‘You still making a nonsense of it, Doctor, in your… what’s it called? TARDIS?’
2nd November – 21st December 1968
The Time Space Visualiser
The last black and white Cyberman story and the TARDIS is invisible. They land on 1970s Earth about 10 years before 1986 and UNIT dating protocols kick in as surely ‘The Tenth Planet’ was Earth’s first contact with Cybermen.
There is a lot of talk of the mysterious ‘company.’ You can’t buy electrical equipment that is not made by the company we later find out is called International Electromatics. This notion is reminiscent of The Sontaran Stratagum and Age of Steel. ‘Stupid computer, diabolical invention.’ The running theme of the Doctor mistrusting computers seems very dated, yet the sinister threat of a global company infiltrating each area of our lives is very current.
The music is very good in this story. The animated motorbikes arrive and I can almost hear Take on Me off of A-Ha. The show in the sixties is surprisingly violent for our modern tastes and there is a lot of gunfire. Shot three times at Saturday teatime.
Tobias Vaughn! Isn’t he amazing? The Doctor hands Vaughn the electrical circuits and they look like USB sticks. Underneath all that charm is something sinister. Well it is Kevin Stoney! Zoe can’t say integer and destroys the computer. (Infernal machine) ‘There’s nothing in there except that stupid computer.’ Vaughn’s amused reaction to Zoe is great but his best scene is when he orders Watkins to shoot him. Is he the best Doctor Who non returning villain ever? ‘He will Peckerrrr! He will.’ A legend.
It’s the Brigadier and this time he really is the Brigadier having received a promotion. Benton is there too. The Brigadear is answerable to General Rutlidge and mentions Geneva for the first time.I love how when Packer talks into his radio a comedy cartoon voice off of 70s cartoons talks back. Isobel is invited out to dinner by Turner. ‘Are you stinking rich?’ she asks. Ahh the modern girl! One of the most iconic cliffhangers of the show to episode six as the Cyber-noise is sounded causing a wonderfully acted reaction of the ordinary folk and the Cybermen march down St Paul’s Steps.
The Cybermen are almost incidental in this story. It is really all about the megalomania of Tobias Vaughn and the action packed adventure from the UNIT soldiers. Despite the story spanning eight episodes, the plot never drags. This is definitely a great story.
And this Week’s False Moustaches are Modelled By:
Rodney and the Brigadier. Invasion of what? The title of the story encourages us to wonder. It’s the invasion of the killer moustaches!
Isabel. The Dolly Bird has a use though. She knows about cameras and stuff. That leads to a feminist debate. However the photos she takes are rubbish and she is much better off making tea.
Tobias Vaughn wants to rule the world.
Catchphrase Error of the Week
Brigadier says ‘Your Shindig Jimmy.’ Everyone knows it’s ‘Great Shindig, Spence!’
What Will the Whole Place be Crawling With?
The whole place will be crawling with Cybermen.
Pervy Extra of the Week.
Just before the end of episode 7, the one on the right of the last pair that Zoe gets data for her clipboard from definitely checks out her arse in the glittery cat suit. ‘Can’t we keep her on? She’s much prettier than a computer.’
The extras used in the background of the control centre at Henlow Downs are the same extras that were used to do the typing behind Bettie Davies in Grandstand of World of Sport.
When the serial was transmitted, the makers of the sewer set from a recent Avengers serial complained to the BBC because they had not given permission to use it. In actual fact, they had been caught out by clever use of actual location filming! By way of an apology they let the BBC use the set for free in the Fourth Doctor story The Talons of Weng Chiang.
Lots of talk about choppers in Episode 7
The TARDIS is cloaked.
Ian Levine as Benton arrives in UNIT.
Professor Watkins is Edward Burnham, making his first Doctor Who appearance as a professor. He would later appear as Professor Kettlewell in Robot
Insert the Device
The Cerebration Machine. It is a teaching device. Well what else would you call it?
The 500 Year Diary
15th July 1972 am
Materialised in space over the dark side of the moon only to be shot at by some unknown hostiles. Manage to do an emergency dematerialisation away from the invasion and we land in England. The visual stabiliser is damaged and the TARDIS has become invisible. Need to get that repaired and it’s the right era for Professor Travers so off to London.
