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Origins of: Doctor Who - the Cybermen

Member of SFI, 'bridge-crew of U.S.S. Reginald Mitchell, Star trek Region 20. Published author/ regular contributor /column in The Conduit




These beings were originally created by Dr. Kit Pedlar, the scientific advisor for the
'Doctor Who' television series. Scriptwriter for this production was Gerry Davis, and he to collaborated with Pedlar to refine and develop his original concept.

Costume designer Sandra Reid also provided additional ideas as the 'look' for the
'Cybermen' was created. Whilst the sound of the infamous voice was devised by voice artist Roy Skelton. Most of the further evolutions of these beings were guided more by the wishes and suggestions from future costume adaptations, with Pedlar and Davis continually revising the back-story to explain these changes. Even now they continue to evolve. Well that's enough from their wardrobe department, what about their back-story?

The 'Cybermen' were human beings once. It should be noted that in more recent times we have witnessed female characters being 'upgraded' to 'Cyber-beings'. Although I am sure some of my gentle readers will point out that once you remove emotions and humanity from a human, and reproduce upon an assembly line, then gender is of little consequence. However for the purposes of this study I will continue to refer to these creatures by their original masculine title. They inhabited a world that they called Mondas. This planet was Earth's twin and was originally in orbit within the Solar
System. At some point in the past this orbit was disturbed and Mondas drifted off into outer space. ( it would return, as later story lines will show ).
As a result of this changing environment, the life-span of the humans upon Mondas began to decrease generation by generation. In order to combat this trait the beings began to develop and utilise cybernetic implants and body part replacements. This later included brain-surgery where the creatures had their emotions suppressed; these had been seen as a weakness by the first 'Cybermen'. With their emotions removed, the beings became fearless and this coupled with their cybernetic modifications they became incredibly strong. As a side-effect of this emotion suppression they lost their humanity.
Although the 'Cybermen' did not have a single 'hive-mind' they did have a hierarchy. Each troop were directed by a 'Cyberleader'. If this individual was terminated its shared files were downloaded into another 'Cybermen' who then became the new 'Cyberleader'. ( This particular adaptation was a later development, and not available to their earlier forms. )

Tenth Planet

In the final adventure of the first 'Doctor Who', entitiled 'The Tenth Planet', we first
encounter these life-forms. Their home-world Mondas has returned from its wanderings and re-enters the Solar System. The planet is nearly exhausted of all of its energy. The 'Cybermen' planned to drain the energy from the Earth to recharge their home-world. The Doctor discovers that the 'Cybermen' are susceptible to radiation and does battle. Without too many spoilers it is suffice to say that the planet Mondas absorbs too much energy and explodes.

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Was this the final demise of the 'Cybermen'? Of cause not! Like all good villains, in much the same way as the 'Borg' or the 'Cylons', there always seems to be a way to
encounter then again. Isn't story telling amazing?
This resurrection of the 'Cybermen' was achieved when it was revealed that several legions had been despatched from Mondas throughout the cosmos; and thus creating numerous future story lines.
On the next encounter with the Doctor, set quite sometime in the future, about 2070AD, one of these legions, who had developed slightly different cybernetic attachments,
had managed to find their way to the surface of the Earth's moon. During this encounter we learn that there are many more legions, some of whom are contacted by the 'Cybermen' upon the moon. The Doctor poisons this detachment and then contrives to temporarily alter the gravitational field of Earth's sole natural satellite, and thus deflecting those approaching 'Cybermen' reenforcements, who are catapulted out of the Solar System into the far reaches of the universe; for now at least.
The back-story evolves, and it was revealed that as the planet Mondas had journeyed far beyond the Solar System, the wanderer had encountered another world. The
'Cybermen' had constructed a huge cryogenic complex upon this frozen world that they called Telos. A legion of 'Cyberbeings' were then entombed in suspended animation
upon their adopted planet.
In the third Doctor Who adventure to involve the 'Cybermen' we encounter this legion when they are awakened by renegade human scientists, hoping to form an alliance. Without too many spoilers again; this did not go too well. The 'Cybermen' were intent upon 'upgrading' the inferior humans; much like 'assimilation' in the case of the 'Borg'.

Human Point Two & the future upgrades.

Now the purpose of this article was just to wet your appetite, not to provide an episode by episode review of every encounter with these 'Cyberbeings'. So here are a few bullet points.
'Cybermen' electrocute their victims with their hands. Later following storyline upgrades they developed arm-mounted laser weapons.
Gold is lethal to 'Cybermen'. In either powder or liquid form it plates the 'Cyberbeings'
breathing apparatus and they suffocate.Once this weakness was discovered the 'Glitter Gun' was developed and became a decisive weapon in later battles.
The 'Cybermen' created rodent-like organisms, which they originally called 'Cybermats' but this later became 'Cybershades' which included non rodent-like creatures. These little beasts carried out a number of tasks in a series of later adventures to help the story lines to evolve.

Since they first appeared upon the television screens in 1966 the 'Cybermen'
have gone on to have a wide range of adventures with the various incarnations of
the Doctor. Due to the 'time-travelling' aspect of the 'Doctor Who' series we have
encountered these bright silver villains during both in the future and the past; including
1851 Victorian London. However just when you think that the writers have exhausted the potential story lines and the encounters are becoming a little staid; the Doctor pops into a parallel universe, and who should he bump into – the 'Cybermen' of cause.
These particular 'Cyberbeings' were created upon the parallel Earth by 'Cybus
Industries'. They believe that they are hyper-developed humans; referred to as 'Human
Point Two', and that everyone should be 'upgraded'. These 'Cybermen' do battle with
both humans and the 'Daleks'. It is the giant mono-syllabic 'pepper-pots' that are
responsible for creating the spacial rift in the first place. Once this rift was sealed by the Doctor; the 'Human Point Two Cybermen' were sucked back into the parallel universe.
There are almost forty adventures in which the 'Cybermen' appear in this series
so far, and I feel certain that they will survive to pop-up again.

'Cybermen Encounters.'
1st Doctor : The Tenth Planet
2nd Doctor: The Moonbase.
The Tomb Of The Cybermen.
The Wheel In Space.
The Invasion.
The War Games.
3rd Doctor: Carnival Of Monsters.
4th Doctor: Revenge Of The Cybermen.
5th Doctor: Earthshock.
The Five Doctors.
6th Doctor: Attack Of The Cybermen.
7th Doctor: Silver Nemesis.
10th Doctor: Dalek.
Rise Of The Cybermen.
The Age Of Steel.
Army Of Ghosts.
The Next Doctor
11th Doctor: The Pandorica Opens.
The Big Bang.
A Good Man Goes To War.
Closing Time.
Nightmare In Silver.
The Day Of The Doctor.
The Time Of The Doctor.
12th Doctor: Dark Water.
Death In Heaven.
Face The Raven.
Hell Bent.
The Lie Of The Land.
World Enough And Time.
The Doctor Falls.
13th Doctor: The Haunting Of Villa Diodati.
Ascension Of The Cybermen.
The Timeless Children.
Revolution Of The Daleks.
Once, Upon Time.
The Vanquishers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 David Reynolds

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