Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Me: Do you want to say anything?
Me: Nothing to the viewers at home?
Me: Anything about us returning?
Me: Are you sure?
Me: Ho ho ho.
Sunday, 2 December 2012
Friday, 23 November 2012
The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven't thought of yet.
- Ann Landers
Me: So what's this then?
Him: A blog post?
Me: About what?
Him: Doctor Who.
Me: Anything in particular to do with Doctor Who?
Me: I thought it was connected with the forty-ninth anniversary of the first broadcast of An Unearthly Child?
Him: Did you?
Me: I did. Well, that, or the first anniversary of us being rude about An Unearthly Child.
Him: We weren't rude about it.
Me: That's one way of looking at it.
Him: "Up, up, down, left, left, right, right, right, down, down, up, up, left, right, right, down. Q."
Me: And that's another.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
There will presently be no room in the world for things; it will be filled up with the advertisements of things.
- William Dean Howells
Me: So, we travelled down to see the Doctor Who Experience. In Cardiff. You want to say anything about that?
Him: We went down to Cardiff.
Me: On the train.
Me: I really meant, ‘Do you want to say anything about Cardiff?’
Him: It was sunny.
Me: So, that’s a ‘no’ then?
Him: I can’t think of anything to say.
Me: Making this preamble a bit weird. Anything to say about the ‘window seat’?
Him: It was a funny seat.
Me: And Google maps doesn’t seem to think that Cardiff exists.
Him: No; it doesn’t.
Me: Right, you can take up the story from when we arrived ‘Down the Bay’.
Him: They had terrible parking.
Me: In that there isn’t any. Were you excited?
Me: About what?
Him: The that.
Me: The Doctor Who Experience building was constructed specially.
Him: I know. You told me already.
Me: I was quite pleased to see Bessie as we walked in.
Him: The Lego Dalek was quite cool – even though it had specially made Lego pieces. You wouldn’t be able to make that Dalek without them.
Me: No matter how many bits of red Lego were lying around.
Him: I’m talking about the ‘eggs’.
Me: Right. We bought the tickets and the programme and then cooed over the display cases.
Him: ‘Cooed’? This isn’t the Eighties.
Me: Push. Struggle. So what’s in the lobby bit?
Him: Display cases and the Eternal.
Me: And a café.
Him: And the entrance to the walk.
Me: I thought the Eternal looked alright in the…
Me: Well, not really.
Me: Ha! Yeah.
Him: It was bigger than I thought it would be, because Matt Smith makes them look quite small.
Me: Yeah – no wonder he keeps getting compared to a giraffe. They must have to fold him when he visits the Experience.
Me: What’s in the display cases? Bearing in mind that they might change them around quite a lot, what with having the studio just over the road.
The Following Contains More Spoilers than a Canadian TV Spot/Radio Times Hybrid
Me: I got a bit excited in the queue, I have to admit.
Him: And we were second in line.
Me: Which didn’t make a difference in the long run.
Him: No, it didn’t.
Me: We’ll have to do it again, because there were bits where I know you couldn’t see what was going on.
Him: Yeah, I could.
Me: You just keep thinking that. So, what happened after we went through the doors?
Him: We were greeted by Alpha Node…
Me: Something. So we’re not going to say about the first part?
Him: What first part?
Me: Nice. Did you spot the sign from Curse of Fenric?
Me: How about the the prop from Resurrection of the Daleks?
Me: I’ll keep doing that, then.
Him: Doing what?
Me: Pointing out bits you missed.
Me: Ah. What happened here?
Him: I flew the TARDIS. And made it crash.
Me: I was so embarrassed.
Me: Now, I know there was a lot of this stage that went over your head. And also went on in front of the… forest of adults you were stuck in.
Him: I could only see one Dalek. And I could hear Matt Smith.
Me: Did you see yourself on the Dalek scanner?
Me: And did you spot the space battle?
Him: No? I heard it.
Me: We were on the bridge of a spaceship, looking out over the battle taking place outside. Through the viewing port. That you were too small to see.
Me: Never mind, nobody got to see the next bit.
FOREST OF ANGELS
Me: I bet you didn’t even notice this section was happening until we were out the other side.
Him: We went through rather quickly.
Me: I wonder if-
Him: Don’tblinkdon’tblinkhurryhurrywe’reout. That’s pretty much what it was.
Me: -they were running late.
Me: We’ll stand nearer the middle next time. That’s all I’m saying.
Him: It was epic! The hand went through your face!
Me: And if we’d been in the middle, I’d have noticed it happening.
Me: And then…?
Him: What was next?
Me: Right. The Doctors.
Him: They have the costumes.
Him: Most of them.
Me: I was quite star-struck by getting the chance to frootle.
Me: Okay, it was the only way I could get the reference in. It was great to actually get to see what William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton were wearing. There was more detail than I expected.
Him: There was. But the pictures you took don’t show it off.
