Doctor Who – Top Ten Classic Who Cyberman Stories

The early 1960s saw the genesis of ‘spare-part’ surgery with the development of gigantic heart-lung machines and research into the possibility of replacing amputated limbs with prosthetics controlled by wiring the nerve endings into the machine for a quicker response. Intrigued by the potential of these developments, Dr. Kit Pedler, the unofficial scientific advisor for Doctor Who at the time, asked his wife, who was also a doctor, about what would happen if someone had so many prostheses that they could no longer distinguish themselves from the machine – this idea would later go on to form the basis for the monster featured in The Tenth Planet, an episode he wrote with Gerry Davis. What Kit Pedler created went on to become one of the most iconic and enduring aspects of Doctor Who’s rich cast of creatures, and the Cybermen were born. Since their creation, the bio-mechanical monsters have menaced the Doctor on dozens of occasions throughout both the Classic and Modern incarnations of the show, and at over 50 years old the Cybermen have a wealth of history. To explore how effectively Dr. Pedler’s vision has been translated on screen, these are the Top Ten Cybermen Stories from Classic Who specifically. For this list the primary focus will be how effectively each episode presents the Cybermen as a threat but also how competently the nature of Cyber-conversion and its impact is depicted.


10 – Revenge of the Cybermen

Ranking the lowest out of all the Classic Who Cyberman stories is Revenge of the Cybermen, the Fourth Doctor’s only outing with the tin men from Mondas. This episode features what is possibly the weakest depiction of the Cybermen to date – gone are the sinister electronic voices and the cold, emotionless line delivery, and this robs the Cybermen of one of their most threatening attributes. The voices are not the only thing that seems to have changed either, as the Cybermen in this story seem to act out of character – their body language, the Cyberleader implying that Cybermen have some form of ‘morality’ when not at war, and even the title: ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’. How can emotionless machine creatures want revenge? Ultimately, this episode holds the dubious honour of being the joint-worst story in the otherwise excellent Season 12, the other joint-worst being The Sontaran Experiment. The only real saving grace for either of these stories is how good the TARDIS team for Season 12 is.

the wheel

9 – The Wheel in Space

Fans of Patrick Troughton’s era long for the missing parts of The Wheel in Space to be recovered, or at the very least animated, as the only way to watch this story at the moment is to buy the Doctor Who – Lost in Time DVD (an excellent investment regardless). The fact that 4 out of the 6 episodes are missing means that only the most die-hard of Second Doctor fans will have any interest in this story until an animated reconstruction is released, which is a shame considering this episode features the debut of Zoe Heriot, one of the most popular companions in the history of the show. At six parts long, however, The Wheel in Space in its completed form falls victim to the age-old issue with Classic Doctor Who – bad pacing – with the only real upside being that the depiction of the Cybermen in this story is strong. Whilst their voices have changed from early Second Doctor stories, the effect is still menacing and suitably inhuman, and the surviving two parts of this story have some excellent scenes with the Cybermen, particularly Part Six.

silver nemesis

8 – Silver Nemesis

Having already been the focus of on article on how it might just be a hidden classic, it may seem odd that Silver Nemesis doesn’t rank very highly on this list – that is primarily due to the fact that most of the Cybermen episodes are just really good, but also the fact that the actual depiction of the Cybermen themselves in this episode is lackluster. To be fair, the Cyberleader does get some great lines, particularly when he is scheming with his lieutenant or manipulating the brick-headed Nazis in this story, and there is a fantastic quip about the human condition of madness, but this story suffers from having too much going on in the story and as a result the Cybermen are not given the attention that they perhaps deserved. Considering the fact that this was the next Cyberman episode after Attack of the Cybermen, an episode that delves into the more gruesome aspects of Cyber-conversion, Silver Nemesis uses its Cybermen as fodder for various other plot developments and is a classic example of episodes that include the Cybermen but don’t go to any lengths to actually add more to their mythos or character.


7 – The Tenth Planet

The original Cyberman story, The Tenth Planet was a difficult episode to place in this ranking. On the one hand, it does a stellar job of introducing the Cybermen and what they are (or were) to the audience, but this episode was also the final adventure for William Hartnell, and the events leading up to his regeneration take the spotlight later in the story. The Cybermen themselves are imposing and utterly inhuman, yet they retain some of their former humanity, such as the human hands and the vaguely human-like heads, which is an excellent design choice. However, the plot essentially confines the Cybermen to one room, pacing up and down, which allows for some excellent dialogue between the Cybermen and the Doctor but doesn’t really allow for a depiction of their true power, aside from a few scenes in the snow in which they attack guards. Still, as this is the first appearance of the Cybermen and the first regeneration story, The Tenth Planet is still an enduring classic.


