Rise of the Cybermen
12 May 2006
Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Shaun Dingwall (Pete Tyler), Roger Lloyd Pack (John Lumic), Andrew Hayden-Smith (Jake Simmonds), Don Warrington (The President) , Mona Hammond (Rita-Anne), Helen Griffin (Mrs Moore), Colin Spaull (Mr Crane), Paul Antony-Barber (Dr Kendrick) , Adam Shaw (Morris) , Andrew Ufondo (Soldier) , Duncan Duff (Newsreader) , Paul Kasey (Cyber-Leader) , Nicholas Briggs (Cyber-Voice).
|Written by||Tom McRae|
|Directed by||Graeme Harper|
|Produced by||Julie Garner and Phil Colinson|
On a computer screen; a message has been received by a group known as ‘The Preachers’ from another figure known as ‘Gemini’. It details that the subject of the report is John Lumic, founder of Cybus Industries (est. 1982). It reports the main information on Cybus Industries; such as the profit margin of $78 billion in 2001, and a report from South America that in 2004 259,996 people went missing from within its borders.
Finally it reports the Lumic is working on his “ultimate upgrade” and then goes on to say that he must be stopped. Across the globe metal men are preparing to disembark as part of the upgrade and as the report concludes a figure resembling Mickey sits in a large blue van, watching the screen before him. He watches as the report calls for all Preachers to mobilise and as the message ends with an advertisement from Cybus Industries promoting the upcoming “ultimate upgrade”, he drives away…
- This story is somewhat similar to the Big Finish audio Spare Parts, indeed writer Marc Platt is credited at the end of the episode. Mickey’s parallel self is called Rickey, the Ninth Doctor’s name for him during the first series. This may imply the ninth Doctor has already visited this universe before, it is possible these issues will be resolved in The Age Of Steel
- This story retcons Mickey’s family history. In Rose, when Rose thinks Mickey is dead, she talks about needing to tell his mother. Here, we find that Mickey is actually an orphan — his father left, his mother died young, and his blind grandmother, who raised him, died tripping over a tear in the carpet. In the parallel timeline, Ricky‘s grandmother is still alive.
- Three previous Original Series stories dealt directly with the consequences of a universe with divergent timelines: Inferno, Day of the Daleks, and Battlefield. In addition, the existence of such alternative timelines allows various continuity issues with, say, Earth future history, to be swept under the rug, although it’s never been explicitly done.
- The TARDIS (or its console, at least) has only crossed into an alternate timestream once on-screen, in Inferno. The issues the TARDIS has with its power source here were not relevant to that story, because The Doctor had removed the console from the rest of the TARDIS and was feeding the time column with energy from a nuclear power facility (in both timelines). The TARDIS did have severe issues operating in E-Space (Full Circle, State of Decay, Warrior’s Gate), but never completely conked out.
- This story represents a break with Big Finish Audio continuity, but not the one you might think. Big Finish’s Eight Doctor adventures included an arc in which the Time Lords were strongly phobic of divergent timelines and Rassilon himself had led a crusade to eliminate them during the Old Time (itself a break with established continuity stories like Inferno). This story instead establishes that the Time Lords acted as gatekeepers between divergent timelines and had safe ways to travel between them, which are gone now that the Time Lords themselves are gone. Ironically, Don Warrington, who plays the President of Great Britain in this story, played Rassilon in those audio plays.
- While taking place in an alternate timeline, the events seen so far regarding the (re)birth of the Cybermen do not yet directly contradict events that have occurred in the “mainstream” timeline regarding Cybermen, either on-screen or in the Big Finish audio Spare Parts. We do not yet know whether John Lumic is meant to have invented these Cybermen out of whole cloth, or whether one or more of the Cyberman incursions of the 1980s (Tenth Planet, Invasion, Silver Nemesis) occurred in this alternate timeline and resulted in Cyber technology being left behind to inspire Lumic (cf. Henry van Statten in Dalek“).
- There are some significant differences between the Lumic Cybermen and the Mondasian Cybermen of the main timeline:
- Mondasian Cybermen, in all their variations, have had a chest unit that contained, among other things, a part of their respiratory apparatus, the implications having always been that the remaining biological components still need oxygen. This apparatus was a frequently-exploited weakness, particularly after it was introduced in Revenge of the Cybermen that the mechanism can be jammed up with gold dust. Lumic Cybermen lack any similar encumberance or weakness.