Me: I guess this is an extended advert for the Doctor Who Experience. “If you’re a giraffe that can’t drive – you’ll love it more than if you aren’t and can.” There you go, they can put that on the posters.
|Me: And of course we got to see Matt Smith’s palm and face prints which he left in the concrete just a couple of days before.|
Him: I still see Matt Smith as ‘the new Doctor’.
Me: I know, I get that too. He’s the new boy. Are we going to mention the Melkur?
Me: And I guess that goes the same for the sonics and the TARDIS keys?
Me: Shame. Shall we mention the console room that I failed to get a photo of when I went to Longleat?
Me: Anything you want to say about the companion costumes? I’m not putting any pictures of them up.
Him: What about K9?
Me: We’ve got to keep something back.
Him: We’ve kept everything back!
Me: Wait until we get to the pen...
Me: The Monster Zone was pretty good.
Me: I took shots of everything, but I’m not putting most of them up.
A LITTLE SHOP
Him: Are you going to mention the penny?
Me: I thought you might like to. Seeing as you made such a fuss about it.
Him: *cough cough cough*
Him: They don’t carry change.
Me: That’s true. True.1
Him: They didn’t have any Target books.
Me: I thought that was an oversight too. Plenty of toys and a lot of gim-
Him: And posters!
Me: And posters. No books though.
Him: They did have books. Just not Target books.
Me: I didn’t see any books.
Him: New ones.
Me: You sure?
Me: Right, I apologise then.
Him: In the rain. Waiting for the Other.
Me: Ha! Would you want to go again?
Him: When they have some new stuff in.
Me: Fair enough. I loved it, got to be honest.
|Longleat '83 - Ash's roadster refuses to revolve.|
1. That’s the most obscure Cardiff reference imaginable. Unless you click this in a confident enough fashion.
2. If you get this, let us know. There'll be a prize.
2. If you get this, let us know. There'll be a prize.
Monday, 24 September 2012
The bee of sorrow had stung his heart.
- Isaac Babel
Deep within the ACME Complaints Department, a phone continues to ring…
So, without further ado, break the set, take your mark (“Jay one point five, love”) and-
The TARDIS is still on Skaro.
Me: Hang on. This isn’t from The Evil of the Daleks.
It’s still, technically speaking, Season Four - this story was held over – so, it’s possible that it is. Even though it isn’t. Anyway, Victoria’s being shown around Idris’ interior and, straight away, it's obvious that she’s going to fit in just fine.
Victoria: I can’t believe it. It’s so big.
Me: “Yes. Yes, it is.”
Him: It’s not the same.
Victoria: What are all these knobs?
Me: Oh, God.
Him: “They’re the people that I travel with.”
Jamie enters and gives Victoria the safety demonstration and her copy of The Companion’s Manual (with badge and code book). The Doctor joins in the conversation and drops some interesting comments that the Him pounces on.
Him: He didn’t build it, he stole it.
The subject of the Doctor’s age is raised. The Doctor says he's around four-hundred and fifty. This comes as a shock to Miss Waterfield.
The Doctor tells Jamie to take Victoria to the TARDIS Wardrobe to change her impractical wedding cake of a dress into something more likely to hold the Dads’ attention. Jamie gets in a quick dig about a ‘smooth take-off’ before running away.
The Doctor: A ‘smooth take-off’? What a nerve!
And, with a familiar wheezing, groaning sound, we’re off.
There’s an ethereal keening - entitled ‘Universe Sideral’ - as we pan around the south-west corner of a sand and gravel quarry in Gerrards Cross that’s acting as our surface-of-an-alien-world for tonight. The music’s excellent throughout – really atmospheric – which is probably why a lot of it was released as The Tomb of the Cybermen soundtrack album. That, and the fact that being sourced largely from library stock must have made the rights negotiations a lot less cardiac-infarction-inducing than they would been if it had been the Beatles who'd sonically-sculpted the soundscape.
Suddenly, we spy a spaceship that looks like a spider that's tried to disguise itself as a bullet.
Him: That’s weird. They make it look further away than it is.
Me: Nope. It’s small. Rather than far away.1
A giant gentleman by the name of Toberman (Roy Stewart) stalks across to a ravine where he stares down on a not-milling band of space-archaeologists. There’s some nice camera-work taking place and the whole thing looks magnificent. I’m sure Matt Smith would agree.
Seeing as there’s quite a big bunch of space-archaeologists to take in all at once, we’re given a shorthand introduction. After the first pan-through we know there’s a nervous one (Viner – played by Cyril Shaps); a shouty one (Captain Hopper – George Roubicek); a Welsh one with a map who seems to be in charge (Professor Parry – Aubrey Richards); a beautiful (probably) wrong ‘un (Kaftan – Shirley Cooklin); a slightly-less-beautiful (probably) wrong ‘un (Klieg – George Pastell) and two doomed ones wearing bright red shirts (Haydon – Bernard Holley and Chap with a Hat – Ray Grover). Ted Rogers (not that one – it’s actually Alan Johns) runs over and delivers a thankless line, thus:
Ted Rogers: Sorry. We had to make it a pretty big one.
Him: It’s not the same!
