Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Know Your Cybermen No.13

The Next Doctor (2008).
The thirteenth outing for the Cybermen, but hardly unlucky as they get to be the villains for the 2008 Christmas Special.
These are still the Cybus Cybermen created by John Lumic on the parallel Earth. When last seen, they had all been sucked into the Void between the universes and according to Rose Tyler, at the conclusion of Series 4, this realm was now lifeless. Somehow this group have managed to escape the Void, ending up in Victorian London. It seems that a piece of stolen Dalek tech permitted this. These Cybermen are identical to what we have seen over the last two years, the only significant addition being a new version of the Cyber-Leader. This has the same transparent brain case that the Lumic-Controller had, and the upper section of the face plate is totally black - not just the handlebars.
These Cybermen use devices called Info-stamps to download information - the tube-shaped stamps inserted directly into a slot behind the Cybus chest logo. If this compressed data is fired into their heads, it destroys them. When the same thing happens to a human, the information makes him believe he is the Doctor. The Cybermen have constructed a dreadnought-class spaceship in a chamber beneath the Thames - the Cyberking (see "Know Your Cybermen - Spaceships"). Children abducted from local orphanages are employed to complete it. It is controlled by a human - but Miss Mercy Hartigan's mind is able to override Cyber-control and she retains her self-will. The Doctor uses the Dalek tech - a dimension vault - to send the Cybermen and the Cyberking back into the Void.
This whole event is one of those which gets deleted when the universe gets rebooted during the real Next Doctor's time.
One other addition to Cyber technology is the Cybershade. Large black shaggy creatures, they have copper face masks based on their Cyber-masters' features. The Doctor speculates that they have been created from animals - possibly dogs or apes - but they are human sized (and shaped) with human-like hands, so must be some sort of animal / human hybrid.

Story Notes:

  • At one point the Cybermen were to have appeared in the closing moments of Series 4. A pair of Cybermen were to have appeared from nowhere in the TARDIS then vanished - leading the Doctor to come to London, 1851, intentionally. This scene was filmed (and can be seen as a DVD extra on the Series 4 box-set), but writer Russell T Davies decided to close with the Doctor mourning the loss of Donna.
  • Because David Tennant was going to go off to play Hamlet at Stratford, this story was filmed as part of Series 4. Previous Christmas Specials had been filmed prior to their following series. This meant that a teaser trailer could be shown a whole 6 months before the story would be broadcast. 
  • Listen out for Miss Hartigan's "Excellent" - in honour of the 1980's Cyber-Leaders.
  • The other Doctor's companion is named Rosita - Spanish for Little Rose - one of many elements designed to maintain the mystery of who David Morrisey's character really was.
  • This was the last episode made before the programme went High Definition. Despite being made for Series 4, it was released as part of the Tennant 2009 Specials DVD box set, where it was upscaled to HD.
  • The clips we see of the previous Doctors come from the following stories: The Time Meddler, The Ice Warriors, Terror of the Autons, City of Death, Arc of Infinity, The Mysterious Planet, Time and the Rani, The Movie, Parting of the Ways and Human Nature.


  1. I've always wondered what the Cyber-Shades feet look like. I'd also been under the impression they wore a big fluffy coat or something.

  2. it's not very clear what they are from their appearance, and the dialogue doesn't really help either.