Monday, 22 June 2015

Know Your Cybermen No.11

Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel (2006).
New Series, new Cybermen. In Series 1 we saw a part of a Cyberman - the head of a Revenge style one in a glass case in Henry Van Statten's museum. Its caption suggested it was supposed to be one of the ones from The Invasion, however.
With the Daleks dominating that first series, it wasn't until the second series that the Cybermen were brought back. As they have one of the more complex histories, it was decided to start afresh with an origins story. These would be an entirely different race of Cybermen, born on a parallel Earth.
They have been created by John Lumic, director of Lumic Industries. Lumic is dying and has been seeking ways to prolong life. He has developed an armoured body, into which a human brain can be transplanted. So, unlike previous Cybermen from our universe, only the brain is organic. The entire body comes ready built.
Emotions are inhibited by a device built into the chest.
Carried over from earlier designs are the tear-drop ducts below the eyes, plus the handlebars on the sides of the helmet. There is no chest unit - only a Cybus logo, which opens to access the emotion inhibiter.
The body is made up of steel sections, overlying hydraulic cabling.
Their only weapon is a powerful electrical charge, enabling them to kill by touch.
An empty Cyber-suit is capable of movement on its own, even responding to others.
New Cybermen retain a memory of their previous self, at least initially. They can be destroyed by an electromagnetic bomb, or by concentrated Artron Energy. The main force is destroyed when the inhibiter is bypassed. The Cybermen, realising what has happened to them, self-destruct.
Other Cybermen still exist, however, at other Cybus factories in other countries.
This two-part story also introduces a new Cyber-Controller - a converted John Lumic. It is of the same design as the ordinary Cybermen apart from a transparent brain-case, plus bolt sections on the chest where it was connected by cables to a throne-like unit. The Controller is destroyed when it falls into the exploding Battersea Power Station - which had been turned into a Cyber-conversion factory.

Story Notes:

  • Russell T Davies ensured that the word 'silver' wasn't used for the new Cybermen. 'Steel' was to be the new key word.
  • The Cybermen finally get their own catchphrase - "Delete".
  • Marc Platt's Big Finish audio Spare Parts gets mentioned in the closing credits. Very little of it is used - mainly the Sally Phelan section. There was more in the initial drafts.
  • In the early 80's, Gerry Davis - the Cyber Co-creator - proposed a Cyberman origins story to producer JNT. There is a synopsis in the DWM Essential Cybermen special edition.
  • One of the Cybermen is the then Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones.
  • To help co-ordinate their movements, unable to see clearly in their helmets, the Cybermen had their wrists tied together with elastic bands.
  • The Invasion is referenced with International Electromatics being a subsidiary of Cybus Industries.
  • The story aired around the 40th anniversary of the Cybermen's first appearance. There is an obscure nod to this with Jackie's 40th birthday party.
  • Graeme Harper was the first - and so far only - director to be brought back from the Classic Series.
  • This is the first story since Black Orchid not to feature any alien elements - these Cybermen being native to this Earth.

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