Thursday, October 10, 2013

Doctor Who Cybermen upgraded across the ages...

If you ask any Doctor Who fan, or Whovian, who the Time Lord's most memorable monsters are, they'll probably either say the Daleks or the Cybermen. Here's a collection of the different Cybermen designs across the ages since their debut in 1966's The Tenth Planet, featuring suits, helmets and props on display at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay, Wales on May 20, 2013.

Original Cybermen suits and props from Doctor Who on display
2006 Cyberman Doctor Who
Severed Cyberman helmet prop Doctor Who
Doctor Who Experience Cardiff Bay
Cyberman costumes Doctor Who Experience exhibit
First up is a Cyberman suit from the Doctor Who revival era, when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) faced a totally new breed of humanoid cyborgs in an alternate universe (one in which 'Rose Tyler's' dad was still alive), in the second season episodes 'Rise of the Cybermen' and 'The Age of Steel' from 2006.

Cyberman design 2006 - 2012
Cyberman design Doctor Who 2006 - 2012
Cyberman suit Doctor Who 2006 - 2012
Cyberman Doctor Who 2006
These new era Cybermen resembled the cyborgs of our universe, but these silver giants were the product of human technology and the bitter, dying genius 'John Lumic' (played by Roger Lloyd-Pack). His Cybus Industries technology created 'Emotional Inhibitors', so human victim's emotions were suppressed when they were converted into a Cyberman, his goal to create a logical, emotionless army able to cheat death.

This new Cyberman look was used from 2006 to 2012, and an upgraded, sleeker version of the Cybermen recently appeared in the seventh season episode 'Nightmare in Silver' in 2013.

John Lumic Cyber-Controller 2006
John Lumic Cyber-Controller Doctor Who 2006
Cyber-Controller costume Doctor Who 2006
Cyber-Controller costume Doctor Who 2006
John Lumic's planned backfired when his own creations converted him into the 'Cyber-Controller'. Let's face it, you can't beat a costume design with an exposed brain.

Cyberman Conversion Unit prop from 2011's Closing Time
Cyberman Conversion Unit Doctor Who Closing Time prop 2011
Cyberman Conversion Unit Doctor Who prop
Cyber Conversion Unit Doctor Who prop 2011
This next cool Cyberman prop featured in the sixth season episode 'Closing Time', featuring the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). This Cyber Conversion Unit is just one of the ways Cybermen use to upgrade humans to cyborgs, this time encasing the subject's entire body in an armoured metal suit rather than just a brain, in this case the Doctor's friend 'Craig Owens'.

Now here's a blast from the past, with five generations of Cybermen heads, looking at how their distinctive features evolved over time.

1966 Cyberman from The Tenth Planet
Doctor Who 1966 Cyberman The Tenth Planet
Doctor Who 1966 Cyberman head Tenth Planet
This a replica of how the Cybermen first looked in their initial appearance in 1966's 'The Tenth Planet'. Once human, these Cybermen came from Earth's long-lost twin planet 'Mondas' and to survive they gradually replaced their failing bodies with metal and plastic. BBC designer Sandra Reid was responsible for coming up with the look of these inaugural creepy stretched 'skin' faces.

1968 Cyberman from The Wheel in Space
1968 Cyberman Doctor Who The Wheel in Space
Doctor Who 1968 Cyberman head The Wheel in Space
In 1968 the Cybermen returned to battle the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) in 'The Wheel in Space' serial, and just like he had a new look from regenerating, these new-look Cybermen had changed too. Sandra Reid was once again in charge for this 'upgrade' to a full blank metal face and you can see the start of the distinctive teardrop eye detail.

1975 Cyberleader from Revenge of the Cybermen
Doctor Who 1975 Cyberleader Revenge of the Cybermen
Doctor Who 1975 Cyberleader head Revenge of the Cybermen
For their next redesign in 1968, designer Bobi Bartlett created a striking and more iconic look for the Cybermen in 'The Invasion'. The silver cyborgs didn't resurface again until the 1975 serial 'Revenge of the Cybermen' which featured the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and it was thought a good idea to bring in some classic enemies for his new incarnation. This black helmet variation is worn by the 'Cyberleader' in those episodes.

Cyber-Controller from 1985's Attack of the Cybermen
Cyber-Controller Doctor Who 1985 Attack of the Cybermen
Cyber-Controller Doctor Who 1985 Attack of the Cybermen
This next Cyberman helmet is an original piece featured in 1985's 'Attack of the Cybermen', which featured the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker). Apparently this is the original fibreglass helmet worn by Michael Kilgarriff, who had first played the 'Cyber-Controller' in 1967's 'The Tomb of the Cybermen'.

1988 Cyberman from Silver Nemesis
1988 Cyberman Doctor Who Silver Nemesis
1988 Cyberman helmet Doctor Who Silver Nemesis
After a seven year absence, in 1982 the Cybermen returned to Doctor Who and shocked audiences because their revival had been kept top secret. Richard Gregory was behind this redesign for the 80's (from 1982-1988) and this shiny original Cyberman helmet was featured in 1988's 'Silver Nemesis', featuring the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and it was significantly the last appearance of the Cybermen in the British sci-fi series original run.

The Cybermen will always have a special place in my heart for the death of Fifth Doctor Companion 'Adric' in 'Earthshock' in 1982.

Let's hope they continue to evolve as Doctor Who monsters, as the last seventh season episode featuring them wasn't the best.

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