Production Code: 4D
1 - 19/04/1975 17:35
2 - 26/04/1975 17:30
3 - 03/05/1975 17:50
4 - 10/05/1975 17:35
The time ring takes the Doctor, Sarah and Harry back to Nerva, but to a period many thousands of years earlier than their previous visit. The station is currently acting as a beacon warning space traffic of the existence of a new asteroid orbiting Jupiter.
This is Voga, also known as the planet of gold as that metal can be found in abundance there. The three friends learn that a space plague has killed all but a handful of Nerva's crew. A visiting civilian scientist named Kellman is in fact a traitor working with a group of Cybermen who want to destroy Voga as gold dust can coat their breathing apparatus and suffocate them.
The 'plague' is the result of poison injected into its victims by Cybermats. The Cybermen invade the beacon and force the Doctor and two of the remaining humans to carry some cobalt bombs down into the heart of Voga.
Kellman however is really a double agent, secretly working with one faction of the Vogan race on the planet below. Their plan has been to lure the Cybermen onto the beacon and destroy it with a rocket, known as the Skystriker. The Doctor rids himself of the bomb he has been forced to carry and returns to the beacon, which the Cybermen evacuate on learning of the Vogans' intentions.
The missile is launched, but the Doctor gives instructions for it to be redirected away from the beacon and onto a collision course with the Cybermen's ship, which is thus destroyed.
Sarah screams as a Cybermat leaps from the floor and attacks her neck.
The Doctor tries to get away as the Cybermen board the beacon, but the Cyberleader fires its head-mounted weapon at him and he collapses to the ground. The Cyberleader announces to the other Cybermen that all resistance is overcome and the beacon is theirs.
Harry examines the unconscious Doctor and concludes that there is nothing seriously wrong with him. He starts to unbuckle the straps by means of which the Cybermen's bomb is attached to the Doctor's back, unaware that this will cause it to detonate...
The TARDIS arrives on the beacon, having been gradually drifting back to this point in time, and the Doctor, Sarah and Harry leave for a rendezvous with the Brigadier, who has sent an urgent message requesting assistance with a problem on Earth.
Misquotes of Descartes ('Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore it missed') and Macbeth ('Out, out, dusty death').
Live and Let Die (hairbrush radio).
Voga is the name of an island of gold that Columbus was looking for in the Atlantic.
The Doctor : [To the Cyberleader] "You're nothing but a pathetic bunch of tin soldiers skulking about the galaxy in an ancient spaceship."
Cyberleader : "Cybermen can survive more efficiently than animal organisms. That is why we will rule the galaxy."
Vorus : "You have the philosophy of a cringing mouse, Tyrum."
"Take the Cybermen from behind."
The Doctor : "We're still heading for the biggest bang in history."
"Pull it harder, it's coming."
The emotions expressed by the Cybermen include glee, satisfaction (the Cyberleader's hands-on-hips body language), humour ('Nice sense of irony,' the Doctor says concerning the Cyberleader's joke about him not being around to see the 'magnificent spectacle' of Voga's destruction), irritation ('I think you've riled him,' says Harry), hatred, fear, and enough pride to refer to themselves as 'warriors'.
They don't recognise the Doctor, and are bullet-proof, with hydraulic muscles, firing weapons from their head units. The non-corrodable metal gold clogs up their breathing apparatus and suffocates them (cf. The Moonbase, where they don't need to breathe), but also blocks their radar [!], hence the glittergun that can be used to destroy them. They have no home planet, no influence, only one ship [but apparently enough parts for a whole army onboard].
The Armageddon Convention banned Cyberbombs, two of which would destroy Voga. The seal of Voga is also the seal of the High Council [which indicates interesting things about Time Lord meddling in such tactically important worlds]. Sarah has heard of the Cybermen [presumably from the invasion in 1969] and that they were meant to have been wiped out ages ago. The TARDIS drifts back through time and space to meet the Doctor [the time ring called it].
Sarah reveals that they've been adventuring for 'a few weeks' at the start of the story [mostly in Genesis of the Daleks?].
Nerva Beacon, [c. 2875].
Before Nerva became the cryogenic space ark Terra Nova it orbited Jupiter as one of a number of military beacons controlled by Earth Centre (another is Ganymede Beacon). These beacons monitor regular Earth-Pluto flights. The Doctor is surprised that (with Voga) there are now 13 Jovian satellites. [He's referring to major ones. It is a little odd to hear the humans calling Voga Neo Phobos.]
The Doctor again mentions his meeting with Harry Houdini (Planet of the Spiders).
The Radiophonic Workshop's Peter Howell, later to become one of the series' regular incidental music composers, made his uncredited debut on this story when he was asked by producer Philip Hinchcliffe to add to, and enhance, the score provided by Carey Blyton.
A number of sets in this story were reused from The Ark in Space, which was recorded immediately before it.
The Cybermen's voices were provided for the first time by the actors inside the costumes.
Five of this story's guest cast had played notable roles earlier in Doctor Who's history: Kevin Stoney as Mavic Chen in The Daleks' Master Plan and as Tobias Vaughn in the previous Cyberman story, The Invasion; Christopher Robbie as the Karkus in The Mind Robber; Ronald Leigh-Hunt as Commander Radnor in The Seeds of Death; and William Marlowe as Mailer in The Mind of Evil. Michael Wisher would go on to play Davros in Genesis of the Daleks, which came after Revenge of the Cybermen in production order.
The Cybermen's desire for revenge in this story, as reflected in the title, is out of keeping with their unemotional characters. (The Cybermen are not seeking revenge in their attack on Voga but trying to destroy a potential threat; it is the Vogans who incorrectly assume that their motive is revenge.)
We hear of 'phobic energy' in physics, rather than psychology.
The Doctor was wearing a long brown coat and hat at the end of the previous story, but they've vanished when he materialises [is there an untelevised adventure?].
Lester wears his interplanetary Space command insignia upside down.
There is air and gravity inside an asteroid 4km across, and a noisy explosion in space.
Cybermats are hugged to make them look as if they're attacking.
The launching of the Skystriker is represented by rather obvious NASA stock footage of a Saturn V rocket taking off.
The Cyberleader shakes the Doctor's shoulders in what appears to be Swedish massage rather than strangulation.
A spinning roll of lunar landscape simulates a near miss of the asteroid.
If the transmat only works on human tissue, why doesn't it wreck Cybermen and leave humans naked?
When the Doctor enters the TARDIS in episode four the paper printout of the space/time telegraph can be seen hanging on a hook just inside the door.
Most astonishingly, Voga is the Planet of Gold. A place where they use gold for everything, including chains and guns. But when the Cybermen arrive, a species who are so susceptible to gold that a handful of thrown gold dust kills them, two of them gun down half of the Vogan army! Why aren't the Vogan bullets made of gold? Why don't they just hit them with their guns? Argh!
The Cybermen seem to be smiling, possibly because of their flares.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Harry Sullivan - Ian Marter
Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
Commander Stevenson - Ronald Leigh-Hunt
Cyberleader - Christopher Robbie
First Cyberman - Melville Jones
Kellman - Jeremy Wilkin
Lester - William Marlowe
Magrik - Michael Wisher
Sheprah - Brian Grellis
Tyrum - Kevin Stoney
Vorus - David Collings
Warner - Alec Wallis
Director - Michael E Briant