6 – The Five Doctors

Whilst the Cybermen aren’t the primary focus of this story by any means, they do feature as one of the prominent adversaries present in Gallifrey’s Death Zone. It is interesting that the Cybermen get more screentime in this story than the Dalek does, although they may have been more to do with how shabby the Dalek props were looking at this point in Doctor Who’s production. Regardless, the Cybermen are a notable threat in this story and they nearly succeed in blowing up the TARDIS, before they are all wiped out by the Raston Warrior Robot. The scene in which the Cybermen are destroyed has been cited as one of the many examples of the Cybermen undergoing ‘forced villain decay’ throughout the 80s era of Doctor Who, a phenomenon which seemed to lessen their impact as time went on. Nonetheless, The Five Doctors is a fantastic episode and the Cybermen are perhaps the most prominently featured recurring villain in the story apart from the Master, making it a somewhat-honorary Cyberman story.


5 – The Moonbase

Another Second Doctor Cyberman episode that his fallen victim to missing episodes, The Moonbase is definitely one of the strongest Cyberman stories in Classic Who, and thanks to the fact that the missing two episodes have been animated, the entire serial can now be enjoyed in all its glory. This episode is particularly notable as it features the first re-appearance of the Cybermen since their debut in The Tenth Planet, and with that came their first radical redesign – signifying that they had adapted since their initial encounter with the Doctor, and were now a more deadly threat. Gone are the human-like hands and vaguely humanoid face, and as if to ram home how inhuman these new Cybermen are, this was also the first time they were presented without individual names, further alienating them from their human roots and making them seem more like robotic monstrosities than ever before. As icing on the cake is the fantastic scene of the Cybermen marching across the surface of the Moon to attack the Moonbase, which is exactly the kind of show of power that the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet needed.


3 – The Invasion

The final Second Doctor Cyberman story, The Invasion, is somewhat unique in that it is an eight-part story with four episodes missing, making it a 50/50 split of genuine and animated episodes. Interestingly, the drawings for the animation and the general art style has a distinct visual flair, something that is not often found in animated episodes as they are usually created on as limited budget as possible with little room for finesse. That said, the animation itself is rather clunky, but even that cannot diminish the impact that the Cybermen themselves have in this story. Arguably one of their most menacing outings, the Cybermen use stealth, infiltration and carefully-laid plans to instigate a total invasion of London, which leads to some iconic and enduring images akin to the likes of The Dalek Invasion of Earth – the shot of the Cybermen marching down the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral is perhaps one of their most iconic stills of the Classic era, and it is chilling to see the Cybermen emerging from the depths of the London sewers and occupying familiar streets and landmarks.


3 – Attack of the Cybermen

Arguably one of the most controversial episodes of Classic Who to air, Attack of the Cybermen was heavily criticised at the time – those who were inspired by Mary ‘I’m here to spoil the fun’ Whitehouse and her crusade against Doctor Who in the seventies complained that Attack was too violent and scary for children, an idea which seems laughable today. Admittedly, one scene in which the Cybermen torture a man by crushing his hands into bloody pulps would probably have shocked children at the time, but that is rather the point of the show, and in fairness to the production team, Doctor Who was also being criticised at the time for not having the ‘spark’ that it had before, so it seems that everyone was a critic in the 80s. Regardless, Attack holds up particularly well for a Colin Baker story, and there are some truly menacing scenes with the Cybermen, particularly as they use the darkness to hunt workers in sewer tunnels. Another sinister aspect to this episode is that in the background of many scenes in Cyber-control, unfortunate victims of the Cybermen can be seen in conversion booths, and as the episode progresses they are slowly transformed bit by bit into emotionless killers. Overall, Attack does a great job of presenting the body horror aspects to the Cybermen that the show tends to skirt around, such as depicting partly-converted Cybermen desperately trying to escape and also describing in vivid detail the stench of rotting flesh emanating from long-dead Cyber-corpses.


2 – Earthshock

This episode is most often remembered for its ending – for those who have been living under a rock since the 1980s, this is the episode in which Adric dies, arguably the most prominent death of a character in Doctor Who (and that’s saying something). As a result of this, it is often overlooked that this is actually a fantastic story for the Cybermen specifically, as we see the full extent of their power and influence and there are some great shots that use clever editing to make it seem as though there are far more Cybermen in the episode that the BBC costumes department would allow. Speaking of costumes, the redesigned Cybermen look incredible in this story, and a tiny detail exclusive to this story that adds a really creepy element to the Cyberman design is the transparent lower-jaw of the Cyberleader and some Cybermen, which allows for more expression on the part of the actors inside the suits but also serves as a constant reminder to the audience that the Cybermen were indeed once flesh and blood, and are not simply robots. The fact that the Cybermen are ultimately responsible for the death of Adric has a profound impact on both the character of the Fifth Doctor and how the Doctor views the Cybermen following this encounter generally, which is reflected in Classic Who episodes following this and the Big Finish audios that feature the Cybermen set after this.

