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5.0 out of 5 stars Discovering more Cybermen from their Tombs on Telos!, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen (Classic Novels) (Audio CD)
Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, there wasn't much availability in terms of videos to watch `Doctor Who' stories. The only way fans could enjoy a `Doctor Who' story again and again, was by reading the Target novelisations provided for them based on the original TV scripts when it was first transmitted.

`Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen' was written and published in 1976 based on the original scripts for 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' back in 1967. More recently in 2013, AudioGo has produced a lavish audiobook reading on the novelisation of that story with Michael Kilgarriff reading and Nicholas Briggs providing the Cybermen voices. I bought this on holiday in Chester last summer, and just recently listened to it all the way through while reading the book that I purchased just recently. I really enjoyed the experience listening and reading the book of the story. It kept my attention all the way through, with such descriptive detail and dramatic plot threads with characters and situations.

Gerry Davis wrote the novelisation of the story based on the original TV scripts he did with Kit Pedler (who co-created the Cybermen) in 1976. Davis has only just recently scripted the Tom Baker story 'Revenge of the Cybermen' and much of the influence from that story is resonant here. The novel provides a more richer atmosphere and setting to the story compared to what was shown on TV. The story feels more cinematic than ever before. It's still the same plot and character dialogue throughout the story, but it's still enjoyable as more input in the characters' thoughts and feelings is added.

From the front cover of the story, it was originally intended to have Patrick Troughton's Doctor against the Cybermen in their Tomb versions. But BBC insisted that Target only used the current Doctor - Tom Baker - on the front covers, so it had to be abandoned. You can see what the front cover would have looked with Patrick Troughton inside the CD casing under Disc 1. Instead we have a Cyberman adorning the Tombs of Telos - yes that is the wrong Cyberman, I know. They used 'The Invasion' Cybermen for the front cover. I like the Invasion Cybermen very much, but it's odd they used them for that front cover for the 'Tomb' novelisation. But it was the only Cyberman photo and portrait they had at the time for artist Alistair Pearson to contend with, which is strange. But despite what the front cover looks like, the story's still very exciting.

There's a introduction to start off the story detailing how the Cybermen came to be entombed on the planet Telos, that's only about a few pages. It's an interesting introduction to start off with, although the writer seems to have made the mistake of stating the Cybermen originally came from Telos and claims it's their home planet whereas it's not since it's Mondas that's their home planet. The Cyber Controller re-emphasises the point they came from Mondas, contradicting the earlier statement made in the introduction.

In this story we get to know more about the characters from the story such as Victoria. Victoria is wearing a dress that she picked up from the TARDIS wardrobe that former companion Polly wore, which is very interesting and should be noted in mind when watching the TV story as to where she got the dress from. Also Victoria's changing opinion of Kaftan from being an admirer of her to being shocked by her actions was very interesting to read. Klieg's intellectual snobbishness is emphasised more strongly in this, especially when he has doubts at first controlling the Cybermen to his moment of madness to being `master of the universe'. It's a tense sequence, and even when reading or listening to it from the audiobook it makes for dramatic purpose.

The question of how Telos should be pronounced is debatable. Some say 'Tee-los', some say 'Tel-los'. I prefer the latter, but it's still an uncertainty that's raised today.

For the audiobook, Michael Kilgarriff reads the story. Michael Kilgarriff played the Cyber Controller in the original TV story for `The Tomb of the Cybermen'. It's interesting he's reading this since he had nothing to say during the story since all he had to do is open and close his mouth and somebody else spoke the lines for him. It's great to hear him reading this since he's a radio actor and has that deep voice providing a such a richness when reading the novel. I enjoyed listening to his voice telling the story, since it was very unusual yet very exciting hearing the Cyber Controller in his actual voice.

I liked how Kilgarriff provides voices for the characters. I liked his interpretation of Viner who's very panicky and nervous when he's in the Tombs of the Cybermen. I like how Viner redeems himself in the story when he attempts to shut down the reviving process freezing up the Cybermen again, since he was rather intellectually dismissive and too obsessed with recording his calculations. I liked Kilgarrif's strong Scottish accent for Jamie, which helps to visualise Jamie clearly even though it's not the clear Scots acent Frazer would use (more like Hamish Wilson really). I found his voice for Kleig a little more aggressive compared to how George Pastell played him in the actual story, but this is made up when he plays Kaftan providing silky and soothing tones for her exotic Arabian tones.

