Rise of the Cybermen

Roots: Genesis of the Daleks and Inferno. Marc Platt is thanked in the credits for his audio Spare Parts, though other than both stories being origin of the Cybermen tales, there's little similarity. Well, unless you count Mickey describing himself as a spare part. The earpieces are very similar to those worn by the Remote in Interference. During the presentation, Lumic is doing a Darth Vader breathing impression. The novel Loving the Alien featured an alternative Earth using CyberTechnology to improve its citizens. The Invasion (Lumic-Cybus = Vaughn-IE). Earpods is a play on I-Pods. The crash scene is similar to The Mind Robber. Running into your own alt-universe double is very Sliders.

Goofs: Mickey talks about a parallel world where Tony Blair wasn't elected. However, Whoniverse politics is very different to our World's. If Tony Blair came to power in 1997, then he was either killed days after his election (The Dying Days), or he was the PM killed in Aliens of London, having been the successor to the one who died in The Dying Days. Furthermore, Harriet Jones was PM at least as recently as Christmas, so surely he'd be talking about Harriet Jones rather than Tony Blair. Though it's possible that Blair has been elected since - which, of course, makes a mockery of Jones' three-term golden age.

Why does the Doctor risk taking the power cell out of the TARDIS rather than leaving it in there in safety? (c.f. The Daleks). [Perhaps he wants to keep it near him in case he has to do his recharge trick again.]

How does the Doctor recognise that the phone broadcasts were created by "Cybus Industries" rather than "Cybus Networks" like it says?

Surely it's a bit dangerous if everybody in the country just freezes during the daily download. [The Confidential episode says that they come to a natural halt first.]

Cuba Gooding Junior was actually born on January the 2nd 1968, not February the 1st 1968. [OK, yes, it's a parallel universe, so it could be different there - although in that case, why did the script use a real person? Alternatively, Jackie and/or her biographer was confused about the American way of writing the date - they write January the 2nd 1968 as 1/2/68, whereas Brits write it 2/1/68.]

You couldn't possibly weld a brain into the Cybercasing, as brains are amorphous. In addition, this would do immense damage to the brain thus defeating the object of preserving it.

If Great Britain has a President, then why do the police still have the royal crest on their helmets? [Perhaps the President hasn't replaced the Royal Family, or the old crest has been kept on even after the country became a Republic.]

Rose's phone is a completely different model to the one we've seen her with before (most recently in School Reunion). OK, in theory she could have upgraded during an unrecorded adventure between The Girl in the Fireplace and this story, but what's going to be better than the upgrade the Doctor gave her?

You can see the camera crew reflected in Mickey's gran's glasses.

Why is Mr Crane simply sitting in a lorry doing nothing when Lumic calls to inform him his plans have to be sped up?

Why are the subjects not under anaesthetic? It's unlikely that they'd survive the operation without it. Or does the alt-earth have general anaesthetics that don't prevent the subjects screaming?

Why did Lumic bother getting the security plans for the party? There's no sign of any security in place, and even if there was, it seems unlikely that it would offer the Cybermen a challenge.

Why does Ricky let Mickey come along on their mission to the Tylers' house, and more importantly, why does he let him have a gun? Also, why dress him identically? Is he planning to fake his death during the raid or something?

Why does refusing conversion make you incompatible? None of the homeless people we saw were willing candidates for conversion. And why do the Doctor and company count as incompatible despite surrendering?

The metallic sound made by the Cyber-march makes them sound like they have hollow feet, and they really, really shouldn't sound like that when walking on grass.

The Doctor and company are rather easily surrounded by the Cybermen - it looks like the Preachers' van is very close to where they are, so why don't they make a run for it?

Why isn't alt-Mickey wearing an eye patch? ;)

Dialogue Disasters: Lumic: "And how will you do that from beyond the grave?" - the line itself isn't that bad, but the delivery makes you think that Professor Zaroff from The Underwater Menace was underplaying it.

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: "Parallel world. It's like a gingerbread house. All those temptations calling her."

Mr Crane: "It's irresistible."
Lumic: "Then resist."

Ricky: "Target number one is Lumic. And we are going to bring him down."
Mickey: "From your kitchen?"
Ricky: "Have You got a problem with that?"
Mickey: "No. It's a good kitchen."

Rose: "Why no emotions?"
The Doctor: "Because it hurts."

Continuity: When the Time Lords were around, you could "pop between realities and home in time for tea." When they died, the walls of reality closed, the world was sealed, and it should now be impossible to travel between realities. The Doctor doesn't know how it happened, but doing so means that the Time Vortex has just gone. The TARDIS draws its power from the universe, and can't do so in the parallel universe, leading it to die (apart from one power cell). The Doctor even comments that as the last TARDIS in the universe, it is now extinct. The Doctor can recharge a power cell from the TARDIS by giving away ten years of his life.

