I'm really looking forward to the next couple of episodes of "Doctor Who". The Cybermen are back, after an 18-year absence, and they're back in force! Coincidence or otherwise, it's also actually 40 years since they first appeared, opposite original Doctor William Hartnell in "The Tenth Planet", leading up to his, the initial, regeneration back in 1966. My anticipation over the return of the Daleks, last year, became a little curbed when I learnt there was only going to be one in their first story. The whole point of them had always suggested a Nazi army of tinpot dictators milling around their control room waiting for the command to "Exterminate".
"Dalek" turned out to be a good episode but it was still a distinctly odd way of reintroducing Skaro's finest to those of us already in the know and an even odder way of introducing them to a new audience. Then, when the Daleks did turn up en masse, it wasn't until Rose and the Doctor had spent almost an entire episode getting past friend-of-the-Welsh Anne Robinson and failed chat show hostess Da Vinci McCold! Autons in wedding dresses, the now ex-presenters of "What Not to Wear", and, most recently, clockwork droids masquerading at a lavish French ball! What is it with Russell and robots in fancy dress?!! There are maybe better ways of keeping us in suspenders!
I have to admit, after Sarah Jane and K9, I really wanted to skip the next episode, as much as I love Lady Penelope, and continue with "Rise of the Cybermen". It's not just the Cybermen attracting me to this pair of episodes either. It's the Cybermen directed by Graeme Harper. Yes, you knew I'd mention him sooner or later! It's 21 years since his last directorial contribution to our favourite programme and where would Eighties "Doctor Who" be without "The Caves of Androzani" and "Revelation of the Daleks"? Yes, you knew I'd mention them as well!! Anyway, the point is it's a double return, like "School Reunion". It's his work you'll see on screen, after all.
There's even more! Roger Lloyd Pack guest stars in "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel" as wheelchair-bound cyber-creator John Lumic. Best known for snogging Dawn French in "The Vicar of Dibley" and, of course, as Trigger in "Only Fools and Horses", he also showed he is quite capable of serious roles in a recent episode of "Doc Martin". When he comes face-to-face with the Doctor though, how on earth will he be able to stop himself from saying "Hello, Dave"?!! The other big name is Don Warrington, playing the President, possibly most famous as the butt of Rigsby's jokes, as tenant Philip, in Seventies' sitcom "Rising Damp". If you're familiar with "Revelation of the Daleks", you might also recognise Colin Spaull who played Lilt in that story and here appears as Mr Crane.
The story is set on an alternate Earth so, hopefully, Jackie won't be her usual self! Something like the Brigade Leader, from the soon-to-be-released (on DVD) 1970 Jon Pertwee story "Inferno", would be good, but without the eye patch! Rumour has it, Jackie falls for John. I wonder how Rose's late father, Pete, will feel about that?!! Let's hope the domestic side of the plot doesn't dominate but that the Cybermen do! I would like to see the Cyber army seemingly invincible as they were in what I think is their best story, "The Invasion". There are also rumours that, in this dimension, and like the aforementioned "Inferno", Earth falls. We don't have long to wait now and yet it seems like an eternity...