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Doctor Who Enemies: Cybermen

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Updated November 2014

A cyberman.
We are only interested in survival.
Anything else is of no importance.

It is often felt that of all the alien races seen in Doctor Who, perhaps the most terrifying are the Cybermen. With a blank face-plate, 'two-handled teapot' head with flashing light, excessive use of silver-metal and tubes and wires, the Cybermen are the true face of fear - an emotionless race intent on enslaving all others to ensure their own survival. They are both humanoid and obviously devoid of humanity. More so than any of the Doctor's other enemies, they have super-strength and near invulnerability. Many stories featuring the Cybermen have attracted more viewers than those featuring the Doctor's most celebrated enemies, the Daleks.

Cybermen were originally humanoids that began to implant more and more artificial parts into their bodies in order to increase their efficiency so they could live on after their home-world was destroyed. Although the Cybermen seem to be devoid of emotion, they have often exhibited anger, fear and even sympathy. Though emotionless they are extremely untrustworthy, often double-crossing those they have recruited as allies.

Often in the series, a parallel has been drawn between Daleks and Nazis. Both were intent on racial purity and the establishment of themselves as a supreme power. But if the Daleks are Nazis1, then the Cybermen can be viewed as communists: their mission statement is to make everyone the same, to remove individuality and to work towards the collective goal of their race - survival at all costs.

You will become like us.

Origins of the Cybermen

The Cybermen originated on the planet Mondas - Earth's twin planet in prehistoric times - which was knocked out of its orbit. As the planet moved further away from the Sun, the Mondasians grew fearful for their survival and began to replace their body parts - internal organs, limbs, even their flesh - until what was left was neither man nor machine: Cyberman.

Eventually, they began to look further afield for spare parts. In doing so they became tyrannical, destroying other alien races and civilisations purely so their own would flourish - including the planet Telos, which they then used to house vast 'tombs' where they could take refuge in suspended animation after their own home-world Mondas was destroyed during an attack on Earth.

Before the destruction of Mondas however, advances in technology enabled the planet itself to be transformed into a gigantic living spacecraft and as the original race declined due to the continued cybernetic alterations into Cybermen, the Mondasians slowly and surely began to take over other worlds and to transform the inhabitants into Cybermen, boosting their own failing numbers. These actions forced the galaxy to take note, and the Cybermen soon became of interest to one renegade from the planet Gallifrey known as 'the Doctor'.

A Different Beginning

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In a parallel universe, the Cybermen were human beings kidnapped and transformed into metal cyborgs by industrialist John Lumic and his Cybus Corporation. Lumic was terminally ill and became obsessed with the idea of 'upgrading' his weak body as a means to stay alive. His research led to the development of the Cybermen - 'Mankind.2'. These became Lumic's army of unfeeling steel warriors that he used to help him take over the world. The Doctor became involved after his TARDIS2 brought him and his companions to the alternative reality. Discovering the plot, he stopped Lumic and his new creations - but for how long?

The Best of Both Worlds?

More recently the Doctor has encountered Cybermen in this Universe that have followed designs similar to the Cybus Industries Cybermen, but without the Cybus 'C' logo on their chests. Whether these Cybermen are remnants from the other dimension, or from Mondas or Telos and have upgraded themselves to the parallel universe design has not yet been made clear. Author Neil Gaiman has speculated that the latest Cybermen are the result of a combination of the two technologies, although this has not been confirmed on screen.

A Changing Design

Over time, the look of the Cyberman has often changed. The first Cybermen seen on screen originated in part from the script for 'The Tenth Planet' and from the mind of costume designer Sandra Reid. These primitive Cybermen, from the planet Mondas, had faces made of cloth, like stretched bandage, with eyeholes that revealed the startled, bulging eyes of the horrific being within. Their bodies were covered in a plastic skin, though their hands were still visibly flesh. When they spoke, their mouths would open and form an 'O' shape as the electronic voice was broadcast, then close when the Cyberman had finished speaking. Their chest units, which replaced human internal organs, were like large accordions, while their heads contained a huge lamp fitted to the top of their skulls. The cloth-faced Cybermen were all-but wiped out when Mondas was destroyed, although at least one colony ship escaped, only to be trapped by a Black Hole.

