2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2009
This Cybermen origin story from Big Finish is one of the best original audio dramas of the 117 or so released in the monthly series. In terms of character and mood it serves The Cybermen far better than TV ever could; the title alone immediately giving off vibes of physical and emotional mutilation, and the remorseless, emotionless purpose for which the silver giants from Mondas have become associated.
Peter Davison is on fine form; the youthful and naive appearance of his incarnation of the nomadic Time Lord masking a steely mindset and fierce intelligence, whilst Marc Platt's script crackles and fizzes with energy and panache.
This is a great entry in the monthly Doctor Who audio series, and I heartily recommend it for first-time Big Finish listeners as well as seasoned fans. The price on here is better than if you bought it direct from Big Finish, but their website offers 6 and 12 monthly subscriptions, so if you plan on listening to others in the range it's worth checking their website out before committing to buying this here.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2006
"On a dark frozen planet where no planet should be, in a doomed city with a sky of stone, the last denizens of Earth's long-lost twin will pay any price to survive, even if the laser scalpels cost them their love and hate and humanity.
"And in the mat-infested streets, round about tea-time, the Doctor and Nyssa unearth a black market in second-hand body parts and run the gauntlet of the augmented police and their augmented horses.
"And just between the tramstop and the picturehouse, their worst suspicions are confirmed: the Cybermen have only just begun, and the Doctor will be, just as he always has been, their saviour..."
"Spare Parts", by Marc Platt, is possibly Big Finish Productions' most highly regarded Doctor Who play, and is also supposed to be the inspiration by the new series' "Rise of the Cybermen". As such I had certain level of anticipation leading up to it (always a risk). As I listened to the first episode, I thought I was going to be disappointed: the sound design seemed lesser than usual, and the events altogether domestic in scale.
However, "Spare Parts" really does turn out to be something special. "Spare Parts" is for the Cybermen what "Genesis of the Daleks" is for the infamous pepper-pots: an origin story, in which the chain of events leading up to the dehumanisation of an entire race is understandable and unavoidable. The twist is that the Doctor, who, once he realises that he and Nyssa have landed on Mondas, simply wants to leave, is eventually instrumental in the survival and development of the Cyber race.
Spare Parts is also a direct prequel / sequel to "The Tenth Planet", and I consider myself very lucky to have listened to "The Tenth Planet" for the first time recently, as I believe it enhanced my enjoyment of "Spare Parts" no end. True to form, Big Finish Productions have recreated the voices of the original "Tenth Planet" Cyberman to perfection, and whatever one's views on those early Cyber voices, it gives "Spare Parts" a tremendous feeling of authenticity and canonicity.
"Spare Parts" boasts a high quality script from "Ghost Light" and "Loups-Garoux" writer Marc Platt, with the Hartley family, with whom Nyssa spends a large part of the story, black market organ trader Thomas Dodd (Derren Nesbitt) and scrientist Doctorman Allan (Sally Knyvette) all being well-formed characters. As stated, the Cyber voices are perfect, while the voices of the Committee that runs the underground city recall the more electronic voices from the Cybermen stories of the Patrick Troughton era. The score is understated and effective and the sound design, which as it turns out offers a quite intentional silence in the first episode, is up to Big Finish's usual high standard.
"Spare Parts" is a fascinating origin story for the Cybermen with an explosive ending, and comes highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2011
Yes definitely! 'Spare Parts' certainly is a cracking good story!
It's a story that's earned its place with the fans and being the origins story of the Cybermen!
I listen to this story; 'Circular Time' and 'The Stockbridge Trilogy' ('Castle of Fear','The Eternal Summer' and 'Plague of the Daleks') every Christmas now. I play it when I'm decorating the Christmas, tree as it happens with Nyssa and the Hartley family celebrating Christmas.
This is a four-party story by Marc Platt. The Doctor and Nyssa arrive in an underground city on a familiar planet. The Doctor has an idea where they are and doesn't like the thought of it. It soon transpires this is Mondas where the Cybermen are about to be created.
