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Cybermen in The Doctor Who Technical Manual

The Cybermen

fromThe Doctor Who Technical Manual

by Mark Harris

1983 Sphere Books (Out of Print)

(Please Note : The graphics have been adapted very slightly)

The story of the Cybermen goes back many aeons, to a time when the solar system had only just been created. In those days Earth had a sister planet -Mondas. But soon the great intergalactic forces of that period broke Mondas free of its orbit and it drifted away from the solar system into deep space.

Organic life on both worlds developed in much the same way, but on Mondas circumstances made survival for the people of the rogue planet much more difficult. After many centuries, they began to realise that their life-spans were shortening and their bodies becoming weaker. It was clear that unless they could do something to reverse this, their entire race faced extinction.

In their efforts to preserve the species, the doctors and scientists of Mondas made many experiments In the fields of bionic and cybernetic engineer­ing. They learned how to replace diseased organs with synthetic appara­tus, capable of performing the functions of the original perfectly. As their replacement technology advanced, they were able to exchange entire limbs for prosthetic devices which performed better than the original flesh and blood.

Generations later, it had become quite normal for people to have cybernetic limbs. Cyber-technology provided them with legs which were faster, arms which were stronger and hands which were much more dexterous.

The people of Mondas were no longer concerned merely with surviving – they were striving to achieve physical perfec­tion. In their attempts to free them­selves of all weakness, they decided to erase emotion from their brains, their only remaining organ made of flesh and blood. Emptied of love, hate, anger, fear or compassion, a new race of beings emerged from Mondas – THE CYBER­MEN. Totally logical, even if not actually evil, they would become ruthless in their attempts to achieve their aims.

Having attained physical perfection, they began to look for new goals. They turned their attention to the pursuit of power and the conquest of the Universe.

The scientists of Mondas therefore began to look into the possibilities of space travel and before long had devel­oped short range space vehicles. When ‘Mondas strayed into the Telos system the Cybermen invaded that planet. Telos was taken and many of its inhabitants were converted into Cybermen, and an army of Cybermen was stored on Telos.

It was centuries later, in 1986, that Mondas finally wandered back into this solar system. It was now in truth a dying world. The planet’s life force, upon which the Cybermen’s existence depended, was diminishing rapidly and In order to save themselves they decided to drain the Earth of its energy.

A fleet of Cyber-ships was to remain in orbit around the Earth to deal with any resistance. Meanwhile, one of the land­ing parties would organise the gathering of the terrestrial energies from the Earth’s northern polar Ice cap.

The scheme, however, could not suc­ceed. The Cybermen had seriously underestimated the Earth’s vast store of energy. The phenomenal influx of power was too much for their planet – Mondas was destroyed, exploding into billions of fragments. Isolated from the energies which maintained their life support sys­tems, until that moment beamed to them from Mondas, the invading Cyber­men weakened and died.

By this time, however, the Cybermen of Telos had perfected the techniques of hyperspace travel. This meant that countless galaxies and star systems were now within their grasp. Despite the destruction of Mondas, the Cybermen’s reign of terror was only just beginning.

The Telosian Cybermen have attemp­ted to conquer the Earth on a number of occasions. Because they cannot repro­duce themselves naturally, they favour planets dominated by humanoid types. There, they can increase their numbers in the only way possible for them – by converting humans into Cybermen.

The typical Cyberman stands about 7 feet tall and has the strength of ten humans. He is immune to the most intense heat and can survive in the vacuum of space. The Cybermens weapon systems are highly sophisti­cated. They have also been known to use Cybermats – small metallic ‘rodent-like’ creatures – for attack and sabot­age,

Although almost invulnerable, Cybermen do have weaknesses. For instance, their chest units can easily be ‘choked’ with gold dust, terminating their life-support systems. It is therefore clear why Cybermen regard gold as a major problem, and why they made such a determined attempt to destroy Voga, the legendary ‘Planet of Gold’. Fortun­ately their plan was frustrated by the Doctor.

Great advances in Cyber-technology are however being made all the time. It cannot be long before the Cybermen are an invincible force. Humanity’s only hope then will be inter-planetary unity, a galactic alliance to combat the Cyber­netic invaders from Mondas.

“Lost” Cybermen Stories – The Genesis of the Cybermen

Not every story or script commissioned for Doctor Who made it as far as production. Some were dropped for reasons such as cost or difficulty in the logistics of production, others due to clashes of interest with other BBC drama productions, difficulties in scheduling, scripts being deemed unsuitable – and so on. Some of these stories probably were indeed better left unmade at the time as in many cases they were replaced by stories that have now become part of the Doctor Who legend. But amongst the “Lost Stories” of Doctor Who there are a few real gems – including this unmade Cyber-story  “Genesis of the Cybermen”, from the co-creator of the Cybermen, Gerry Davis.

This site is devoted to recording information about lost Doctor Who stories & spin-offs and is well worth a read.

