Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
Attack of the Cybermen


Starring: Colin Baker
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: U
Available 16 March 2009

The Doctor lands in London, following a distress signal but not everything is as it seems. Is the criminal gang really after stealing diamonds and what’s actually down in the sewers? A daring time travel experiment by the Cybermen could result in the destruction of the Earth - a change in history that would mean a final victory for one of the Doctor’s oldest foes...

It's hard to know where to start reviewing Attack of the Cybermen, if only because there’s so much to say about the story. So, because you have to start somewhere, we’ll begin with the plot - or what passes for one. Now pay attention as this might get a little complicated.

For reasons that are never explained, alien exile and all round villain Commander Lytton [last seen working for the Daleks] has set himself up as a criminal mastermind in London. He’s busy drawing police attention to himself planning a diamond robbery - a totally pointless exercise when what he really wants to do is contact the Cybermen who are living under the capital in the sewers. Why not just go down and knock on the door?

Anyway, the Cybermen are planning to change history by travelling through time and using Halley’s Comet as a weapon to destroy the Earth before it destroys Mondas, their planet of origin. But the Cybermen aren’t doing this in one place... oh no, they’re also hatching this plan back on Telos, their second planet, on the Moon, from a fleet hidden behind the Moon and down under London.

And then there’s a race of humanoids on Telos who are being forced to dig holes in its surface - around about three feet deep, so it seems - so that bombs can be planted that will rip the planet to pieces after the Cyber inhabitants leave. Can’t Cybermen dig small holes? Apparently not.

There’s a rebellion amongst the diggers who decide to disguise themselves as Cybermen by donning a Cyber helmet [is it really that easy to fool an intelligent alien race?] and get away in a time machine in the hands of their captors. Meanwhile, it turns out that the Cybermen have also stolen another technology, this time from a race of ice maidens, the Cryons - how to build big fridges used for hibernation!

And running around through all this utterly pointless and unfathomable gibberish is the Doctor and his companion Peri - both wearing costumes that can only have been designed to distract the viewers from the ongoing action. Frankly, these two 50-minute episodes are often so bad that it’s hard to imagine how they ever got made.

However, possibly the most nonsensical things about the whole affair is the needless level of supposed continuity. Now continuity is a wonderful thing in on-going dramas but it can be taken too far, as happens here. For no obvious reason, other than some misplaced fan boy attention to detail, great swathes of pointless references litter the script. Just about every previous Cyberman story gets a mention. If only as much attention had been paid to the plot.

On the plus side, the direction is pretty good, and sometimes very effective, but just as the tension starts to build we’re treated to some of the most horrific farty synthesiser noise ever committed to tape. Ouch!

The extras are what almost redeem this disc, but even a documentary about the development of the Cybermen and their history in Doctor Who pretty much fails to mention co-creator and one time script editor Gerry Davis. Laziness or bad research? Whichever, it’s a very disappointing omission.

There’s also a documentary about the making of the story - a staple feature on vintage Doctor Who DVDs - and this one is pretty interesting if only because of the level of bitterness on display between writer Eric Saward and super fan Ian Levine. Were two more po-faced men ever paired off against each other? They snarl at each other for great [and unintentional] comic effect - like two teenage boys arguing about whose third rate football team is best.

The main content on this DVD - the two episodes - is truly dreadful despite some reasonable production values, and the extras are surprisingly patchy given the hit rate on most Doctor Who DVDs. As a result, this is most definitely one to avoid.


Anthony Clark

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£12.98 (
£12.99 (
£12.99 (
£13.96 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.