The Tomb of the Cybermen is one of those classic stories, that seem to evoke memories - memories of the first time you saw the awesome power of the Cybermen, little knowing how formidable they would evolve into being over the years in more stories with more Doctors. While the Cybermen had appeared in Doctor Who before (The Tenth Planet, with the First Doctor in 1966, and The Moonbase, with the Second Doctor in 1967), this, I think is the first time the audience gets to see just how organised, widespread and frightening the Cybermen are, given their clear organisational skills and strategies for domination. These are not just random aliens, they're an entire civilisation. And they seem to be everywhere.
This reading is of the novelisation (by Gerry Davis) of this story from late 1967, which features the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) with his companions Jamie, and Victoria Waterfield in only her second story after being rescued by the Doctor from the Daleks who killed her father in Victorian England. To start with, she seems a reserved and proper Victorian miss, but even in the development of this story, she shows an intelligence and a backbone that will stand her in good stead in future stories.
The Doctor and his crew land in the Tardis on a planet, which they learn when encountering a team of archaeologists and others is Telos, the home of the Cybermen, who apparently died out some centuries earlier. But the Doctor, clearly to us, is suspicious from the start, and when access to the Cybermen's tombs is clearly based on advanced human scientific and mathematical knowledge, the Doctor is convinced that a trap is about to be sprung. But unfortunately for everyone involved on Telos, there are more schemes and more plots hatching than even the Doctor may suspect.
Given that this is only a four episode story, there's a lot going on. There's the expedition with their mix of different professions and the ship's crew, intent on remaining alive long enough to get off Telos, and the Doctor with his friends. And then there are the Cybermen, with their Cybermats. What do the Cybermen intend, and will the Doctor be able to stop them and the others with evil on their mind from unleashing a potentially unstoppable horror on the universe?
This narration of the story is read by Michael Kilgarriff, who played the Cyber Controller in the originally televised story. Given that he's now in his mid-70s, his voice is strong and vibrant; you can imagine him as a man of presence, which would fit with his playing a larger than life character in 1967. It may seem a strange choice for narrator, but believe me it really works. His voice and his reading are spot on for this story; methodical and clear, and wonderfully emotive where required; even his rendering of Victoria and the mysterious Kaftan are absolutely convincing. The Cyber voices are done by Nicholas Briggs.
This is a great story, and it's great to hear it in its novelised form and in this really great reading. I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end, and look forward to listening to it again and again.