An ominous looking button is produced. The music runs out-
Him: It’s the mute button.
And, before you know it, there’s a bigger bang than anyone was expecting and half the quarry vanishes. When the dust settles, two forced-perspective doors appear. Don’t mind me, it looks great.
Captain Hopper: MAN, YOU JUST BLEW YOURSELF A PAIR O’ DOORS!
The excited band of space-archaeologists bound up to the doors which turn out to be somewhere else entirely.
Me: “Meanwhile, back in the studio.”
The doors themselves are set in a wide nook (or very large cranny) decorated with stylistic representations of Cybermen. You’d think someone would notice.
The Him makes an observation about Kaftan.
Him: She looks like Barbara.
Me: She doesn’t. Not that a little thing like that would dampen Frazer’s ardour…
Kaftan offers fifty nicker to anyone who can open the doors. The Chap with the Hat takes Kaftan up on her offer and gets electrocuted for his troubles. It’s so nasty he lands in VidFIRE, just as the TARDIS lands on film back in Buckinghamshire.
Our heroes are jumped in short order.
Professor Parry: Who are you? And where do you come from?
Captain Hopper: AND YOU’D BETTER HAVE A GOOD STORY!
Me: What? As well?
Him: “Once upon a time there was a caterpillar…”
The Doctor spots the excavations in the distance and runs onto the set to help the ex-Chap with a Hat. Klieg gets off on the wrong foot by blaming the Doctor for the fatality. Although several of the space-archaeologists have the Doctor pegged as one of their own, he refuses to either confirm or deny their suspicions.
The Doctor: No. Not until they tell us the purpose of their expedition.
Me: The Cyberglyphics give it away a bit.
Following a brief row, Professor Parry steps up to the lectern and dumps info. The space-archaeologists have been searching for the final resting place of the Cybermen They’ve narrowed the options down to the planet we’re currently on, Telos.
Up to this point, we’re doing fine.
The Cybermen originally came from Earth’s twin planet, Mondas, which melted during the events of The Tenth Planet. Next time we saw them, a skulky bunch were barbecuing lunar scientists in a long-winded and overly-complicated plan to sell umbrellas. That was in The Moonbase, which, as you know, saw the metal horrors being forcibly ejected from the moon and into the Him’s pitch to Big Finish. So far, so good, so it’s a shame that Professor Parry keeps talking.
Professor Parry: Telos was their home. This is the entrance to their city.
Viner: We know they died out many centuries ago. What we don’t know is why they died out.
Him: “Ha! I’ve run rings around you logically.”
Yup, third story in and already Cyberhistory appears to have not only been written by the winners, but that the winners were in the middle of their celebratory feast when this took place. Not to mention their ninth tankard of Telosian applejack. At least. And it won't get any better.
Me: There was actually some dialogue cut from The Moonbase that would have said much the same thing. But now it’s mad. And Attack of the Cybermen isn’t going to help matters.
Him: What changes in Attack of the Cybermen?
Me: The identity of the author from documentary to documentary, for one thing. See if you can spot any Cryons, this quarry should be slippery with them.
Me: It’s nice having a moving one isn’t it?
Captain Hopper and a couple of crewmen return to the ship with the ex-Chap with Hat. Klieg’s rather keen for the Doctor to go away, which is a course of action that both Jamie and Victoria have no objections to. The Doctor (hearkening back to The Moonbase) says that leaving became impossible the moment that Cybermen were mentioned. Everyone starts arguing.
Me: Nice to see that the Welsh Space Program paid off eventually.
In order to hurry everything up, the Doctor checks to see if the Cyberdoors are still shocking –they aren’t – and then has a go at opening them. It’s unsuccessful.
Me: It’d be a lot easier if he wasn’t holding them closed with his foot.
Jamie: Let me, Doctor…
Jamie makes the same error with his foot, and so Toberman is called over to make himself useful.
Yoink! The Cyberdoors wibble open…
Me: “It was just jammed, that’s all.”
Him: “Yes, well, I weakened it for you.”
Even with the Cyberdoors open, no-one’s rushing to enter. Haydon has some questions – as does the Him.
Him: Where’s the dead guy?
Me: They’ll bring him along later. Emergency provisions.
Haydon was wondering what had happened to the electricity. The Doctor reveals that the ex-Chap with Hat had absorbed the lot.
The space-archaeologists enter. Parry first, followed by Viner, Klieg, Haydon, Kaftan and Toberman. I’m not sure that the order’s important, but there it is.
Victoria, apparently being the brightest of the bunch, has no intention of entering the tomb. The Doctor and Jamie hold hands while they wait.
With some gentle cajoling, and a light ribbing of Jamie, Victoria is coaxed in.
Him: Does Jamie always wear the same kilt?
Me: I suppose he must do. Unless the TARDIS Wardrobe has a branch of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in it somewhere.
The interior of the tomb is dark, with futuristic switches glinting in the half-light. Alien races have really taken the Chameleons’ lead with the whole issue of branding. The Cyberlogo is in evidence throughout.