Genesis of the Cybermen

by Gerry Davis

Story: Intending to fix the TARDIS’s faulty zero regulator, the Doctor and his companion (Peri?) land on a pre-cybernised Mondas, where they meet the benevolent King Paulus and his two sons, the scientist Prince Dega, and the artist Prince Sylvan.

While the Doctor repairs the zero regulator Peri, who has taken a shine to prince Sylvan, shows him the TARDIS. The Doctor returns just in time to find Sylvan tinkering with the TARDIS controls, and accidentally sends the ship into flight. The Doctor quickly lands, but when they step outside they find that they have moved 50 years into the future.

Mondas has become a changed world, now under the leadership of Dega, the pursuit of scientific achievement is the primary goal, with the greatest advances being in the field of cybernetics. The king has had his arms and legs replaced with cybernetic limbs and is about to have his head replaced and his brain augmented, turning himself into the first Cyberman.

The Doctor, now realising what is happening, begs Dega to reconsider. The king is furious at this insolence and orders the royal guards to take the Doctor away. In the confusion Peri is able to slip away from the palace into the surrounding forest.

The King expains to his brother that through the process of cybernisation, his people would achieve immortality and would be unstoppable, able to conquer the universe, starting with Mondas’ twin: Earth. Monda’s resouces are limited and they need energy to survive, energy which Earth has in abundance. Dega offers Sylvan joint kingship over the Earth and Mondas if he will agree to be cybernised.

Hiding in the forest Peri is found by a group descended from the artists of King Paulus’ time, the Sylvans, named after the artist prince. Forced to abandon their artistic ways the Sylvans sole purpose is to collect food for the palace. Peri tells the Sylvans that their prince has returned. They decide to rescue their prince and the Doctor before they are turned into cold unfeeling Cybermen.

The Doctor and Queen Meta are taken to the Transformer room where they witness the final part of Dega’s cybernisation. The king then instructs that the Doctor be cybernised.

The Sylvans, having infiltrated the palace, storm the transformer room only to be repelled by the palace guards, but not before they free the Doctor; however peri and Sylvan are recaptured. Dega decides to start the mass production of cybermen and to ready his space fleet for the invasion of Earth, with peri the first to be cybernised. Peri appeals to the queen, hoping that there is still a shred of female compassion in her newly cybernetic body. Her pleas fall on deaf ears.

Seeing Sylvans discomfort at Peri’s distress, Dega’s chief of Staff Krail offers him a bargain: Peri’s life in exchange for the location of the TARDIS. Sylvan tells him but Krail reneges on the deal saying that bargains are illogical and have no meaning; before throwing Peri into the transformation chamber. This betrayal angers the Queen who orders Krail to stand down. Krail complies but insists that this be reported to the King and storms out. The Queen leads Sylvan and Peri to a secret passageway used to get to the royal launchpad.

In the throne room the new Cyberman army is lining up before the King. Krail informs Dega of what took place at he transformation room. Furious, the King rushes to confront his Queen, where he finds the prisoners gone. Meta refuses to tell him where they are, but he is able to extract the information by reading her thoughts. He races after the prisoner followed by Krail and a phalanx of Cybermen.

At the other end of the passage Sylvan and Peri emerge onto the launchpad where they find the Doctor and the rebels preparing to board the spacecraft and escape. In the distance they hear the sound of Cybermen approaching, Slyvan hurries the rebels onto the ship and urges the Doctor and Peri to follow. The Doctor tells Sylvan that they will not be coming with them as they have to find their way back to the TARDIS. Suddenly they find themselves surrounded by Cybermen led by Dega. Dega accuses Sylvan of being a traitor and tries to kill him, only to be shot down by Queen Meta before landing the killing blow. Sylvan makes his way into the ship, but Krail arrives with more Cybermen and kills the Queen.

The Sylvans start the ships engines and in the confusion the Doctor and Peri are able to escape back to the TARDIS only to find it surrounded by Cybermen, however the tremors from the escaping ship put the Cybermen off balance and the pair are able to weave between them and get inside. The Doctor realises that the huge impact of the rocket’s engines must have thrown the planet out of it’s orbit, and opens the scanner to find Mondas heading away from Earth and out into the solar system.

Notes: Having found out that the production team had used the Cybermen without first seeking his permission, Davis contacted them and sumitted this story. it was rejected as substandard by Eric Saward, who went on to write the next Cyberman story, ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, himself. This story later appeared in David Banks’ “Cybermen” book.

Personally I find it incredible that Gerry Davis’ origin of the Cyberman story should have been regarded as “substandard”, especially when the alternative was Eric Saward’s “Attack of the Cybermen” story, which really left quite a bit to be desired. Hopefully one day we may see a retelling of the “Genesis of the Cybermen” story become part of the “official” TV show – but we might have a long time to wait for that…

More on the “Genesis of the Cybermen” in a post coming soon