The cloth-faced Cybermen were wiped out when Mondas was destroyed. But metallic, armoured Cybermen have been seen since, originating from the colonised world of Telos. There have been many changes in armour (from silver-painted wetsuits through to 'G'-suits similar to those worn by RAF pilots), weaponry and face-plates (sometimes completely blank with pinhole eyes, teardrop oil-inlets and a small mouth, to a semi-transparent face-shield with vaguely human features just visible underneath). In 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' these changes are referred to as 'Dynasties'. But one thing has remained since the very first design - those distinctive 'handlebar' head attachments.

The Cybermen that originated from the experiments of John Lumic offered a possible explanation for these handlebars - they were aerials for 'earpods', mobile telephonic devices worn by humans in their ears to receive and take advantage of 'Bluetooth' technology.

The Cybermen have many similarities to the Borg, as seen in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. Both have the modus operandi of converting their victims into their own race, and using catchphrases that epitomise their apparent superiority to their enemies. This similarity was later emphasised in the comic series Assimilation2, in which the Borg and Cybermen form an alliance.

Cyber Sound

It is perhaps their voices that make the Cybermen so eerie. Or maybe the spookiness stems from the fact that modern voice synthesisers sound just like Cybermen! Imagine, if you will, a seven-feet-tall figure encased in metal, calmly telling you as he points his laser rifle at you in a tinny electronic voice:

We must be obeyed.

The Cybermen from Mondas had curious voices that sounded like the words had been spliced together from separate conversations, their voices rising and falling in a tone completely separate to the context of their sentences. Later Cybermen had purely electronic voices that sounded like vibrophone machines given to people who have lost their voices due to throat cancer. Difficult to understand, these voices underlined just how removed from humanity these Cybermen had become; they were not built to converse, merely to convert. As Cyber designs became more ornate, so their speech patterns changed too; the Cyberleader who led the assault on a freighter heading for Earth was positively chatty.

Makes and Models

There are various types of Cyberman, taking on different duties, much like the command structure of an army:

  • Cyber Leader – The 'general' of Cyberman forces, distinguishable by black markings on the handlebars or the helmet on the cybersuit, he retains some sense of humanity (such as use of the word 'excellent' to indicate satisfaction of a job well done) in order to have the creative thinking necessary to overcome complex problems: such as the Doctor throwing a spanner in the works. In 'The Next Doctor' the Cyber Leader's brain is visible.
  • Cyber Lieutenant - The field commander, the Cyber Lieutenant retains some imagination (such as suspicion that 'aliens are not to be trusted') and the ability to question the Cyber Leader, and thus is able to efficiently respond and direct troops on the battlefield.
  • Cyber Scout - A smaller class of Cyberman used for quick and dispensable reconnaissance.
  • Stealth Cybermen - Similar in design to the average Cyberman, this model is painted black to hide in shadows, a useful unit to have around when patrolling sewers.
  • Cyber Controller - The leader of the Cybermen, present at the opening of the Tombs of Telos. Taller and more biological than other Cybermen, with a noticeably larger head lacking pipes and 'teapot-handles', the Cyber Controller3 needs to be frequently recharged otherwise he dies. In an alternate universe, dying businessman John Lumic becomes the Cyber Controller - identifiable by the transparent plate that shows his exposed brain nestled into the helmet of his suit. This Cyber Controller retains human emotion and is not installed with the inhibitor that protects normal Cybermen from emotions such as panic and disgust at their hideous form. Later, Craig Owens is selected to become a Cyber Controller, but defeats the Cybermen's plans through his love for his son.
  • Cyber Planner/Director - Not a Cyberman in the truest sense, this is perhaps more correctly a biological computer encased within a metal sphere. It is not known whether the Cyber Planner was once a human that took efficiency to the greatest level to become a 'living' computer, or a particularly gruesome variety of artificial intelligence. The Cyber Planner led the invasion of London and an attack on the 'Space Wheel' station on the outer reaches of the Solar System. In Nightmares in Silver the Doctor's brain undergoes conversion into a Cyber-Planner.
  • Cybershade - A form of animal partially converted, but retaining their fur. These walk on four legs and appear to be used for reconnaissance purposes.
  • CyberKing - A giant Cyberman-shaped dreadnought the size of a skyscraper. This is controlled by an operator, also called the CyberKing, who is plugged into the control-throne. The CyberKing operator has complete control of the surrounding Cybermen.