Viner’s writing things down, Klieg and Kaftan are scheming and everyone else is looking awed. There’s no obvious second chamber, although Viner's calculations are bringing the possibility of there actually being one closer.
Throughout this story there’s a sense that the Doctor’s hurrying the process along. This has nothing to do with chess or Fenric or being more than just an ordinary Time Lord. Nope, this is totally down to the fact that without his help humanity’d be waiting forever to get in, and seeing as he’s here now he might as well get it over and done with. Whilst Professor Parry is attempting to assemble everyone for a morale-building talk, the Doctor solves a logic problem and opens a couple of doors that the space-archaeologists hadn’t even noticed were there.
Symbolic logic gets a mention, which cheers me a bit. I spent a lot of hours listening to a lecture about the different types of gate. I never thought I’d get a joke out of it.
The Doctor: The opening mechanism for this door, an ‘OR gate’, you call it.
Ah, I notice that I still haven’t. Oh well.
It’s decided that the best way to explore is to adopt the Scooby-Doolian Law of “sprit rup.”
Viner, the ladies and Toberman go in one door and Jamie and the doomed Haydon another. The Doctor remains behind to keep an eye on Klieg.
Cometh there a break.
Viner is rather excited at all the switches he’s found. While he’s drawing them, Kaftan persuades Victoria to have a look in a wardrobe with a machine gun pointing at it.
Me: “Victoria, you stand in there.”
Viner: The first rule of archaeology work-
Me: What’s that? “Dynamite saves a lot of tedious digging”?
Viner: -is that nothing must be touched until it’s been described and recorded.
This is obviously a very flexible rule when dealing with the dramatic representation of archaeology. I was going to say something mean about Bonekickers here, but I’ve never seen it so I don’t feel qualified to.
Jamie and Haydon have found a mysterious room, complete with an iconic moment.
Him: “I call it, ‘The Metaltron’.”
|Iconic Moment #168|
Beneath the Wheel of Fortune, Klieg’s failing to make any progress. The Doctor goads him by suggesting the whole process is too easy. Klieg insists the problem’s insoluble and (after a very polite stumble) hands the script to Patrick Troughton who reads off a definition of what binary am. Hearing this, Klieg’s off like a whippet up a Doctor’s drainpipe.
Me: The Doctor just nicked Klieg’s pencil. That’ll slow him down a bit.
Elsewhere, Kaftan pulls a lever and, next thing you know, Victoria’s trapped in the Cyberwardrobe.
Jamie and Haydon have unwittingly stumbled into the upstairs of the UFO club where they’re transfixed by The Pink Floyd’s light show.
Me: The Doctor’s driving all this.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: It’s like he’s loosening the lid and then handing the jar to someone else to open. You almost pointed it out earlier.
Not liking this Cyber-Narnia one bit, Victoria raps politely against the inside of the wardrobe and asks to be let out. The Doctor arrives, spots what Kaftan’s up to and releases the bemused Victoria.
Me: See? He’s sussed Kaftan. Being crafty.
Jamie’s tuning in (“Sing!”) – but Haydon manages to pull the plug before everything goes full-prog.
And then turns it on again. Tch.
Klieg, with a burst of not-at-all-a-wrong-‘un laughter, opens the Cyberhatch that leads to the Cybertombs themselves.
Haydon and Jamie are working their way through the slideshow. Jamie’s assigned the job of ‘press a button’. The wall changes.
Haydon stares and - Zap! – he grabs his back and starts pumping smoke from under his shirt, falling to the club’s beer-sodden carpet. And then a Cyberman and a cliffhanger arrive, one after the other.
Me: Good season opener.
We recap. Haydon’s still dead.
Everyone else arrives and flutters around. The Doctor notices that Haydon’s been shot in the back.
Him: “Uuuurghh. He’s right.”
Following the lead set by Crimewatch, the Doctor suggests re-enacting the events leading to the crime. Jamie tries to remember the exact order he randomly flicked the switches in.
Me: It’s a very Cyberman type of training area, in that it’s needlessly complicated.
Him: Ha! I don’t understand why they’d have something that would destroy you when training.
Me: Fair point. Remember though, this is a bunch of geniuses2 who attacked the moon without first checking to see if their weapons would work in a vacuum.
The Doctor: Now, there is a distinct element of risk in what I’m asking you all to do, so if anyone wishes to leave they must do so at once. Not you, Jamie.
It’s a total success. Within moments, the Cyberhead has fallen off the Cyberdecoy.
Me: Oh, alright. Maybe they did learn.
Victoria points out the Cybermat that Jamie found earlier. The Doctor identifies it using his diary.
Him: Why’s the Doctor got Cybermats in his book?
The Doctor tells Victoria to put the Cybermat back where she found it, so naturally she pops it into her bag.
Elsewhere, Kaftan and Toberman are acting shifty. Toberman’s done something, and Kaftan’s pleased, but both the what and the why remain mysteries for the moment.
Klieg’s stumped again. Kaftan tells Klieg he’ll have plenty of time and then the remains of Haydon are brought back and laid on the floor.
