...with a look at “Tomb of the Cybermen,” a Troughton-era story which transmitted September 1967. This is the first adventure of super hot companion Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling)...
....who joined the Doctor and companion Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines) at the end of the previous episode in the show's chronology - “The Evil of the Daleks.” Dalek and Cyberman story arcs backed up against each other like that? How much bliss must that have been?
BBC HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND AINT IT COOL NEWS WANT TO GIVE YOU SOME VERY AWESOME DOCTOR WHO DVDs!!
Earlier this week, BBC Home Entertainment and Aint It Cool News announced a special screening of the recently resorted WHO classic "The Three Doctors" at the new Alamo Drafthouse on Slaughter Lane in Austin. The screening will happen at 1pm, Saturday March 24, and is general admission (first come, first seated) - although a $5 reserved seat meal voucher can be purchased in advance HERE.
To commemorate this extremely exciting and very cool event, BBC Home Entertainment and Aint It Cool News will be offering a number of prize packs in the weeks leading up to our screening. Each recipient will receive all of BBC Home Entertainment's release of classic DOCTOR WHO stories for this month (March).
These excellent DVDs are loaded with extras and feature resorted image and sound work - the episodes they contain look and sound great, and extras are extremely insightful and informative.
Here's a list of what's up for grabs, along with BBC's description of each show. If you miss out this time, they'll be another chance next week. Friday morning? I should think so.
"THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN"
For centuries, the disappearance of the Cybermen from the universe has been a mystery. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on Telos - once the Cyber home world - just as an Earth expedition uncovers the entrance to a long-lost control centre filled with baffling technology. With the Doctor's help, the archaeological party discovers the last of the Cybermen, frozen and entombed in a vast underground cavern. But by entering the tombs, the humans have sprung a fiendish trap. All around them, the Cybermen begin to rise from the dead.
"THE ROBOTS OF DEATH"
The TARDIS, carrying the Doctor and his new companion Leela, arrives aboard a huge sandminer on a deserted world. The small human crew relies almost entirely on robots to carry out their every task and whim while they mine the planet's rich minerals. Suddenly, one by one, members of the team start to disappear. The time travelers discover that someone or something is murdering the crew - but, of course, nobody believes it could be the robots.
"THE FACE OF EVIL"
When the TARDIS arrives on a jungle planet, the Doctor encounters two warring tribes, the Sevateem and the Tesh. The Sevateem worship a god called Xoanon and the Tesh are supposedly keeping Xoanon prisoner... But why do the Sevateem call the Doctor the Evil One? And what are the invisible creatures in the jungle? The Time Lord, with the help of a girl called Leela, is about to find out.
"THE THREE DOCTORS"
The Time Lords are in crisis. A powerful force is draining their energy into a mysterious Black Hole - and they must recruit the Doctor to save them. But one Doctor isn't enough for this mission. All three of the Doctor's incarnations, aided by Jo Grant and UNIT, must face the wrath of Omega - a fallen Time Lord trapped in a universe of anti-matter, with one thing on his mind: revenge.
How do you get this set? Between now and 11:59 PM CST USA on Wednesday March 14, I've pre-selected one (1) time of day on one (1) pre-selected date. Whoever e-mails me at, or closest to, my pre-selected time on my preselected date will win this prize pack.
Only THREE ENTRIES PER PERSON, PER DAY, will be allowed. Anyone deviating from this limitation will see all of their entries for that day summarily discarded.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR FULL ADDRESS IN YOUR SUBMISSION. This is to expedite shipping of your prize only - no Spam lists or mass mailings or anything like that. All entries will be summarily deleted once a recipient is chosen.
BE SURE TO SEND FROM A FREQUENTLY CHECKED E-MAIL ADDRESS!! If I need to contact you and can not do so, I'll quickly move on to the next closest entry.
IN THE SUBJECT LINE, include the phrase "Jelly Babies?" If this is not in your subject line, your message won't be filtered correctly and I'll most likely not see it.
