Due for release on DVD this year, The Tenth Planet is one of the most important of classic stories as it introduced the Cybermen and also the very concept of regeneration (then hardly detailed at all and even referred as rejuvenation by some). Acting as the scientific adviser to the program at the time, author Kit Pedler created the Cybermen as a statement on humanity’s reliance on technology as it progressed into a new age.
The Tenth Planet depicted the invasion of a race of beings from Earth’s twin planet Mondas, a world that was previously hidden on the other side of the sun until it was piloted to Earth in order to drain it of energy. The Cybermen are very primitive and at the creepiest here, cobbled together by spare human parts and mechanical enhancements. It is interesting to note that Pedler’s initial script would have built on the Cybermen’s need to transform human beings into cybernetic units in order to continue their dying race. This later became more evident, especially in the Tomb of the Cybermen in which the iconic line ‘you will be like us’ became coined.
An upcoming book on Kit Pedler will delve deeper into the Tenth Planet’s origins and the paths not taken. Here is an excerpt from the excellent website Kasterborous.com:
I found this script and two more from ‘The Moonbase’ (known then as ‘The Return Of The Cybermen’) among a very large collection of Kit’s papers which one of his children had kept in their attic .As I looked through it, I realised it was the first draft [script editor and co-writer] Gerry Davis prepared when Kit fell ill in June 1966.
The structure is more or less the same, though a lot of the dialogue is different. Some things were cut, especially involving the Cybermen. For example, the Cybermen planned to convert [companion] Polly and the Doctor into Cybermen towards the end of the story, and kept them prisoner in what they described as a waiting room. The most eye-catching difference is what didn’t happen at the end of the episode.
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