Me: “We’re running out of space-archaeologists.”
Professor Parry calls a quick meeting and announces that, seeing as they’ve reached their allocated acceptable-loss level already, the expedition is no longer covered by insurance and therefore must leave. This news is met with clamouring from everyone except Viner, who was right all along. The Professor puts his foot down. They’re off and that’s that.
Just then, Captain Hopper arrives. He’s got some news.
Captain Hopper: IT’S THE FUEL PUMPS! SOME CHARACTER HAS BALLED UP THE LOT!
Me: I think I know who sabotaged the ship.
|Can you guess who's behind the nefarious nobbling, chums?|
There’s a nice dissolve from Cyberlogo to Cyberlogo. Time’s slipped by.
Me: Nice shot. Morris Barry’s doing well.
Viner’s a lot more flustered than he was earlier. Captain Hopper reckons it’s going to take seventy-two hours to fix the damage. Also, the space-archaeologists are going to have to stay in the tomb and wait whilst the work gets carried out.
Captain Hopper: NOW, YOU MAY NOT KNOW THIS, BUT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO PRACTICALLY PULL THAT SHIP APART TO FIX ALL THE DAMAGE AND THERE JUST ISN’T ROOM FOR ALL OF YOU ON BOARD! ESPECIALLY WITH YOU INSISTING ALL OVER THE PLACE!
Me: Better than covering everything in Sensorite.3
The Doctor points out that Captain Hopper also doesn’t want whoever caused the damage to be back on the ship either.
Him: “Jamie, Victoria, you know we can leave in the TARDIS right now, yeah?”
Not being totally heartless to the plight of the fat-free academic, Captain Hopper issues the space-archaeologists with space-anoraks so they can stay warm through the chill Telosian nights to come.
Me: First mention of ‘anorak’ in Doctor Who, there.
Following the same trail of logical breadcrumbs as the Him, the Doctor suggests that Jamie and Victoria might like to go and wait in the TARDIS. Victoria decides to stay with the Doctor.
The Doctor: Jamie?
Jamie: Oh, I’ll stay.
Me: “With Victoria.”
The Doctor moves to help Klieg, but Toberman stops him. The Doctor makes a point of outlining how strong Toberman is to Kaftan. Why, he could do a lot of damage.
Me: He’s totally wise to her. Nice.
Professor Parry is trying to work out how to access the metal tunnels running underneath them, when Klieg solves the problem.
Klieg: Finally, a Boolean function of symbolic logic!
Me: That’s what I’ve been waiting for. For years.
Despite this, I still totally forget to mention that Boole's daughter, Lilian, was married to Wilfrid Voynich, the gentleman who gave his name to this...
Whilst Klieg runs through the sequence, the Doctor subtly corrects it. In the corner of the room the Cyberhatch to the basement opens.
Me: Blue screen of death!
Professor Parry points out that the women had better stay upstairs…
Him: Was this not filmed in 1967?
Me: It was.
Me: Doesn’t mean it’s right.
Victoria huffs about this treatment, and the Doctor suggests that it might actually be a good idea. After all, someone needs to keep an eye on Kaftan. Kaftan has her own ideas.
Kaftan: Go down, Toberman.
Me: She’s a wrong ‘un.
Toberman nearly goes down earlier than expected when he misses his step.
Left alone, Kaftan plops a tablet in Victoria’s drink and offers her a chicken oxo cube. It’s good stuff.
Downstairs, the boys have found some frosty tunnels.
Me: And that’s the third mention of anoraks. Thick. And fast.
Before you know it…
|Iconic Moment #169|
The frozen tomb rises imperiously to the ceiling.
Klieg: Like a gigantic honeycomb. Like bees waiting for the signal to arise from their winter sleep.
Me: “And take over ze universe!”
Klieg’s found another set of switches. The Doctor hovers just behind him, waiting for it to all go wrong.
Upstairs, Victoria has come over all sleepy.
Him: “It’s the drugs.”
Whatever Victoria’s been spiked with is remarkably swift-acting. With a violent exhalation, she falls asleep almost fast enough to give herself whiplash. Kaftan dances over to the controls and closes the Cyberhatch.
Downstairs, there’s panic from Viner. Klieg reckons he can open the Cyberhatch using the controls. The Doctor’s worked it out, but waits.
Klieg throws the switches…
Him: Why would you ever want to free them?
…and the ice melts. There’s movement.
Iconic moment #170
Him: Look at the evil bees!
Professor Parry: This is unique in archaeology!
Me: I’ll say. Carter would’ve had quite a shock if this had happened when he opened Tutankhamen's tomb.
Him: The evil bees?
Me: Damn straight.
Here they come…
Viner pulls the switches and the process stops. Klieg shoots him and the process is back underway.
Him: Seriously though, how’d they get in there? And who froze them?
Me: Countdown Dalek, I reckon.
Back on the surface, Victoria’s bag starts to wake up just as she does. Victoria realises what’s going on pretty quickly and tries to open the Cyberhatch. Kaftan corners her with a gun. Behind them all, a teeny Cybermat chews its way through Victoria’s bag.