I like the atmosphere of Mondas as the story takes places an underground city. The planet is constantly frozen over by blizzards as its being pulled out of its orbit heading for Earth. It's pretty grim conditions for the people to live in, despite the Christmas atmosphere.
I've had the CD cover of 'Spare Parts' signed by lovely Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Nicholas Briggs (the Cybermen). Sarah heard this story recently according to a CD interview for 'The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories' and said it's became one of her favourites.
Sarah is tremendous as Nyssa who excels in this story. I'm really impressed with how Marc Platt handles writing her and Sarah's voice is heart-warming to listen to. She spends time with the Hartley family; getting to know them and becoming friends with Yvonne and Frank.
Nyssa discovers the Hartley family are victims of the cyber-conversion process on Mondas. Horrified, Nyssa decides to stay and help. I really like the scenes where Nyssa stands up to the Doctor, arguing her case and reminding him of Adric's death because of the Cybermen in 'Earthshock'.
Peter Davison delivers an excellent performance as the Doctor. He learns the horrible truth where he and Nyssa are on Mondas and is determined to leave, despite warning the people with the church bell. Persuaded by Nyssa's arguments, he eventually decides to stay.
It isn't long that the Doctor is chosen as the new template for cyber-conversion. I'm really pleased with Peter's characterisation of the Doctor as he ranges from an array of emotions defying Doctorman Allan on her ethics and morals with regards to the conversion process.
Sally Knyvette plays Doctorman Allan, well-known in 'Blake's 7'. Doctorman Allan is partly responsible for the creation of the Cybermen. She's no Cyber Davros. She's a reckless alcoholic who is determined to perfect the cyber-conversion process for her people to survive.
Derren Nesbit plays Thomas Dodd, a black market spiff on Mondas. He sells organic bodily parts and is a pretty dodgy and distrustful character. Thomas joins the Doctor when they enter the main centre of operations at Cyber Control and discover interesting revelations.
The guest cast include the Hartley family. There's Paul Copley (who's appeared in 'Hornblower' and 'Torchwood: Children of Earth') as Mr Hartley or 'Dad'; Kathryn Guck as Yvonne Hartley and the appropriately named Jim Harley as...Frank Hartley.
The Cybermen took me by surprise when I discovered what they were. Of course I'm talking about the look of the Mondasian Cybermen, as Big Finish decided to use the 'original' ones from their first 'Doctor Who' story called 'The Tenth Planet' with William Hartnell.
These Cybermen are what I call the 'confused Cybermen'. They have very strange and weird computerised voices which...err...sounded like this...that ahh...made them sound...err...a little confused by...err...what they were going to...err...say next (wish I had this in italics).
Nick Briggs, who plays the Cybermen, does a remarkable job capturing the original 'Tenth Planet' Cybermen, making them sound really believable and authentic as they did on TV. They had these Cybermen described to the last detail, including the 'cloth' faces and all that.
They even have names. Cybermen don't usually have names but the Cyber-Commander is called 'Zheng'. This echoes the similar name-style sort of Cybermen featured in the original TV story, 'The Tenth Planet'.
The Cyber-Committee is chilling and disturbing with its descriptions and voices. It make you wonder why and what made the people of Mondas becomes like this with augmented technology. I'm not sure whether there was a mixture of voices making it all sound Borg-like.
Cybermats appear in this story! Brilliant! The Doctor screams at Nyssa angrily when she brings a Cybermat into the TARDIS. The Doctor forgave Nyssa in the end. I could easily imagine these small worm/mouse-like creatures in my head from 'The Tomb of the Cybermen'.
The scenes where Yvvone Hartley's completely cyber-converted and returns home to find her family and Nyssa are well-written. She doesn't anyone as she wants to be with her family again. The moments where she cries in her cyber-voice and dies suddenly are so sad.
