BBC Audio adventure, Nov. 2 - Dec. 21, 1968
While this story features the Cybermen, we don’t see them until later in the adventure and the real villain is Tobias Vaughn. His ego is amazing but just what the heck is he, who can tell? He hasn’t been converted as a Cyberman yet but is invulnerable to guns. Hmmm. Okay, how did that happen!? He’s definitely vulnerable to Cyberguns, though, as that’s what takes him out eventually. It all gets kind of mucky at the end and I just haven’t a clue how the good guys do win.
The good guys being the Doctor, Jamie, Zoe, and the Brigadiere in this one! This is the first adventure with UNIT as an organization. The Brigadiere was just a Colonel in The Web of Fear, where he first appeared. And they are definitely well organized, UNIT! The Cybermen seem to put up with a lot of ego and posturing from Vaughn before they decide he isn’t required anymore. Why they even bother to agree to anything he says is part of the reason this is just a good audio, not a very good one. Why would they need him past the part where everyone’s enslaved, anyway?
And the ending interview with Frazer Hines is great! He said that he and Patrick Troughton had people whispering in their ear to move on to other things. Otherwise, since they were having such fun with Doctor Who, they would’ve had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the show. Ahhh, the follies of youth! But the times they had, they were definitely good and set a precedent for later Doctors and companions. Jamie learned something of working the TARDIS and technology, despite being from a rather early industrial period. And he far outlasts the other companions of the second Doctor, though I am curious why he’s not around for the Doctor’s transformation into John Pertwee and how he left. Can’t be as bad as some of the other companions, like Charley, for example.
This adventure didn’t really deserve three discs, though. Chief security officer Packer is really an incompetent security guy but it does allow for a lot of running around by the Doctor and Jamie and plenty of helicopter high jinx. And the Cybermen depending on humans to reactivate them? That seems rather foolish and trusting of them. Normally they’d have the humans more under their control. So even the villains of the piece have their teeth removed until the very end, so to speak. I still love the Cyberman theme and their voices are just as silly as usual in this one. But they’re still my favorite Who villain! They just aren’t the tacticians the Daleks are, are they?
Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, and Wendy Padbury
writer: Derrick Sherwin, from a story by Kit Pedler
director: Douglas Camfield
read by: Frazer Hines