Downstairs, the Cybermen are still climbing out of their Cyberhoneycomb. The Doctor reveals he knew what was going on, which only raises more questions in the long run.
Klieg reveals that his madness is actually informed by misguided logic. Essentially he’s just trying to impress his chums, the Brotherhood of Logicians.
Him: He’s a mathemagician.
Here they come…
The drums kick off the aural joy of Space Adventure (Martin Slavin) and the tension rises.
Me: That’s ace.
Back upstairs and the Cybermat is stalking. The Him’s formed an unhealthy attachment to it, probably because it’s cute.
Me: That was quick.
The Cybermat goes for Kaftan’s throat.
Him: Kill her! Kill her!
Victoria pulls the Cybermat off, throws it to the floor and shoots it until it bursts into sparks.
Me: I can’t help but think that you’re siding with the wrong lot.
Him: I like the Cybermats.
Me: Here comes Michael Kilgarriff…
The final door of the giant Cyber-Advent-Calendar is opened. Behind it squats the Cyber Controller, rather than a badly drawn nativity. Or a huge chocolate Santa.
Me: Ummm… What was he up to?
Me: Don't say it...
Me: Oi! He wrote my favourite joke books, I’ll have you know. Quite some time ago.
The Him’s in fits.
Him: The Cyberhat gets me every time.
Me: It’s quite a size. And not just the Cyberhelmet.
Klieg strides up to the freshly aroused Cyber Controller and tries bullying it. Four seconds later he’s on the floor with a crushed arm and the whole balance of power has pulled a snazzy handbrake turn in the general direction of disaster.
Cyber Controller: YOU/BE/LONG/TO/US
Him: That’s a cool voice.
Cyber Controller : YOU/SHALL/BE/LIKE/US
Professor Parry: How did you know that we would come to release you?
Me: Let’s look for some more examples of this fabled lack of emotion then.
The Cyber Controller reveals that this moment is merely the Cybertrap closing.
The Doctor: They only wanted superior intellects. That’s why they made the trap so complicated.
Us: No, it’s not.
Upstairs, Kaftan’s still unconscious. Victoria returns from the ship with Captain Hopper and Jim Callum (Clive Merrison). I’m about to make a mistake, but I’m not daft enough to draw attention to that.
Callum: I don’t reckon we should have left the rocket, Captain. I can’t see much wrong here.
Me: Ha! There’s someone you’ve never met before heading rapidly into hysteria, Kaftan’s unconscious and everyone else has vanished!
Victoria starts getting frustrated that nobody’s listening to her, and she’s got a point. Unnoticed, Kaftan stirs. Victoria, in a state of supreme fluster, threatens to pull every lever until the Cyberhatch opens. Hopper mollifies Victoria by offering to give her the benefit of the doubt. Which lever, then? Victoria thinks it’s one down by the end – disappointingly not marked ‘OPEN THE CYBERHATCH’ in shaky felt-tip.
Callum: She. Thinks.
Me: Some. One. Has. To.
In the basement, the Doctor and the Cyber Controller are engaged in battle of exposition and Cyberhistory. Finally, the reason the Cybermen were attacking the Moonbase is revealed. They were trying to flog umbrellas.
Troughton, as ever, is magnificent.
|Iconic Moment #172|
Cyber Controller: WE/WILL/SUR/VIVE/WE/WILL/SUR/VIVE
Me: Desperation’s not an emotion.
The Cyber Controller informs the hapless space-archaeologists that they’re about to become the first new Cybermen in simply ages. This news isn’t greeted with delight – although the Cybermen start making bizarre noises that continue until the end of the scene.
The Doctor, Parry, Klieg and Toberman are grabbed, Jamie legs it to the exit, a Cyberman in Cyberpursuit. Jamie reaches the ladder to the surface and shins up it. There’s no messing around from the Cyberman – which is quite frightening in its own way – a burst of energy flies from its fingers and hits Jamie.
Him: Oh! Back of the neck.
Jamie falls to the ground.
Back in the main room, the space-archaeologists continue to resist. Even though it’s useless.
A Cyberman drags Toberman onto film and pulls a banned wrestling move on him.
Me: Oh, look. Cyberwires. They don’t just use them on the Cyberships then.
Cyber Controller: TO/STRUG/GLE/IS/FU/TILE
Back upstairs, Kaftan pulls a gun on Hopper and Callum. Victoria lets fly with a sonic blast and Kaftan is overpowered. It’s fair galloping now.
Me: Victoria’s scream saves the day. Number one in an occasional series.
The Cyberhatch is opened. Victoria and Captain Hopper gaze into it. We’re at 55’ 21” if you’d like to check this next exchange for yourself.
Victoria: It’s very quiet down there.
Captain Hopper: YEAH!
X The Unknown: BZZ!
Captain Hopper: TOO QUIET!
Victoria: Something must’ve happened.
Captain Hopper: HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN DOWN THERE?!
