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Meanwhile, Back on Telos...

The Tomb of the Cybermen

Reviewed by Phillip J Gray

In contrast with many others, I rather liked Shirley Cooklin as Kaftan! I think she had a very hypnotic voice and a good role in the plot - unlike many women in Doctor Who. The story was entertaining and the sets were some of the best I have ever seen on the show. Although a little slow, the Cybermen were amazing (I resist the temptation to say 'Excellent'!), and impressive in this setting - but didn't their tombs freeze and thaw rather quickly though? The Cybercontroller was much better than his Eighties counterpart.

I have serious reservations about the transition of Victoria from Victorian England to Telos - not very well done, but I think characterisation took a back seat here. She was not a 'screamer' however.

Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines were excellent as usual, and the minor roles were also well portrayed, barring the American who had a terrible accent.

Overall, it's still a classic despite what many others think, and the find of the year for the BBC - good on them for getting it out commercially so soon after recovering it.

Reviewed by Clinton Spencer

Watching The Tomb of the Cybermen from a '90s perspective, my friend (who watches Doctor Who to take the piss out of it), and I nearly died laughing during part Two.

Then my older brother (no fan of Doctor Who I might add), and I were watching Part Four when he said, "I wonder if the people in the '60s found this scary?" I explained that this was true 'behind the sofa' material, and from then on watched it from a 60's perspective. Who cares if you can't hear the Cybermen talking? (And unlike the rest of fandom, I like Captain Hopper's amusing accent). Ignore the plot holes, sit back on the sofa (that's if you're not already behind it!), and watch a darn good story.

Reviewed by Stephen Austin

One of the best sequences of the story is the opening, with some stunning location shots (even if it is a typical Doctor Who quarry!). This, and the rest of the first episode, set up a rather eerie atmosphere for what followed.

The Cybermen were excellent, just as I've always wished them to be, although it took a while to get used to their voices. A good sequence was of the bulkhead closing on one of them.

The acting was reasonable. Patrick Troughton put in a great performance, showing a very vulnerable side to the Doctor (I disagree with people who say that he knew what was going on; I think he was, as usual, curious as to the reasons behind the Cybermen freezing themselves).

Deborah Watling was stunning as Victoria, although she was given a few very dubious lines ('I didn't like that very much'), and didn't have terribly much to do. Her best moment was in Episode Four, discussing the loss of her father with the Doctor.

Roy Stewart as Toberman was a very strong force, but was rather underdeveloped - the scene where the Doctor convinces him of his loyalty to the human race could have been extended a bit more. George Pastell's portrayal of the maniacal Eric Kleig was good, his acting being a step above the rest of this type of character in Doctor Who.

Worst performance honours would have to go to George Roubicek for his thoroughly awful Captain Hopper - the accent was really silly! Also worthy of mention in this category is Shirley Cooklin - although there were a couple of saving graces in her performance, she was rather ridiculous, and her death scene was a complete and utter abomination! Why do the people who play Doctor Who baddies insist on putting on stupid, unsubtle accents?

The sets looked very effective; a lot of time and money must have been spent on them, capturing the right feeling of claustrophobia. On the other hand, the music was pretty awful, especially in the supposedly scary scene of the Cybermen breaking out of their tombs!

Other than these few minor quibbles, I absolutely loved this story. It has, in most respects, lived up to the hype. In my mind it is most definitely a classic. They don't make 'em like they used to!

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

Index nodes: The Tomb of the Cybermen