The Fourth Dimension
The Tomb of the Cybermen
The Cybermen return for their third adventure with the dome headed Cyber Controller making his first appearance in the series. The Sixth Doctor would return to Telos and the ‘Cyber tombs’ once again in the 1986 adventure, Attack of the Cybermen, in which he would also meet the Cyber Controller again.
Early titles for this adventure were The Ice Tombs of Telos and The Cybermen Planet.
COUNTING THE YEARS
Near the start of this adventure the Doctor tells Victoria that he is about 450 years old.
A young Clive Merrison plays Jim Callum. Merrison would become a familiar face to British audiences starring in many TV, radio, film and stage productions, most notably in the stage and film versions of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys and as Sherlock Holmes on BBC Radio 4. Merrison would eventually return to Doctor Who as the Deputy Chief Caretaker in the Seventh Doctor adventure, Paradise Towers.
SILENT BUT DEADLY
Toberman was originally intended to be deaf and to wear a hearing aid, which is why he has very little to say throughout the story.
BEHIND THE MASK
The Cyber Controller is played by the very tall Michael Kilgarriff, although the voice, like all of the Cybermen here, is provided by Peter Hawkins. Kilgarriff would later play the giant robot in the Fourth Doctor’s first adventure, Robot, and would once again play the Cyber Controller in Attack of the Cybermen, this time with his own voice.
Whilst comforting Victoria about the recent death of her father, the Doctor mentions his own family, reassuring Victoria that, despite his age, he can still remember them when he wants to.
The strange little Cybermat creatures make their first appearance in this adventure and are apparently the robotic ‘pets’ of the Cybermen. The Cybermats would return, although looking slightly different in The Wheel in Space and Revenge of the Cybermen. They also make an appearance in the Doctor Who Adventure Game, Blood of the Cybermenand menaced the Eleventh Doctor and Craig in Closing Time. They may look cute but they have a nasty bite!
COOKLIN AS KAFTAN
The exotic Kaftan was played by actress Shirley Cooklin who, at the time, was the wife of Peter Bryant, the then producer of Doctor Who. The role of this strong and determined woman was, in fact, especially written for her.
The scenes outside the tombs on the surface of Telos were filmed at the Gerrards Cross Sand and Gravel Quarry. The same location was used for Telos when filming took place almost twenty years later for Attack of the Cybermen.
DVD AND AUDIO RELEASE
Missing from the BBC archives for many years, all four episodes of The Tomb of the Cybermen was eventually discovered in Hong Kong in 1993. The story was the first black-and-white Doctor Who adventure to be released on DVD and includes a commentary from companion actors, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. The full audio soundtrack, with narration by Frazer Hines, has been released on CD and for MP3 download by BBC Audio.