tomb of the cybermen cybermen

1 – The Tomb of the Cybermen

It was a difficult decision to place this episode above Earthshock and Attack of the Cybermen simply because all three episodes are great in their own way – but ultimately, The Tomb of the Cybermen has to come out on top due to just how well it holds up, even today. Whilst there are some unfortunate drawbacks, such as the questionable characterisation of Toberman and some odd costume choices, overall this story is excellent and is well-deserved of its status as a classic. This episode has a reputation for being one of Classic Who’s scariest episodes, and there are some scenes that are genuinely chilling – the famous example being the sequence in which the Cybermen break out of their tombs, but others include the death of the man who attempts to open the gate and the death of the man in the weapons chamber – both are sudden, graphic and accompanied by a suitably gruesome scream, and the Cyber-tomb around which this all takes place is presented almost like a malevolent entity in itself, making every scene set within its walls convery an air of uncertainty and fear. Even after over 50 years this serial is definitely worth a watch and is among the best Classic Doctor Who serials of all time.

To conclude, it is clear that the best Cyberman episodes in Classic Who are the ones that tackle the issue surrounding the Cybermen head on or depict their power and menace to make them genuinely terrifying.

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Doctor Who – The Best of Big Finish, Part Five

In my last Best of Big Finish article I mentioned that I had finished most of the second series of Eighth Doctor audios, and I had only a handful of audios (including the infamous Zagreus) remaining in the Eighth Doctor’s first batch of stories. What makes these audios so fascinating is that, other than the less-than-stellar TV Movie from 1996 and the fantastic but brief Night of the Doctor from 2013, they are the only medium through which fans can experience the Eighth Doctor. Whilst we can all live in hope that one day the BBC will give Paul McGann a spinoff or mini-series of his own, in the meantime the stellar audios that he has been a part of can suffice for fans of McGann. All of these audios can be picked up on the Big Finish website for just £3 each, so they are definitely worth checking out.


The Time of the Daleks

This audio is essentially a re-imagining of the lost Second Doctor episode The Evil of the Daleks, which is by no means a bad thing – since Evil can no longer be experienced, it makes sense to attempt a remake eventually – but the story is perhaps in places a little too close to Evil. Regardless, McGann and Fisher are brilliant as always, and the Daleks prove to be as menacing as ever.

What truly makes this audio worth the time is the fact that the Daleks quote Shakespeare throughout, something that is unnerving in context but hilarious to listen to, particularly since the plot revolves a fair amount around the Daleks attempting to remove all of Shakespeare from time, but in order to do that they have to learn Shakespeare themselves.



Neverland concludes the story arc involving Charley Pollard and the time-phenomenon that has pursued her and the Doctor since they met, and also leads into Zagreus, making it a fairly important audio in the Eighth Doctor’s early years. The audio features Lalla Ward as Romana II in her first encounter with the Eighth Doctor, and also features some interesting developments on Time Lord society, specifically their early methods of capitol punishment.

All in all, Neverland is essentially the ‘setup’ for the next audio, and given its successors infamous reputation it goes without saying that this audio is an important chapter in the Eighth Doctor’s adventures.



As strange as it is, I actually quite liked Zagreus. I am aware of this audio’s controversial nature, and its placement as the ‘Marmite’ audio for most fans – they either love it or they hate it. To its credit, Zagreus attempts to do something radically different for a Doctor Who story, and it plays with some really interesting ideas. By far one of the best features of this story is the abundance of classic cast members, everyone from Louise Jameson to Jon Pertwee (the latter as a prerecording taken from a fan production). In a strange twist, however, the entire group of regular cast have been given totally random roles in this story, making it an interesting ride for those who are familiar with them all.

The first of two main weaknesses of Zagreus is the length – in fact, its length is its Achilles heel in many ways, as the second main weakness of Zagreus is the meandering plot – but the story could have been tightened up a lot more as the final product is a whopping four hours long – twice the length of a standard Big Finish production. True to Classic Who form, this means filler galore.




This is a strange one. Scherzo is set directly after Zagreus and is the first in the ‘divergent universe’ arc that makes up the second major plot arc in the Eighth Doctor’s era after Charley. After the somewhat hectic and tragic conclusion to Zagreus, the Eighth Doctor and Charley end up in a totally new universe in which time no longer exists, and for most of the audio they cannot see or feel anything but each other – they are totally trapped in a universe in which the only thing that exists is sound.

This audio really showcases what the format of audio stories can do that the televised show could not, and really amps up the horror factor to the extent that this might be the scariest of the Big Finish audios that I have listened to so far, in a strange way. As the only two cast members, Paul McGann and India Fisher do a fantastic job here, and they are quickly becoming one of my favourite Doctor/Companion pairings.

So that concludes my thoughts on the next round of Eighth Doctor audios from Big Finish. If you enjoyed, be sure to leave a like and you can follow us either here or on Facebook for more content like this. Thanks for reading!

