by Ian Samuels (@IanDJ75)

The TARDIS ends up in an impossible place, an alternate universe. The TARDIS seems to be dead, but that there was on small piece holding onto power.

So while it recharges the Doctor, Rose and Mickey, who for some time the Doctor had been calling Ricky, had time to explore, carefully.

Rose discovers that her Father, Pete Tyler was alive and successful in this universe.

Mickey finds out that his Grandmother who had raised him but had died tripping down the stairs is still alive in this universe.

But there is more going on, people going missing and rich businessman and visionary John Lumic is returning home to London in his airship. He is ready for the final trials of his new invention, his new vision for the human race, his metal men. An invulnerable metal body in which the mind can live on forever.

Rose and the Doctor pose as staff at the party at the Tyler household, the party for Jackie Tyler’s 40th Birthday Party. One of the guests is the President of Britain, who has recently told Lumic that his government would not authorise his project.

Mickey on the other hand sees his blind, old grandmother who insists on calling him Ricky. But he is then bundled into a van. Turns out that his parallel version, Ricky is leader of a group called ‘The Preachers’ that has been rebelling against the new regime and investigating the missing people. The missing people are being taken for ‘upgrading’, they have been taken to become Cybermen.

And the Cybermen have crashed the party the party. The Doctor knows that there is no way out, so he, Rose and Pete Tyler surrender. The Cybermen refuse to take them for upgrading and are about to ‘delete’ them when a van turns up and The Preachers arrive and disable the Cybermen and they escape.

The Cybermen decide it is time to accelerate the final stage of their plan. Lumic is turned into Cyber Controller.

On the way to their hideout they have to split up to avoid the Cybermen. But before they meet up again Ricky is killed. But Pete Tyler reveals that he has been the secret agent that had been feeding them information.

So Rose and Pete pretend to be heading for upgrade to infiltrate the base. Meanwhile The Doctor and Mrs Moore, one of the Preachers use the tunnels underneath to reach the headquarters at the old Battersea Power Station where Lumic’s airship is parked and that is where the master switch is. So Mickey and the other remaining member of The Preachers, Jake head for the airship.

But soon Mrs Moore is killed and The Doctor is captured, soon after so are Rose and Pete all taken before the Cyber Controller.

Mickey and Jake successfully take control of the airship. The Doctor, knowing that Mickey would be watching on the security cameras tells him to look for the base command code in the computer systems and then gets Mickey to send the code to him on Rose’s mobile phone. Using the phone he uploads it to all the Cybermen, which deactivates the emotion chip allowing them all to feel. Seeing what they have become destroys them. They escape in the airship.

Recharged the Doctor reawakens the TARDIS and he and Rose ready to depart, but Mickey chooses to stay behind, to replace Ricky and to help take down all the remaining Cybermen.

Production Notes

•   The President of Britain is played by sitcom legend Don Warrington who appeared in Rising Damp. He later appeared as Commissioner Patterson in the BBC crime drama series Death in Paradise.

•   Another sitcom legend Roger Lloyd-Pack who played Trigger in the long running Only Fools and Horses plays John Lumic. He also played Barty Crouch in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and David Tennant plays his son Barty Crouch Jnr.

•   Roger Lloyd-Pack broke his leg just before filming so the story was rewritten so that John Lumic was in a wheelchair.

•   Russel T Davies had it be Jackie Tyler’s 40th as the episode broadcast on the 40th anniversary of the 1966 serial The Tenth Planet in which the 1st Doctor faces the Cybermen in their first appearance.

•   This is the first episode to have no extra-terrestrials other than the Doctor and the TARDIS since the 1982 serial ‘Black Orchid’ with 5th Doctor Peter Davison.

•   In Russel T Davies’ original script Ricky and Jake were supposed to be gay lovers, the only sign of this left in the final production is Jake’s reaction to the news of Ricky’s death.

•   The Doctor’s plan of attack with one group attacking from above, one between and finally one under is a nod to a line given by Patrick Troughton, the 2nd Doctor in the 20th Anniversary special ‘The Five Doctors’. He recites an old Gallifreyan nursery rhyme “Who unto Rassilion’s Tower would go, Must choose Above, Between, Below!”

 

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