga and destroy the asteroid. Kellman insists on going down to Voga first to check that the transmat is functioning properly and the Cyber Leader beams him down. There, he runs into some Militia. Not realising the distinction between them and the Guardians, he demands to see Vorus and is taken away while trying to warn them that they are all in danger. Meanwhile, Harry and Sarah are brought before Tyrum and tell their story. When Harry mentions the cybermats, Tyrum asks Harry and Sarah to accompany him to confront Vorus.

The Doctor wonders what Kellman's reward is, if it is not Voga's gold. He taunts the Cyber Leader, saying that the Cybermen were finished once humans discovered their weakness to gold and ended the Cyber-Wars. Cyber Leader tells the Doctor that is the reason why Voga must be destroyed before the Cybermen begin their campaign again. The Cyber Leader says that Kellman was promised the rule of the solar system after the Cybermen had conquered it.

With Cyberbombs strapped to their backs, the Doctor, Lester and Stevenson are briefed. They are to plant the bombs in the core of the planet, after which they have 14 minutes to return and escape via transmat. If they try to remove their harnesses before they reach the target zone, a secondary explosion will kill them. Their progress will be followed by radar. The three beam down, accompanied by two Cybermen. Militia arrive and start to fire on the Cybermen, who make short work of the Vogans. None of the three men believe that the Cyber Leader will keep his word about letting them escape, but they have to keep moving towards the target zone as they are being monitored. On Nerva, the Cyber Leader declares that Kellman is of no further use to them.

Tyrum questions Kellman, who tells him that he and Vorus were working to lure the Cybermen to the beacon, which Vorus has targeted with a rocket. At that moment, a Militia man arrives to tell Tyrum about the arrival of the Cybermen, and how their weapons are useless. Kellman urges them to use the rocket. Tyrum orders his men to use every weapon they can while he speaks to Vorus. Harry tells Sarah to get back to Nerva and warn the Doctor while he tries to stop the rocket from being fired.

When Tyrum tells Vorus about the Cybermen on Voga, he shows Tyrum the Sky Striker, which he has been working on for two years. However, with the Cybermen already on Voga, they have no time to get it ready. Vorus claims his plans were to just free his people from the fear of the Cybermen and bring them back into the light. Tyrum scoffs, seeing as Vorus has allied himself with Kellman, a double agent and murderer, motivated only by the promise of gold. Harry suggests finding another way into the core to stop the bombs.

The Cybermen continue their slaughter of the Vogans as the bomb timer ticks down even further. Sarah transmats back to Nerva, where she overhears the Cybermen monitoring the three men's progress. However, the deeper the three men go, the heavier the concentration of gold interferes with the radar. The men continue onward, however to the centre of the asteroid.

Harry and Kellman, meanwhile, are crawling down a cross shaft towards the same location. With the exit blocked, Harry pushes against the rocks, causing a rock slide. Kellman pushes Harry out of the way, but is crushed to death by a boulder, while on the other side, rocks rain down on the Doctor. Harry exits the shaft and finds the Doctor unconscious. Not realising the danger, Harry tries to unbuckle the Doctor's harness.

Part Four

Destruction of the Cybership

Fortunately, Harry is stopped by Lester. The Doctor awakens and conceives a plan. Stevenson will continue on and create a radar trail, while the rest use the cross shaft to surprise and attack the Cybermen with gold. The Doctor and Harry jump the two Cybermen, trying to push gold dust into their chest plates. However, the Cybermen are too strong, and Harry and the Doctor are forced to retreat. Lester leaps onto the Cybermen and undoes his harness, the explosion killing both himself and the Cybermen.

With the loss of contact, the Cyber Leader orders immediate detonation. Sarah tries to stop them but is thrown to the floor. However, when the button is pressed, no explosion follows. The Doctor has managed to disarm the countdown device, which allows him to release his harness safely. With Sarah tied up, the Cyber Leader now plans to send Nerva, loaded with more Cyberbombs, into Voga's centre to destroy it.

Magrik tells Vorus that the Sky Striker is now ready, but before he can launch it, the Doctor asks them to give him 15 minutes to transmat to Nerva and deal with the Cybermen himself, armed with a bag of gold dust. If he does not contact them by that time, then they can launch the rocket.

The Doctor reaches Nerva and frees Sarah while the Cybermen are loading the bombs. He takes the Cybermat and its control box, filling the Cybermat with gold dust. The Doctor sends the Cybermat to attack a Cyberman, injecting him with the dust and killing him. As Nerva begins to move towards Voga, Vorus sees this and attempts to fire the rocket. Tyrum shoots Vorus, but as the Guardian dies, he triggers the launch.

