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Serial MM:
The Tomb Of The Cybermen

Plot

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria land on the desert planet Telos, where an archaeological expedition from Earth has also arrived. The scientists are searching for the fabled tombs to which the dying Cybermen removed themselves many years earlier. The Doctor is adamant that his old enemies be left in hibernation, but two members of the research team, the Logicians Klieg and Kaftan, have plans to use the Cybermen to help them dominate the galaxy.

Production

The first two Cyberman stories -- The Tenth Planet and The Moonbase -- had proved popular with viewers and so as production wrapped on the latter, plans were already afoot for a third serial involving the silver giants. Their cocreator, Kit Pedler, was commissioned on March 3rd, 1967, to write a new adventure entitled “The Cybermen Planet”. Story editor Gerry Davis, who had devised the Cybermen along with Pedler, envisioned this as an opportunity to explore the background of the monsters and get away somewhat from the “base under siege” formula used for their previous appearances.

As with the earlier Cyberman serials, Davis worked closely with Pedler, who had little formal experience as a writer for television. Between them, they conceived a new type of Cyber-creature for “The Cybermen Planet”: the Cybermats, which were modelled on silverfish and were seen as a candidate for commercial exploitation like the Daleks before them. The writers drew on deleted material from The Moonbase -- untelevised dialogue would have revealed that the Cybermen in that story came from the planet Telos, which had been colonised prior to the destruction of Mondas in The Tenth Planet. Telos would now be the setting for the new serial, which by mid-April had been retitled The Tomb Of The Cybermen. For the first time, Davis and Pedler's scripts indicated, in dialogue, the Doctor's age. The given figure of 450 years accounted for the 650 years noted in the 1963 character outline for the Doctor, as well the couple of centuries which the production team felt he had shed when his body was renewed at the end of The Tenth Planet.

Davis, meanwhile, was in the process of leaving his regular job on Doctor Who. (Fortuitously, this meant that he could share the writer's credit on The Tomb Of The Cybermen without risk of violating BBC regulations.) He had been offered the opportunity to succeed Innes Lloyd as producer but turned it down. Instead, Davis' assistant, Peter Bryant, had been selected to replace him, with the idea being that Bryant would eventually move into the top job when Lloyd departed. However, Bryant had not been a producer for television before and, given the technical complexities of Doctor Who, the BBC felt it prudent to give him a test outing in the position. Since The Tomb Of The Cybermen would be made at the end of the fourth recording block, it was seen as an ideal candidate.

For three months, Bryant was temporarily appointed to producer to oversee Serial MM. Taking his place as story editor was Bryant's assistant, Victor Pemberton. Pemberton had been writing for radio since the early Sixties and had also had a Doctor Who submission rejected in 1964; this was “The Slide”, which was rewritten to remove the Doctor Who elements and was subsequently broadcast as a radio play in 1966. Pemberton also worked occasionally as an actor, and had played Jules on The Moonbase. It was during this production that Pemberton renewed his acquaintance with Bryant, a colleague from radio, which lead to him getting the assistant story editor's job on Doctor Who.

Although the primary plan was to hold over The Tomb Of The Cybermen -- or “The Ice Tombs Of Telos”, as it was renamed for a short time -- to start Season Five in September, it appears that these plans briefly changed. In late April, a caption was prepared for the final episode of the preceding serial in production, The Evil Of The Daleks, suggesting that the Cyberman story would begin transmission “Next Week”. This was never used, however, and The Evil Of The Daleks would indeed end Doctor Who's fourth season.

It seems that Morris Barry, director of The Moonbase, was always the man that the production office had in mind to helm The Tomb Of The Cybermen. Immediately upon the conclusion of work on that serial, he contacted some of the actors who had played the Cybermen informing them that their services may be requested for another story within a few months. Unlike the radical reinvention seen in The Moonbase, only minor changes were made to the design of the Cyberman costumes for The Tomb Of The Cybermen. However, a significant addition to their ranks was the Cyberman Controller, played by Michael Kilgarriff. His costume differed from that of the regular Cybermen in that it lacked a chest unit and featured a large cranial dome.

On June 1st, Deborah Watling was contracted for The Tomb Of The Cybermen, followed a week later by Frazer Hines. Meanwhile, amongst the cast of the serial was Shirley Cooklin as Kaftan. Davis had written the role especially for Cooklin, who at the time was married to Bryant. Production began with location filming on June 12th at the quarry owned by the Gerrards Cross Sand & Ballast Company at Wapsey's Wood, Buckinghamshire, which served as the surface of Telos. Hines inadvertently embarrassed himself on this day when he began flirting with Cooklin, not realising that she was his boss' wife.