Weapons

Cybermen have developed their weaponry over time. Originally they equipped themselves with a large gun, which was stored on their chest and needed both hands to operate. They also could attack those they were in contact with by emitting an electric discharge from their arms. They soon upgraded to a more manoeuvrable model and could utilise an electronic pulse weapon from their heads at short distances. Also armed with a pistol known as an X-Ray laser, they were indeed a formidable foe. Cybermen could also use their electronic discharge to not only kill adversaries by touch, but also to operate machinery.

They later developed a more powerful pulse rifle for medium distance combat. Some Cybermen upgraded their helmet-based weapons with a more powerful and longer-range blaster. These head-based weapons freed up their hands, and made aiming and firing easier. Cybermen could now simply move their heads to aim and shoot, rather than having to slowly and cumbersomely rotate their whole bodies.

No self-respecting intergalactic traveller bent on domination of the galaxy would be complete without their very own weapons of mass destruction. So the Cybermen also developed 'Z'-bombs - banned by the galactic Armageddon Convention - powerful enough to destroy life on any planet. For the most part Cybermen were content to work behind the scenes. This was not only because of their limited numbers, but their overall intention was to convert other species into Cybermen rather than destroying them. They often secretly used other beings or androids to carry out their dirty work, only making themselves known to inflict a coup-de-grace.

In recent years, Cybermen have developed the ability to fly, using what appear to be jets built into their legs.

Cybermats

The Cybermen also utilise smaller, cybernetic creatures called 'Cybermats' as weapons or for reconnaissance purposes. There were various models, the most common being:

  • Mk I - Resembling a giant metal silverfish, the original cybermat had segmented bodies with sensor fronds along the base of their bodies. Their 'heads' were topped with crystalline eyes.
  • Mk II - Used principally for sabotage, these cybermats were able to tune in on human brainwaves. They had stronger armour and solid photoreceptors for eyes that could emit a deadly pulse of light that meant they were more difficult to dispose of than the Mk I.
  • Mk III - A much larger, snake-like cybermat that could be remotely controlled, it had the ability to inject poison into enemies. It had no visible eyes or other features, and was vulnerable to gold dust.
  • Mk IV - The 21st Century's design returned to an appearance similar to the initial marks. Resembling a cross between a metal silverfish and rat, these cybermats had segmented bodies, tear-drop eyes positioned either side of their heads as well as fangs. These were capable of searching for power and transmitting it to a crashed cybership.
  • Cybermites - Small, stealthy, insectlike creatures capable of converting the people they encounter into Cybermen.

The Cybermats were, as far as can be told4, cybernetically-augmented creatures which the people of Mondas kept as home-helpers before the advent of Cybermen - and cybermats of a slightly different design are used for surveillance by the Mondas Central Committee. The creatures could occasionally go wild however, chewing on power sources, and needed to be rounded up by a 'mat-catcher'.

Weaknesses

It is quite useless to resist us.

Cybermen have a number of major weaknesses, the most notable of which is gold. Gold became as deadly to the Cyberman as silver was to a werewolf, and anything (including arrows, coins or even a golden ticket) made from gold could defeat the almost unstoppable creatures. Gold dust can block the respiratory system of the Cyberman - effectively suffocating him in his suit, so to defeat the Cybermen the 'glittergun' was developed, thanks to the people of Voga, the legendary planet of gold. Used during the Cyber-Wars, the glittergun fired gold dust and proved to be a great way of disposing of Cybermen.

It is also worth noting, however, that while Cybermen are often immune to normal ballistics (although a good shot with a pistol can stop a Cyberman in his tracks) they tend to come unstuck when fired at by their own weapons. Early models of the Cyberman were vulnerable to radiation as well as solvents that could melt their plastic tubing and artificial internal organs. Another minor weakness was the built-in response to emergency calls from a Cyberman in distress. Though how an emotionless being can express distress has never been adequately explained.