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Doctor Who – The Best of Big Finish, Part Four

I have been listening to Big Finish for just over two months now, and yet already I have made my way through swathes of episodes by listening to them daily – whilst out and about walking around the park or to the gym, whilst cooking or doing housework, and also during long car journeys. The series has been very rewarding to listen to as a Doctor Who fan and I would thoroughly recommend any who have not already to check out Big Finish on their website. Many of the earlier audios are very cheap for a digital download and the bundles of the first dozen or so stories for each Doctor periodically go on sale so it is really easy to pick them up cheap.

Following on from my Best of Big Finish, Part Three comes the next installment in my Big Finish reviews series, as I make my way through Big Finish’s main range. Unlike most Big Finish audios, most of these require previous episodes for context and understanding, so to begin:


The Mutant Phase

The first audio on this list is the third in the ‘Dalek Empire’ series, that also includes The Genocide Machine, The Apocalypse Element and the conclusion The Time of the Daleks. Featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa as well as a Dalek Emperor and Thals all attempting to prevent a history-altering mutation in the Dalek genome that could destroy both the Dalek race and the universe. The scope of this episode is larger than any in the Dalek Empire arc so far, and it links quite heavily with the 12-part First Doctor story The Dalek Invasion of Earth, but don’t let that put you off.

The Mutant Phase does a great job of maintaining the high stakes due to the temporal nature of it – usually when Big Finish does a ‘the Daleks invade this planet for this reason’ can get stale over time, but having a story in which the Daleks try to change all of history to rid themselves of a plague is fairly interesting, although there are more twists that make the reasoning by this and the Doctor’s motives more convoluted.


Invaders from Mars

The fact alone that Simon Pegg is part of the cast tells you that this is going to be a fun one, but Invaders from Mars is a contender for funniest audio I have listened to so far in the series, although I am yet to listen to The Holy Terror. The story partly revolves around the 1938 Halloween radio transmission of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds perfomred by Orson Welles, but some comical twists add to the surreal humour of this story. Likewise, as this is an episode that is perhaps meant to be taken less seriously, there appears to be a higher amount of ‘silly voices’ involved in the production of this audio, and not all of them can be Simon Pegg.

In typical Big Finish style, however, there are some dark elements, and the story is not without its fair share of death – but Invaders from Mars is definitely worth a listen for fans of the Eighth Doctor and Charley, and also for fans of historicals. Interestingly, this audio is written by Mark Gatiss, who would go on to write a lot of stories for the new series including The Unquiet Dead and Empress of Mars, so he clearly has a thing for historicals and episodes with Mars in the title.



Seasons of Fear

As far as ‘returning monsters’ go, you don’t really get more obscure than the return of the Nimon to Doctor Who in Seasons of Fear. The Nimon featured in just one episode of Classic Who, and yet still managed to get a return in NuWho in The God Complex (sort of), but that wasn’t before Big Finish had already granted them their glorious return here in a surprisingly standout episode featuring an almost comical relationship that develops between the Doctor and an immortal who serves a legion of Bull-people who want to supersede the Time Lords and become Masters of the universe.

The premise of this story is notable as it uses the time-travel elements of Doctor Who a lot more than most stories might, and the early parts almost give us a new location and time period each episode. The story flows consistently throughout, however, and the development of the character of Sebastian Grayle is both humorous and fascinatingly dark. Overall this is well worth a listen as it provides crucial development for the arc of the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard.


Embrace the Darkness

When Big Finish does creepy well, it does it really well, and and Embrace the Darkness sums up creepy – its essentially a sinister horror in audio form that also features a helping of sci-fi concepts and great characters and voice acting. The story is a basic ‘base-under-siege’ formula, but the execution makes it notable as the aliens in this are by no means as malevolent as one might expect from a sci-fi horror story.

It cannot be understated how good India Fisher is as a companion, particularly as she is able to bring her audio-only character Charley to life, and her chemistry with Paul McGann makes every audio with the pair acting together a treat.

As this is the third Eighth Doctor story on the list, it is important to note at this point that I am on an Eighth Doctor binge, and my next Big Finish Review will feature the next few Eighth Doctor audios as well as the infamous Zagreus.

So that was my list of the Best of Big Finish, Part Four. If you enjoyed then be sure to leave a like, and you can follow Sacred Icon either here or on Facebook for more content like this. Thanks for reading!

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Doctor Who – The New Logo

So the BBC just revealed the new logo for Series 11 of Doctor Who, which stars Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteen Doctor. For many, this new era of Doctor Who represents a time of great change, and with good reason – this has been the biggest ‘reboot’ of Doctor Who since the revival in 2005, seeing a new Doctor, a new showrunner, a new composer, a new TARDIS and now, inevitably, a new logo. And, to quote Jodie herself, it is brilliant.

