A Video History Of The Cybermen

The Cybermen

Over at the official Doctor Who Facebook page, they’re having a week devoted to the headphone-wearing tinpot Tin Men without emotions, the Cybermen. Which prompted us to have a dig about on YouTube to try and show the full evolution of this robo-species.

As you can see, they’ve changed a LOT since they met the First Doctor, back in 1966, in The Tenth Planet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QAVoTm4Yng&feature=related

The key line here, for anyone used to the more recent Cybervoices, is “you do not seem to take us seriously.” How could anyone? And why are they carrying a stove on their fronts? That’s a big torch to have strapped to your head too.

The original Cybermen still had human parts, you see. Those hands are real, so maybe that stove doubles as a hand-warmer.

Things changed a lot by the time the Second Doctor met up with his Cyberfoes again. And continued to do so every time they did battle. This is from The Tomb Of The Cybermen, note the use of practise golf balls for external joints:

By the time the Doctor meets them again, in The Wheel In Space, they’ve taken on a more artistic expression. Little tears under the eyes, and oddly, under the mouth too. And the torch is smaller, and the headphone pipe less weighty, replacing them with a corduroy skullcap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veYHcLLxmks&feature=related

By the time they get it together to invade Earth in The Invasion, they’ve changed again. The headphones are back on, bigger than ever, and the mouth is just a slit. They’re still crying though.

The Third Doctor did not meet with the Cybermen, and by the time the Fourth Doctor did, they hadn’t changed much, except their leader had coloured his headphones in and those practise golf balls had become yoghurt pots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZIbyt1GjwU&feature=related

In the ’80s, the Cybermen grew even bigger heads, and wore shoulder pads, just like Joan Collins. They had perspex mouths and they weren’t crying any more, whether they were doing battle with the Fifth or Sixth or Seventh Doctors. All of which made their bodies suddenly look a little punier than before. Not that it stopped them getting up to mischief:

And you’ll notice they’ve sorted their voices out this time. Which is good.

Of course, once the show was relaunched, the design changed again. Out went the shoulder pads and big headphones, in came cheekbones, and the tears and slit-mouths and robo-voices were back too. Oh and they like to wear slightly flamboyant cuffs, and for the very first time, appear to be made of actual unpuny metal.

Tell us about it, Captain Jack:

And if any of this appears mocking, it’s not intended that way. Part of the horror of the Cybermen is that they are part human, they are in a state of evolution from one thing to another. They’re unfinished. However they change in the future, they’ll always be terrifying because you can always empathise with the small, terrified blob of human meat buried deep behind their crying eyes.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 13 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Music.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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