Friday, 5 June 2015

Know Your Cybermen No.10

Silver Nemesis (1988).
The final appearance of the Cybermen in the Classic Series, and the last time we see Mondasian Cybermen until well into the Matt Smith era.
The design has remained fairly consistent since Earthshock. Main difference here is in colouring. The main body of the costume is darker, and less detailed, and the helmets and chest units have been given a bright chrome sheen. Their hands are much larger as well, with rather cumbersome digits.
The rifles are new. These ones fire explosive rounds, as opposed to the blue laser pulse. The Cybermen carry a gold detector. Their bodies are not very well armoured, as gold-tipped arrows can pierce them and gold coins propelled by a 'schoolboy' catapult can penetrate their chest units. Jazz confounds them. They continue to use mentally conditioned human slaves, and kill them when they fail.
These Cybermen have traveled back through time to get their hands on the Nemesis statue - really a powerful Gallifreyan weapon composed of the metal validium. They seem to know a lot about this - including that it first came to Earth in 1638 (they know of Lady Peinforte). There is a huge Cyberfleet in a hidden orbit near the Moon. The Doctor allows the Cyber-Leader to obtain the Nemesis statue - or so he thinks. It flies to the heart of the fleet and destroys it, as the Doctor had instructed it to do.

Story Notes:

  • Being the Silver Anniversary story, it seemed obvious to bring back the Cybermen. Throughout their history, people have described them as "silver". The story order for the season was changed so that the first episode would air on the anniversary day itself.
  • The special coating applied to the helmets and chest pieces quickly oxidised and turned more of a gold colour. You'll notice the difference in scenes shot at different times.
  • The new costumes had a habit of deteriorating in areas where the actors sweated more - leading to a condition known as Cyber-Crotch.
  • The old mathematician from 1638 is played by Leslie French - one of Verity Lambert's first choices to play the Doctor back in 1963.
  • Amongst the group looking round Windsor Castle (actually filmed at Arundel Castle) is Nicholas Courtney, the writer - Kevin Clarke - and directors Fiona Cumming and Peter Moffatt. JNT had hoped to procure a cameo by Prince Edward. When this was declined, JNT put it out that the Queen had overruled this. Not the case - but it made the papers, which is what JNT always liked.

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