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DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
The Monster Collection
The Cybermen


Starring: Patrick Troughton and David Tennant
Distributor: BBC DVD
RRP: £10.20
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 30 September 2013

The Monster Collection - The Cybermen gathers together two stories which contain the same villain. Mixing modern stories with older shows has the advantage of introducing a younger audience to previous Doctors and their adventures. Some of the collections come on two DVDs but this one, because there are no extras, is able to cram two onto a single disc.

The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967 - B&W) was once one of the lost tales, until it was rediscovered. It remained a favourite in fans memory and when it was made available, to watch, it did not disappoint. Which is just as well as before this, only an off-air audio version existed. God knows what people who had not seen the show thought of the two first lines between the Doctor and his young female companion.

Doctor: "Well? What do you think?

Victoria: "I don’t know. I can’t believe it. It’s so big."

The story see’s Patrick Troughton’s Doctor, with companions Jamie and a slightly traumatised Victoria, land on planet Telos, which is undergoing an archaeological excavation. The Earth team intend to open the tomb to discover why the Cybermen disappeared from the universe. The Doctor helps them, unaware that some of the team intent to wake the Cybermen up.

The story stands up well and the scene where the Cybermen awake is still creepy. Being only four episodes long its pace is in line with the modern show. Although the design of the Cybermen had advanced from Swedes wearing heaters, newer viewers will be confused as only the latest design is displayed on the menu screen.

Where the Daleks just returned to the new show, with little more than a new slick coat of paint, the modern retelling of the Cybermen created a whole new creation story, which required the Doctor and Rose travelling to an alternative universe.

Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel (2006 - Colour) is the two-part retelling of the creation of a whole new breed of Cybermen, with David Tennant, as the Doctor, with his companions, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke).

Rewatching the story, it’s obvious that at this point in the show that the mythology had become so intertwined with itself that certain aspects do not work well in isolation. Rose discovers that her father is alive in the parallel world, but the story just drops this information at the beginning, presuming that you know these characters relationships and much of their backstory. The Doctor's treatment of Mickey, especially at the beginning of the story, makes our hero look like a childish git.

Rather than telling the sad story of a race forced to turn themselves into cyborgs in order to survive, this is the story of John Lumic, who is so afraid of dying that he would cheat death through the use of technology and is deluded enough to think that doing it to all the population is a good idea. Of course, like most monomaniacs, Lumic never consider that his own creations would turn against him. The Doctor recognises the Cybermen for who they are, as did the older audience as the designers have kept the signature teardrop in the eye and the ear bars.

In the case of this collection, Tomb is probably the better story, Rise is certainly action packed but does not work so well when seen in isolation.


Charles Packer

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