Happy golden fiftieth anniversary, Cybermen!
Almost as old as Doctor Who itself, those silver nemeses have grown from just another monster of the week to become the only other creatures to rival the Daleks in longevity and iconography.
Over the years, they have featured as the primary villains of 16 Doctor Who stories (with a bunch of smaller and cameo roles besides). In celebration of their half-centenary, here’s our ranking of every single one from worst to best…
Honorary mention: ‘Cyberwoman’
Having the Cybermen tackled in a more gruesome way on “grown-up” spin-off Torchwood should have been awesome, but the Cyberwoman – clad in metal bikini – is just silly. It’s a shame that this one came from the pen of future Who showrunner Chris Chibnall.
‘Attack of the Cybermen’
Only the second story to feature the Sixth Doctor, this new era of the show was still finding its feet and ‘Attack’ suffers from an excess of uncharacteristic violence and far too much convoluted “fan-service.” Sorry. ‘Attack’, but something had to come bottom.
‘The Wheel in Space’
The Cybermen had so many outings in the ’60s that naturally the same ideas started to recur. With the lack of a unique hook, ‘The Wheel in Space’ fails to stand out amongst Who’s many other base-under-siege stories. It doesn’t help that four out of six parts of the serial are lost.
By rights, Doctor Who’s 25th anniversary story should be courting the top of this list but while you can’t fault this tale’s ambition – there are Cybermen, Nazis and a 17th century sorceress after a Gallifreyan superweapon – it suffers from a messy execution.
‘Revenge of the Cybermen’
‘Revenge’ is a pretty vanilla story that happens to fall in one of the show’s greatest runs ever – Season 12, Tom Baker’s first year in the role. As such, its flaws are more visible than normal, with a so-so plot about the Cybermen attacking Voga, the planet of gold.
The Cybermen’s second ever story earns a lot of credit for setting them up as a recurring villain and refining their design into the sleek silver giants we all know and love. That said, the story of ‘The Moonbase’ is a bit of rehash of The Tenth Planet (just set on the moon).
Continued on next page…