Like the previous iteration, the BBC have opted for a more minimalist look, as this logo lacks any background like Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker’s ‘diamond’ or Christopher Eccleston/David Tennant’s ‘surfboard’, opting instead for a stark gold design that stands out on its own. Unlike the previous logo, however, the font is thinner and incorporates a ‘strike-through’ motif that was incorporated into its reveal video – the TARDIS cuts through the logo while in flight, perhaps hinting at what we should expect from the new title sequence?

As for the video itself, the brief but eerie take on the theme coupled with the fluctuating sound effect of the TARDIS in flight gives the whole thing an air of mystery, but overall the design foretells a fresh new take on the show’s look under Chibnall which has some fans worried – will this new incarnation of the show we all love be too different? Judging by what we have seen already from leaked set photos and videos, it would appear not – but with a fantastic actress at the helm and a promising set of supporting cast including Bradley Walsh from The Chase, Mandip Gill from Hollyoaks and Tosin Cole from both EastEnders and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new era looks set to continue where the fantastic Peter Capaldi left off and take the show in new and exciting directions.

Also revealed is a smaller version of the logo, which is similar to the ‘DW’ variant of the previous logo. This will undoubtedly be used for marketing purposes – on toy packaging, decorating the spines of books and audiobooks to come, and perhaps even being integrated into the title sequence somehow.


Doctor Who is a show that embodies change, and this process is one of many previous re-imaginings of the show’s look. Ultimately, however, what matters is the quality of the show itself – but fans like myself can rest easy knowing that the show is in capable hands. There is some sad news, however, in that longstanding composer for the show, Murray Gold, officially announced that he has left the show, leaving a set of intimidating shoes to fill for any budding BBC composer. Whether they choose a fresh face or a veteran, let’s hope that the new series incorporates subtle nods to the show’s history in its soundtrack whilst also looking to the future with new themes for the Doctor, various companions, and perhaps even the Daleks, although keeping the Dalek themes would be no bad thing.

If you have any thoughts or feelings about the new logo, be sure to leave them in the comments below. Like and Share if you enjoyed this little review of the logo, and be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us here on WordPress for more content like this!


Classic and New Series Dalek Customs Collection Tour – Special Weapons Daleks REVISITED

Welcome to the next instalment in this tour through my collection of custom-painted Daleks. Following the Davros Customs, this feature includes a tour of my collection of Special Weapons Dalek customs. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.

Remembrance of the Daleks Box Set Special Weapons Dalek Figure:



The original Special Weapons Dalek figure was highly sought after for years following its release, especially since at the time it was totally unique. The Remembrance of the Daleks Box Set is probably one of the best releases Character Options has had so far, particularly since it is the only four-pack Dalek Box Set to actually contain four Daleks, rather than two Daleks, a Davros and a Doctor as in previous box sets for Genesis, Destiny, Resurrection and Revelation of the Daleks. Unfortunately, the one thing that does let this set down somewhat is the paint applications, particularly on the Renegade Dalek and this Special Weapons Dalek. Whilst it looks good from a distance, i.e. on a shelf, upon closer inspection it is clear that there was actually very little effort put in to the detailing on this figure. The oil patches between each hemisphere on the lower section are simply singular splodges of grey wash, and the detailing on the back of the midsection is plainly obvious as a simple brush stroke on each side. Thankfully, the detailing on the cannon is excellent, and overall the figure is screen-accurate, but the paint applications could use a lot of work.

Sound FX Talking Special Weapons Dalek Figure:



It should be immediately apparent that this figure is an almost universal improvement over the original, but let’s break down why this is the case. For a start, the paint applications are much improved, with a much more convincing oily effect on the lower section and a less obvious brush marks on the midsection. The area around the cannon is also different, it now has an excellent dirtied bronze effect which looks great, and the cannon itself is detailed in light silver too, making it look dirty and scratched, like it should. Overall, this figure looks a lot better, but what really makes this figure an essential for any Dalek collection is the Sound Effects. Although the cannon blasting sound used is not screen-accurate, what makes this figure unique is that it has its own voice, despite the fact that the Special Weapons Dalek never talks on-screen. Using a secret activation method, you can ‘unlock’ this figures talking mode and behold the beefy, guttural voice that this behemoth never had. Awesome.

Renegade Special Weapons Dalek Custom Figure:



Although painting over a Special Weapons Dalek seemed wrong at the time, the results of this custom speak for themselves. Based on the alternate versions of the Special Weapons Dalek featured in the War of the Daleks tabletop game, as well as early drafts for Remembrance of the Daleks, this Renegade Special Weapons Dalek is one of my favourite customs. Originally this started out as a standard Remembrance Special Weapons Dalek, so it does not have the sound effects, but I was able to salvage a ring of midsection slats from a former custom of the Renegade Dalek Supreme (which then went on to become my custom Dalek Battle Computer) to adhere to the back of the midsection of this figure. I got the idea to do this from Librarian-Bot, an artist on DeviantArt who does various renders of different Daleks, you can check that out here.