Filming then continued indoors at the Ealing Television Film Studios for the period spanning June 13th to 16th. Material recorded here included the opening of the Tomb doors, the emergence of the Cybermen from their hibernation, and various scenes involving the Cybermats. These were constructed by Michaeljohn Harris of the BBC's visual effects department and came in several varieties: some were radio-controlled, battery-powered or clockwork, while others were designed simply to be pulled along on a string and a few were not intended to be mobile at all. Unusually, the lone TARDIS scene was also performed at Ealing, to save having to erect the set in the studio. Some model shots were then captured on film at BBC Television Centre on June 19th.

Following the regular scheme for Season Four, each episode of The Tomb Of The Cybermen was taped on successive Saturdays at Lime Grove Studio D, beginning on July 1st and concluding on July 22nd, bringing to an end Doctor Who's fourth recording block. At this point, Lloyd returned to the producer's chair, while Bryant shifted back to story editing.

Pemberton, however, elected to leave Doctor Who altogether, having decided that he preferred writing. His association with the programme would continue with the television story Fury From The Deep a few months later and later Doctor Who and The Pescatons, which was released as an LP record in 1976. Pemberton also novelised both stories for Target Books. Pemberton continued to contribute to various television series, such as Ace Of Wands and Timeslip before moving behind the camera, producing Fraggle Rock. He now runs his own production company, Saffron.

Part one of The Tomb Of The Cybermen was broadcast on September 2nd, marking the start of Season Five. The following day, Head of Drama Sydney Newman telephoned Bryant to congratulate him on his work, meaning that Bryant's promotion to producer was virtually assured. Episode four's transmission on September 23rd, however, incited considerable controversy for its violent and disturbing content, particularly the scene in which fluid spurts forth from a Cyberman's innards after it has been attacked by Toberman. On September 26th, Kit Pedler appeared on the premiere episode of the BBC commentary programme Talkback to debate the issue.

Sources
  • Doctor Who: The Handbook: The Second Doctor by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1997), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0 426 20516 2.
  • Doctor Who: The Sixties by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1992), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 420 4.
  • Doctor Who Magazine #281, 25th August 1999, “Archive: The Tomb Of The Cybermen” by Andrew Pixley, Panini UK Ltd.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #4, 4th June 2003, “Heroes And Villains” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 2nd Sep 1967
Time 5.50pm
Duration 23'58"
Viewers (more) 6.0m (57th)
· BBC1 6.0m
Appreciation 53%
Episode 2
Date 9th Sep 1967
Time 5.50pm
Duration 24'44"
Viewers (more) 6.4m (57th)
· BBC1 6.4m
Appreciation 52%
Episode 3
Date 16th Sep 1967
Time 5.50pm
Duration 24'14"
Viewers (more) 7.2m (38th)
· BBC1 7.2m
Appreciation 49%
Episode 4
Date 23rd Sep 1967
Time 5.50pm
Duration 23'22"
Viewers (more) 7.4m (34th)
· BBC1 7.4m
Appreciation 50%


Cast
Dr Who
Patrick Troughton
Jamie
Frazer Hines
Victoria
Deborah Watling
(more)
Toberman
Roy Stewart
Professor Parry
Aubrey Richards
John Viner
Cyril Shaps
Jim Callum
Clive Merrison
Kaftan
Shirley Cooklin
Captain Hopper
George Roubicek
Eric Klieg
George Pastell
Ted Rogers
Alan Johns
Peter Haydon
Bernard Holley
Crewman
Ray Grover
Cyberman Controller
Michael Kilgarriff
Cybermen
Hans de Vries
Tony Harwood
John Hogan
Richard Kerley
Ronald Lee
Charles Pemberton
Kenneth Seeger
Red Whitehead
Cybermen Voices
Peter Hawkins


Crew
Written by
Kit Pedler and
Gerry Davis
Directed by
Morris Barry
Produced by
Peter Bryant
(more)

Title music by
Ron Grainer and
the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Story Editor
Victor Pemberton
Costumes
Sandra Reid
Dorothea Wallace
Make-up
Gillian James
Lighting
Graham Sothcott
Sound
Brian Hiles
Film Cameraman
Peter Hamilton
Film Editor
Alan Martin
Visual Effects
Michaeljohn Harris
Peter Day
Designer
Martin Johnson


Working Titles
The Cybermen Planet
The Ice Tombs Of Telos


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Revisitations Volume 3 (2012; boxed set)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The Tomb Of The Cybermen Special Edition (2012)
Buy: Canada · USA
Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited: 1-4 (2013; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · USA
Audio Releases
Doctor Who: The Tomb Of The Cybermen narrated by Frazer Hines (2006)
Buy: Canada · UK
Doctor Who and The Tomb Of The Cybermen narrated by Michael Kilgarriff and Nicholas Briggs (2013; novelisation talking book)
Buy: UK
Novelisation
Doctor Who and The Tomb Of The Cybermen by Gerry Davis (1978)

Updated 10th April 2013