The Cybermen are the brain child of Doctor Kit Pedler who often
assisted the Doctor Who production team with scientific advice. Pedler
is often quoted as saying that his worst nightmare was the
�dehumanising� of medicine and that he feared a time when we might
indulge ourselves with unnecessary cosmetic surgery.
Pedler discussed the concept of the Cybermen with series script editor
Gerry Davies and together they worked on the script for ‘The Tenth
Planet’, a story which would launch the series’ second most popular
villains after the Daleks. The story is also notable for featuring the
departure of William Hartnell and the first regeneration of The Doctor,
in this case into Patrick Troughton.
Airing in October 1966, the adventure told the story of Mondas, a ‘twin
planet’ to Earth, which had departed our galaxy many years ago and had
now returned. To survive, the people of Mondas had started a process of
replacing their body parts with cybernetic spares. They had become the
The Cybermen were an instant hit prompting a swift return just four
months later in ‘The Moonbase’. In all the silver giants appeared
opposite Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor four times with their last
appearance being 1968’s ‘The Invasion’.
Despite their popularity the race didn’t appear for another seven
years, bypassing Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor, when they starred opposite
Tom Baker in ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’. This story introduced a new
weakness for the Cybermen � an ‘allergy’ to gold. If gold dust could be
introduced into their respiratory system it would clog up, denying the
organic creature within of vital oxygen. Sadly later stories took this
vulnerability to extremes, in their final outing it became possible to
destroy them by bouncing a gold coin off of their bodies!
Partially because subsequent production teams wanted to rely less on
returning foes, the race would have another seven year break before
finally returning in splendid form in 1982’s ‘Earthshock’.
This story marked the end of long term absences and returned the
Cybermen to the role of regular foe. In 1983 they appeared in the 20th
Anniversary adventure ‘The Five Doctors’ opposite the First, Second,
Third and Fifth Doctors.
They returned twice more in the 1980’s to battle Colin Baker (the Sixth
Doctor) in ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ and Sylvester McCoy in ‘Silver
Nemesis’, the 25th Anniversary story.
Beyond television they have appeared in both the Virgin and BBC novel
ranges as well as the Big Finish Doctor Who audio range. In 2002 the
Cybermen appeared in ‘Real Time’ a BBCi webcast adventure starring
Colin Baker produced by by Big Finish.
Most recently the Cybermen have been given their own series of audio adventures by Big Finish.
The Tenth Planet (1966)
The Moonbase (1967)
The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967)
The Wheel in Space (1968)
The Invasion (1968)
Revenge of the Cybermen (1975)
The Five Doctors (1983)
Attack of the Cybermen (1985)
Silver Nemesis (1988)
Big Finish Audio Appearances:
Sword Of Orion
Monsters and Villains (BBC Books, 2005)
Doctor Who – The Cybermen (1990)