Conversion

The Cybermen have always retained their aim of converting humanity to become like them, and have adopted various ways to achieve this. Humans can be either fully converted, or become under their influence through:

  • Taking poisoned sugar in their tea, allowing their later conversion.
  • Hypnosis.
  • An 'empty' Cyberman head attempting to enclose a human head after administering a knock-out dart.
  • Cybermite infection.
  • Control via headphones and/or ear pods.
  • Attaching a handle-barred headpiece to the victim's head.

Writing Credits

The Cybermen were the creation of Dr Kit Pedler, the unofficial scientific advisor for the series until the late 1970s. After being consulted about ideas by some of the other minds behind Doctor Who, including Gerry Davis, he later came up with many of the stories involving the Cybermen, working closely with Gerry Davis to turn his ideas into script form. Pedler once told Davis that as a medical researcher one of his greatest fears was the dehumanisation of people through the implementation of surgery to replace body parts, for arbitrary rather than life-saving reasons. From this fear and influenced by the 1965 book Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman by Manfred Clynes5 came the concept of the Cybermen for 'The Tenth Planet' in 1966.

After Pedler moved away from Doctor Who, Gerry Davis continued with the writing duties for the Cybermen stories, then long-term writer for the series Eric Saward and even producer Terrance Dicks put pen to paper and wrote some of the scripts during the 1980s. In 1988, Kevin Clarke wrote the final Cyberman story before the series was axed.

Almost 20 years later, in 2006, the Cybermen were given new life by TV series No Angels and Sky High writer Tom MacRae, who re-invented the terrifying villains for the 21st Century. MacRae's Cybermen, from a parallel universe, reintroduced the characters but it would be new head of production Russell T Davies that ensured the Cybermen would terrorise the Doctor in new frightening ways.

Story Guide

Below is a description of the Doctor Who stories that feature the Cybermen.

'The Tenth Planet' (1966)

It's 1986, and the TARDIS brings the First Doctor and his companions to a base at the South Pole during a security alert. A planet terrifyingly similar to our own6 has been drawn into the Earth's orbit. The Doctor identifies it as the planet Mondas, one-time twin planet to Earth before a disaster knocked it out of orbit and sent it to the outer reaches of the Solar System. Its inhabitants survived by replacing their body parts with cybernetics until they had evolved into a frightening parody of the human form. They became a new race - the Cybermen. Now, Mondas has returned home to drain the Earth of its resources. The Doctor knows he must defeat the invaders. He also knows his old body is wearing thin and his life has come to an end... Or is it just a new beginning?

This adventure's Antarctic setting was inspired by The Thing from Another World (1951). It was felt that it would make economic sense to set the adventure in one key set seen throughout the story, rather than use numerous sets briefly, thus setting the 'base under siege' tone that would dominate the Second Doctor's episodes.

This story consisted of four episodes, written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis.The novelisation published in 1976 was by Gerry Davis. Sadly episode 4 is missing, and the story has been released on DVD with an animated final episode.

'The Moonbase' (1967)

By the year 2070, mankind has established a base on the moon to house the gravitron, a machine used to control the Earth's weather. A mysterious plague and a spate of disappearances while a deadly hurricane threatens the Earth have left the base in a state of panic. When the Second Doctor promises to help find the cause of the plague, he has no idea that his investigation will lead him to a race he'd believed long-dead. The Cybermen are determined to survive, whatever the cost.

This story consisted of four episodes, written by Kit Pedler. The story had the highest ratings figures for the Second Doctor at 8.3 million viewers. The moon setting had been inspired by the recent Surveyor 1 unmanned moon landing. The novelisation, entitled Doctor Who and the Cybermen (1975) was by Gerry Davis. Sadly episodes 1 and 3 are missing, and the story has been released on DVD with two animated episodes to plug the gaps.

'The Tomb of the Cybermen' (1967)

Five hundred years later, a group of archaeologists have come to the planet Telos to uncover the legendary tombs of the Cybermen. Despite the Doctor's dire warnings, the party succeed in reviving the silver giants, learning too late that the tomb is in fact an elaborate trap...

