Kroton was a Cyberman who has appeared in Doctor Who Weekly / Monthly / Magazine on and off since 1979. His last appearance (as of the time of writing) was in 2000 – this makes him one of the longest running reoccurring characters in Doctor Who spin-off media.
Kroton’s saga began in Throwback : Soul of a Cyberman
- Throwback: The Soul of a Cyberman
- Ship of Fools
- Unnatural Born Killers
- The Company of Thieves – (with 8th Doctor) Doctor Who Magazine 284-286 (17 November 1999 – 12 January 2000)
- The Glorious Dead – (with 8th Doctor) Doctor Who Magazine 287-296
- The Scarlet Empress (Novel) – Kroton is mentioned as having once been a travelling companion of Iris Wildthyme.
For a long time most Doctor Who fans assumed that the name “Kroton” was probably a reference to the crystalline alien species “The Krotons” encountered by the 2nd Doctor in the story of the same name – but apparently this was not the case.
Steeve Moore, Kroton’s creator, was interviewed by the Altered Vistas website and commented on his creation :
“The name, incidentally, comes from the ancient Greek colony of Kroton, in southern Italy, where Pythagoras established a school of philosophy!” (Steeve Moore)
More light is shed on Kroton’s development elsewhere in the interview :
Altered Vistas: ‘Throwback: The Soul of a Cyberman’ introduces your first great contribution to the Doctor Who comic strip: Kroton the Cyberman with emotions, who returned in Ship of Fools and later became a regular character in the main DW strip in the 1990s. Was he envisaged as a one-off or always intended to return? Aside from a busy letters page in the magazine, how do you know when a character has ‘legs’ and a story worth pursuing?
Steve Moore: I’m pretty sure that when I wrote that first Kroton story, I had no idea of reviving him at all. After all, I was probably writing three or four stories a week at the time, and that doesn’t give you a lot of time to plan ahead! So my attitude used to just be: ‘think of an idea, use it today, think of another one tomorrow.’ … As for the return in “Ship of Fools”, I really can’t remember whether Dez had told me the character was popular or not. I never used to bother to read the letters page anyway, as I guessed it would be fixed to throw a positive light on everything, so I can’t honestly say whether the idea of reviving Kroton was my idea or came from the readers via the office. That second story was one of my favourites, though… but I had no idea that the character continued to appear in later stories, because once I left the magazine I just lost touch with it.
AV: Indeed he did. Kroton reappeared in the 1990s (almost nineteen years later) alongside the Eighth Doctor. By this time he was quite a wise-cracking character seemingly quite at odds with your original conception. If you’d known, would you have approved of this development? How would you have developed the character? Did you even see any potential development left in him?
SM: I didn’t know at the time, and no, I probably wouldn’t have approved. From what little I’ve seen of this stuff, it looks to be a complete transformation of the original character… he’s now less a ‘Cyberman with a soul’, more just a human being in a funny suit. It’s far too far a move away from the original. If I’d done anything else with him, it would have been to continue with the character pretty much as he was… only a little different from a normal Cyberman, and still very much the “innocent abroad” that he was in Ship of Fools. The later characterisation just seems far too knowing to me. But I don’t know if I ever would have done anything else with Kroton… I never really thought that far ahead at the time.
Kroton was a junior Cyberleader who was among those sent from Telos to assist in the invasion and management of the planet Mondaran.