Asylum War of the Daleks Special Weapons Dalek Custom Figure:



This custom featured briefly in the header for my Classic Series Dalek Asylum Customs tour, but I felt it necessary to elaborate on it more here. The damaged cannon on this figure made it impossible to repaint as an intact Special Weapons Dalek, since the cannons are practically irreplaceable, but this made it perfect for use as an Asylum custom. Oddly enough, the Asylum stamp on this figure was already present when I bought it, albeit heavily faded – I believe this to be a custom made by CaptainJimiPie, as the stamp mark matches those on other customs of his that I bought along with other damaged Daleks. The colour scheme that I chose for this figure is based on the War of the Daleks Special Weapons Dalek, that was painted to serve as a Special Weapons Dalek for a faction of Daleks that used the Movie colour schemes.
Special Weapons Daleks

Time War Temporal Weapons Dalek Custom Figure:



This was another custom inspired by a Librarian-Bot, and also by the cover art for the War Doctor novel Engines of War. The best thing about this custom is that it looks the part, and I refrained from dirtying this one up too much as in-canon the Temporal Weapons Dalek is actually regarded with much more respect from its brethren than standard Special Weapons Daleks. Overall, this was actually quite an easy custom to make, as the Dalek X figure already has a particularly good colour scheme and so minimal painting was required, and all I needed to do was remove the front, use hot glue to fit a part underneath (in this case, part of a mechanism for a Classic Dalek’s dome) and then hot glue the oversized gunstick and wires in and finish with some light paint detailing. Check out Librarian-Bot’s renders for a better idea of the base idea for this custom here.

Next – New Series Dalek Customs Collection Tour – Screen-Accurate Asylum Daleks

Screen-Accurate Asylum Daleks

Bonus – Paradigm Special Weapons Dalek Custom Figure:

It can be hard to figure out what to do with New Dalek Paradigm figures, particularly since they barely had 3 episodes before they were ditched by the Doctor Who production team. The most common customs you see of Paradigm Daleks are very much akin to the sort of customs I have been doing already, either Paradigm Daleks in different colour schemes, Paradigm Daleks in the Asylum or, as this custom is supposed to represent, ‘what would a Special Weapons Paradigm Dalek look like?’. Opinions may vary on this custom, and in all honesty, my opinion of it varies from time to time. In the right light it can look menacing, but often it just comes off as ridiculous. The genesis of this idea was way back in 2010, when the Doctor Who production team apparently decided that the odd back-panel of the New Paradigm Daleks was in fact a ‘hatch’, that would at some point in the future be revealed as a storage compartment for extra weapons for the Daleks. This got many people thinking, what sort of weapons? And people connected the dots. Whilst it would have been nice to see a Special Weapons Dalek in the New Series, chances are if they ever did include it, it would not be a Paradigm Dalek. Nonetheless, this custom took a long time to make and so it will remain on my shelf forever in stubborn denial of the futility of its existence.

And Finally…

For those who are interested, here is CaptainJimiPie’s Asylum Daleks Custom Figure Showcase at the exact point in which the Special Weapons Dalek appears. After comparing this one with my War of the Daleks Special Weapons Custom I have concluded that it is the same figure, but it is open to discussion. Until then, I hope you enjoyed.




The Master – Simm to Delgado Theory

Ever since the Series 10 finale The Doctor Falls dropped, fans have been attempting to piece together evidence to attempt to solve several unanswered riddles left in the wake of this epic, explosive episode. Arguably one of the biggest impacts this episode has had on wider Doctor Who lore is the death of not one but two incarnations of the Master, with John Simm’s incarnation being mortally wounded by his female counterpart only to shoot her in the back in a desperate act to prevent Missy from standing with the Doctor. As a result, both Masters die at the hands of the other, but whilst Missy appears to die for good, John Simm’s incarnation escapes, presumably to regenerate into Missy and begin the cycle again. Or does he?

The interesting thing about this finale is that many of the events that take place are left open-ended, presumably so that upcoming showrunner Chris Chibnall can revisit the character of the Master later in his tenure. As a result, we don’t see John Simm actually regenerate into Missy, and so fan speculation has inevitably brought up one of the biggest questions of all that could turn the entire chronology of the Master totally on its head. What if the Simm Master, having been mortally wounded by Missy, goes back to his TARDIS and regenerates… into Roger Delgado’s incarnation?

Let’s look at the facts. We know that John Simm’s Master has been tormented by the Sound of Drums his entire life, and whilst the drumming became louder and stronger than ever before during Simm’s run as the Master, it is implied that the Master has had this drum beat in his head his entire life. Derek Jacobi’s incarnation certainly has it, and Russel T. Davies would have us believe that, by extension, all previous incarnations of the Master in the classic series had the drums as well… they just never mentioned it at all.

