Doctor Who Reactions: "Attack of the Cybermen" (SPOILERS)

1)This story is credited to "Paula Moore", which is basically a pseudonym for "Eric Saward".

 

2)I gather the business with the chameleon circuit was JNT's means of messing with the fanboys, playing around with the idea that the show might abandon the "police box" look for the TARDIS. There was never any serious intention to change it permanently.

 

3)This was the first story to be broadcast in 45 minute chunks, rather than the traditional 30. For whatever reason, it didn't catch on at the time, although 45 minutes is about what the modern show's stories run. I still wonder whether it could have been made to work back then. I can never escape the feeling that if the old show had been handled and supported the way the new one is, it needn't have been cancelled in the 80's.

 

4)Griffiths is played by Brian Glover, who had apparently previously been a teacher and a pro wrestler (not unlike George "The Animal" Steele and Glen "Kane" Jacobs).  I like Glover in the part. JNT had originally tried to get Donald Pleasence to play Griffiths, but he was unavailable. Tha twould have been interesting.

 

5)Russell is played by Terry Molloy, mostly because the director had promised to find him a part where he didn't have to wear a mask, the way he did when he played Davros!

 

6)Gosh, Peri's whiny in this! Come back, Janet Fielding, all is forgiven!

 

7)"This looks familiar."  Lots of nostalgia in this, what with the reference to Totter's Lane, and callbacks to several previous Cyberstories.

 

8)Always interesting to see the Cybermen again. I liked the "stealth" Cybermen. Generally, though, the Cybermen are alittle too vulnerable in this - guns stop them too easily, I think. While I am a big fan of seeking out the original actor for a part, Micahel Kilgarriff really didn't seem to be quite in condition to play the Cybercontroller, here.  And it's not as though we actually heard his voice back in the 60's  - they could've put anyone in that suit. The scene with the Cybermen crushing Lytton's hands was a bit excessive.  I did find it amusing at the end, with the one Cyberman making "Let's get the hell out of here" gestures after discovering the Doctor's makeshift bomb.

 

9)"How thick is it?" "Less than you."

 

10)Always like to hear Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the only piece of his that I can identify reliably.

 

11)Stratton and Bates come across as a Sawardian attempt at a Hlmesian double act.  Michael Attwell does "angry" quite well. "Like you, this planet really depresses me."

 

12)Quite careless of the Doctor, leaving the TARDIS open so that anyone could walk in. Equally careless to lock the Doctor in a room full of explosives and not take the sonic lance away from him.

 

13)Why is the Doctor so shamefaced about what happened to Mondas?  He didn't destroy it.

 

14)I believe this is the first use of the phrase "The web of time" here.

 

15)I suppose it was completely impossible for them to make the "tombs" even vaguely resemble the set from the 60's?  I wonder if this was from before that story was recovered.

 

16)The Cryons are odd critters for this point in the show's history - they seem more like something out of the Hartnell Era.  I gather one of them was supposed to have been played by Koo Stark, who backed out for some reason.

 

17)"They intend to prevent Mondas from being destroyed."  "They mean to win Wimbledon."

 

18)"Cybermen have one weakness. They respond to the distress of their own kind." Interesitng that he sees that as a "weakness".

 

19)I gather that much noise was made at the time about the way in which the Doctor is seen shooting down Cybermen at the end.  It never bothered me - desperate times call for desperate measures, and all that.

 

 

20)Cliffhangers:

  • Part One: A Cyberman moves to kill Peri!
  • Part Two: "I don't think I've ever misjudged anybody quire as badly as I did Lytton."  I never really bought into that line. He had no reason to trust Lytton - Lytton had shot down any number of innocents in their previous encounter. Just because he was working for the Cryons doesn't suddenly make him great guy.

 

Overall:

An OK story - as with many stories of this era, it feels a bit like a rough draft that never got polished the way it should have.

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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This story is credited to "Paula Moore", which is basically a pseudonym for "Eric Saward".

From what I've read, it's apparently the work of Eric Saward AND fan Ian Levine. Each appears to have written half of it, but it's under dispute who wrote which part. Part 1 is actually a lot of fun, and I wish the whole season had more of this kind of feel.  Part 2 is a nihilistic deathwatch heading toward a pointless slaughter to no damn good purpose.

I was at a WHO convention in Valley Forge when Season 22 was previewed. First they ran "MARK OF THE RANI", later, "ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN".  JNT seemed to get a big kick out of introducing this story by telling the audience, "In this one we... PLAY with the chameleon circuit".

"This was the first story to be broadcast in 45 minute chunks, rather than the traditional 30."

RESSURECTION OF THE DALEKS was run that way, as a result of some sporting event (I think). Apparently that gave themn the idea to try doing the entire next season that way. I never noticed it much myself, but I've been reading some fan discussions of late which suggest that they never quite figured out how to WRITE for a 45-minute format, and you wound up with just 4 episodes with 2 of the cliffhangers snipped out. All the story structure, with introducing characters and keeping audiences up on what's going on, "necessary" for a 4-part format, were still there. (More or less)

"Griffiths is played by Brian Glover, who had apparently previously been a teacher and a pro wrestler (not unlike George "The Animal" Steele and Glen "Kane" Jacobs)."

