This month’s main range release from Big Finish is a rather special one as the Cybermen return once again!
Hour of the Cybermen sees the Sixth Doctor and UNIT face off against the distincively Eighties incarnation of the classic Who monster. In a story that sees the Cybermen doing what they do best – stomping about and converting en masse.
A UNIT distress call leads the Doctor to a Britain stricken by drought, with water being stolen and traded like a commodity. With the cause of the drought believed to be of alien origin, the Doctor’s investigation leads him to the latest plot from his old enemies – one that’s been many years in the making.
“At Once, Leader.”
Undoubtedly the biggest draw of this story is the return of David Banks and Mark Hardy to the Doctor Who fold, reprising the Cyberman roles they defined throughout the 1980s. Banks’ Cyberleader is as cold, ruthless and wonderfully campy as ever – with Big Finish knowing exactly what the audience want from him. You can just picture that fist-clenching motion as he first utters his trademark catchphrase of “Excellent!”. From there on out its the kind of 80s Cyberman romp that will have Earthshock fans grinning from ear to ear. As per usual, Big Finish have paid close attention to every little detail, with the familiar cyber-gun blaster sound from that era also making a welcome reappearance.
The Cybermen aren’t the only ones returning though, as Hour of the Cybermen also sees the Sixth Doctor reunited with newly introduced 1980s UNIT team from The Helliax Rift – particularly Lieutenant Lewis Price and Medical Officer Daniel Hopkins. However a lot has happened to Daniel since the Doctor’s last visit, and it’s these events that spur on one of the story’s more interesting lines of thinking. Blake Harrison does a sterling job portraying the tortured Hopkins, a man whose trauma and line of thinking are often regrettably relatable. The Cybermen always bring an element of tragedy with them, but here’s it’s especially explicit and only makes the story all the more stronger.
The final plot thread running through Hour of the Cybermen is the introduction of the Viridians, an alien race fighting back against the Cybermen after their planet was attacked. In the absence of a full-time companion, Frog Stone’s Riva makes a great partner to the Doctor, with her partial cyberisation adding an extra layer to the character. While Riva and her partner Atriss’ backstory could perhaps do with being touched upon a little more at times, they still manage to work well within the overall narrative. Their connection with the Cybermen’s overall plans for Earth is cleverly executed. There’s also just a joy to seeing aliens and humans alike joining forces against the Cybermen as it only serves to emphasise them as a threat to the entire cosmos.
With so many different interpretations of the Cybermen over the years its almost impossible to pin down a quintessential “sound” for them. As a result are often among the most varied of Big Finish’s classic monster offerings. However Hour of the Cybermen captures the feel of its starring Mondasians perfectly, weaving a thrilling Sixth Doctor adventure that could easily sit alongside the 80s Cybermen outings with pure, unadulterated fan service. In the same way Spare Parts nailed the haunting, prosthetic monstrosities that were the original Cybermen, Hour of the Cybermen conveys the same love to their booming, moon boot-wearing silver giant equivalents. There really isn’t much more to say than that other than “EXCELLENT!”
This title was released in July 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until August 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date.
Answering a call from UNIT, the Doctor arrives in London to find the streets deserted, apart from looters in possession of a valuable commodity – water.
Britain is suffering an extreme and bizarre drought. The cause is suspected to be extra-terrestrial.
The discovery of a signal being transmitted into space, and of a spacecraft whose crew are desiccated corpses, provides a possible answer. But the true enemy is an old foe of the Doctor’s.
The Cybermen have been patient, setting their plans in place over a number of years. As the final stage is implemented, in the darkest hour, the Doctor must identify who among his allies he can trust.
Written By: Andrew Smith
Directed By: Jamie Anderson
Colin Baker (The Doctor), David Banks (Cyber Leader), Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant), Frog Stone (Riva), Blake Harrison (Daniel Hopkins), Wayne Forester (Atriss / Bill Parker / Captain Weaver), Russ Bain (Lewis Price / Kel). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer John Ainsworth
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs