1967 – the year The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their first album, and the year of the Summer of Love.
This is… The 4-episode serial which started the trend of Cybermen bursting through cellophane.
The previous run of stories for Troughton’s Doctor had begun with a serial in which some monstrous icons of the show were disturbed from their stasis and awakened. This time, as the Daleks were presumed to have left the show permanently, the newer though not quite as popular monster-regulars the Cybermen were the foes of story.
Although The Power of the Daleks was of a previous broadcast-run, the fourth production block of Doctor Who began with The Tenth Planet and ended with The Tomb of the Cybermen – so this story was of the tradition of holding over a serial for the start of the next “season”. (Already it can be seen the Cybermen are the big “event monster” now as the Daleks have departed.)
Innes Lloyd would continue to be the producer of Doctor Who after Tomb, though Gerry Davis was departing as story editor (the writer credit of this Cybermen story was his), to be replaced by Peter Bryant as story editor after this serial.
(Confusingly for a clearly understood sequential history of Doctor Who the producer and script editor credits for Tomb are Peter Bryant and just-for-this Victor Pemberton – Peter Bryant would be the regular producer from 1968’s The Web of Fear onwards though.)
Broadcasts: 4 episodes on 4 Saturdays of September 1967, 17:50 on BBC1.
Continuity notes: The Doctor speaks of his people – a rare occurrence – in a lovely scene with Victoria.
“I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they… they sleep in my mind and I forget. And so will you. Oh yes, you will. You’ll find there’s so much else to think about. To remember. Our lives are different to anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.”
Programme ethos: The Second Doctor’s curiosity is stronger in this serial than any urgent credo that the monsters must not be allowed to emerge onto the planet, a belief which is on show in his first story.
Precursors: The films The Mummy (1959) and The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964) both of which include George Pastell who plays this story’s Eric Klieg!
Sound and Vision: The iconic music which soundtracks the Cybermen emerging from their Tomb is actually stock music: Space Adventure by Martin Slavin, though also used in the earlier Cybermen stories The Tenth Planet and The Moonbase as a Cybertheme.
World of Fandom: This was considered the Holy Grail of lost stories, or at least one of the Holy Grails, so its recovery from Hong Kong in 1991 was greeted with a rapturous welcome.
As well as being a great story, it’s the only archive-complete story of the Troughton’s first two seasons (because of the standard Sixties TV practice of “junking” episodes).
The 2009 DWM readers’ poll of 200 stories – its ranking: #25.
On Doctor Who: Revisitations DVD boxset – also on an earlier single-DVD release.
Next Wednesday – Doctor Who 1968…