'Spare Parts' became the inspiration for the new-series two-parter 'Rise of the Cybermen'/'The Age of Steel'. Similar scenes include Sally Phelan 'feeling so cold' and Peter and Rose discovering Jackie Tyler had become a Cyberman. Even Mickey Smith says he's a 'spare part'.
I like how this story isn't similar to 'Genesis of the Daleks', as that was about a psychopathic wheel-bound maniac creating the Daleks. This story focuses on the people being converted and the horrors of what happens when you lose your identity and have no emotion left.
The story's end was quite unexpected and I don't know why it should have been. The Doctor and Nyssa leave Mondas thinking they've changed its future. But Commander Zheng resurfaces after presumed dead and declares, "Doctorman Allan! We begin again!"
The CD extras are as follows. These are trailers for '...ish' with Colin Baker; 'The Rapture' with Sylvester McCoy; 'Sarah Jane Smith: Series One'; 'Dalek Empire' and 'Judge Dredd'.
'Spare Parts' is a Big Finish audio that deserves its praise! I'm very pleased with how the origins story of the Cybermen is handled. Nyssa is a well-developed character in this story as well as her relationship to the Doctor . Both Peter and Sarah deliver amazing performances.
The next story with the Doctor and Nyssa is 'Creatures of Beauty'.
This is a four part audio drama with Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Sarah Sutton reprising her role as Nyssa from that era of tv Who.
It’s a complex, surprising production that keeps you guessing as to which way it’s going to jump in terms of its direction. The 50’s setting alien world of Mondas makes you think initially that it is going to overdose on quirkiness. But then it plays out as a classic, chilling Cyberman adventure that does not downplay the horror of the conversion process or the loss of humanity and identity it involves for the poor souls involved. The Cybermen here are modelled on those of the Troughton era, with their never bettered drawn out synth voiced monotones. “Youuuuuu willll beee like usss….” Gary Russell does a fantastic job of world building on his Mondas. It’s a world stuck in the 50’s due to the squalor and retrogression caused by living underground on a dying world, whose path is wandering into that of a nebula. The underground survivors send selected enlisted parties to the surface to try and start the giant propulsion engines that may move their planet to safety. It’s a world of curfews, power-cuts, dimly lit streets, boarded up shops and homes, tram-stops, and a town-square with a huge “Committee Palace” with iron gates where the mysterious committee rule. Meanwhile cyber augmentation runs through this society like veins of silver through rock. The classic cyber-mat creatures scuttle through the streets like vermin. People have augmented budgies for pets, and cyber chest units and artificial limbs to help with medical difficulties. It’s a technology in its infancy. Meanwhile cyber augmented police on cyber augmented horses keep order. And this all heading in a direction that the Doctor, and us if we know our Who history, know only too well.
The Doctor and Nyssa arrive on Mondas, with the Doctor clearly knowing where he is and immediately filled with foreboding. They find a struggling family, the Hartleys, Yvonne (Kathryn Gluck), Dad (Paul Copley), and Frank (Jim Hartley). Dad has a chest unit and Frank dreams of being enlisted to the surface which fills Dad with horror. Dad loves his tea and Yvonne is consumptive but popular in the community and pretty much the glue in the family. The actors bring all these characters to believable life and make the distinctly odd setting believable. And when horrible cyber things do happen to certain family members, you really feel it and are appalled by it.
The Hartley’s, the Doctor and Nyssa become tied up with the comically horrible body-snatcher Thomas Dodd (Derren Nesbitt) whilst being watched by the snooping official Sisterman Constant (Pamela Binns) in discovering the terrible truth about the hidden Committee and its plans. On the way they meet a Doctor involved in leading the cyber augmentation, the conflicted Doctorman Allan, and come face to face with a Cyber nemesis Zheng (played by Big Finish stalwart Nicholas Briggs). The Doctor finds he must do what he can to bring a kind of redemption to Mondas without breaking the strictures of history, his own prime directive.
