Part one of a two-parter. After an accident, the Doctor and his companions find themselves on a parallel Earth where zeppelins fly over London, Rose’s father is still alive and an old enemy is being created under new circumstances.

I apologise for the late review; thanks to Saturday’s FA Cup Final overrunning, everything after it was shown twenty minutes later. Including Doctor Who. Since I was away at the time, my carefully-set-up recording was cut off before the end. I wasn’t back in time for the Sunday repeat, but fortunately there’s another repeat on a Friday so I was finally able to see the end tonight and can bring you the complete review.

Cast and Crew

David Tennant as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith
Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler
Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler
Andrew Hayden Smith as Jake Simmonds
Roger Lloyd-Pack as John Lumic
Helen Griffin as Mrs. Moore
Colin Spaull as Mr. Crane
Mona Hammond as Rita-Anne
Duncan Duff as Newsreader
Paul Kasey as the Cyber-Leader
Paul Antony-Barber as Dr. Kendrick
Adam Shaw as Morris
Andrew Ufondo as Soldier
Don Warrington as the President
Nicholas Briggs provided the Cybermen’s voices

Written by Tom MacRae

Directed by Graeme Harper

Cybermen created by Gerry Davis and Kit Pedler

Originally aired on the 13th of May 2006 on BBC One in the United Kingdom.

Synopsis

An accident strands the TARDIS in an alternate universe, and while waiting for the power source to recharge the travellers discover that an old enemy of the Doctor has been recreated on Earth.

High Points

  • The President’s rejection of the Cyberman project. He said exactly what needed to be said, and he said it very well.
  • ‘Okay, so it’s London with a big international Zeppelin festival.’

Low Points

  • ‘She’s dead. The TARDIS is dead.’ Of course she isn’t! So regenerations have different personalities, but surely no Doctor would give up on the TARDIS that quickly. And we didn’t believe it for a moment, of course.
  • ‘Delete! Delete! Delete!’ Firstly, where did this come from? It’s not a Cyberman thing. Secondly, does anybody hear it and not think ‘Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!’ The Cybermen are not Daleks, but at the end of the episode one would have been forgiven for thinking otherwise. Especially with their creator scooting around in a wheelchair.

The Scores

So it was about the Cybermen this time, but this struck me as very similar to Genesis of the Daleks in quite a few ways. That coupled to the basic un-originality of the plot gives this episode a disappointing two out of six.

The effects were good, except for some of those relating to Jackie’s earphones. I also felt that the single blue LED in the Cyberman costume looks a little ridiculous by itself, but the costumes themselves are excellent. Five out of six.

A good story, perhaps overly burdened by the predictable behaviour of people visiting an alternate universe, and let down a bit by memories of Genesis of the Daleks. Also, why do the Cyberman origin story in a parallel universe? Why not do the Cybermen in our universe? Four out of six.

We’ve come to expect good acting and we get it again, although I felt the President was a little weak. Five out of six.

Does irritation count as a positive emotional response? No, I didn’t think so. The climax of the episode makes quite an impact, but I spent some of the Rose scenes squirming. Four out of six.

Very solid-looking new Cyberman suits get the thumbs up for production, but unfortunately there are parts where it’s pretty obvious that they’re filmining in Cardiff, not in London, which is unusual for this series unless you know London really well. The riverside just didn’t look like the Thames though — and most of the cars are sporting Cardiff registration plates, although in an alternate Earth perhaps that can be accepted in the same way that the police uniforms not belonging to any London force from our world can be accepted. And where did Rose pick up a new phone? I know she’s had plenty of opportunity to do so, but it feels more like a continuity glitch than it should. Four out of six.

Overall, it was good, but not as good as the return of the Cybermen should have been. Five out of six, simply because it does turn out to be enjoyable in the end, and it’s already suitably penalised in the other categories.

So the grand total for Rise of the Cybermen is twenty-nine out of forty-two.