We’re given a lift, but we’re being followed. The driver explains to us about International Electromatics. Doesn’t sound a very nice outfit. Anyway, he drops us off and we get another lift – all this hitchhiking!
Travers has gone to America leaving his house in the care of a Professor Watkins and his niece Isobel, who likes a bit of photography. He is involved in International Electromatics. Jamie and I go and pay them a visit, but after the computer won’t let us in we’re then gassed unconscious! Hardly welcoming!
Anyway, we’re taken by a Mr. Packer to meet the boss, Tobias Vaughn – a very charming man – but something is up. Not sure what, but will find out.
15th July 1972 am
After leaving IE’s headquarters, we’re followed by two men in a car who abduct us and then taken to a Hercules transporter where we meet our old friend Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart who is now a Brigadier and in charge of something called UNIT – United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. They are around investigating IE too.
We return to Travers’ house, only to find a note from Zoe and Isobel; saying they have gone to look for us at IE… why didn’t they just stay put? On sneaking into IE we find several packing cases being loaded up – one of them has Zoe’s feather boa sticking out – so they have them. Jamie rather hastily attacks Packer and this alerts the guards. We’re captured. Again.
15th July 1972 pm
Vaughn is on the scene again. Charm personified. He gives us the opportunity to look for Zoe and Isobel, but the train leaves just as we arrive so he offers us the chance to check at the other end – IE’s country compound. His office there is identical to the one in London!
We meet Watkins who appears frightened. He shows me a device he has been working on – a cerebration mentor. I’ve noticed that there are deep space communicators on site. Ask Vaughn about this, but he wants information on the TARDIS circuit. We’re taken by Packer – who we rather easily manage to distract – and we escape up the lift shaft.
We climb down the fire escape and hide inside the crates in a railway carriage.
15th July 1972 pm
Jamie is convinced there was something inside the crate with him. Don’t get a chance to investigate as overhear that Zoe and Isobel are on the tenth floor.
Vaughn threatens Zoe over the intercom. Luckily, the Brigadier gave me a communication device so alert UNIT and they send a helicopter to rescue all of us,. Very exciting, especially with the hail of bullets around us – no-one got hurt though!
UNIT have pictures of various UFOs all over the IE factory. Using a canoe, we make our way into the IE compound again – I can’t keep away – and we see something emerging from a cocoon. A Cyberman!
15th July 1972 eve
We return to UNIT HQ and warn the Brigadier that the Cybermen will be invading Earth – well, London at least. He needs authority from Geneva, but that requires proof. Isabel offers to take some photographs, but there’s no way he’s going to allow her to do that, male-chauvinist or not!
Discover a micro monolithic circuit in various bits of IE equipment and spend the time trying to make a device to block the telepathic signal.
16th July 1972 am
Those crazy kids went into the sewers to take photographs of the Cybermen, narrowly escaping with their lives, but as a result a passing policeman got killed. Oh dear. And the photographs aren’t very good either – Isabel’s supposed to be a professional photographer!
Have created a neurister which blocks the Cybermen’s signal. Unfortunately mine has fallen off and only realise when the signal starts. Feeling faint…
16th July 1972 am
Manage to recover (although Jamie gets shot). We have a plan. Blow up the Cyberfleet using Russians and Henlow Downs.
Went to talk to Tobias Vaughan. He is a very determined man and can’t convince him that the Cybermen will have their own way. Well, not until the fleet is destroyed (well done Zoe, I’m sure!) and then they turn on him and all of us with their megatron bomb to destroy all living beings on Earth.
16th July 1972 pm
Vaughan had a bit of breakdown and now will help me destroy the signal that will guide the bomb, but not because he wants to help humanity, but because he wants revenge. Either or is fine under these circumstances.
We make our way to the signal area dodging Cybermen or turning them crazy with the machine, although in the end Vaughan is shot and I manage dodge some bullets before UNIT arrive and finish them off. Isobel then takes some rather fetching pictures of me.
The missile destroys the bomb and the remaining Cyberfleet. We’ve won … for now. I know that the Cybermen will try again in 1986, but will they come back sooner?
Repair the circuits and off we go!
The Five Word Lords
Plot, Vaughn, action! The future.