It’s one of the all-time great cliffhangers: the Cybermen have been awakened, and the foolish, villainous Eric Klieg is yelling at their leader, ranting about how they will obey him, and the leader grabs him by the arm and shoves him to the ground. Then, in a dispassionate electronic buzz, the leader says “YOU BELONG TO UZZZZ. YOU ZHALL BE LIKE UZZZZ.” It’s a brilliant moment.
And it was ever so slightly derailed tonight when our son curled his lip and announced “I couldn’t even understand what the Cyberman was saying!” I guess we’ll definitely have to have the subtitles on when we meet the Planner in season six…
To be perfectly fair, the moment was slightly spoiled some years ago when I worked in the insurance business. There is – or was – a broker in Columbus GA who handled some life and disability products, and who had a voice box installed. By chance it was tuned to precisely the same pitch and modulation and tone as the one that Peter Hawkins used to voice the Cybermen in this story. The man was constantly on the warpath about nitpicky, easily-corrected nothings that nevertheless drove him to threats of yanking business because, to give one petty example, a large package of policies once arrived at a group in three envelopes rather than two. One of my co-workers asked me what the heck his problem was, and I explained that the broker was, in fact, an emotionless cyborg from the ice tombs on Telos, here to harvest our organs and make us into creatures like him. After I said that, I got stuck with him. “Grant, what’s your extension? That Cyberman’s on line three!”
And yes, that’s right, Columbus GA. A Cyberman was working in the very city where Patrick Troughton died.
I forgot to mention yesterday that “The Tomb of the Cybermen” is the first of four Doctor Who stories to feature Cyril Shaps in a guest role. Shaps appeared in so many shows that I enjoy, like The Sweeney, Spyder’s Web, Department S, and The Saint. I really like how his character is constantly on the edge of total meltdown while his boss, Professor Parry, is so laid back and relaxed about their situation. They make a great double-act, and it’s a shame that Klieg guns him down.