He quickly began to question his superiors and began to fight back as he discovered his emotions, he helped a group of Mondarains to escape their planet and Cyberman rule. The ship they used to escape was low on fuel and rather than maroon himself to die on a jungle planet set off into space to drift alone he deactivated himself. (Throwback: The Soul of a Cyberman)
A cruise ship travelling through space stuck in a lateral stasis field found Kroton’s ship and reactivated him. While on the ship he sought to remove it from the stasis loop that it was in so that the mortal passengers all rapidly aged and died, leaving Kroton on his own yet again. (Ship of Fools)
After that Kroton travelled around space fighting Sontarans, among others (Unnatural Born Killers). Kroton encountered the the Doctor and his companion Izzy on the Qutrusian Cargo Freighter X-703, and, after assisting them, joined them in the TARDIS. (The Company of Thieves)
Kroton left The Doctor after a battle with the Master, during the Master’s pursuit to become the center of the omniversal spectrum. (The Glorious Dead)
In The Scarlet Empress, Iris Wildthyme mentions that Kroton travelled with her for an unspecified period of time but the placement of this within Kroton’s life is uncertain.
Artist Lee Sullivan has been working with the Cybermen for quite some time. He’s come a long way from his early Cyberman illustrations (age 7) ….
Making his mark along the way by providing art for Doctor Who Magazine…
And drawing the Cybermen for the Battles in Time comic strip which you can read here
You can see more of Lee Sullivan’s Doctor Who art on his own website here
His Mark VIII Cyber-creations appeared in the Radio Times 8th Doctor comic-strip Dreadnought – which you can read here. (Roughly) the same Mk 8 design later appeared in the 6th Doctor webcast of Real Time – which you can watch here. And the Mk 8 Cybermen – or a close relation – might have appeared in a comic strip featurig a future Doctor prior to the relaunch of the TV series in 2005. Sadly, it was never made…
The Mk VIII appeared in the Real Time webcast – and has also been given CGI graphic treatment…
Real Time CGI Cybermen
Real Time Cyberman designed by Lee Sullivan. CGI realisation by Rhys Griffin, Chris Gregory and Kevin Gregory.
“Resistance is futile.”
“Emotion is a weakness.”
“These things are irrelevant.”
“Promises to aliens have no validity.”
“Aliens are not to be trusted.”
“So we meet again, Doctor.”
“Halt, or you will be destroyed.”
“Your logic is correct.”
CGI animations of the Mk VII Cybermen can be found on the BBC site here
You can download a Screen Saver from the BBC :
Based on Lee Sullivan’s stunning new Cyberman designs, Rhys Griffin has created an equally spectacular computer graphic version for this special screensaver.
“Dreadnought” was a story in the short-lived series of comic-strips about the 8th Doctor published by the Radio Times in 1996. Although planned for a longer run, the comic strip series was cancelled somewhat suddenly (obliging its author, Gary Russell, to tie up some loose ends that were intended to be part of a longer running story arc).
You can read Dreadnought here – Dreadnought
The Doctor appears on a space vessel called the Dreadnought. Here he meets Stacy, who is running from the Cybermen. They capture the Doctor and Stacy, and they find out that Stacy’s fiancé Bill has become a Cyberman. When Stacy makes him remember their friendship, he makes the ultimate sacrifice. He gets killed, but he stops the Cybermen, and after this the Doctor and Stacy have many adventures.
Note : In the 10th Doctor special “The Next Doctor”, the gigantic “Cyberking” was said to be a Dreadnought class vehicle. Dreadnoughts were said to be used during Cyber-invasions. Presumably either the 10th Doctor has encountered the Cybus Cybermen using such ships in some off-screen adventure, or he was referring to the use of such vessels by this-universe Cybermen.
- Series: Radio Times comic strips
- Doctor: Eighth Doctor
- Companions: Stacy Townsend
- Author: Gary Russell
- Artist: Lee Sullivan
- Colourist: Alan Craddock
- Lettering: Elitta Fell
- Published In: Radio Times
- Publication: 1 June – 9 August 1996
- Publisher: BBC Magazines
- Format: Comic strip story in 10 episodes
Sword of Orion (Big Finish Audio)
8th Doctor : “Let me see. . . moving towards us. Cybermen! How close are they—?!!”
Cyberman : “Resistance is useless!”
8th Doctor : “Ah, that close!”
- This quote is available as an audio clip on the downloads page