Victoria: Oh, about an hour.
Captain Hopper: THAT’S TOO LONG! I’M GOING DOWN!
Captain Hopper collects a couple of smoke bombs from Callum. Victoria offers to assist Hopper, unfortunately that’s not going to be happening.
Victoria: Who’d be a woman?
Captain Hopper: HOW WOULD YOU KNOW, HONEY?!
Him: What? I don’t get that.
Captain Hopper descends.
Downstairs in the basement, the horror continues.
Me: They do seem to be a lot less emotional in this ‘un. And they’re quite creepy.
Captain Hopper slips silently into the background, assesses the situation – Klieg’s just been told he’s going to be the Cyber Team Leader for the new ‘recruits’ – and throws the smoke bombs. They explode.
Smoke billows forth into the tomb, the Cybermen are baffled.
Him: Makes bees fall asleep after all.
The space-archaeologists make a break for the ladder. Toberman, still woozy from earlier, gets nabbed.
The others are making their way – slowly – up the ladder. Jamie and Victoria are reunited. The Doctor clambers up the ladder, pursued by a Cyberman.
Him: Cyberbottom there.
The Cyberman grabs the Doctor’s leg. Victoria lays into it with a thermos in a moment that proves too much for someone.
X The Unknown: OH!
Him: Did Victoria hit him in the face?
Me: I don’t know. Someone went ‘Oh’ very loudly. Commentary bleed, perhaps?
I rewind to 59’ 49” and it happens again.
X The Unknown: OH!
Him: I didn’t hear that first time.
The Cyberhatch gets closed – breaking the Cyberman’s hold on Victoria. This whole scene is really, really tense if you give it a chance. Especially when the Cyberhatch starts to shake, jump and dent as the Cyberman beneath gets stuck in with a righteous Cyberpummeling.
Under the Cyberhatch, the Cyberman gives up. For now.
Me: He’s got a Cyber-rip in his Cybersuit.
Klieg’s at large in the basement. He watches the unfortunate Cyberpummeller as he strides off to Cyberwardrobe. When the tunnel's empty, Klieg slinks quietly up the ladder and starts tapping on the underside of the Cyberhatch. The space-archaeologists hear the plaintive signal, open the Cyberhatch and save Klieg, who thanks our heroes by starting another argument.
In the basement, the Cyber Controller has come up with a Cyberscheme. It’s logical rather than cunning.
The Cybermats are unpacked.
Him: They’re bigger than the other ones.
Me: These are adults.
Kaftan and Klieg have been secured in the testing room.
Me: Locking the baddies in the Cyberarmoury might not have been a grand idea.
Kaftan’s discovered a Cybergun. Klieg takes this as an opportunity to sink further into delusion.
Me: Klieg’s lost it.
The Cybermats are encouraged to climb a ramp leading upstairs.
Him: ‘Do you like our owl…?'
Upstairs, everyone’s asleep except Victoria. The Doctor wakes and the two of them have a chat that’s become pretty much legendary in Who fandom. It starts with the Doctor telling Victoria that the memory of her father won’t always be sad. It’s very gentle, moving and beautifully acted.
Reader, I give you Iconic Moment #176...
Me: Beautiful scene.
A Cybermat glides along the floor. It bumps into the Doctor’s foot, giving him a fright. Another Cybermat is sneaking up on the sleeping Callum – grinding its teeth. This, at least, explains the Cybermat design in Closing Time – a story that now seems to have been based a lot more on this one than I’d noticed at the time. Although, that last interaction between the Doctor and Victoria notwithstanding, there’s not a huge amount of parental love kicking around in The Tomb of the Cybermen. Smoke bombs seem to be more effective.
The Doctor saves Callum, but panic breaks out. Our heroes are surrounded by cybernetic vermin, beeping and twitching.
The Doctor grabs a metal tube and lays it out as a barrier. The Doctor flicks some switches sending current through the tube. The Cybermats ‘die’ – killed by an electrical field. Rather than love.
The Doctor: You might say they’ve had a complete metal breakdown.
The Doctor: I’m so sorry, Jamie.
Klieg chooses this moment to burst out of the testing room, Cybergun in hand. He raises the gun toward the Doctor and fires!
We recap. Luckily the Doctor’s fine, but only because Callum took the shot for him.
Klieg opens the Cyberhatch and bellows down it. He wants to speak to the Controller.
Cyber Controller: THE/HUMA/NOIDS/MUST/FIRST/BE/DE/STROYED
Toberman is uncovered. The Cybermen haven’t been idle. Toberman’s not entirely human any more. The spare Cybermen pop back into their honeycombs to rest until required.
The Cyber Controller appears at the top of the ladder and chats to Klieg about his long-term plans for working with the Cybermen. Where does he see himself in five years? That type of thing.
Me: The voices are much better this time. I’m not sure how much of that is down to Mark Ayres, however.
The Cyber Controller requires revitalisation as his batteries run down faster than an iPhone’s.