Mickey knows about parallel realities from films and comics. When he was born, his Mum couldn't cope [although Rose's mention of his mum in Rose suggests she is still around], his Dad - Jackson Smith - hung around for a while before wandering off. Having worked at the key cutters on Clifton Parade, Jackson went to Spain and never came back. Mickey was brought up by his gran until she died falling down the stairs about five years ago. Mickey's alt-gran is blind.

On the Alt-Earth Great Britain has a President and Lumic considers it "the homeland". New Germany is an another country on the planet. New forms of life created artificially need to be ratified by Geneva under the Bio Convention. John Lumic of Cybus Industries invented high-contact metal. His company is responsible for the earpieces (earpods) which almost everyone wears which beam information directly to peoples' brains. The content of the daily download includes news, sport, weather, TV schedules, lottery numbers, and a joke. People come to a stop and appear to be frozen in place during the download. Cybus Networks broadcasts content including IE24 News [International Electromatics 24 News?] They also manufacture [or at least have their logo on] the Zeppelins which the rich see as a status symbol. International Electromatics is a dummy company owned by Cybus Industries [suggesting that their Cyber technology was recovered from the Alt-Earth equivalent of The Invasion.] There is a curfew, which begins at 10. The alt-universe equivalent of Big Issue salesmen have red tabards with the words "working not begging" on them. Veronica of Reykjavic does hand-sculpted flower arrangements and Jackie is proud of having some.

The Alt-Cybermen are created by Cybus Industries/International Electromatics. The Cybermens' brains are welded to the exoskeleton. It is implied that they have very little organic content except for the brain. They are immune to bullets, and can kill humans by electrocution administered through their hands. (c.f. the CyberWeapons in The Moonbase)

Alt-Pete Tyler is head of Vitex Industries, a company that was bought out by Cybus Industries. His Vitex drink is a health drink that tastes like (and actually is) pop. He has a customised numberplate of PETE 1. Alt-Jackie is 40, though her official biography says that she was born on the same day as Cuba Gooding Junior, making her supposedly 39. They never had children, but Jackie does have a Yorkshire Terrier called Rose. They have been married 20 years. Pete moved out last month, but they are keeping it quiet as it is bad for business. February 1st is also the "real" Jackie's birthday. Pete seems to half-recognise Rose, as in Father's Day [presumably because they share the same biodata].

Alt-Mickey is called Ricky. He leads a group called the Preachers who don't wear earpieces and want to bring Lumic down. They have bug-detecting devices, firearms, and an information source called Gemini. Ricky has just become London's most wanted after Thin Jimmy was caught.

The Doctor makes the enigmatic comment "All these different worlds. Not one of them gets it right."

Links: The "real" universe's Cybermen first appeared in The Tenth Planet, Rose went back to see her father's death in Father's Day. The "real" universe's version of International Electromatics was seen in the 60s Cyberman story The Invasion. The Doctor was previously in "no place" in The Mind Robber. The alt-Universe also has a Torchwood Institute (Bad Wolf, The Christmas Invasion, Tooth and Claw), which publishes studies. Also, one of the guests at the party works for Torchwood. Alt-Mickey is called Ricky, and the ninth Doctor frequently called Mickey Ricky in Aliens of London and World War Three. The Doctor comments "it's happening again" - possibly a reference to Spare Parts

Extras: This story has an episode of Doctor Who Confidential. The BBC created a one-minute trailer called a "Tardisode" for each episode of series two, which was available to download on your mobile or watch at the BBC website. They also made a commentary track available online, and with the red button during the digital repeats. There was also a Henrik's Online site (henriksonline.co.uk) with biographies for both John Lumic and Alt-Jackie. None of these are still up.

Location: London, 1st February 2007, in an alternative universe.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Rose recall an incident on an asteroid. There was a munchkin lady with big eyes who opened her mouth, and fire came out. [Although this sounds similar to some events in Only Human, the asteroid rules out the possibility that this is a reference to that book.]

The Bottom Line: 'What are they?' 'Cybermen.' Although it's often difficult to to judge a first half on its own, it's not bad. The Cybermen themselves are very well realised, and keeping the full reveal until the cliffhanger ending works extremely well. However, their new "delete" catchphrase is far too Dalek-y for my tastes. Mickey is given some brilliant material, though his alt-self is relatively poorly portrayed. The alt-Pete and alt-Jackie plotline isn't particularly interesting either, especially since it's already been done better in Father's Day.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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