This four-episode story was the last co-written by Gerry Davis and Kit Pedler. It had been inspired by the classic horror film The Mummy (1932). The novelisation Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen (1978) was by Gerry Davis.

'The Wheel in Space' (1968)

The Doctor and Jamie learn that the vital fluid link that powers the TARDIS is empty. They make an emergency landing aboard an abandoned spacecraft near to a wheel-shaped space station in the late 21st Century. There they meet a genius astrophysicist called Zoe and discover another plot by the Cybermen to gain a stronghold in the Solar System...

The six episode story was written by David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler. The novelisation (1988) was by Terrance Dicks. Only episodes 3 and 6 survive, both of which have been released on VHS and the 'Lost In Time' DVD. This story marks the first time that the Doctor used the alias John Smith.

'The Invasion' (1968)

In the mid-1970s, International Electromatics has flooded the market with cheap, mass-produced electronic equipment, from telephones to radios. Suspicious goings on at IE's headquarters - and specifically the movements of the company's head man, Tobias Vaughn - have drawn the attention of UNIT, the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, headed by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Vaughn has been assisting an alien force with their invasion plans in return for promises of power. Vaughn has also aroused the suspicions of the Doctor, but even he is surprised when he discovers that Vaughn's allies are the Cybermen - and that a huge army of the silver giants is already in London, waiting for the signal to emerge from the sewers and take over.

The story had eight episodes and was written by Derrick Sherwin, from a story by Kit Pedler. This marks the first appearance of UNIT, and the second story featuring Lethbridge-Stewart, who had been a colonel during the Yeti invasion seen in 'The Web of Fear'. Sadly episodes 1 and 4 are missing, and when the story was released on DVD animation filled the gaps. The novelisation, published in 1985, is by Ian Marter.

'Revenge of the Cybermen' (1975)

The TARDIS crew arrive on Nerva Station, a location they had visited in another adventure, but now they are at a point in history thousands of years before their previous visit. At this point in time, Nerva is acting like a space lighthouse, warning starships away from a new asteroid that's arrived in the solar system near to Jupiter. However, the asteroid isn't actually an asteroid - it's the remains of Voga, the fabled planet of gold, all-but destroyed by the Cybermen during the last great Cyberwar. Now, the last surviving Cybermen want to finish the job...

This was a four episode story, written by Gerry Davis and Robert Holmes. The novelisation was by Terrance Dicks. In 1983, this story became the very first Doctor Who home video release.

'Earthshock' (1982)

In the year 2526, a group of palaeontologists go missing while exploring some caves. When a military team is called in to investigate, they discover the Doctor and his friends very near to some mutilated bodies. Before the TARDIS crew can explain their presence, the party is attacked by two blank-faced androids guarding a hugely powerful bomb. While the troopers destroy the androids, the Doctor defuses the bomb and follows its operating signal to a space freighter currently approaching Earth. Taking some of the troopers with him, the Doctor lands the TARDIS inside the freighter and begins to explore the hundreds of silos - unaware that each one contains the sleeping form of a Cyberman.

Four episodes, written by Eric Saward. Ian Marter wrote the novelisation, published in 1983.

'The Five Doctors' (1983)

Someone has been using outlawed technology to scoop the Doctor's past selves and old friends and enemies from time. They find themselves brought to an area on Gallifrey known as the Death Zone - a barren wilderness where one false move can result in instant death but perseverance can lead to immortality. The Death Zone is populated by many of the deadliest creatures in the Universe, including Cybermen, who menace the Third and Fifth Doctors. At the heart of the Death Zone lies the Tower of Rassilon, the tomb of the first and greatest of the Time Lords. The legends are uncertain as to whether he is in fact dead. Could Rassilon be behind the appearance of various Doctors across the Death Zone? If so, what is his purpose?

This was a 90-minute special, written by Terrance Dicks, who also wrote the novelisation published in 1983. It was also the only time that the Third Doctor faced the Cybermen, although he is not given a chance to defeat them before the ones he encounters are wiped out by a Raston Warrior Robot.