The story surprises, scares and entertains and has some truly memorable ideas, scenes and set pieces, and I won’t spoil them for you, but the revelation of the true nature of the Committee is a treat. The production scores on every level. The 50’s level is a rich and resonates with themes from that era, such as the Stalinist Committee and it’s Palace to the domestic scenes of the Hartley family. The Cybermen are a nasty and dehumanising evil here, and a fitting monster for our current age of upgrades and increasing reliance on technology and apps.
Get a copy if you can. I was staggered to see it selling on Amazon for £90, but I grabbed a copy for a tenner from a high street genre comic/book store. And you can download it for £2.99 on the Big Finish Web site.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2006
In my opinion for what it is worth is that this is simply the BEST Big Finish adventure ever. It tells the story of the origin of the Cybermen and has echoes of the rise of Nazi Germany.
Peter Davison is at his breathless frantic best and you can feel the tension rising as the story progresses and the twist at the end is unexpected but just right.
on 19 April 2015
I was not really a fan of the Big Finish 'Dr.Who' audios until a friend recommended 'Spare Parts'. I gave it a go, and was stunned. Brilliant in practically every respect. In fact, it is a candidate for the title 'Best Cyberman Story Ever'. Set during the Peter Davison era, it is an origin story for Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis' monsters, but cleverly avoids duplicating the plot of 'Genesis Of The Daleks'. Marc Platt's fine script is done justice by director Gary Russell and the cast, among them Sally Knyvette of 'Blake's 7'. Davison ( an underrated Doctor, in my view ) has never been better. Some ideas were apparently reused in the television episodes 'Rise Of The Cybermen/Age Of Steel' in 2006, but take it from me, this is superior.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2011
"We will survive!"
A great story showing the birth of the cybermen, with Peter Davison doing great acting and chilling music.With a dictorial "goverment" and 50s style rationing, Mondas is represented excellently.
Buy this CD!
on 28 June 2015
So far, I personally have not heard a Big Finish audio better than this. From the superb sound design to the performances of the cast, the whole production excels. However, for me the main plaudits have to go to Marc Platt for putting together such a great script, albeit one with a depressing atmosphere of inevitability throughout. This just shows how good Big Finish can be.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2009
This is a well-written and fairly concise story that is well worth discovering, and which offers one of the earliest glimpses in the history/origins of the Cybermen. Plus it's the Doctor's first visit to Mondas. Which has great charaterisation - the 5th Doctor & Nyssa are as you'd expect them to be, as are the supporting characters, and the parallel of rationing era post-war Britain of the early 1950's.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is the thirty fourth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
This is a corker of a story. Five and Nyssa land on a planet much like Earth, but everything seems to be underground. The Doctor has some suspicions as to where they are, which are soon borne out. He and Nyssa are soon thrown into an adventure where they are presented with a variety of moral problems regarding the formation of one of the Doctor's oldest enemies - the Cybermen. It's a story right up there with Genesis of the Daleks as a thoughtful tale with some rip-roaring adventure along the way.
The production is excellent. Nicely tying in with established Cyber-mythology, and strongly reminiscent of the Cybermen encountered by the First Doc in Tenth Planet. The gradual transformation of the proto cybermen to the fully formed article as the story progresses is achieved with subtlety and attention to detail. The script is very intelligent and emotionally literate, giving us some quite touching scenes, and a few big shocks. The supporting cast, especially Derren Nesbitt, Paul Copely and Sally Knyvette are top rate, and give us characters that we can understand and connect with. Davison and Sutton are also on great form, showing us the compassion of the characters, the panic as the situation gets out of control, and managing to explore the nature of the relationship between the two in a touching and believable way.
For me this right up there with them as one of the best Who adventures - classic TV, Nu Who, Audio, book or other medium. It stands prodly alongside Daemons, Genesis Of the Daleks or Caves of Androzani. 5 stars, I wish I could give it more.