Oh, that is funny. I can believe it. I was a BIG fan of George "The Animal" Steele, I saw him in person a number of times, and he also turned up in at least one movie (wasn't it ED WOOD ?) He was just so over-the-top, so FUNNY. And the rumor was he was a college professor when he wasn't wrestling!! I like to think his subject might have been English. I mean... what a "secret identity".

Brian Glover wound up playing Peter Davison's sidekick in CAMPION, a show which used Davison's talents FAR better than DOCTOR WHO ever, ever did. I am still annoyed it ended after only 2 seasons.

"Russell is played by Terry Molloy, mostly because the director had promised to find him a part where he didn't have to wear a mask, the way he did when he played Davros!"

I must have seen this story several times before I found out he was the undercover cop. He;s so much better in that role than he ever was as Davros, where he's just a cartoon exagerration most of the time. And yet, like everybody else in this story, he's killed off just to satisfy someone's bloodlust.

"Always like to hear Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the only piece of his that I can identify reliably."

Just heard it again last night. I was watching TALES FROM THE CRYPT, where it's used over both the opening and end credits.

"Why is the Doctor so shamefaced about what happened to Mondas?  He didn't destroy it."

I think the idea is he's trying to make Peri NOT worry because her planet is ALMOST going to be destroyed in a year's time.

"I suppose it was completely impossible for them to make the "tombs" even vaguely resemble the set from the 60's?  I wonder if this was from before that story was recovered."

By quite a few years. TOMB didn't turn up until some time after the show ended. Otherwise, I suspect it might have been added to the syndication package. (WAS IT EVER? I'm wondering now...)

"I gather that much noise was made at the time about the way in which the Doctor is seen shooting down Cybermen at the end.  It never bothered me - desperate times call for desperate measures, and all that."

Jon Pertwee wouldn't have hesitated. The problem is that Peter Davison would have...

"Part Two: "I don't think I've ever misjudged anybody quire as badly as I did Lytton."  I never really bought into that line. He had no reason to trust Lytton - Lytton had shot down any number of innocents in their previous encounter. Just because he was working for the Cryons doesn't suddenly make him great guy."

It's all a put-up by the writer & producer to make the Doctor seem fallible. Had the writing supported it, fine, but it didn't. Lytton did kill a number of innocent people in RESSURECTION, and certainly tried to kill The Doctor at the end. In this story, he never tells The Doctor what he's really up to. What else is The Doctor supposed to think?

Check out the RETURN OF THE SAINT episode "Duel In Venice", where Maurice Colbourne plays a TOTAL bastard!!! He is so rotten in there, the whole story you wind up hoping he gets killed.

From what I've read, it's apparently the work of Eric Saward AND fan Ian Levine. Each appears to have written half of it, but it's under dispute who wrote which part.

 

As I recall from one of the extras, Saward largely downplays Levine's contribution - I don't think he likes the idea that anyone would imagine that he needed help from a "fan".  Heaven knows what he thinks of the fact that fanboys are running the show these days.

RESSURECTION OF THE DALEKS was run that way, as a result of some sporting event (I think).

 

My understanding is that it was originally meant to be a four-parter, but the sporting event took them by surprise, and they converted it to two large chunks and ran it that way.

 

Honestly, re-watching these stories, I feel more and more bad for the actors - JNT and Saward were the wrong people to be in charge of the program, particularly at a time when the show had enemies amongst the higher-ups at the BBC.

My favorite George Steele story...

One night, at The Spectrum in Philly (I'm pretty sure we were going there for these shows by then), they had a 20-man battle royale. The rules are simple-- whoever goes over the top rope and hits the floor, is out. Last man in, wins. Typically, baddies gang up on some goodies early to get rid of them. That's how Ivan Putski once WON a 10-man battle royale. Nobody "noticed" him until it was too late and there wern't enough baddies to get rid of him.

In this case, however, I forget who won. There was a sideshow going on that made it more interesting. It seems Gorilla Monsoon (who in earlier years had been a baddie himself, before becoming a good guy), got into it one-on-one with Steele. All those fighters, all those people in the audience, and at one point, Gorilla SLAPPED Steel so loud you could HEAR it clear across the arena. Knocked him head first over the top ring, where he flew over backwards and hit the floor.  Steele being what he was, he got annoyed, and REFUSED to drop out of the fight! He violated the rules and tried to climb back in-- and then Gorilla SLAPPED hm again! Straight back onto the floor.

So anyway... the next week or so, on the TV show, they began building up to the NEXT Spectrum show. And it seems, in addiiton to whoever was fighting for the Championship that month, or the Tag Team Championship, they had another attraction... a GRUDGE MATCH between Gorilla Monsoon & George The Animal Steele.  Sure enough, I went to the show, and it turned out to be one of the evening's highlights.

