on 6 May 2011
This oft-criticised mid 80s offering features Colin Baker as The Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as his Lycra-clad whingeing American botanist travelling companion - with heart-attack inducing shocking pink leotard/shorts combo; only in the eighties! - With guest stars of the calibre of Brian Glover and Maurice Colbourn, plus the eponymous alien threat, this should be classic Doctor Who; but although it's still watchable it's uneven tone and excessive violence mean it doesn't quite live up to its potential. With the late-lamented Michael Kilgariff as an inappropriately portly Cyberleader, and the poorly realised 'Cryons' (including future Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene among their number), it is easy to see why it gets some flak, however, despite some forgettable moments, (The Doctor rising from the ground wearing the helmet of a fake policeman he'd just battered is just one inexplicable example), this is a pleasingly dark and claustrophobic story with some great moments too - the TARDIS' chameleon circuit (briefly) working provides some good humour.
Perhaps this particular serial would have been better as a three parter instead of the two 45 minute episode format that the production team inexplicably adopted towards the end of The Fifth Doctor's tenure, but as a companion piece to the less impressive 'Resurrection of the Daleks' - both featuring scheming intergalactic mercenary 'Lytton' - and despite its flaws, this is rather satisfying piece of 80s drama.
DVD extras are actually pretty impressive, and include a potted history of the Cybermen from their 1966 debut right through until their most recent appearance in 40 years later; looking at how the costume design has changed, and exploring how Cyber technology may soon become a reality; an intriguing making-of documentary, 'Cold War', that raises the question of who actually wrote the serial; and the obligatory PDF files, stills from the shoot, and commentaries. The package as a whole is okay and if you're a fan like me'll you'll definitely want this in your DVD collection no matter what its shortcomings.
on 19 July 2015
Colin Baker has often remarked that when given the role of Doctor Who he wanted a 'dark costume' not dissimilar to the leather jacket worn by the 9th Doctor. And I could certainly see how the 9th could have fitted in quite comfortably in this tale of gangland villains and Cybermen in the London sewers - and how such a costume would have helped Colin convincingly portray a more pugilistic action man approach to the role.
I always find that the 1st episode of this story maintains my interest with the mix of an adult story of violent gangsters planning a heist and the usual Dr Who tropes. In many ways this is quite a fresh and contemporary episode putting the Dr in an unexpected environment - with a real threat. So taken am I with the contemporary setting and characters - the move from West London to Telos is a move back to standard Dr Who - rebels against the overlords plotline - there are some great moments in part 2 but it is more uneven and these have already been pointed out on the other review on this page - so I won't enumerate them again. I've probably watched episode one more times than two - because it is still so fresh and new.
As is the case with nearly all of Colin's 1st season - there is some controversy regarding the level of violence. I find this odd from long term fans because Phillip Hinchcliffe's tenure of Doctor Who as the golden age - and this too was very violent (with numerous gory shootings and knifings).
What does interest me is the reaction to the hand crushing of one of the characters by the Cybermen. Personally I find this truly the stuff of nightmares and really does exploit the fear of cold logic matched with boundless strength and no empathy. As a schoolboy I recall being disgusted watching another child coldly and methodically dismembering an insect leaving just the twitching torso. The legs and wings fastidiously arranged into neat little piles. For me that attitude to living things is the dread that the Cybermen evoke - and which, so far, has been rarely explored overtly on the TV series. There was recently some hype about 'making the Cybermen scary again' on the new series, but nothing before or since has ever approached the visceral horror of that scene. I understand from the DVD commentary that they originally included the sound effect of bones being broken - but this was deemed too much. I agree - the idea alone is enough to make once squeamish.
I've never had a problem with Colin Baker as Doctor Who and I remember much preferring his bold style to the rather 'weak tea vicar' fifth incarnation. I like the way his Doctor just fearlessly and heedlessly charges into every adventure and situation with poor Peri clinging onto his coat tails for dear life! Poor Peri has every justification for whining! And despite its many detractors - I quite like the coat of many colours. This doctor is really 'a madman in a box' - and it makes me laugh to see the unconvincing posturing of the 10th and 11th doctors acting tough when compared to the 6th doctor. If it was a punch up between these doctors my money would be on the 6th every time - funny coat or not.
