Monday, 17 August 2015

Know Your Cybermen No.16

Closing Time (2011).
The first proper Cyberman story since Christmas 2009, although it is all really just an excuse to reunite the Doctor with Craig Owens. These Cybermen are from "our" universe. They are obviously time-travelers, as they and their spaceship are found buried deep beneath central Colchester. This Essex city has been in existence since at least 20 BC (it is mentioned on coins from that time).
It went from being a major Iron Age settlement to a significant Roman town - so a spaceship crashing into the middle of it would surely have been recorded. It therefore looks as if this ship has been there since prehistory.
The Cybermen have lain dormant for all this time, only awoken when the local council lay new electrical cables. The Cybermen tunnel up and emerge in the Sanderson & Grainger department store, from where they abduct people to convert. The tunnel comes out in one of the ladies changing rooms, but they also install a transmat link to their ship in one of the lifts.
The Cybermen are drawing power from the local area.
Some of the Cybermen remain dormant in sarcophagus-like units, and those that are active are rusted and have crude patches to their armour, and other signs of damage (presumably from the crash).
They do not have any weapons - even their electrocuting touch. The Doctor gets knocked out by a Cyber "chop" (as the Target novelisations liked to describe them).
It is specifically stated that the Doctor is not compatible for conversion.
The Cybermen want a Cyber-Controller to lead them, and select Craig for this role. Despite the conversion process beginning, his emotions are able to over-ride this. This emotion, paternal love, causes the Cybermen and their ship to be destroyed.

Story Notes:

  • Arguably the worst Cyberman story ever. They are shoe-horned into what is just another Doctor / Craig lad-fest. Having them killed by Love is cringe-making.
  • The story at least sees the return after a long absence of the Cybermats. These are now more clearly converted animal lifeforms.
  • Craig doesn't seem to know about the Cybermen - which might suggest that the events of Army of Ghosts / Doomsday have been deleted after the second Big Bang. This obviously would have a knock-on effect on the history of the Daleks. We know that Amy never knew anything about The Stolen Earth events, and this might be why no Dalek laboratory was ever found under the Empire State Building. Might also explain why the New Paradigm have disappeared into the background as well.
  • One of the working titles for this story was "Three Cybermen and a Baby". We should be thankful for small mercies...

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