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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

The Age of Steel
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 2
Story Number: 172b
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companions:
Enemy:
Setting: Parallel Earth; 1st-2nd February 2007 (parallel)
Writer: Tom MacRae
Director: Graeme Harper
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 20 May, 2006
Format: 1x45 minute Episode
Prod. Code: 2.6
Previous Story: Rise of the Cybermen
Following Story: The Idiot's Lantern
"This is the Age of Steel, and I am its Creator!"
Cyber-Controller

Contents

Synopsis

The plans of John Lumic to convert the world into Cybermen are now in full force. The Doctor, Rose, Mickey and the Preachers must find a way to stop him from enforcing his "ultimate upgrade".

Plot

As the Cyberman close in, the Doctor uses the charging TARDIS power cell hidden in his hand, sending tendrils of energy which disintegrate the cyborgs.

Suddenly Mrs Moore drives up in the Preachers' van and shouts for them to get in. The Doctor and the others start climbing aboard when Pete wants to go back for Jackie, but the Doctor tells him she is dead and they need to get away or she will have died in vain. They all pile inside and make their escape from the Cybermen.

Inside the house, Jackie Tyler is trapped helplessly behind the basement door as the invading Cybermen patrol her mansion.

In the Preachers' van , the Doctor tells Mickey that the power cell will recharge in about four hours. Jake suggests they execute Pete for working for Lumic, who Ricky states has been working for Cybus Industries since 020.05. Mrs Moore states that they have an inside man amongst Lumic, who sends them updates twice a week. However, Pete reveals that he is actually "Gemini", the source of the Preachers' inside information on Lumic. He only joined up with Lumic to feed information to the Security Services, but instead he got the Preachers. Ricky also confesses that he is indeed London's "most wanted" — but for parking tickets. The Doctor suggests Pete take off his EarPods in case Lumic is listening, and tells the Preachers that they need to get to the city and tell the authorities about what is happening here. He promises them grimly that this "Ends tonight!".

John Lumic starts the Ultimate Upgrade

Meanwhile, Lumic is inside Battersea Power Station, in the cyber conversion factory where he hears from his Cybermen that they have lost all their emotions and must remove pain from all humans. Pleased and ready to begin his next plan, Lumic broadcasts a signal via the EarPods throughout London.

In the city streets, the population is suddenly stopped by the signal and Lumic takes them under his control. They all walk slowly towards the factory to be converted into Cybermen. In her house, Jackie's EarPods also become controlled and she too walks towards the factory.

Word is broadcast throughout London - all citizens stay in their homes.

At the factory, Mr. Crane, however, feels the signal coming through and takes his EarPods off. The Cybermen begin stalking the streets as the city is sealed off; the Doctor and the others have arrived amidst to this and Rose suggests removing the EarPods from the entranced, but the Doctor warns her that this would be too dangerous as it would cause a "brain storm".

Jake and Ricky see that the Cybermen are everywhere, taking the people to their lair. Rose recognizes the Cybermen from the head she saw in Henry van Statten's museum. The Doctor confirms that the Cybermen in their universe began on a small planet like this, and then swarmed across the galaxy.

The group decides to split up to increase their chances of getting out of the city. Ricky and Mickey will head in one direction as Mrs Moore and the others go in the other. Fleeing from the advancing Cyber army, Mickey and Ricky match each others personalities before splitting up.

Elsewhere, the Doctor, Mrs Moore, Pete and Rose also run from the Cybermen. Whilst hiding around a street corner, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to send a Cybermen troop away.

However, in the process of fleeing, the Cybermen catch up with Ricky while he is climbing a fence, Mickey on the other side. They grab him by the foot and electrocute him as Mickey watches in horror from the other side. Ricky drops to the ground, dead, as Mickey gazes at the Cybermen with anger. He flees to tell the others.