The Doctor and Sarah's attack on the remaining Cybermen fails; The Doctor is forced by the Cyberleader to tie himself and Sarah up and they are left to perish in the crash. However, the Sky Striker is approaching just as fast. The Doctor manages to untie them both with a trick learned from Harry Houdini, and contacts Voga, instructing them to steer the rocket towards the Cybership that is just leaving. The Sky Striker veers away from Nerva and destroys the Cybership instead. However, the beacon is still on a collision course. The Doctor manages to unlock the gyro controls, skimming Nerva just above Voga's surface until they reach the other side of the asteroid and open space.

The TARDIS materialises in the control room just as Harry arrives via transmat. The Doctor tells his companions to hurry up; he's received a message from Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart through the space-time telegraph the Doctor left him, which means it, is a grave emergency. Although Harry asks if they should say good-bye to the Commander, Sarah tells him not to argue. The three rush into the TARDIS and it dematerialises.

Cast

Crew

References

  • During the Cyber-Wars, the glittergun was used to great effect by humanity.
  • The Cybermen plan to destroy Voga because of its high density of gold.
  • The Doctor says to the Cybermen, "You've no home planet, no influence, nothing.", which may refer to either Mondas or Telos.
  • The Doctor, Sarah and Harry have been to the 'beacon' before, in the future when it becomes Nerva Beacon.
  • Phobic energy is associated with recent transmat use.
  • The Doctor's TARDIS has been travelling back through time to reach the Doctor and his companions.
  • Once the Doctor and his companions have finished using the time ring, it disappears.

Story Notes

A new Cybermat.
  • This story features a new form of Cybermat.
  • This is the first story to feature the Cyber-Leader.
  • The BBC Radiophonic Workshop's Peter Howell, later to become one of the series' regular incidental music composers, made his uncredited debut on this story when he was asked by producer Philip Hinchcliffe to add to, and enhance, the score provided by Carey Blyton.
  • This story had a working titles of; The Revenge Of The Cybermen, Return Of The Cybermen, additionally;
  • Part 1 had a working title of: The Beacon In Space
  • Part 2 had a working title of: The Plague Carriers
  • Part 3 had a working title of: The Gold Miners
  • Part 4 had a working title of: The Battle For The Nerva
  • A number of sets in this story were reused from The Ark in Space, which was recorded immediately before it.
  • The Cybermen's voices were provided for the first time by the actors inside the costumes.
  • Five of this story's guest cast had played notable roles earlier in Doctor Who's history:
  • The Vogon seal is reused by designer Roger Murray-Leach in The Deadly Assassin.
  • Between the broadcast of Episodes 1 and 2, William Hartnell, the First Doctor, passed away. Ironically he died during broadcast of a serial that served to reintroduce the Cybermen -- his final solo appearance as the Doctor occurred during the serial that introduced them.

Ratings

  • Part 1 - 9.5 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 8.3 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 8.9 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 9.4 million viewers

