Tomb Of The Cybermen is a wonderfully strong adventure that has become almost as legendary as Genesis Of The Daleks. Even though now a very familiar and already released serial this nicely polished edition makes it look brand new, well, brand new from when it was originally made.
For centuries, the disappearance of the Cybermen from the universe has been a mystery. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on Telos – once the Cyber home world – just as an Earth expedition uncovers the entrance to a long-lost control centre filled with baffling technology.
Though blighted by the special effects of its time this is still a very enjoyable piece with the cast more than adequately covering for its effects failings with tight performances and some creepy atmosphere. The regulars really do gel together nicely here, if there was ever any worry that Patrick Troughton wasn’t up to the role then this adventure really did quieten his critics. Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling also add much to the fun being more of a help than being a companion hindrance.
The introduction of Cybermats and Cyberman Controller are huge fun as is the now infamous sequence when the metallic monsters break out of their hibernation which hasn’t lost any of its impact. The Egyptian inspired storyline is a little convoluted but has enough bounce in it to keep it from going stale.
What makes this truly unmissable is that the transfer is quite something to behold. There’s barely any sign of damage or wear and tear to be found. There are lush contrasts in this monochrome marvel with a clear soundtrack that allows you to enjoy
Extras Disc 1
Commentary 1 – The original gag-track from the first time this was released is here. Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines are always good value and prove that the black and white adventures are just as much fun to watch as the newer stuff.
Commentary 2 – Toby Hadoke moderates contributions from Victor Pemberton, Bernard Holley for episode one whilst the rest of the episodes he’s joined by Shirley Cooklin, Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines. Just as much fun as the first, Hadoke manages to cream some wonderful anecdotes from the reliable contributors.
Morris Barry Introduction – The much admired director introduces this classic adventure. He was a real gentleman and here chats about the casting of Cyber Controller and also the impact the story made upon original transmission.
Title Sequence Tests – Raw footage that went on to create the Patrick Troughton title sequence with the much loved theme playing over the top of them. Basically three and a half minutes of monochrome, swirly images.
Late-Night Line Up – You want to see the Cybermats in colour? If the answer is yes then watch this clip from the popular magazine series from the 60s and you’ll be in your element. It’s a bizarre piece that doesn’t really inform you but is a nice reminder of how surreal TV was in that era.
The Final End – Tomb Of The Cybermen begins with our heroes leaving Skaro following on from The Evil Of The Daleks. That episode no longer exists but some of the climatic battle does thanks to some 8mm footage that was shot at Ealing. Here that footage is presented with audio that has survived. A wonderful and innocent piece it shows you how restricted effects were at the time.
Info Text – One of the best of the range it mixes entertaining facts with hardcore production information.
Coming Soon – A rather creepy and atmospheric trailer for The Face Of Evil.
Easter Egg – Oh, that’s a secret!
Extras: Disc 2
The Lost Giants – A superb making of piece that chats to some of the cast and production crew that worked on the story. Add to this some wonderful CGI recreations of the sets and you have a new benchmark in “Making Of” pieces. It’s lovely to learn of the slightly eccentric Morris Barry and his music stand and baton, obviously very happy days for the cast and crew who speak of him with reverence and affection.
The Curse Of The Cybermen’s Tomb – This is a fun and rather intelligent extra which has Sir Christopher Frayling and Dr Debbie Challis examining the ancient Egyptian origins to the story. Smart without being condescending it also highlights some on the archaeological inaccuracies the story contains.
Cybermen: Extended Edition – Writer and Historian Matthew Sweet presents this celebration of the Cybermen and their television adventures. Slightly arch this is a more serious piece than you first sense it to be and the odd sarcastic swipe Sweet emits seems misplaced. Still, its filled with great clips.
The Magic Of VidFIRE – A technical but interesting look at Video Field Interpolation Restoration Effect process, basically how they make film recordings of old episodes look more like their original video ones. Watch this and appreciate the care that has gone into he restoration of this story.
Sky Ray Advert – Yes, that classic piece of promotion with a guy that looks nothing like Patrick Troughton hiding his face whilst getting you to but ice lollies with free picture cards of the Doctor battling the Daleks with the help of the Space Raiders. Tremendous.
Photo Gallery – Shots from the production of the story.
PDF Materials – Radio Times listings and Walls Sky Ray promotional material can be found if you slip this DVD into your PC.
Easter Egg – Not spoiling it for you.
So, as with the other Revisitation sets this first run of discs set a high standard. Right, I’m off to meet a trio of Time Lords.
The Revisitations 3 boxset of which Tomb of the Cybermen Special Edition is part was released on February 13th 2012 – you can pre-order from Amazon today for just £25.97, a saving of 28% on the RRP!