'Attack of the Cybermen' (1985)

An exploration of the sewers of London draws the Doctor and Peri into the clutches of the Cybermen. Forcing the Doctor to take them back to their adopted home, Telos, the Cybermen hope to use Halley's Comet as a weapon to destroy Earth and prevent the demise of their original home planet, Mondas. The few remaining indigenous inhabitants of Telos, the Cryons, seek revenge on the Cybermen and wish to prevent the people of Earth from suffering their fate.

This was two double-length episodes, written by Paula Moore (a pseudonym for Paula Woolsey and Eric Saward.) Eric Saward wrote the novelisation in 1989. It achieved the highest ratings figures for the Sixth Doctor at 8.1 million viewers.

'Silver Nemesis' (1988)

The Nemesis statue is fashioned from living metal, one of the relics of ancient Gallifrey. Trapped inside a comet, it orbits the planet Earth in 25-year cycles. In 1988, the meteor is due to land on Earth and various parties await its return: Lady Peinforte, a time-travelling witch; De Flores, a former Nazi intent on using the statue to help him establish the Fourth Reich; the Cybermen, whose space fleet lies on the far side of Earth's moon; and the Doctor, who until recently had forgotten all about Nemesis.

'Silver Nemesis' was a three-episode adventure that celebrated Doctor Who's silver anniversary. It was written by Kevin Clarke who also adapted the novelisation in 1989. It had the highest ratings figure for the Seventh Doctor at 5.5 million viewers.

'Rise of the Cybermen'/'The Age of Steel' (2006)

The Doctor, Rose and Mickey crash-land an almost lifeless TARDIS onto 21st-Century London, but something is not right. An alternative reality in a parallel universe, the world is a different place. Information is downloaded to the masses, and there are only a few who oppose the Cybus Corporation, run by John Lumic. Lumic has bought out all other world companies for a more sinister purpose than a mere business take-over. Literally hundreds of thousands of people are going missing - and Cybus Industries has its fingerprints all over the crime. The Doctor and his companions have their work cut out for them when an old adversary appears in a new deadly form.

The two episodes were written by Tom MacRae and were in part loosely inspired by the Big Finish audio adventure 'Spare Parts'.

'Army of Ghosts'/'Doomsday' (2006)

The Doctor returns to 21st Century London with Rose, only to discover that ghosts are seeping through into reality. The Doctor hunts down the reason behind the ghosts, only to come under scrutiny from a secret organisation known as 'Torchwood'. Within the Torchwood offices, something is helping the 'ghosts' through to Earth, and with the aid of Rose and Jackie Tyler, the Doctor discovers just a little too late that the Cybermen from the alternate reality have found a way to invade this world - and they are not alone. The Doctor soon finds himself in a pitched battle for two Earths, caught between the invading Cybermen - and Daleks!

The two episodes were written by Russell T Davies and directed by Graeme Harper. A character called Adeola Oshodi, played by Freema Agyeman, was one of the first victims of Cyber conversion. Freema later played the recurring character Martha Jones, when it is explained that she is Adeola's cousin.

Torchwood: 'Cyberwoman' (2006)

Torchwood was a spin-off series from Doctor Who focusing on the exploits of Captain Jack Harkness and a small team of experts in alien artefacts.

Ianto Jones, part of the Cardiff-based Torchwood Institute, hides a terrible secret from his colleagues. His girlfriend was in the London Torchwood office at the time of the Cybermen's invasion, and is trapped in a cyber-converter. Before long the team discovers this machine, but not before it begins upgrading her. Captain Jack and the gang must disable both the machine and its formidable creation before too much damage is done.

This episode was a direct sequel to 'Doomsday' and was written by Chris Chibnall. Fortunately the Cyber-Converter, when processing a scantily-clad lady, ensures that her breasts and lower regions are 'upgraded' first (thus remaining fully covered at all times), while allowing her belly button to remain exposed throughout.