Inside the factory, Crane is brought before Lumic for his seeming treachery. Lumic states that he thought Crane was a trustworthy ally but Crane says that his EarPod malfunctioned and requests for an upgrade. This is only a ruse to get him close to Lumic's wheelchair, and suddenly, Crane grabs Lumic's vital breathing apparatus and damages them badly, causing Lumic to go into shock. But the Cybermen quickly come to his aid, they kill Crane with electricity, but the damage has already been done.

The Cybermen determine that Lumic should be upgraded in order to save him, however, gasping in agony, Lumic protests that he won't upgrade until his last breath has been drawn. The Cybermen coldly reply that he will breathe no more, and one of them activates the logo on its chest, causing Lumic's chair to instantly move out the room. Lumic continues to protest as he is escorted away by his own creations for an upgrade.

Near the river, the team all meet up beneath a bridge when Jake states that the Cybermen are everywhere. Suddenly, Mickey arrives and tells them of Ricky's demise; Jake reacts with a mixture of grief and anger, turning on Mickey. The Doctor says that they can mourn Ricky when London is safe, but for now they move on.

The team walk up a hill, viewing Battersea Power Station from across the river, and see Lumic's zeppelin moored on the roof. The Doctor states that the whole of London has been sealed off, and the entire population is being taken inside there - to be converted. They must get inside the factory and shut it down.

Mrs Moore calls up a schematic of the factory, which shows old cooling tunnels that lead beneath it. Pete suggests another way in: through the front door, using dummy EarPods provided by Mrs Moore. Rose demands to go with Pete, even though to successfully infiltrate the building neither of them must show any emotion. The Doctor relents, and thinks of a third way, to sabotage the EarPod transmissions so the people do not walk to their deaths like sheep. He tells Jake to take out the transmitter, which the Doctor, using the sonic screwdriver, determines is on the zeppelin. The Doctor and Mrs Moore will enter the factory from below, through the cooling tunnels.

The group then are about to set off, when Mickey realizes that, once again, he has not been assigned a role, and complains about being the "tin dog". Mickey says he will go along with Jake, despite Jake's resentment at his survival. Ultimately, however, Jake lets Mickey go with him, and the Doctor wishes him luck.

The Doctor and Mrs Moore enter the cooling tunnels, which they find are filled with hundreds of inactivated Cybermen. He tells Mrs Moore to move carefully and keep an eye out for any trip devices. Meanwhile, outside the factory, hundreds of Cybermen patrol the area as thousands of hypnotised citizens walk inside to be converted.

Amongst this, Rose and Pete retreat behind some barrels and place the EarPods upon their ears. They then successfully join the line of humans entering the factory and manage to fool the Cybermen they walk past.

Meanwhile, Mickey and Jake make it to the mooring station on the roof. The zeppelin is guarded by two hypnotised guards. Jake wants to kill them but Mickey makes him realize, if he kills them, that there's no difference between him and a Cyberman. Jake then shows Mickey several knock-out drops provided by Mrs Moore. It should work. They then launch upon the guards and render them unconscious with the drops. The two then climb into the airship.

Below, Mrs Moore and the Doctor move through the cooling tunnels. Mrs Moore tells the Doctor that she used to work for Cybus Industries, until one day she read a file that she was not supposed to a file on the mainframe. As a result she was hunted by Lumic and went on the run, eventually finding the Preachers. She also reveals that her husband and two children think her dead and that her name is not really "Mrs Moore". She took that from a book, assuming the alias to bolster the impression that she had died and protect her family. Her real name is Angela Price, but she makes the Doctor promise not to tell a soul.

However, they do not notice a red light flashing at their passing. Inside the factory control room, two Cybermen notice an alarm in the tunnels. They activate the stored army to remove the intruders.

Inside the tunnels, the hundreds of Cybermen suddenly awake and the Doctor and Mrs Moore quickly escape just in time through a hatch which the Doctor seals behind them. "Oh good team Mrs Moore" says the Doctor happily. In the main conversion area of the factory, Pete and Rose move towards the conversion chambers, keeping an eye out for Jackie.

