This three part tale, returned the monstrous threat of the Cybermen to the world of the Doctor (McCoy). Running from 23 November to 8 December, 1988 this story was penned by Kevin Clarke.
The Doctor and Ace (Sophie Aldred – who wears a fez for a moment or two in the story, because they’re cool) find themselves on Earth in 1988 as a comet brings threats new and old to the planet, and raises some questions for the young Companion about the Time Lord she is travelling with.
The Cybermen, and a group of Neo-Nazis promoting themselves as the Fourth Reich are about to cause all manner of trouble.
There is a bit of time-travelling, gunfights, and danger, everything you would expect from the Doctor. The down side is that it takes a whole episode to introduce the Doctor to the story, but the Cybermen recognise him when they do confront one another.
The Neo-Nazis are intent on claiming a weapon that will give them power to take over the world, all while Lady Peinforte (Fiona Walker), who has travelled from 1988 from 1638, causes problems for both the Cybermen and the Doctor.
Everyone seems to be focused on getting their hands on a piece of meteorite (and its contents) that has come down. That doesn’t stop the Doctor from making puns and running around the country side, in a number of different times, to put a stop to the Cybermen, Peinforte, and the Neo-Nazis.
There are some fun moments, the Cyber-fleet reveal is nicely done, the painting of Ace, the use of jazz to jam transmissions, the chess game, the time-travelling of Peinforte is a lot of fun, as the Cybermen believe she won’t comprehend the temporal lines at work, and the Doctor gets a lot of great lines, and moments.
Ace continues to prove herself the best of the recent Companions as she holds her own not only against the Cybermen, but with the Doctor as well. I’m starting to think she may be my favourite of the classic Companions.
I think it was an interesting choice of the writer to use Neo-Nazis as villains in the piece, and of course, they get their just desserts.
As we draw closer to the series relaunch, more and more the episodes seem to resemble th things that shall follow. This is a story, that if adapted ever so slightly, could have worked for any of the recent regeneration of the Time Lord. There is a cleverness and glee to his performance that ties previous incarnations to his modern ones.
The storytelling style needs to be a little tighter yet (to say nothing of the level of the special effects), but the tale does move along fairly nicely, and McCoy’s Doctor gets stronger by the story.
The conclusion of season 25 takes place next week with The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.