Alternatively, this new theory offers a different interpretation. The reason why the Masters in the classic series didn’t mention having the drums is because, at that point in their timeline, it had already been cured. Simm’s second appearance as the Master in The End of Time saw the drums cured once the Doctor destroyed the machine holding Gallifrey in orbit over Earth, and when we see Simm again in The Doctor Falls, he appears much more reserved, less manic, and generally more akin to a classic Master incarnation like Delgado. He even dresses similarly, with a long black coat and goatee-style beard.

It would seem then that this theory holds some weight to it – after all, it explains an otherwise difficult to ignore plot hole regarding the Master’s character, and it even seems to line up in terms of Simm’s continuity. However, upon closer inspection, it appears that this theory simply isn’t true. Lines of dialogue said by Simm’s incarnation in The Sound of Drums makes reference to ‘Axons and Daleks’, clearly referencing the events that take place during Roger Delgado’s tenure as the Master, implying that Simm’s incarnation remembers them from his past. Likewise, Simm also talks about being resurrected for the Time War, implying that the events of State of Decay all the way up to the 1996 TV Movie all happened in his past, which essentially derails this theory.

However, one might argue that it could be that Simm’s incarnation is aware of the events he is discussing but not from his personal history – after all, the Master is completely deranged, and unlike the Doctor would probably have no qualms about sifting through UNIT’s documents to get a glimpse of what his personal future on Earth would be like, especially since he was Prime Minister at the time, and could have easily accessed UNIT’s files. Perhaps due to the paradoxical nature of such an act, his memories of the exact details of each encounter are erased, explaining why he can’t remember exactly how he gets beaten in each encounter – but he still remembers something to do with Axons and Daleks. A tenuous explanation, yes, but a possible one.

Speaking of memory, there is another aspect of this theory that causes problems the more you look into it. If Delgado’s incarnation comes after Simm’s, and Simm’s follows Jacobi’s who fought in the Time War according to Big Finish’s new War Master audio series, why doesn’t Delgado’s incarnation know or care about the Time War? He never mentions it to the Doctor at all, and although he might simply not care enough to discuss it, Ainley’s incarnation (which presumably follows Delgado’s) goes to Gallifrey several times and yet makes no mention of a Time War.

Unless – and this is an even crazier theory – the entire chronology of the Master as we know it is totally wrong, and the order of the Master’s regenerations does not follow a chronological order based on year of appearance like the Doctor’s does, and rather the Master as we know him/her is constantly moving around in time, and not even the Doctor knows exactly which incarnations follow or precede each other.

All we know as fans is what we can glean from what we see on-screen – which isn’t much. The Master is rarely shown to regenerate on-screen, and the only true regeneration that we get to see is the Jacobi-Simm regeneration in Utopia. In the classic series, we witness Geoffrey Beever’s decayed incarnation hijack Tremas’ body and become the Anthony Ainley incarnation in The Keeper of Traken, and we presumably witness the death of this incarnation at the start of the 1996 TV Movie as the Master depicted there, although not played by Ainley himself, clearly has the catlike eyes he possesses in Survival, a trait that carries over to his next incarnation. As such, all we know for certain is like Beevers becomes Ainley, Ainley becomes Roberts and, in NuWho, Jacobi becomes Simm. We don’t even know what order these events occur in!

As such, this opens up a whole new can of worms regarding the Master’s chronology. Is Missy an incarnation from the far future? Was Delgado the chronological first Master incarnation, or was it Jacobi? Is the decayed Master seen in State of Decay and The Keeper of Traken meant to be the remains of the Delgado incarnation, or a totally different version of the Master? Indeed, do these two separate decayed Masters, who are played by different actors, represent two separate versions themselves? Will the Master return again or did Missy’s death represent a final end for the character?

We can only hope that between Big Finish’s new War Master audio series and the potential for the character to return in the future of televised Doctor Who that some of these questions will be answered. However, if the past history of the character of the Master is anything to go by, we shouldn’t get out hopes up.

Cameo of the Daleks – Do Dalek Cameos work?

It’s become a well-known fact that you can’t have a series of New Who that doesn’t have the Daleks in it, one way or another. But has having the Daleks appear in the show so often become damaging to the character of the Daleks? Since they get beaten so often, are they even a threat anymore? These were the kind of questions Steven Moffat must have been asking himself as he took over as showrunner, and he appeared to attempt to solve this Dalek problem by having them appear fairly infrequently when compared to Russel T. Davies’ series, and filling out season finales with short Dalek cameos. But did this strategy work?