BE SURE YOU SEND E-MAIL TO THE ADDRESS LINKED BELOW!! You'd be surprised how many people send entries to the wrong place.
CONTEST OPEN TO NORTH AMERICAN READERS ONLY!!
Have fun, best of luck, and thanks so much for your time and support!
Whithouse previously scripted S5's "The Vampires of Venice" and S6's "The God Complex." Browder played besieged and accidentally displaced space traveller John Crichton, and more or less took the lead as Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell after Richard Dean Anderson diminished his role in STARGATE SG-1.
"TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN"
"They shall never pass Toberman! The door is closed!"
- Toberman, ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’ Episode 4
On the planet Telos in the 25th Century, Doctor and companions Jamie and Victoria encounter a not-particularly-adept archeological expedition which is attempting to gain access to a “Tomb.” We’re told said tomb could well contain the remains of Cybermen, legendary antagonists previously introduced on the show and something of a progenitor to STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION’s Borg. The Doctor (naturally and quickly) warns them against this endeavor, but they go in any way.
Cybermanish chaos quickly ensues, resulting in death, fear, and uncertainty. This is compounded by the (off screen) discovery that the expedition's ship has been disabled by someone or something, leaving the team marooned in the tomb of the Cybermen for at least 72 hours. And 72 hours is a long, long time to be trapped in a confined space with Cybermen...
When I first started watching vintage DOCTOR WHO episodes, “Tomb of the Cybermen” was one of the stories many readers insisted I watch. In fact, as many people told me I should watch “Tomb” as told me I should avoid “The Sensorites.” These folks were right in both instances.
(love the dissonant Cybermen theme beginning at 8:18)
For all of its classic nature, “Tomb of the Cybermen” is, in many ways, hugely and ridiculously imperfect. A painfully stilted and posturing turn by George Roubicek (who wold later appear in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE)...along with a laughably monosyllabic stint by Roy Stewart (who’d later show up in LIVE AND LET DIE, SPACE: 1999, and I, CLAUDIUS) as Toberman...lend an undesirably goofy AUSTIN POWERS vibe to the proceedings. Fortunately, they’re eclipsed by the amazing charisma and chemistry of Troughton, Hines, and Walting - all of whom work incredibly well as characters both individually and together. Kudos to whomever had the foresight to assemble this trio. I’ve yet to see every Doctor with every pairing of companions, but I imagine this lot will be high among my favorite groups by the time all is said and done.
A lovely scene in which the Doctor discusses loss with Victoria, whose father died in the previous episode.
In addition to these two particularly rickety performances and a breathtaking moment of shoddy wire work, “Tomb” is sometimes challenged by a few innate story considerations. The Cybermen, we learn, had stuffed themselves into stasis after their last appearance on the show - until someone came long who was 1) capable of finding them, and 2) intelligent enough to decipher the advanced mathematics and encoding required to actually revive them.
When considering potentially willy-nilly cosmic circumstance and gargantuan time scales, that’s a pretty flimsy design - one fraught with a huge number of possible pitfalls. Reciprocally, the “grand scheme” of this story - the human-based machinations driving the plot line - are equally as dodgy. Seems some folks from The Brotherhood of Logicians are involved with this expedition. The Brotherhood, we’re told, is more or less a bunch of whiney smarty pants from back on Earth. They’re upset that they don’t have the muscle to impose their way of thinking on global civilization, and they’re on Telos looking to resurrect these nefarious Cybermen in the hopes of forging an alliance with them...and using them to influence our world’s power structure.
I haven’t seen many of the episodes leading up to “Tomb,” but I’m not aware of any previous evidence which suggests the Cybermen would be particularly interested in negotiating with anyone about anything. Cybermen are as single-minded as the Logicians themselves, making the Logicians scheme wholly, well, illogical. And perhaps that’s the (decidedly unexpressed) subtext of this episode: that single-minded motivation (the Logicians, the Cybermen) very often leads to tragic and unnecessary downfall. And proclaiming one’s superiority is, in itself, intrinsically not superior. A long-standing paradox of existence which confronts us even today.