Three things happen in quick succession: Klieg’s plan is revealed, the Cyber Controller is sent to be revitalised and Victoria gets hostaged. Professor Parry, the Doctor and Jamie watch the Cyber Controller fail to get into the revitalisation machine. The Doctor pats Jamie on the head and tells him to be quiet.
Me: Nice touch.
The Cyber Controller is nearly out of juice.
Me: He’s flanging.4
The Doctor helps the Cyber Controller into the revitalisor and then clumps the door closed on him.
Him: Ha! I hope that’s not an iron maiden.
Me: Lovely bloke.
Elsewhere, Klieg and Kaftan are foxed by Victoria saying that she saw the same type of gun that Klieg’s got, in the revitalisation room. Realising that this puts them at a disadvantage, the two wrong ‘un’s prepare…
Professor Parry: Keep back! It’s smoking!
Him: No wonder its health levels were so low.
With the sound of splintering cardboard, the Cyber Controller breaks free.
Kaftan tells the injured Callum that the plan has been to build a better world. At this moment Toberman bashes Klieg to the ground with his new Cyberarm and advances menacingly on Kaftan.
The Cyber Controller lurches out of the revitalisation room and demands that Kaftan open the Cyberhatch. Kaftan, shocked that the Cyber Controller could break a promise, refuses.
The Cyber Controller shoots Kaftan, who falls to the floor, pumping smoke like an over-enthusiastic goth band.
This murder causes Toberman to break free of his conditioning, so maybe I was wrong about there not being any love in this story. Toberman engages in a full-on fight with the Cyber Controller.
There’s a famous dodgy effect during this fight, but the Him doesn’t seem to notice so we’ll ignore it.
The Cybermen attack, swarming through the Cyberhatch like... well, bees. Jamie shoots them until they stop.
The Doctor prepares to re-enter the tomb. Jamie offers to help.
The Doctor: I’ll take somebody else
Me: “Who’s wearing a red top?”
The Doctor climbs back into the basement, Toberman follows. Klieg rouses himself, grabs a gun and slinks, unnoticed, after them.
In the basement, the Cybermen are dormant, if not actually frozen. Klieg appears and interrupts the freezing process. The Doctor indulges in some lovely business while Klieg monologues. Now they don’t have a boss, Klieg is planning to fill the position. Jamie appears just as the Doctor starts acting a bit strangely.
The Doctor: Yes, as you say, such a combination between intelligence and power would make you formidable indeed. Why, you’d be commander of the universe with your brilliance! It makes the imagination reel with the possibilities!
Klieg: Why, Doctor, if I had only known you shared my imagination, you might even have worked for me.
The Doctor: Oh, perhaps it’s not too late.
The Doctor: No, Jamie, don’t you see? Don’t you see what this is going to mean to all the people who come to serve Klieg the all-powerful? Why, no country, no person, would dare to have a single thought that was not your own! Eric Klieg’s own conception of the… of the way of life!
Klieg: Brilliant! Yes, yes, you’re right. Master of the world…
|"I'm a genius. Yes, I am."|
The Doctor: Well, now I know you’re mad. I just wanted to make sure.
Me: Oh, fantastic.
Upstairs, Captain Hopper returns. There’s some wonderful Victoria banter.
Me: I’m looking forward to Fury from the Deep.
Him: It’s not that far away. And, don’t you mean Fury the Deep?3
Klieg is attacked by a Cyberman that’s fed up with all the shouting. Toberman joins in and gives it a Cyberthrashing. Defeated, the Cyberman begins foaming at the chestpiece.
Him: Uurgh! Seeds of Death.
Jamie and the Doctor watch as the tomb freezes. Again.
Him: Whoah! That was cool.
Him: Just like bees, Cybermen go to sleep when it’s cold.
Me: Just like bees.
Upstairs, everyone’s preparing to leave. They head out through the Cyber Doors while the Doctor sets to booby-trapping the controls. Jamie and the Doctor are cornered by the Cyber Controller.
The Doctor: When I say ‘run’, run. Run!
Our heroes bound outside and begin to push the huge doors closed. The Doctor stops them – when the doors close the circuit will complete and they’ll receive a fatal shock. The Him’s distracted.
Him: Cybermat! Awww…
As the Doctor, Jamie, Captain Hopper and Professor Parry try to push the doors closed with wood, Toberman strides up, swats them aside and takes matters into his own hands. Well, hand and metallic claw at least. The Cyber Controller pushes from the inside, but Toberman is stronger. The doors judder closed and the charge is released, frying both Toberman and the Cyber Controller.
Him: That was the best death ever.
And that about wraps it up. Everyone says goodbye –
X The Unknown : SHKRZT!5
- whilst behind them a Cybermat sneaks through the cold dust of Telos.
It’s the credits.
Him: I’m too tired for thoughts.
Me: Did the picture look better than you remembered it?
Me: D’you know what’s next?
Him: The Abominable Snowmen?
Him: Is it really?
Me: It really is.
1. Another Gridlock reference, eh? Tch.
3. We don’t do that joke any more.
4. Might be phasing, of course.
5. 1.35’ 06”