There is one thing that can be said about Moffat’s Dalek cameos – they aren’t a new thing. Daleks having a cameo appearance in episodes of Doctor Who in which they aren’t the primary villain has been going on since the classic era. A single Dalek appears as a cameo in The Five Doctors, and kills itself by accident. The Daleks also make short appearances as cameos in several Russel T. Davies episodes, such as The Waters of Mars. So Steven Moffat certainly didn’t invent the idea of the Dalek cameo, but he did appear to overuse it. If you tally up all the ‘Dalek episodes’ for Davies’s era compared to Moffat’s, it’s the  Moffat era that gets the most. But the only ones where the Daleks are the primary focus are Victory of the Daleks, Asylum of the Daleks and Into the Dalek. A Stone Dalek is considered the primary villain of The Big Bang and one might argue that The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witches’ Familiar heavily featured the Daleks, but these are not specifically Dalek episodes.

And then there are the cameo appearances – the absolute worst being in The Wedding of River Song, in which a Supreme Dalek appears as a dying survivor of a ship crash only to be ripped apart by the Doctor for information about the Silence. If it weren’t for the finale of The Time of the Doctor that establishes that the Daleks were the real threat to the Silence all along, it would seem as if this was the final nail in the coffin for the Daleks of Matt Smith’s era, as the Silence had truly taken the position of primary villain of the show by this point. A Dalek cameo should attempt to showcase the Daleks as a threat, not devalue the character of the Daleks to the extent that their role in the cameo could be filled by a broken yellowed Acorn Archimedes.

However, just as all hope seemed lost for Dalek cameos in Doctor Who, Series 10 finally gave us a Dalek cameo that works – and in the very first episode, no less. A perfect Dalek cameo, if such a thing exists, involves the Doctor taking his companion to a war zone in the middle of a Dalek attack on an innocent colony ship, dodging and weaving through Dalek blaster fire and attempting to avoid the carnage and destruction – and that is exactly what The Pilot gives us. In an attempt to avoid Heather and her trans-temporal teleportation powers, the Doctor takes Bill and Nardole into what he describes as one of the most dangerous places in the universe – a battle between the Daleks and the Movellans, which Classic fans will remember from 1979’s Destiny of the Daleks. Regardless of your feelings on that episode, having the Movellans appear again – and having them be completely annihilated by the Daleks – does wonders to tying their timeline together and perfectly demonstrates the Dalek’s power. We finally get to see a glimpse of what the ‘Dalek Wars’ of the early 1970s stories would have been like if they had the budget at the time to properly showcase them, and most importantly, it makes the Daleks seem like a real threat again.

Asylum of the Daleks – Into the Madhouse

It doesn’t take a Doctor Who loremaster to know that Asylum of the Daleks is a mess. Not only does it contradict the backstory of not only the Daleks themselves but also the show at large, but it also stands as one of the most unforgivable examples of false advertising in the history of Doctor Who.

Before Asylum of the Daleks aired, all fans knew about the episode was what they were told by the writers and producers and shown through the set photos and short trailers, and one thing was clear from this – that Asylum of the Daleks would contain not only the Daleks, but also classic Dalek designs from times gone by – 1960s-style Emperor Guard Daleks, Grey and Black 80s-era Daleks, and even the legendary Special Weapons Dalek. So the question remains – where were all these Daleks in the episode?

Fans were outraged that, aside from blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos, these Daleks barely even feature. Even more frustratingly, the episode sets up the perfect moment to cameo plenty of classic Daleks in the form of the ‘intensive care’ ward that contains survivors from earlier encounters with the Doctor that are specifically named – Spiridon, Exxilon and Vulcan being particularly high-profile examples. And yet, when these Daleks are seen, they appear as Russel T. Davies era Dalek designs. Why would the production team fail to utilise the classic Dalek props effectively if they went to the trouble of gathering them in the first place?

This is made even more tragic when one takes into account the fact that many fans donated their own home-made or long-treasured props to the team to swell the ranks of the classic Daleks in the episode – and several were damaged in the process. The owner of the Resurrection style prop, Mark Barton Hill, lamented that upon his prop being returned to him it required industrial-strength cleaning to remove the Asylum cobwebs, which almost destroyed the original paint that dated back to the 1980s. And yet, this Dalek can barely be seen in the episode itself, making the time and effort taken to utilise this prop utterly wasted.

The Special Weapons Dalek prop, which likewise dates back to the 1980s, was included in the episode but barely used – Rory darts past it briefly during his first scene in the Asylum hall as it sits there, catatonic. It doesn’t even get to fire its trademark weapon.

We may never know what behind-the-scenes decisions were made that pushed the classic Daleks into the background of this episode that was meant to be their swansong. Ironically, Steven Moffatt clearly identified this as a mistake as he would later include classic Daleks in the Twelfth Doctor episodes The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar, which includes more of the 1960s-style Daleks and the Special Weapons Dalek – which finally gets to actually move and speak.

Whilst many fans detest Asylum for its heavy-handed divorce subplot, its odd human-Dalek conversion premise or its introduction of a Dalek Parliament (which, again, makes no sense whatsoever) it is genuinely upsetting to some that the episode promised so much nostalgic Dalek action and yet delivered none, and it seems likely now that we will never get another opportunity for an episode like that again.

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