The machines activate as many unfortunate humans walk inside and they swoop down, removing their brains and placing them inside steel suits - the Cybermen. All rejected stock is incinerated.

Suddenly, a Cyberman approaches them, identifying Pete. To Pete and Rose's horror, it reveals that it was once Jackie Tyler. Pete shouts out that this is impossible but the Cyberman confirms this, stating that Pete worked with Cybus Industries and must be rewarded - by force. Rose and Pete are captured and taken to Cyber Control as the Cyberman that was once Jackie fades back into the mass of identical steel creatures.

A Cyberman within the zeppelin

On the bridge of the zeppelin, Jake and Mickey search for the transmitter controls, and find what seems to be an empty Cyberman shell. They dismiss it and continue to look.

In the tunnels, the Doctor and Mrs Moore meet a Cyberman, which she quickly deactivates with an EMP bomb. The Doctor opens the chest of the downed Cyberman, finding bits of an organic nervous system and an emotional inhibitor. The Doctor explains that if the Cybermen realized what they had become, they would go insane. The Cyberman stirs, and with its inhibitor broken, it remembers that it was once a bride-to-be named Sally Phelan. The Doctor apologises, and eases her into death with the sonic screwdriver.

The Doctor realises this is the solution: if they could find the cancellation code for the inhibitor and feed it throughout the system, the shock of realising what they are would probably kill them. He hesitates at the thought of this, but Mrs Moore convinces him that they have to do this before they kill anyone else. Suddenly a Cyberman appears from behind and kills Mrs Moore with electricity. The Doctor is outraged but the Cyberman's only response is to note his alien biology; his binary vascular system registers as an "unknown upgrade." The Doctor is to be taken to the factory's central command to be studied further.

On the zeppelin, Mickey finds the transmitter control behind a steel plate, but with no way to cut through it. Jake suggests setting the autopilot of the ship to crash and then escaping. Mickey begins to hack into the ship's systems, but activates a silent alarm in the process.

The Doctor is brought to Cyber Control where he meets Pete and Rose, who tell him of Jackie's demise. The Doctor asks where Lumic is, and a Cybermen tells him that Lumic has been upgraded into a superior Cyberman model - the Cyber-Controller. A wall slides back and reveals the former Lumic, now a specialized Cyberman with glowing eyes and a transparent brain case, seated upon a mechanical throne. "This is the Age of Steel and I am its creator" he states to the Doctor, Pete and Rose.

The Cyberman on the zeppelin comes to life in response to the silent alarm and tries to kill Mickey and Jake. Mickey goads the Cyberman into punching him, ducking out of the way at the last second so it punches through the steel plate protecting the transmitter control instead. Electricity crackles through the Cyberman's body and it falls at the same time the transmission is cut off.

The humans in the factory snap out of their trances and see the conversion machines above them. They begin to flee, screaming, flooding past the Cybermen trying to stop them. In Cyber Control, the Doctor hears the cries and realizes that his friends have succeeded. However, the Cyber-Controller refuses to admit defeat, saying that he has factories around the world, and if he cannot use the EarPods, the conversions will take place by force.

Somehow, knowing that Jake and Mickey are observing through a monitor in the zeppelin, the Doctor stalls Lumic, challenging his assertions of an emotionless utopia. The Doctor points out that Lumic is creating a world without imagination, emotion and creativity and that with such thinking humanity will cease to progress. Lumic may have an army, but he is forgetting about the ordinary people, and even an ordinary person — some "idiot" — can save the world.

Mickey, listening, realizes the Doctor is referring to him and is dropping hints about finding a code that will shut down the emotional inhibitors. Mickey picks up on this, and searches the Lumic database to decrypt the code, which he sends to Rose's mobile phone. The Doctor points out to Lumic that in his drive for technological dominance, he made his systems able to interface with anything. The Doctor proves this by plugging Rose's phone into the console, sending the code across the Cyber system.