So I would recommend this DVD as both entertaining and a historical document of Doctor Who attempting something fresh and new with the character and the format. Not fully successful , for one reason or another Dr Who on TV rarely is, but well worth your time.
on 8 February 2010
Attack of the Cybermen has to be my favorite of the original series Cyber stories.
New, slightly "unstable" Doctor played beautifully by Colin Baker and supported by a great cast of strong actors.
The strength of the Cybermen really comes together well in this as does the constant referrals to people, adventures and times gone by.
The repair of the Camelion circuit and the arrival in Foremans scrap yard are a highlight as is the takeover of the Tardis by the Cybermen.
The only letdowns are the costuming of the Cryons and a somewhat "well fed" Cyber Controller, however don't let this deter you as this is a classic well worth your time and effort!
Plenty of extras on this dvd. overall an EXCELLENT buy!Doctor Who - Attack of the Cybermen [DVD] 
on 12 May 2013
Well, isn't it? Cybermen get the Sayward treatment, all of the Cyberman stuff in one big story, and in the end everybody's dead. It's even got Terry Molloy in it.
And in the main it's good; all the right bits in all the right places, or thereabouts. A well made Who.
Colin Baker starts off pompous and annoying, but that passes, and the return to Totters Lane is spurious at best, and the chameleon circuit thing might as well have been a JNT publicity stunt for all it has to do with the story... oh, hang on, it was a JNT publicity stunt. It is a shame that those sinister policemen don't get a better exit. I feel quite sorry for them.
And then there's the Cryons, and apparently the story is all about them; they nearly work too. Once Upon a Time Telos was home to a race of people that were slim and beautiful and accomplished and somehow very annoying in a way that it's really very hard to put your finger on. Admittedly they do look good.
So the story is about a bloke that used to work for the Daleks, heading up a firm of armed robbers to steal a time vessel and thereby screw up the plans of the Cybermen, and his paymasters are these altruistic, but otherwise very cold Cryons. OK, dafter things have certainly been put on telly, and the Sweeney-style villains seem to work, even if the bits of West London they work in do look rather dull. There's one downside with Attack; most of it happens in non-photogenic places.
There are Cybermen in the sewers of London - left over from The Invasion in 1968, shame they're not of the same design, now that would be cool! - and there's lots of humans in varying stages of conversion, which is laudably gruesome, and there's a black Cyberman wandering around as well for some reason (we never find out why). The Cybermen's plan is to change history so that Mondas destroys Earth in the Tenth Planet (1966) rather than the other way round. Understanding this story is much easier if you're a fan - I said *easier* not easy.
There is good acting, notably from Michael Attwell, Brian Glover and Maurice Colbourne (none of them saw the age of 65, and Mr Colbourne never got as far as 50 - great losses to the profession). I'm not sure who thought that Terry Molloy was going to be natural casting for undercover cop, especially with Billy Murray and Alan Ford in the business.
Moving us nicely to gratuitous violence; it's not actually a very violent story, so it's a bit of a shock when the Cybermen crush Lytton's hands (OK, Bates did give Griffiths a nasty squeeze earlier on). It does seem a bit out of place, and I have to wonder if Deadly Assassin had been considered and a false correlation drawn between high ratings and the annoyance of Mary Whitehouse; 'If we annoy Mary Whitehouse the ratings will go up'. No, Mr Nathan-Turner, the ratings go up if you tell a good story. Now, how do I explain this...
There is a lot of story here, but not necessarily all good. Occasionally there seems to a surfeit of ideas in the mix, and at the start the Doctor runs around doing really something so close to nothing that it might as well be nothing, and that by the time we get to the highly laudable punchline about badly misjudging Lytton it's too late; the dichotomy between his villainous exterior and his heart of gold has never really been played hard enough, nor sufficiently close to centre stage. It rather gets lost in the muddle.
on 21 August 2012
Colin Baker - The Doctor
Nichola Bryant - Peri
(Ranked 161 in DWM'S 2009, Mighty 200, Pol)
Nichola Bryant is great The Cybermen are great, Colin Baker is not that bad in this one however the Cryons annoy me a little. Still, great release and a great story!
