Doctor Who: Revenge of the Cybermen Review

Revenge of the Cybermen was the only Cybermen appearance during the 1970s and its not hard to see why. While the Daleks managed to reclaim their credibility in the previous adventure, the Cybermen lose all theirs here.

The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry return to Space Station Nerva only to discover that they have arrived too early. They look around to only discover a corridor full of bodies which look suspiciously like shop window dummies, perhaps the Autons were taking a day off or something? But it doesn't take the TARDIS crew long to realise that they have stumbled into the middle of an overly complicated plan by the Cybermen to destroy Voga, the planet of gold. This is because the Cybermen are severely allergic to the gold substance. However the people of Voga, the Vogans have a equally complicated plan to destroy the Cybermen.

Revenge of the Cybermen is surely the worst story to ever come from the Tom Baker era of the show. One word I can think of to describe it which is family friendly is abysmal. The Cybermen are very effective villains when they are creepy as that creepiness comes from their complete lack of emotion and their uniformity. But both of these things are thrown out of the air lock in this story.

This was because the original script from Gerry Davies was taken by Robert Holmes who practically re-wrote the entire thing, giving the Cybermen personalities. But that is the thing that makes the Cybermen scary. They don't have personalities, they don't have any way that you could reason with them, they are cold, calculating and twisted machines who used to be like us. And this is the first time we learn of the Cybermen's allergy to gold. It just doesn't feel right for the producers to give such long running baddies such a weakness so late in the game. And if they had to, why make it a really silly one like this?

But the Cybermen aren't the worst thing in this story. That award goes to the Vogans. The make up looks dire but couple that with endless bickering about the future of their race and we're in trouble. In Doctor Who, you always know it is a good idea to fast forward when your aliens start bickering. And they are one of the stupidest aliens to ever grace the show, how, when their planet is made of gold, can they not work out how to stop the Cybermen? They resort to shooting at the metal giants with guns that don't work against them!

The only element that saves this story is the portrayal of the Cyber-Leader, played by Christopher Robbie. The only reason it is so good is because he stands with his hands on hips and struts about the space station with an air that screams, 'Bitch Please, I'm Fabulous," it is gloriously camp! And the performances from the regulars, Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter who are always brilliant. Back especially, puts in a good role as the Doctor, who comes across throughout this adventure as if he is too cool for school and just plays with his yo-yo for most of it!