'The Next Doctor' (2008)

The Doctor finds himself transported to Victorian London during the Christmas of 1851. He meets up with a strange fellow calling himself the Doctor, who is complete with a companion named Rosita, his own TARDIS and even a sonic screwdriver! Confused, the real Doctor soon gets to the bottom of things, finding himself face-to-metal head with his old adversaries, the Cybermen. Having used Dalek technology to escape the Void they are intent on their Cyber King becoming ruler of Earth, with a little help from a human - one Miss Mercy Hartigan.

'The Next Doctor' was written by Russell T Davies as 2008's Christmas Special.

'Closing Time' (2011)

A crashed Cybership lies beneath a department store in Colchester. Though the Cybermen and their vessel are crippled, Cybermats have been draining power from the nearby area to supply the ship with power. People from the store have been disappearing, converted into Cybermen. The Doctor's friend, Craig Owens, is captured and the process of converting him into a Cyber Controller begins.

'Closing Time' was written by Gareth Roberts as a sequel to 'The Lodger' (2010).

'Nightmare in Silver' (2013)

In the far future a deactivated Cyberman, a remnant of the deadly cyberwar, is used as a chess-playing sideshow attraction on a theme-park planet. Soon cybermites, small, insect-like cybermats, have reactivated the Cyberman. They begin converting humans into Cybermen and the Doctor into a Cyber-Planner. The Doctor must battle his own mind in a game of chess for control of his body, while a new Cyber army which can move at lightning speed threatens the security of the whole galaxy.

This was written by Neil Gaiman, the highly respected author of Sandman and Neverwhere.

'Dark Water'/'Death in Heaven' (2014)

The Master, now known as 'Missy', has found a way to trap and digitise dying people's souls as well as a means by which corpses can be converted into Cybermen. By downloading the digitised souls into these Cyber bodies, a vast, unstoppable army has been created. These Cybermen appear similar to those seen in 'Nightmare in Silver', and have rocket-packs built in, allowing them to fly, but move more sedately. Controversially, the corpse of the Brigadier is also converted into a flying Cyberman, although his mind remains independent, allowing him to rescue his daughter, Kate Stewart.

These two episodes were written by Steven Moffat.

'World Enough and Time' / 'The Doctor Falls' (2017

The Doctor accompanied by Bill Potts, Nardole and Missy arrive on a vast colony ship from Mondas caught in a Black Hole's event horizon. Due to the time dilation, while mere seconds have passed on the bridge centuries have gone by at the lower decks by the engines, where the descendants of the original crew face a decaying world of pollution and rust. Many have become patients, wearing hospital gowns and cloth masks over their heads. After being shot, Bill is taken down to the hospital on the bottom floor where she has a replacement heart fitted. It is revealed that the patients are being turned into primitive Cybermen, with the Master, Missy's previous incarnation, behind the scheme. Bill is converted into a Cyberman but refuses to lose her identity, helping the Doctor and Nardole defend the surviving colonists on the ship from an attack by the Cybermen, some of whom have upgraded into the design seen since 'Nightmare in Silver'.

This was written by Steven Moffat as the series ten finale and was directed by Rachel Talalay.

Bit Parts

  • 'The War Games' (1969)
    A Cyberman is briefly seen on the screen during the final episode of the storyline. The Cyberman was played, uncredited, by Roy Pearce.
  • 'Carnival of Monsters' (1973)
    A Cyberman can be glimpsed on the screen of the miniscope during Episode 2. The Cyberman was played by Terence Denville. This was the only time the Cybermen appeared during the Third Doctor's era.
  • 'Dimensions in Time' (1993)
    A Cyberman makes up part of the Rani's menagerie in this Children in Need Special.
  • 'Dalek' (2005)
    A Cyberman head can be glimpsed in the pre-credits sequence, and is mentioned by the Doctor himself.
  • 'The Pandorica Opens' (2010)
    The Cybermen are members of the Alliance that imprison the Doctor inside the Pandorica. The remains of a Cyberman has been left on guard.
  • 'A Good Man Goes to War' (2011)
    The Doctor and Rory enquire of a Cyberman listening post if they know where Amy Pond has been taken.
  • 'The Day of the Doctor' (2013)
    A Cyberhead is kept in UNIT's Black Archive.
  • 'The Time of the Doctor' (2013)
    The Doctor befriends a disembodied Cyberhead he nicknames 'Handles'. The Cybermen are also one of the races that besiege Trenzalore and develop a wooden variant in order to penetrate the planet's anti-technology field.