All over the factory, the Cybermen's inhibitors shut down; they see each other and realize what they have become, overloading from the emotions they start to feel. The Cybermen begin to malfunction and collapse, some even exploding.

The Cyber-Controller calls out to the Doctor in the horror of what is happening to his fellow Cybermen, all his creations. The Doctor says that he has gave the Cybermen back their souls, and he, Rose and Pete run out of the control room as the factory begins to be consumed in fire and blows up from the inside.

All the exits are blocked by the crazed Cyberforms and the Doctor realizes there is no way out. Despite Jake's urgings, Mickey refuses to leave the others behind. He calls Rose and tells her to make for the roof.

Rose, the Doctor and Pate all retreat up the stairs as the factory explodes all around them. In the midst of the flames and seemingly unaffected by the transmitted code, the angry Cyber-Controller frees himself from the chair and goes on a rampage after the Doctor.

Mickey meanwhile, lowers a ladder from the zeppelin for the Doctor and the others. As the Doctor, Rose and Pete climb upward, escaping the factory's destruction, the ladder is suddenly jerked by a great weight — the Cyber-Controller climbing up after them. The Doctor throws Pete his sonic screwdriver and tells him to use it on the rope. Pete says that this is for Jackie Tyler and cuts the ladder. The Cyber-Controller falls down from the zeppelin and is consumed by a huge fireball which rises up from the burning factory, destroying him.

Pete, Rose and the Doctor keep hold of the remaining ladder as the zeppelin fades away into the night.

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS with the fully charged power cell and restores power to the ship. Outside, Rose tries to persuade Pete into boarding the TARDIS but he refuses. She tries to explain about parallel universes and that she is his daughter, but Pete is unable to handle this information and leaves to tell the authorities about Lumic and the other factories.

The Doctor says they have only five minutes of power and have to leave. He tells Jake Mrs Moore's real name, asking him to find her family and tell them how she died saving the world. However, Mickey announces he is staying. This world lost its Ricky, and there are other Cybermen factories to destroy, as well as his blind grandmother who needs looking after. Rose promises that they will come back and see him, but the Doctor reminds her that they only arrived in this parallel universe by accident, and when they leave they must repair the hole in time, meaning they can never come back. The Doctor gives Mickey Rose's mobile phone, telling him to get the code out there and wishes "Mickey the Idiot" luck.

Rose and Mickey reminisce about their childhood and how they wondered what they would do with their lives, never imagining they would be travelling to the stars. They share an emotional farewell, and Rose tearfully returns to the TARDIS, which dematerialises before Jake's astonished eyes.

The TARDIS rematerialises in Jackie Tyler's flat. Rose breaks down on seeing her mother alive, and hugs her tightly. Jackie wonders where they went, and asks the Doctor where Mickey is. The Doctor simply responds that Mickey has "gone home."

On the parallel Earth, Mickey tells Jake that he does not intend to replace Ricky but be his own man. They can remember him by fighting in his name. Mickey wonders if there is a Cyber-factory in Paris, and suggests they go liberate the city. Jake is sceptical that they can do that with the two of them in a van. Mickey tells him there is nothing wrong with a van. After all, he once saved the universe with a big yellow truck…

Cast

Crew

to be added

References

  • Upon learning about the emotional inhibitors, the Doctor say to Mrs. Moore "Do I have that right?" This echoes the same line said by the Fourth Doctor when he is faced with the prospect of destroying the Daleks.
  • Mickey stays with Jake Simmonds to continue fighting the Cybermen.

Story Notes

  • Several elements of this story refer back to DW: The Tomb of the Cybermen; specifically, the Cybermen using a form of mind control, characters being startled by a mock-up Cyberman, and Cybermen killing with electricity from their hands.
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Ratings

  • The average overnight viewing figure for this episode was 6.85 million (a 36% share), peaking at 7.7. million.

Myths

To be added.

Filming Locations

To be added.