Buit it didn't go the way anyone expected... What happened was, Gorilla got Steele in a "sleeper hold", and rendered him unconscious-- in less than TWO MINUTES!  The referee delcared Monsoon the winner, and he walked out of the ring to the cheers of the crowd.  So at this point, you're wondering... is that it?? IT WASN'T.  About 2 minutes later, Steele woke up.  He looked around, apparently confused.  Then, apparently, it hit him what happened.  AND HE WAS PISSED!!  So, he attacked the REFEREE!! Then he climbed out of the ring, and attacked the TIME-KEEPER!  He slowly headed back to the dressing room, with the audience booing and jeering him the whole way. And he began LUNGING at the audience, and making threatening gestures.  At one point, when he was about to go into the "tunnel", someone in the balcony was jeering him, and he wound up climbing up the side of the stairway and making threatening gestures toward the fan. This went on longer than some fights! It was hilarious!! He finally disappeared into the tunnel leading to the dressing room, but by the time he did, I think everyone felt they'd gotten their money's worth.

This is decades later, and I still remember it so well, and it still makes me laugh. (Now that's entertainment!)

I used to be a big Steele mark back in the day. I only saw him wrestle live once at the old Boston Garden years ago. As I recall, he wrestled Harley Race, back when Vince was pushing Harley as "King" Harley Race, and pretty much ignoring Harley's previous career - no small trick since Harley'd been wrestling since about 500 B.C. (I'm pretty sure Harley was on the undercard when Esau wrestled Jacob.)

"My" golden age for Pro Wrestling was the 70's.  In the early 70's, it was actually probably at its low ebb-- just like amusement parks, come to think of it.  They both "came back" by the mid-70's and kept getting bigger for decades after.

In high school, the guy who became my best friend was an even bigger fan than I was. Here's the funny part-- he'd never gone to see the live shows.  So I wound up taking him to his first one.

I found out, early-on, by the way, you have to "pace" yourself when yelling at those shows. The first time I went-- I actually LOST MY VOICE for a day afterwards.  No kidding.  Only time that ever happened.

When I started going, they had all the shows in my area at the Philadelphia Arena, an old place right next to the "Frankford El" (about 2 blocks east of one of the stations). If you went on Saturdays, they gave you free tickets to come back on Tuesdays, when they taped the TV shows. They'd do about 3 shows' worth in one night! What a deal. I think we only went once on Tuesday, but it was a blast (and a bit exhausting).

I knew the racket was gaining in popularity when they started to have the Saturday shows at The Spectrum. Someone soon realized that for a wrestling show-- like a rock concert-- you could fit and sell MORE seats than for any other type of event. And the place was air-conditioned (which The Arena wasn't), so it had that added appeal, especially in the summertime.

By the mid-80's I'd started to lose interest (although once or twice I did watch some shows on TV with Jim). But that was about the time Vince McMahon REALLY expanded it and, I think, made it more popular and more sucessful than even in the glory days of the 1950's, which my Dad used to tell me about. He told me a story once about one night, he took his mother to a show. At first, he said, she was shocked. What is this? Grown men walking around in underwear??? But to his surprise, by the end of the night, she got really enthusiastic, yelling more than he was. After that, she never missed it on TV.  Something tells me I might have liked her.  (She passed away before I was born.)

LOOK what you started...!   : )

Something I just posted at the Comic Book Plus message board...

As a friend of mine in Wales pointed out, the "problem" with Lytton was horribly bad writing.  In RESSURECTION OF THE DALEKS, there's no question that he was a BAD guy. He killed countless people that we know of, seemed to enjoy it, tried to kill The Doctor at least once (at a point where we were supposed to start thinking better of him), and even killed some of his own men. Then he walked away at the end as if nothing happened.  WTF????  We never even knew FOR SURE if the guy we saw onscreen was supposed to be the "real" Lytton, or a clone, though there didn't seem to be much difference in his case.

Then he spends most of ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN being so cagey and confrontational with The Doctor, as if all he's doing is enjoying watching the guy squirm. At the very end, we're supposed to believe (simply because we're TOLD so) that HE was working to take down The Cybermen. Well, if that's true, he went about it in the worst, most convoluted & incompetent way possible. Then you have the scene where the Doctor is made to feel "guilty" for having "misjudged" the guy. B***S***!!! Lytton made it impossible for The Doctor to have done anything else. This is bad writing on top of bad writing.  Not only do you have a writer who pointlessly throws away a promising character for no good reason, at the same time he goes out of his way to make us dislike the show's hero!  I mean-- WTF!!!!!! (The show improved a thousandfold the moment Eric Saward left.)

Just about every "regular"-- and possibly every CHARACTER or ACTOR at all-- who appeared on the show during JNT's run as producer-- got better writing on just about every other show they ever appeared in.  Peter Davison was an extreme case. He is so damn likable... but on DOCTOR WHO, he is, in my eyes, absolutely NOT "The Doctor" (barring the odd scene here or there, which turn up in the midst of seasons' worth of otherwise horrible writing).  I mean, hell-- he felt more like "The Doctor" to me when he was "Albert Campion"! I love how Albert clearly liked and cared about his manservant "Lugg"-- but at the same time, he would NEVER take any crap from the guy.

Brian Glover is fun to watch, and that includes trying to figure out half the words he's saying.

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