- It’s often implied that Mondasian Cybermen started out as piecemeal replacements that eventually got out of hand, and in several stories we see partially-converted people. Lumic Cybermen are, from the start, complete robotic suits with a human brain grafted in and some kind of biotechnology for a nervous system.
- The removal of emotions in Mondasian Cybermen and human converts has always been implied to involve surgery and/or drugs to alter the nervous system, with “Attack of the Cybermen” providing the strongest evidence for this. Lumic Cybermen have their emotions suppressed by a chip that’s part of the artificial nervous system. In both cases, however, the key reasons are similar: that, aside from philosophical questions of whether emotions are or are not a boon, a Cyber-convert would probably go insane if they could react emotionally to what’s been done to them.
- John Lumic is superficially reminiscent of Davros (Genesis of the Daleks), the creator of the Daleks, in that he is crippled and wheelchair-bound. There are significant differences, however, the key one being that Davros had no desire to become a Dalek, but rather made the Daleks in the image of what he himself had become. Lumic, on the other hand, sees the Ultimate Upgrade as his own personal salvation as well as the salvation of mankind. Similarly, Davros was deceiving his people when he said the Dalek project was about their salvation as a race, while Lumic appears to sincerely believe it.
- Lumic’s front company, International Electromatics was the name of Tobias Vaughn’s company in Invasion, which was itself a front for the Cybermen, with whom Vaughn was working. Lumic has some simliarities to Vaughn, as well, including an attachment to a particular henchman, and a willingness to kill his scientific help when they disagree with his ideas. In addition, International Electromatics was infiltrating Cyber technology into human consumer culture in the form of radios and other similar gadgets that were common when The Invasion aired in 1968. Cybus Corporation is doing something very similar with mobile phone technology and the Internet.
- Despite taking place in a divergent timeline, there are not one but two references to Torchwood in Rise of the Cybermen: once during a news telecast Rose watches on her mobile, and once at Jackie Tyler’s birthday party. There are no Torchwood references in The Age Of Steel
- In this universe, Pete Tyler was a wild success “selling health drinks to a sick world”, who never had his automobile accident (Father’s Day), but he and Jackie never had children, although Jackie has a small dog named Rose.
- The Doctor uses the phrase ‘Mickey the Idiot’, which his ninth self used in Aliens of London / World War Three.
- The concept of a Cyber Controller dates back to Tomb of the Cybermen, where he appeared with an enlarged cranial section suggesting a larger brain. That was the first time we’d seen any distinction amongst the otherwise uniform Cybermen, although there was always clearly a spokeman or someone in charge. The same Cyber Controller (even the same actor inside the suit) appeared again in Attack of the Cybermen. A different Controller appears in the audio drama Real Time.
- The concept of a Cyber Leader distinct from other troops dates to Revenge of the Cybermen and became a staple from that point forward. This story credits a Cyber Leader, but no Cyberman seen on screen appears to have the characteristic black “handlebars” on his helmet.
- The argument between The Doctor and the Cyber Controller regarding the value of emotions is reminiscent of The Doctor’s argument with the Cyber Leader in Earthshock.
- Rose realises she’s seen a Cyberman, or at least its head, before, in Van Statten’s museum in Dalek. The Doctor makes a high-speed reference to the Cybermen in Rose’s universe, thus establishing that Cyber-continuity as we knew it is not erased by this story. In particular, the story that is credited as having inspired this one, the Big Finish audio Spare Parts, has not been superceded.
- Two scenes in this story are reminiscent (without being duplications) of scenes in Spare Parts: Jackie Tyler remembers who she was after she’s been converted — just as Sisterman Constant and Thomas Dodd do. Sally Phelan’s brief moment of full awareness after The Doctor and Mrs Moore damage her emotion-suppressing chip hearkens back to the plight of Yvonne Hartley.
- The use of cold storage to preserve Cybermen dates to Tomb of the Cybermen, where they were actually in full-blown hibernation. Mickey’s cheeky line about saving the universe with a big yellow truck is probably a reference to Parting of the Ways. Blooper: at the beginning of Rise of the Cybermen, the alternate universe’s Big Ben has a square face. at the end of The Age Of Steel it’s normal.