Tom Baker’s first season as the Doctor in Doctor Whohas been released as a Blu-ray box set. Season 12 comprises 5 stories made up of 20 episodes. Rather than trying to review the whole thing all at once, I’m dividing things up over a number of reviews. In this review, I’m looking at the fifth and final story, “Revenge of the Cybermen”.
After their encounter with Davros and the Daleks in the previous story, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry are returned to the Nerva Space Station from their earlier adventure with the Wirrn… but to the wrong time. So they are stuck there while they wait for the TARDIS to catch up with them. While they wait, a bunch of homeless Cybermen are out to destroy what’s left of Voga, the legendary planet of gold, so no one can use the gold to clog up their chest units. Meanwhile the people of Voga hire a double agent, argue a lot and build a rocket to try and destroy the Cybermen. The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry get caught up in the middle of it all.
This story is problematic in that the supposedly unemotional and coldly logical Cybermen are… well… rather emotional. And suddenly, for the first time, they are afraid of gold. This story really is the beginning of the end for the Cybermen. Despite the fact that they can be destroyed by a handful of gold-dust, and despite the Cyberleader’s emotional outbursts, they are still at least fairly threatening in this story, and the cybermats are quite effective.
But the plot is not great and there are so many dumb holes. Voga is the legendary planet of gold. Cybermen are afraid of gold. Gold can kill them. So why oh why, when the Cybermen arrive on Voga and start killing off the locals, don’t the Vogans use gold against them instead of shooting at them with guns that have no effect? Argh!
I’ve also gotta mention the dummies. Mannequins, instead of extras, are used in the background of scenes as dead bodies. Even my 10-year-old laughed at them!
But in amongst this mess, we do get that glorious moment when the Doctor shouts out: “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!”
Setting this story aboard the Nerva space station allowed the reuse of the wonderful sets from “The Ark in Space”. This is combined with great location filming in the caves at Wookey Hole, which doubles for Voga.
All up, although certainly watchable, this ain’t a great story.
The extras, however, are wonderful. My favourite is a little doco called “Cheques, Lies and Videotape”, which was on the original DVD release. Using interviews with long-time fans, it tells the story of how these über-fans went about acquiring copies of the episodes in the dim, dark days prior to official DVD and VHS releases. I love the fact that the making-of doco has been expanded since the earlier DVD release. The commentary is good. And there are a few other bits and pieces including another “Behind the Sofa” featurette.
I’ll be back with one final concluding post real soon. In the meantime you can also read my previous reviews in this series…
- Doctor Who, The Collection: Season 12, Part 1: Overview
- Doctor Who, The Collection: Season 12, Part 2: Robot
- Doctor Who, The Collection: Season 12, Part 3: The Ark in Space
- Doctor Who, The Collection: Season 12, Part 4: The Sontaran Experiment
- Doctor Who, The Collection: Season 12, Part 5: Genesis of the Daleks
Doctor Who, The Collection: Season 12 is released on Blu-ray in Australia by Roadshow Entertainment.
Catch ya later, George
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