Doctor, Jamie and Victoria join a party of archaeologists
exploring the so-called tombs of the Cybermen. These once
formidable cybernetic beings have been inactive for 500 years
- but rumours of their extinction have been greatly exaggerated...
famous four-parter proved to be something of an archaeological
find in its own right, when it suddenly reappeared in 1992
having been missing presumed wiped since the 1970s. During
its absence, Tomb attained almost legendary status
as one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever.
reputation has been slightly tarnished since its rediscovery.
Visible Kirby wires in Episode 3 and an obviously empty dummy
of the Cyberman Controller in Episode 4 are now exposed to
the merciless clarity of DVD. The Cyber troops also sound
rather ridiculous when in their buzzing "attack" mode. Kaftan's
devoted negro servant Toberman (Roy Stewart) is something
of a racial stereotype, but is simply a sign of the times
in which this serial was produced (1967). Toberman's fate
remains extremely poignant, and despite those few aforementioned
technical shortcomings this serial comes closer to perfection
Pedlar and Gerry Davis' script draws inspiration from the
"mummy's tomb" genre of horror movies. The cloth-faced Tenth
Planet Cybermen, which always remind me of undead mummies,
would not have looked out of place here. Aside from that,
it's hard to think of anything to say about the plot, because
it just works so well. The dramatic build-up is gradual
but perfectly judged, and the pace rarely falters.
climax to Episode 2 is superb. The thawing of the tombs would
have made an excellent cliffhanger in itself, but wait - there's
more. The Cybermen climb out of their cells and advance upon
the archaeologists, but there's still more. Kaftan (Shirley
Cooklin) is attacked by a Cybermat, but that's not the end
either. The Cyberman Controller (Michael Kilgarriff) is revived,
yet there's a further shock to come...
Cooklin is splendidly villainous as Kaftan. Though theoretically
subservient to Klieg (the equally excellent George Pastell),
she acts like his Lady MacBeth as she goads him into action
in Episode 3.
Restoration Team have done an amazing job of cleaning up the
film prints of all four episodes, although the first remains
distinctly wobbly. A short feature illustrates the major challenges
faced by the team, and gives an indication of how dramatically
their work has improved the picture and sound quality. The
process that restored the "look" of videotape to the VHS release
of Planet of Giants (see the review in our Video section)
was unfortunately developed too late to be used on this DVD.
However, a hidden extra (which you can access by flicking
back and forth around the main menu screen) shows a single
sequence, the heart-warming scene in which the Doctor and
Victoria (Deborah Watling) discuss their families, which has
had the "video-esque" impression of movement and depth restored.
further Easter eggs play the master version of the Troughton
opening titles and an audio recording of a BBC trailer for
The Abominable Snowmen, the serial that originally
followed Tomb. See if you can find them!
the listed extras are the original test footage for the Troughton
title sequence (great fun to watch when drunk) and a segment
from the contemporary Late Night Line-up programme,
in which Jack Kine discusses special effects with Joan Bakewell.
Though not strictly relevant, The Final End is a nice
addition, combining behind-the-scenes footage of the battle
sequence from the conclusion of The Evil of the Daleks
(the story that preceded Tomb) with sound from the
same episode. For completeness' sake, director Morris Barry's
less than revelatory introduction to the 1992 VHS release
of Tomb is also included.
also appears in Tombwatch, 28 minutes of footage recorded
at a panel discussion in 1992, held to celebrate the episodes'
rediscovery. Also present at this reunion are producer Peter
Bryant, story editor Victor Pemberton, and actors Frazer Hines
(Jamie), Deborah Watling, Shirley Cooklin, Michael Kilgarriff,
George Roubicek (Captain Hopper) and Clive Merrison (Jim Callum).
You may notice that a couple of the anecdotes described in
the DVD's information text feature were actually lifted from
this discussion. There is also some truly hilarious banter
between Hines and Watling, who evidently still get on well
and Deborah also provide the feature-length commentary, which
is liberally peppered with puns from the irrepressible Hines!
But will somebody please tell the actors that it is OK to
give away story details during audio commentaries? Watling
keeps worrying that she has spoiled the plot, just as Caroline
John did during the commentary to Spearhead from Space.
slight imperfection is the use of the 1980s theme tune during
the disc's introduction. The 1960s/1970s mix, as heard on
the Robots of Death and Spearhead DVDs, should
have been used instead. On the other hand, a long overdue
addition is the display of time elapsed, which has not previously
appeared on the episodic releases.
strong contender for the greatest Troughton story of all (the
tautness of its plot beats the lengthier Evil of the Daleks
hands down), Tomb is certainly the best Troughton serial
to exist complete on video.
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