Be aware that this is a single disc release not 2 as stated in the description but there are still plenty extras included here, enough for most tastes.
The story has quite a few strands working together the Cybermen trying to use Halley's comet to destroy the Earth, prisoners on Telos trying to steal a ship to escape, a fake bank robbery and Telos' original inhabitants the Cryons seeking revenge on the Cybermen. Not all of these work to the same standard and the first episode is generally viewed as being the better of the two.
Like many people I did not take to the Cryons at all, that might have changed if they were filmed as they were originally conceived but to me they just look silly but the chunky Cyber-controller makes up for some of that disappointment.
With decent actors like Maurice Colbourne and a nice vein of humour largely focused through Brian Glover, both of whom are now sadly deceased, oh and Peri's pink outfit which is fairly well discussed in the very interesting commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Terry Molloy and Sarah Berger who reveal many things including that there was an underwear thief at the BBC at that time.
The extras include a documentary about the making of the show which highlights the disagreements over several plot areas. It was meant to be slightly more violent, the Cryons were written as males, there's even dispute over who was responsible for coming up with the actual plot itself.
There's a nice look at the history of the Cybermen that examines how the design has changed over the years as budgets increased and a brief look at the possible future of cybernetic implants in humans.
As a whole it's a pretty decent package and one that I will be watching fairly often.
on 9 July 2014
Something of a mixed bag: a convoluted plot, but actually quite a good one. Plenty of action and possibly too many deaths. Colin Baker's first full season is off to a good start in a story that might have been better suited as the regeneration story.
Plot: There is some argument over the authorship of this with both Ian Levine and Eric Saward claiming responsibility. The script reads like Saward and Levine had no track record, so I think it unlikely that Saward would have allowed him to write it. On the other hand the convoluted plot heavily influenced by previous cybermen stories, some of which no longer existed (at the time) is pure Levine (Continuity Adviser). It is probable that Levine had a hand in crafting the plot, and suggesting things that could be input. Despite the reliance on the past, it is not actually necessary to know about the past stories as the relevant parts are explained soon enough.
Script: This is a very good script, all of the parts given something of substance to deal with and enabling all of the characters to get moments in the limelight. The cybermen don't fare so well with a Leader, Lieutenant and Controller all competing to get lines and explanations. Once the controller appears, the other two are merely there to recite lines, which is a shame. Also the death of all of the principle non-regulars makes this quite a blood-thirsty story, despite which all of the deaths make some sense, except perhaps Stratton, Bates and Griffiths. It might have been nice if someone escaped, though I understand Saward's reasons for not allowing this.
Design: The big design blunder here is the Cyber-tombs which bear no resemblance to the original story. Somewhat forgiveable at the time since only photographs existed, but more noticeable now. The Cryons are well defined, with their heads and voices being very different from the norm.
Acting: Universally super acting, though Michael Kilgariff could have been replaced with a thinner actor (nothing wrong with his voice though). In particular Maurice Colbourne, Brian Griffiths & Michael Attwell. All of this helps to sell the story.
Direction: Very good, the outdoor scenes set the tone and the whole thing looks slick and well made.
on 24 January 2011
Attack of the Cybermen offers a bold and ambitious start to Colin Baker's first full season as The 6th Doctor. With some great locations, acting and nods to the shows past, the serial is a generally enjoyable 88 minutes.
There are, however, a few let-downs, which prevented the story from reaching its full potential.
The role of the Cyber Controller didn't really work, as David Banks' Cyber Leader had already been established within the story, and is more than a powerful enough adversary for The Doctor to face off with.
The musical score for the story, has to be one of the worst in the shows entire history, and ends up sounding both messy and terribly dated. That being said, the brief theme for The Cryons had great potential and was sadly underused.
The script also had its fair share of pitfalls, with most of the meatier dialogue given to Maurice Colbourne, who, to be fair, was instrumental in most of the areas that this story succeeds in.