As I just spent a few paragraphs raking “Tomb of the Cybermen” over the coals, one may ask: “If it has these kind of problems, how can it be a classic?” It’s simple: what “Tomb” lacks in common-sensical conception it more than makes up for in the efficiency of its storytelling and its surprisingly cinematic scope. “Tomb” offers a quantity of nicely realized location photography (filmed, not video), we see bigger than usual sets here...
...and much of the story is shot with wider and more theatrical angles than we’re accustomed to seeing in many DOCTOR WHOs. In short, this story feels larger and looks larger, and is often impressive in atmosphere despite the inherent limitation of its budget. This, coupled with propulsive, cleanly trimmed narrative drive, makes for a surprisingly effective and “no bullshit” romp whose fun factor, and overall vibe, very much beat down the flimsy premises they’re supporting. Respect to director Morris Barry, who’d previously whelmed “The Moonbase” (Troughton, Story #33) for DOCTOR WHO, and would bring us “The Dominators” (Troughton, Story #44) the following year.
“Tomb of the Cybermen” is a helluva lot of fun, and represents ton of the very few “classic”/”vintage” DOCTOR WHO I watched straight through (I usually spread them over several evenings). I didn’t intend to do so...it just grabbed me. And I’m glad that it did.
DVDs of the newly restored “Tomb of the Cybermen” look crisp and gorgeous, and can be found HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K.
Morris Barry Introduction (3:08)
- director discusses casting if Cyber Controller (Michael Kilgarriff), the 'goo' effects that came from a clobbered Cyberman, and getting into trouble for that sequence's graphic nature.
Title Sequence Test (3:28)
-- Various developmental runs at Troughton-era title sequence.
Late Nite Line Up (2:51)
-- A short filmed interview with Visual Effects group overboss Jack Kine.
The Final End (1:21)
-- BBC designer Tony Cornell's 8mm behind the scenes footage provides a sense of how the ending of "Evil of the Daleks" would've looked. This episode preceded "Tomb" and was largely lost in BBC purge of early episodes.
-- "The Face of Evil" (T. Baker, Story # 89).
The Lost Giants - the Making of Tomb of the Cybermen (26:50)
a new production team
-- Shirley Cooklin (Kaftan)
-- Victor Pemberton (Script Editor)
-- Frazer Hines (companion Jamie McCrimmon)
-- Bernard Holley (Peter Haydon)
-- Deborah Watling (companion Victoria Waterfield)
-- Peter Day (Visual Effects Designer)
-- Michael Kilgarriff (Cyber Controller) - discusses frustrations that his character's "pulsing" brain was not evident on-screen
-- Deborah Watling discuses that she hated the Cybermats because the effects people used to torment her with them and remote control them to chase her around the set.
-- Frazer Hines (companion Jamie) reveals that the Doctor mistakenly taking Jamie by the hand to lead him into the tomb was a gag privately engineered between Troughton and Hines to circumvent a somewhat humorless director.
-- discusses on-set physical effects and stunt work (fighting).
The Curse of the Cybermen's Tomb (14:26)
Sir Christopher Frayling (Emeritus Professor of Cultural History, Royal College of Art) and Dr. Debbie Challis (The Petrie Museum) draws comparisons between events in "Tomb of the Cybemen" and Howard Carter's real life exploration and discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922. Examines how other real world events shaped this story.
Cybermen Extended Edition (32:25)
Matthew Sweet (writer / historian) discusses the development and history of the Cybermen in DOCTOR WHO, evaluating what makes them as unnerving and memorable as they are.
Magic of VidFIRE (5:58)
VidFIRE = Video Field Interpolation Restoration Effect. A look at the detailed, time consuming, and remarkable restoration process which brings us the sharpest and most visually sound DOCTOR WHO video material from the "classic" era.
Sky Ray Advert (:32)
A popsicle commercial from the era - looks amazing when seen here, restored.
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