Neil Gaiman returns to Doctor Who with the Cybermen in 2013

Looks like cult author Neil Gaiman will be coming back to Doctor Who next year for the second part of the seventh series along with the evil cyborgs the Cybermen. I’m a big fan of the Cybermen and have long thought that they are among the creepier of the classic monsters. Sadly they did not age well outside of the 1960’s and while I do enjoy both Revenge of the Cybermen and Earthshock, they never really came close to recapturing their horror found in those black and white adventures.

In their 60’s appearances, the Cybermen were slow-moving zombie-like creatures who lurked in the corners of space stations, lurched through the snow-swept terrain of the arctic and even wandered through the sewers of London roaring like mad mummies. An attempt from the production team to top the Daleks, the Cybermen have long played second favorite to the dreaded pepper pots, but given that Terry Nation and Ray Cusick’s creatures are regarded as the most popular Who monster ever, that ain’t half bad, is it?

The latest version of the Cybermen from a parallel reality are decidedly un-scary, river-dancing their way into living rooms with a battle cry borne from an office keyboard. Despite a strong introduction in 2006, they have yet to make any real impact in the BBC Wales Doctor Who, though the headless Cyberman in The Big Bang was impressive. Can Gaiman succeed where so many others have failed? We’ll have to wait and see.

Entitled ‘The Last Cyberman,’ the misplaced read-through script has been the subject of a minor scandal, but in truth not many details have leaked from the event other than the title and confirmation of the new companion’s name (Clara).

Cybermen ’67

Via LATimes:

The Doctor will once again face off against some of his oldest enemies. The Cybermen are returning to “Doctor Who” in 2013 in an episode written by fantasy author Neil Gaiman, BBC announced Wednesday.

Gaiman’s episode will be directed by Stephen Woolfenden, who served as assistant director for four of the eight “Harry Potter” films. The episode will take the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his new companion (Jenna-Louise Coleman) to another planet, where they meet a band of misfits portrayed by Warwick Davis (“Life’s too Short,” “Harry Potter” and “Willow”), Tamzin Outhwaite (“Hotel Babylon”) and Jason Watkins (“Being Human”).

The Cybermen have been around for nearly as long as the show itself, debuting in 1966′s “The Tenth Planet” opposite the first Doctor, played by William Hartnell in his last episode before regenerating. In the series, Cybermen are people whose bodies have been replaced with artificial parts and whose emotions have been deleted, leaving a race of cold, calculating and deadly cyborgs.

“Cybermen were always the monsters that scared me the most,” the show’s lead writer Steven Moffat said in the announcement. “Not just because they were an awesome military force, but because sometimes they could be sleek and silver and right behind you without you even knowing.”

The 2013 Cybermen episode marks the second venture into “Doctor Who” for Gaiman, whose previous episode — 2011′s “The Doctor’s Wife” — won a Hugo Award and a Ray Bradbury Award.

“I saw my first Cybermen watching Moonbase, as Jamie thought the Piper was coming for him (scary). Then Tomb of the Cybermen terrified me,” Gaiman tweeted, referring to two 1967 episodes starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.

And here’s an picture of the redesigned Cybermen (from here where more excellent images can be found)


4 thoughts on “Neil Gaiman returns to Doctor Who with the Cybermen in 2013

  1. Man, I’m sick of these single-parters and though I’m interested to see what Gaiman will make of the “Silver Giants” (none of that “steel” stuff, bo, even if it does make more literal sense!) but it’s a little sad that a writer of his stature can only manage a fan fictiony gimmick episode (ooh, the TARDIS is like the Doctor’s Wife! *Heavy*) and a story featuring one of the show’s most familiar “monsters”. It seems that some will like what he does because he’s *The Sandman’s Neil Gaiman* while Moffat will let him do whatever he wants for the same reason, a courtesy he doesn’t give to the other writers (tho’ perhaps they’re too busy kissing his ass to care? Wait, who said that? 😉 ). The episode may be good but the fact that it’s the Cybermen is a little disappointing and, I don’t know, lazy?


  2. On a non-related, related note… Best Buy (here in the US) has had many BBC offerings on sale recently… so I finally picked up Sherlock series 1 & 2 for $19.99 each on Blu-ray. I watched the first series… and what was interesting to me… coming from Moffat’s Doctor Who…

    I saw a LOT of similarities in the writing/dialog style… but the stuff worked far better on Sherlock than it does on Doctor Who. This made me think back to Firefly… I was one of those who didn’t watch Firefly until it was cancelled. Some backstory..

    I had seen the Buffy movie… it was ok, but not impressive at the time… but a TV series? Really? Why would I want to watch that? So I didn’t… but then it hit syndication and I started seeing the credits… and weird of weird… I caught Alyson Hannigan’s name in the credits…and that made me think of Ed Hannigan & Dick Giordano (comic artists)… and she was a red-head…. so I watched a few random episodes and realized this show was not the movie!

    So I eventually caught up and was watching the final seasons as they aired along with the Angel spinoff. The shows had their ups and downs… and it was during one of the down periods that unbeknownst to me… Whedon was focusing on Firefly… that show I didn’t watch. It wasn’t until I finally watched Firefly… it kicked in… Firefly was where all the Whedon love went… and to his own admissions, Whedon left Buffy and Angel dangling a bit while he was all-in on Firefly. When that ended, I thought Angel righted the ship, and Buffy might have if it weren’t on season 7 and about to go by then anyway.

    So… back to Moffat… Maybe, I wonder aloud, the problem isn’t that Moffat isn’t as brilliant as he thinks he is… but rather, he isn’t putting the effort he thinks he is into Doctor Who. Maybe series 2 of Sherlock will change my mind… but strangely the stuff that isn’t working in Doctor Who lately, kind of is working in Sherlock… and I found myself liking those episodes far more than the Doctor Who in recent memory.


  3. Oh… and to say something about Gaiman… Yes, he has become a rock-star of sorts… where he doesn’t have to be brilliant anymore to get credit for past brilliance. I’ll grant him a bit of that… Sandman was good enough to earn Gaiman some fails to me… I actually enjoyed the Doctor’s Wife… yes, if you look to closely at it there are lots of things to nitpick… but at least it was enjoyable… many other recent Who episodes aren’t as enjoyable even when you overlook the nits.

    Fingers still crossed to finally see a classic Cyberman group wipe out the Cybus-men!


  4. Well, I find Sherlock incredibly irritating as well! I actually think it would work better in the originally proposed hour-long format, I think they’d be fewer longeurs. To be frank I think Sherlock is as polluted by smugness, unconvincing plots/ characterisations, and annoying pseudo-witty dialogue as Moffat Who, nor do I think much of Cumberbatch, Freeman (he’s a nice guy but his range and variety of facial expressions is small), or Gatiss who is predictably rubbish and miscast as Mycroft (again he seems a fairly nice, if annoying, chap but his straight acting consists of pulling a “serious” face and trying not to be camp) but the series’ version of Moriarty is even worse. Despite that takedown, it’s not *all* bad!
    *Must not mention Wheeedooonnn!*


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