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Why not just stuff some gold into his chest just like he did in Earthshock? This might not have worked on the alternate Cybermen. Indeed, the Lumic website states that allergy to gold was present in early prototypes but has been solved. Besides, maybe the Doctor didn't have any gold; it is rather rare.
  • When the Doctor disables the Emotional Inhibitor, why does this not affect the newly-converted John Lumic? Perhaps Lumic was just insane to begin with? He was dying and he may just consider any existence is better than none.
  • Why does the Cyber Factory explode after the Doctor initiates the emotional inhibitor? The sudden shut-down of the emotional inhibitor caused the system to overload.
  • If only the Brain is needed in a Cybersuit, why do the Cyber-Converters appear to chop up body parts? Easier disposal? Keeping part of the nervous system alive by cutting around it so they don't need to grow as much?
  • At the end of the episode one of Mickey's reasons for staying in "Pete's World" was that his grandmother was still alive, though she should have been tranced into becoming a Cyberperson and upgraded or incinerated as reject stock. If she had survived until the Cybermen were defeated using the code, how did she get out before the factory exploded? It would have taken her to long to run or be carried out. She might have taken the earpods off when the news told her to. Remember, she was hearing rumours and things that the earpod broadcasts weren't saying. Plus, since she is blind, old, and slow, she might not have even been in the factory. It may have been primarly those living closes to the factory in there the others took time to get there.
  • When Rose and Pete are putting on the fake earpods her hair is tucked behind her ears however when she stands up it is not. The cut is directly following on from the last shot so movement would have been seen, although putting hair behind your ear isn't exactly a long process, she could have done it as she stood.
  • If Lumic's so keen on the glory that is Cyberness, why is he so reluctant to be Cyberfied himself? Also, why does he need a tube-ridden chair and dry ice afterwards? Possibly because he knew the pain and horror or being upgraded, plus the tube-chair might have been him wired into the cyber-network to give him greater control of the Cybermen, it might even simply be a throne, which would explain the dry ice, either that or it's just for effect.
  • When Cybus Cybermen walk they are always ear-bleedingly loud. So how does the Cyberman sneak up and kill Mrs Moore? Maybe these Cybermen possess the ability to be quiet when the purpose serves them. A Cyberman sneaks up on the Doctor in The Next Doctor and he suggests that there is a 'Silent' mode on their legs.
  • There is one scene in the rain where Cybermen cry out in pain. This is the only scene where rain is seen. Also, when Rose, Pete and the Doctor are saved by Mickey and Jake, no clouds are seen. According to Pete in Army Of Ghosts, the parallel Earth suffers from a higher pollution level than ours, probably leading to sudden changes in weather.
  • In a scene when the newly upgraded Cybermen emerge from the bays, when they all turn at once a wrist mounted weapon can be seen. The clip seems to be reused from the Army of Ghosts where all the Cybermen emerge like this.
  • When Mickey and Jake break into the zeppelin, they easily overpower the two human guards. Why wouldn't Lumic have Cybermen guarding the zeppelin? Perhaps Lumic thought the single Cyberman inside the zeppelin would be enough to guard it, Lumic also didn't want to be upgraded and perhaps wanted humanoid guards with him - they may not be human but humanoid such as when Adeola was part converted in Army of Ghosts

Continuity

Timeline

DVD and Other Releases

Series 2 Volume 3 DVD Cover

See also

to be added

External Links

  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Age of Steel
  • The Whoniverse - The Discontinuity Guide to: The Age of Steel
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Age of Steel
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Age of Steel
Series 2
Mini-episode: Children in Need Special  • Christmas Special: The Christmas Invasion

New Earth  • Tooth and Claw  • School Reunion  • The Girl in the Fireplace  • Rise of the Cybermen  • The Age of Steel  • The Idiot's Lantern  • The Impossible Planet  • The Satan Pit  • Love & Monsters  • Fear Her  • Army of Ghosts  • Doomsday

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

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