The DVD release is packed with some top quality features that not only compliment, but help to mend the way for those who may feel a little short-changed by the serial itself.
'The Cold War' looks at the making of Attack of the Cybermen, and features interviews with Actors; Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Terry Molloy (Russell) and Sarah Berger (Rost), Writer; Eric Saward, Director; Matthew Robinson, Continuity Advisor; Ian Levine, and Film Cameraman; Godfrey Johnson.
It proves to be an insightful breakdown of the genesis of the story, and may even surprise some fans when the authorship of the story comes into discussion.
'The Cyber Story' blasts off with an awesome CGI introductory title sequence, and offers an in-depth look at the genesis of the Cybermen, and how there is a basis of plausibility behind their concept. Featuring interviews with Director; Morris Barry, Writer; Eric Saward, Designers; Sandra Reid and Dinah Collins, Cybermen Actor; Mark Hardy, Cybermen Voice Artist; Roy Skelton and Professor Kevin Warwick.
'Human Cyborg' features an extended version of the interview with Kevin Warwick (Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University), from the previous feature, who, as well as being a self-proclaimed Doctor Who fan, is heralded as the worlds first Human Cyborg.
The feature looks at the possibility of whether Cybermen could exist, as Kevin unveils some of his experiments, beliefs and ideas. This is a DVD extra that is bound to capture the minds of all fans of The Cybermen, as well as educating with surprising clarity.
'The Cyber-Generations' is a pictorial guide to the different types of Cybermen throughout the year s, displayed in chronological order. With photos from lost stories that some fans will never have seen before, it is great to have such a concise guide to one of The Doctors greatest villains. (The title sequence isn't quite as mind-blowing as 'The Cyber Story', however).
The 'Coming Soon Trailer' is for the forthcoming Image of the Fendahl DVD release. As with the other trailers, it fails to disappoint, with tight scene cutting and an energetic music track that work well together.
The 'Audio Commentary' features Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Terry Molloy (Russell) for Part One, with Sarah Berger (Rost) replacing Terry Molloy for Part Two. Colin in particular, provides a thoroughly entertaining narrative, thanks to his knowledge of the show, coupled with some choice one-liners - he also directs the conversation perfectly. Colin and Nicola's on-screen chemistry, carries itself off-screen for this commentary, as the pair share both affection and memories which are a genuine joy to hear.
As with previous DVD releases, the usual Photo Gallery, Info Text, Trails & Continuity and Radio Times Listings are included. There's also a Dalek related Easter Egg hidden somewhere within the menu system.
Although this release may not house the best example of Classic Who, the features are representative of some of the best examples of the impressive quality and effort that goes into the Doctor Who DVD range.
on 16 April 2009
This story is from season 22 in 1985,screened shortly before the infamous
hiatus,when the BBC pulled the show for 18 months.One of the reasons given
at the time was the excessive violence being shown,looking at it today i
think they had a point.A scene in episode 2 showing Lytton's hands covered
in blood was far too gratuitous for a family teatime show.
Whilst not exactly a classic,its still entertaining in parts,and im sure
fans of the new series will find much to enjoy here.Episode 1 sets up the
story,moves at a good pace,eerie in parts especially the scenes set in the
sewers,although a minor gripe is that the Doctor and Peri are excluded
from much of the action with a lot of inane running back and forth.
But its in episode 2 that things start to go a wee bit pear shaped.
What on earth was the script editor thinking of,littering the serial with
references to past stories that the general viewing public wouldn't have a
clue about.Repeated viewings by myself and i still cant fathom some bits
of the story.
But anyway enough rambling,in its defence it did gain healthy viewing
figures on its original screening and despite of the overloading
continuity i still give this story 4/5.
on 21 July 2014
I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in this one. I never really was a big fan of Colin Baker as Dr Who and this DVD is not his strongest performance as the Doctor. Somehow the Cybermen costumes are a bit unconvincing, especially the cyberleader. Its a perfectly OK story but not in the same league as previous Cybermen adventures. Give me Patrick Troughton in Tomb Of The Cybermen any day.