Myths

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Why do the Time Lords send the TARDIS drifting back through time? Why not have the time ring simply return the Doctor, Sarah & Harry to the Ark (See The Ark in Space), say, an hour after they departed? The Time Lords are aware of the Cybermen's plot to destroy Voga and so divert the Doctor to prevent it. That is why he is only 'rewarded' with the TARDIS at the end of the story when the Cybermen have been defeated and the situation resolved.
  • The Cybermen's desire for revenge in this story, as reflected in the title, is out of keeping with their unemotional characters. Arguably, they are not seeking revenge in their attack on Voga but trying to destroy a potential threat; it is the Vogans who incorrectly assume that their motive is revenge.
  • The symbol seen hanging in the Vogan audience chamber (and smaller versions on the Vogan costumes), would later be re-used in The Deadly Assassin, and become better known thereafter as the Seal of Rassilon. Only with the benefit of hindsight does its appearance in this story seem unusual, and there might have been a relationship between the Vogans and Time Lords, or they could have just found the seal unaware of what it meant and used it on their clothes.
  • The Vogans have an endless supply of gold but have no defense against the Cybermen. The Gold has to be grounded to dust and funneled into the chest unit. This was the point of the glitter gun. Vogans don't have this and so the only way for this to happen was to do it manually. But this is impossible as a Cyberman would a) tear your arms off or B) shoot you.
  • The launching of the Skystriker is represented by rather obvious NASA stock footage of a Saturn V rocket taking off. The rocket is labeled "United States" - not necessarily of America, possibly of Voga.
  • In episode one, the Doctor refers to the Cybermen as 'total machine creatures', when they are in fact part organic. He is speaking poetically and in the sense that they have had all of their emotions expunged.
  • The Doctor was wearing a long brown coat and hat at the end of the previous story, but they've vanished when he materializes. Perhaps the process removed his hat and coat.
  • Lester wears his interplanetary Space command insignia upside down. (There are often traditions within military units regarding how various insignia are worn.)
  • There is air and gravity inside an asteroid 4km across, and a noisy explosion in space. (The Vogons have engineered the habitat for themselves.)
  • Cybermats are hugged to make them look as if they're attacking. It's instictive, not just for humans, but other animals capable of doing so, to close the arms over anything attacking the chest, in an attempt to crush them. Also, the Cybermats are probably programmed to go for the chest, seeing as that's where the heart is.
  • The Cyberleader shakes the Doctor's shoulders in what appears to be Swedish massage rather than strangulation. The Cybermen aren't very flexible, especially manually.
  • If the transmat only works on human tissue, why doesn't it wreck Cybermen and leave humans naked? At no point is it stated that the transmat only works on human tissue. The Doctor merely says that one of its effects is to disperse human molecules. Thus there is no reason to suppose it will have a detrimental effect on non-organic matter.
  • When the Doctor enters the TARDIS in episode four the paper printout of the space/time telegraph can be seen hanging on a hook just inside the door.
  • It's been established in past episodes that the Cybermen can survive in the vacuum of space without breathing. If that's the case and they have no need to breathe, then they have no breathing apparatus to clog with gold or anything else. The Doctor identifies them here a "machine creatures," further confirming the fact they don't breathe. (A faulty assumption. An astronaut can survive in the vacuum of space, but still has a breathing apparatus. The Cybermen have an apparatus which fills a similar life-sustaining role as breathing does, but do not actually require an atmosphere around them. The physical properties of gold prevent that apparatus from functioning properly.)
  • It's not clear why gold would affect a cybermat, which in all on-screen appearances are simply metal drones. It's stated here that gold works on Cybermen by clogging their breathing apparatus, but cybermats don't breath. The mechanical specifics of a Cybermat are never really discussed in that much detail, leaving us to conclude by observation that they must have some apparatus which is based on the Cyberman apparatus which is vulnerable to gold.
  • Despite the fact that Cybermen are emotionless beings, the Doctor easily provokes the Cyberleader into strangling him. Worse, the Cyberleader then tosses him away. Given this is the future, the Cybermen have probably been programmed with certain emotions, ie. anger, vindictiveness, cruelty, to make them more ruthless.
  • In the previous episode the Doctor explains the Cybermen's weakness to gold is because it clogs their breathing appartus. But here gold affects the Cybermen radar. Radar doesn't need to breathe. It obviously utilizes technology similar to the Cybermen apparatus which is vulnerable to gold. Or, it could be that it is simply gold's great density which blocks radar - any other dense material, like lead, would have the same effect.
  • If gold impairs Cyberfunction, then it should disable the Cybermat when the Doctor fills it with gold dust. Not necessarily. Water impairs human breathing when in the lungs, but that doesn't make it fatal when humans drink it.
  • If gold's relative softness is the reason it kills Cybermen, wouldn't a similarly soft, yet more plentiful metal like lead work just as well? It's not the softness of gold that matters, but its ability to coat the Cybermen's breathing apparatus. Only gold can be spread easily and thinly over a surface (like gold leaf), and this is just what would happen if a cloud of powdered gold was blown or sucked over a piece of apparatus.
  • Why during the final struggle over the Skystriker control panel, between Harry, the commander and Vorus, do the two able-bodied Vogan guards that are flanking Tyrum not help, instead choosing merely to stand looking-on?

Continuity

  • This story takes place after the Cyber-Wars, which started in 2526 in DW: Earthshock. The Cybermen of that story look at video of past encounters with the Doctor and watch him deliver the "no planet" line. It later becomes clear (Attack of the Cybermen) that the Cybermen have had access to time travel technology.
  • The Cybermen's first home planet Mondas was destroyed in DW: The Tenth Planet, while their second home planet Telos was destroyed in BFA: Telos, which was made some time after this story.
  • The discrepancy over how many moons Jupiter should have is resolved in EDA: To the Slaughter.

Timeline

DVD Video and Other Releases

Video Releases

Released as Doctor Who: Revenge of the Cyberman

1983 release
1989 release
1990's release
According to the Eye of Horus, Revenge of the Cybermen should be released sometime in 2010.

Laserdisc

It was also one of the select Doctor Who stories to be released on laserdisc.

Novelisation

Main article: The Revenge of the Cybermen (novelisation)

External Links

  • BBC Episode Guide to Revenge of the Cybermen
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - Revenge of the Cybermen
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel): Revenge of the Cybermen
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - Revenge of the Cybermen
  • (Fan Based Site) Episode Synopsis of Revenge of the Cybermen
  • The Tardis Library: Video release information for Revenge of the Cyberman
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
Season 12
Robot  • The Ark in Space  • The Sontaran Experiment  • Genesis of the Daleks  • Revenge of the Cybermen

This article uses material from the "Revenge 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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