Further Adventures

The Cybermen have invaded more than just our televisions. Here is a brief look at their conquests of the airwaves, paper, and even the internet. Curiously, some of these stories have been written by those who have played Cybermen, David Banks the Cyber Leader in the 1980s, and the 21st Century's voice of the Cybermen, Nicholas Briggs.

Audio Adventures

Released by Big Finish Productions:

  • 'Sword of Orion' (2001) by Nicholas Briggs.
  • 'Spare Parts' (2002) by Marc Platt.
  • 'The Harvest' (2004) by Dan Abnett.
  • 'Cyberman 1.1 - Scorpius' (2005) by Nicholas Briggs.
  • 'Cyberman 1.2 - Fear' (2005) by Nicholas Briggs.
  • 'Cyberman 1.3 - Conversion' (2005) by Nicholas Briggs.
  • 'Cyberman 1.4 - Telos' (2005) by Nicholas Briggs.
  • 'Bernice Summerfield: The Crystal of Cantus' (2006) by Joseph Lidster.
  • 'The Reaping' (2006) by Joseph Lidster.
  • 'The Gathering' (2006) by Joseph Lidster.
  • 'Companion Chrionicles: The Blue Tooth' (2007) by Nigel Fairs.
  • 'Human Resources' (2007) 2 parts, by Eddie Robson.
  • 'The Girl Who Never Was' (2007) by Alan Barnes.
  • 'Kingdom of Silver/Keepsake' (2008) by James Swallow.
  • 'The Ultimate Adventure' (2008) by Terrance Dicks.
  • 'Cyberman 2.1 - Outsiders' (2009) by James Swallow.
  • 'Cyberman 2.2 - Terror' (2009) by James Swallow.
  • 'Cyberman 2.3 - Machines' (2009) by James Swallow.
  • 'Cyberman 2.4 - Extinction' (2009) by James Swallow.
  • 'Legend of the Cybermen' (2010) by Mike Maddox.
  • 'The Silver Turk' (2011) by Marc Platt.

Books

As well as the novelisations of the television adventures, Cybermen have also appeared in the following books:

  • Iceberg (1993) Virgin New Adventures, by David Banks
  • Killing Ground (1996) Virgin Missing Adventures (Sixth Doctor), by Steve Lyons
  • Illegal Alien (1997) BBC Books, by Mike Tucker & Robert Perry
  • Made of Steel (2007) BBC Books Quick Read, by Terrance Dicks
  • Plague of the Cybermen (2013) BBC Books, by Justin Richards

Additionally, Cybermen have had an impact on, though not appeared in, books such as Original Sin by Andy Lane (1995) and Loving the Alien (2003) by Mike Tucker & Robert Perry.

Comics

Cybermen have appeared in numerous comic strips. These have been published in different publications, including TV Comic (1967-1970), Doctor Who Weekly renamed Doctor Who Magazine (1979+), The Doctor Who Yearbook (1996), Radio Times (1996), Battles in Time (2005) and even in a Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover (2012).

The Internet

The Cybermen have also invaded the internet, in adventure 'Real Time' (2002). This BBC Webcast was broadcast over the Internet with animated graphics and was written by Gary Russell7.

1Although part of the inspiration for the Cybermen came from reports of medical experiments conducted by the Nazis in concentration camps.2A time-space ship that allows him to cross dimensions and explore the universe at any point in history.3In both 1967's 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' and 1985's 'Attack of the Cybermen', the Cyber Controller is played by Michael Kilgarriff. Unfortunately he had put on some weight in the 20 years between these two appearances, leading him to be unfairly nicknamed 'The Fat Controller' on his return.4At least in the stories made by Big Finish Productions, an independent company that has been making Doctor Who audio dramas under license since 1999.5Clynes had first coined the term 'Cyborg', meaning 'Cybernetic Organism', in 1960.6Cue special effect of the BBC globe filmed upside down.7Needs RealPlayer to view.

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