Doctor Who: The Age of Steel

With Cybermen taking over London, the Doctor and companions must embark on a risky plan to stop them.

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 20th of May 2006 on BBC One in the United Kingdom.

Synopsis

With Cybermen taking over London, the Doctor and companions must embark on a risky plan to stop them.

High Points

  • The Doctor’s opinion on humanity’s desire for control is probably accurate.
  • Lumic’s fate was deserving, although I’m sure I’ve seen a similar thing elsewhere.
  • ‘It’s the Cyberman of food, but it’s tasty.’
  • Mrs. Moore’s backstory is probably the best of any incidental character we’ve encountered in the series so far.

Low Points

  • Getting out of the cliffhanger was too easy, but that’s fairly normal for Doctor Who.
  • It was not necessary to leave the viewer wondering ‘Mickey or Rickey’ for so long, which felt rather unnecessary.

  • Lumic’s fate was something he should have seen coming and prepared for.
  • Hacking into a computer which gives absolutely no feedback about the efforts or even what software it’s running… yeah, that’s going to work.

The Scores

Suddenly all the interesting bits of the plot emerge, and it’s not Genesis of the Daleks this time. Four out of six for originality.

This week’s effects were slightly lesser than last week’s, although still pretty good. The same criticism about the Cyberman suits applies of course, but the CGI reconstruction of Battersea power station looked great (even if it is referred to as an old factory in the story). Four out of six.

Now that we’ve got the initial parallel universe idiocy out of the way, the story gets a bit better. High stakes, lots to do and not much time in which to do it. Nothing here is vastly brilliant, but it does come together into a pretty good tale. Just why does Mrs. Moore have just the right things for the situation in her bag? Four out of six.

Why mention acting that’s exactly the same as last week’s? Five out of six.

Emotional response is primarily tension. The odds are pretty stacked against them — more than usual, in fact. I’m going to give them a bonus point for happiness at the end, but that might just be me. Five out of six.

The production team made things look a little bit more like London this week, probably because so much of the action is focussed around shots of Battersea. The residential streets seen don’t look quite right still. Four out of six.

Overall, better than last week, but not good enough for the full six points. They have left a few options for further stories based on these events, or they might opt to deal only with our universe’s Cybermen in the future. We shall see, but either is possible (or even both). Five out of six.

And that makes the grand total for The Age of Steel a fairly respectable thirty-one out of forty-two.

9 replies on “Doctor Who: The Age of Steel”

  1. babasyzygy says:

    I like parallel universes…
    Some necessary rebuttal:

    * Lumic probably did prepare for his fate, which would be why he ended up being the Cybercontroller rather than a generic Cyberman. He just would have preferred to not go quite so soon.

    * There’s no problem with the Battersea power station being a factory at some point in the past in this parallel Earth. Maybe it was a zeppelin plant.

    That said, the Ricky/Micky thing really showed what a weak actor Noel Clarke is – though perhaps the direction is as much to blame.

    As far as I’m concerned, they get bonus continuity points for mentioning that in the normal Dr. Who universe the Cybermen originated elsewhere. I thought it would have been nice for the Doctor to say the words "Mondas," or "Telos"… or even "Mondas – or was it Telos, I can never remember which.").

    • dubbayoo42 says:

      Re: I like parallel universes…
      Mondas is where they originated, Telos was the adopted home planet after Mondas was destroyed in The Tenth Planet.

      There’s also rumour of the Cybermen being back for the series 2 finale, and if that holds true then a good question is raised about whether or not we’ll see the Cybermen we know from the original series or if somehow the new-style ones will be back (despite the whole issue of how they’d get out of the parallel world which is supposed to be sealed off now, etc.). Given the way Russell Davies usually acts, it’ll be the new-style ones I’m sure.

      • TheScarf says:

        Re: I like parallel universes…

        There’s also rumour of the Cybermen being back for the series 2 finale, and if that holds true then a good question is raised about whether or not we’ll see the Cybermen we know from the original series or if somehow the new-style ones will be back (despite the whole issue of how they’d get out of the parallel world which is supposed to be sealed off now, etc.). Given the way Russell Davies usually acts, it’ll be the new-style ones I’m sure.

        We still don’t know what made the TARDIS jump tracks to that universe. I suspect someone is up to something and we’ll see those cybermen turn up ‘here’. Mickey might return as well, and Rose’s ‘Dad’ might hook up with her real Mom for all we know.

        I’m surprised Mickey didn’t pretend to be Rickey for a while just to get some respect.

        • TheScarf says:

          Re: I like parallel universes…
          Hmmmmmmmm….

          I wonder if Torchwood made them jump tracks to try and get rid of the Dr.

          Does the alt universe have a Dr Who, perhaps even a younger (regeneration wise) Dr Who? Does it have Daleks, Timelords, the Master, Omega, Romana, Rani, etc.? So many possible plot lines….

        • lost says:

          Re: I like parallel universes…

          We still don’t know what made the TARDIS jump tracks to that universe. I suspect someone is up to something and we’ll see those cybermen turn up ‘here’. Mickey might return as well, and Rose’s ‘Dad’ might hook up with her real Mom for all we know.

          I’m surprised Mickey didn’t pretend to be Rickey for a while just to get some respect.

          As long as they don’t pull another Bad Wolf plotline where the future Doctor/Rose is leading them on.

          Hmmm. That leads to an interesting possiblity. We don’t know what the ultimate consequences of the Bad Wolf story were and there’s been at least one reference to it this season.

        • babasyzygy says:

          Re: I like parallel universes…

          We still don’t know what made the TARDIS jump tracks to that universe.

          I’m hoping that it was a Charged Vaccum Embankment. I mean, yeah, they usually lead to other different Universes, but who knows what they’ll be doing now without the Time Lords around to make sure that nothing wonky is going on with them.

          (Bring back Block Transfer Computation!)

      • babasyzygy says:

        Re: I like parallel universes…

        Mondas is where they originated, Telos was the adopted home planet after Mondas was destroyed in The Tenth Planet.

        Well, yes, that’s the fan consensus. If he said something like that, I’d take it as a wink to the fans and be thrilled.

        In any case, I can imagine that "our" Universe’s (or rather, the Doctor’s home Universe’s) Cybermen would end up looking the same by parallel evolution (except perhaps for the logo on the chest). That way, the parallel evolution story could be viewed as a good introduction to the concept of Cybermen without having to disturb the existing continuity.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: I like parallel universes…

      Some necessary rebuttal:

      * Lumic probably did prepare for his fate, which would be why he ended up being the Cybercontroller rather than a generic Cyberman. He just would have preferred to not go quite so soon.

      I agree. I’m sure he had everything planned out, but just didn’t want to do it … yet.

      I also liked the resolution of Micky’s story and thought that had some impact. Or maybe that’s your happy ending you mention, that Micky’s gone ;-).

      All in all Dr. Who is putting together a pretty solid season this year.

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: I like parallel universes…

        I also liked the resolution of Micky’s story and thought that had some impact. Or maybe that’s your happy ending you mention, that Micky’s gone ;-).

        All in all Dr. Who is putting together a pretty solid season this year.

        Agreed re: the solid season. I’m enjoying this season — it’s basically just good solid Doctor Who. It may not always have perfect continuity. It’s not always high drama. It *is*, however, much fun. :)

        Re: Mickey, I’d bet he’ll be back. He has Rose’s phone, which as I recall is the special phone. :)

        -Joe

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