I liked how Kilgarriff read the scene between the Doctor and Victoria which is also included in the novel as well as the TV story. This is much more lighter and calmer scene compared to the action sequences happening in the story. Although Kilgarriff doesn't get the voices right for Victoria and the Doctor, it's still a nice scene throughout and well calmly read.

The Cybermen voices are provided by Nicholas Briggs during certain chapters of the story, mostly in the later half for Discs 3 and 4. Nick Briggs does wonders with the Cybermen voices, making them sound like they were in the TV story. The Cybermen voices are low and very electronic, as Nick provides the right pitch and level for the voices when speaking to the characters. I liked how Nick did that slow-motion sequence when the Cyber Controller couldn't get into the revitalization chamber, matching exactly what was on TV. I was happy with the Cyber voices in this audiobook, and was sad when the book was finished that there were no more of those Cyber voices to listen to since it's contained on two discs.

Reading the Cybermen in the book was great as they sound exactly right with their dialogue matching what was in the TV story. The Cyber Controller's still the same, although has a blackened head which he didn't have in the TV story. This is because Gerry Davis was following on from what he wrote in `Revenge of the Cybermen' since the Cyber Leader in that had a black head, although I don't think he should had deceived the readers to what was actually on the screen. The Cybermats also derive slightly from `Revenge' since they have stings in their tales rather than gnashing teeth.

At the time this was published, `The Tomb of the Cybermen' was a lost story from the BBC Archives. So Gerry Davis has to rely on his imagination and experiences to convey what he remembered from the story to make it so rich and exciting. How could he have known that the story would later be found at a TV station in Hong Kong years later?

On the CDs themselves, the endings of each disc don't match with what was on telly since most of the endings overlap from the original cliffhangers. The first disc ends with Kleig causing a tremor in the Tomb building with a power overload with the Doctor shouting `You fool! Why couldn't you leave it alone?!' The second disc ends with Kaftan closing the hatch, locking the Doctor party inside the tombs. And the third disc ends with Captain Hopper leaving the Tomb building after saving the Doctor and others from the Cybermen locking them down in their tombs with the hatch closed. The novel ends rather abruptly with the Doctor and others saying goodbye to Professor Parry with him apologising for all the deaths that happened with the Doctor saying `I know, I know.' So structurally the story's different compared to what was on TV both in novel form and on audiobook.

I enjoyed reading and listening to `Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen'. It must have been exciting for fans to read this book when the story wasn't available back in the day. I enjoyed the audiobook with Michael Kilgarriff reading and Nick Briggs providing the Cybermen voices. It's such an interesting addition to the Cybermen story that provides more depth and insight, and it was really enjoyable to experience more of the classic story in prose form as well as audio.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Feb 2014 13:29:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Feb 2014 13:31:27 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Yup it's official Tim Bradleys been converted to a Cyberman so I'm looking forward to the Tim Bradley converted Cyberman action figure at Forbidden Planet in stock soon lol.

Great review Tim & keep these safe as they be a rarity no Audio Go no more.

Ienjoyed the review & although I'm more interested in BF full cast Doctor Who I did enjoy this audiobook very much.

You have written a exellent constructed review Tim.

P.s Dark Eye's 2 is available now & my copy on way I hope it's here for my Birthday tomorrow.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Feb 2014 13:43:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Feb 2014 13:44:07 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
Tim Bradley Cyberman figure! I like that! I'll go and buy that one! lol

I'm currently doing a Cyberman story of my own with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, so I'm enjoying watching and listening to Cybermen stories as part of my research till the end of the month.

That's a shame about AudioGo. I hoped it would recover. Feel sorry for those who pre-ordered stuff from AudioGo and not going to get them. I wouldn't mind hearing 'The Space Museum' or 'Full Circle' audiobook novelisations.

Glad you enjoyed this review. This is the third of my reviews on a Target novelization range with audiobook - the first being 'Time Warrior' and second being 'Black Orchid'.

Thanks for your comments.

Hope you'll get your 'Dark Eyes 2' tomorrow for your birthday. Tim.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2014 21:34:12 GMT
With Random House now having taken over the BBC licence from Audio Go there is the possibility that these releases could be restarted - I hope so, since they've been a series that I've really enjoyed collecting.

Time, as someone once said, will tell, it always does.
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