The First Doctor The Second Doctor The Third Doctor The Fourth Doctor The Fifth Doctor The Sixth Doctor The Seventh Doctor The Eighth Doctor The Ninth Doctor The Tenth Doctor The Eleventh Doctor
New Series Episodes 20 & 21:
Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel

Plot

The TARDIS is hurtled into a parallel universe where Rose discovers that her father, Pete, is still alive. A rich man in this reality, Peter Tyler is in business with the wealthy and powerful John Lumic, who is seeking to stave off his approaching demise by any means necessary. At the same time, Mickey learns that his counterpart, Ricky, is the leader of a resistance movement trying to prevent Lumic from giving humanity the ultimate upgrade. Much to the Doctor's horror, Lumic's plan is one he has seen executed before: the creation of the Cybermen.

Production

Early in 2005, Billie Piper informed Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies that she would not be remaining on the programme beyond its second season. Although she had loved her time on Doctor Who to date, Piper felt that two years on the demanding show would be enough, and was concerned that staying too long would risk stifling her now-incandescent acting career. Davies therefore made Rose Tyler's exit a keystone of the 2006 season. He immediately ruled out killing off the character, which he thought would fly in the face of Doctor Who's optimistic view of the universe, and therefore decided to create a situation in which Rose would become irrevocably separated from the Doctor -- an event Davies felt was the only believable way to shatter the strong bond which had developed between them.

To this end, Davies decided to draw upon Inferno, the closing serial of the original Doctor Who series' seventh season. This had established the existence of parallel universes -- worlds where history diverged just a little from that of the normal timeline in which all other Doctor Who events were presumed to take place. Davies hit on the idea of setting up such a parallel Earth in a story early in the 2006 season, before revisiting it in the climactic adventure (which became Army Of Ghosts / Doomsday), with Rose becoming trapped there.

As well, Inferno had included “alternative” versions of the Doctor's UNIT allies Liz Shaw, Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and Sergeant Benton, and Davies was eager to attempt a similarly disparate take on some of the new series' characters. In particular, he saw this an opportunity to draw to a close Mickey's evolution from the quivering coward of Rose into a true hero. Davies also acted quickly to ensure that Shaun Dingwall would be interested in reprising his role as Pete Tyler (originally seen in Father's Day), approaching him at the Doctor Who launch party on March 8th.

Meanwhile, Davies was also contemplating the return to Doctor Who of the Cybermen. The revived programme's first season had resurrected the Daleks to popular acclaim, and Davies now wanted to do the same for the show's second-most famous monsters. For the reintroduction of the Daleks, he had sought inspiration in the line of Doctor Who audio dramas issued by Big Finish Productions, and he elected to repeat the experiment with the Cybermen. Davies was impressed with Spare Parts, a 2002 Fifth Doctor story written by Ghost Light scripter Marc Platt. This play explored the heretofore-unrevealed creation of the Cybermen in what was essentially a character piece, examining the conditions which drove the citizens of the planet Mondas to allow themselves to be adapted into such creatures and boasting such elements as a woman converted into a Cyberman who, horrifyingly, begins to regain her humanity.

However, Davies was wary of what he saw as a complex continuity surrounding the Cybermen. He therefore elected to introduce a new version of the monsters created in the parallel universe he was developing; as such, while he intended to make use of some of the ideas and themes of Spare Parts, he did not plan to adapt the play to any significant degree. Instead, he turned to Tom MacRae to develop the two-episode storyline under the title “Parallel World”. MacRae -- a friend of Davies' who had inspired Suki Macrae Cantrell's name in The Long Game -- had written previously for Mile High, School's Out and No Angels, amongst other programmes.

MacRae initially hewed fairly closely to Spare Parts by setting “Parallel World” on a dying Earth whose inhabitants regularly augmented their organs in “Body Shops” run by Cybus Industries. Davies found this scenario less than credible, however, and also felt that the original inspiration for the Cybermen -- which drew on mid-Sixties paranoia about body part replacement -- was outdated. MacRae and Davies worked closely together to revamp the storyline, and finally hit upon the idea of viewing cybernisation as the natural extension of twenty-first century society's obsession with constantly “upgrading” technology. The Cyberman would now represent the ultimate upgrade of the human mind: the transplantation of the brain into a resilient artificial body.

With the direction for “Parallel World” now set, MacRae continued developing his scripts. His villains were originally Jacob Lumic and his son; the former was renamed John, while the latter was essentially replaced by Mr Crane. There were more Preachers including a hard-bitten woman named Esme (who survived to the audition stage; one of the actresses who read for the part was Freema Agyeman, later cast as companion Martha Jones). The cybernised Jackie was initially killed by Rose, while the emotive Cyberman euthanised by the Doctor was an eleven year-old boy. MacRae envisioned the parallel counterparts of Mickey, Jackie and Pete as being much more at odds with their usual portrayals, but this was scaled back by Davies. The time rotor of the TARDIS was shattered at the start of the story, an effect ruled out on the grounds of cost. A nod was made to the original Cybermen, with Crane's van bearing the logo of International Electromatics -- the company which aided the Cybermen in the 1968 serial The Invasion.

The climactic action involving the destruction of the Cybercontroller took place in a lift rather than on the roof, with the transformed Lumic trying to break through the compartment's floor. At the end of the story, the link between the TARDIS and the other universe was just sufficient to allow the Doctor to take “his” Jackie there, to be united with the “other” Pete, while Rose elects to continue travelling with the Doctor. However, Davies subsequently felt that this was too depressing a choice to confront Rose at this stage in the season, especially given that the alternative world would be revisited in Army Of Ghosts / Doomsday.

Whereas the look of the Daleks was largely inflexible, Davies had far greater latitude with the Cybermen, not least because their appearance had already evolved considerably over the course of the original Doctor Who series. As design drawings were developed for the new Cybermen, Davies was particularly adamant that they should eschew the “silver giant” label often applied to the monsters in the past; feeling that silver was a flimsy material, Davies preferred to think of the Cybermen as steel. On the other hand, Davies was eager to retain certain elements -- particularly the handlebar ears and the teardrop eyes -- from previous Cyberman designs.

By the end of October, the first part of “Parallel World” had been renamed Rise Of The Cybermen; the second installment would later be given the title The Age Of Steel. Originally scheduled to be the fourth and fifth episodes of the season, they were shifted back by one spot when Tooth And Claw was inserted into the running order. Davies felt that, as with the midseason positioning of Dalek the year before, the appearance of the Cybermen would provide a boost to Doctor Who's publicity partway through its run.

Both episodes formed part of an ambitious production block which also included Army Of Ghosts / Doomsday -- the longest yet attempted on the new Doctor Who series. These were the lone episodes to feature Pete and the Cybermen, and the only episodes left to be made which included Mickey. They were assigned to veteran director Graeme Harper, who had helmed both The Caves Of Androzani and Revelation Of The Daleks for the original Doctor Who series. Harper had since worked on programmes including Star Cops, Heartbeat and Casualty; he had also been attached to “The Dark Dimension”, an aborted thirtieth-anniversary Doctor Who special under development by BBC Video in 1993 which had been touted at the time as a possible precursor to a new series. Harper had contacted Davies upon the announcement of Doctor Who's return in September 2003 to indicate his interest in returning to the show. Unfortunately, however, Harper's schedule had prevented him from coming aboard for the 2005 season.

As John Lumic, Harper cast Roger Lloyd Pack, who was eager to play the villain in the manner of Donald Rumsfeld, the United States Secretary of Defense who was one of the chief architects of the Iraq War. Shortly before filming began, Lloyd Pack broke his ankle in a fall down a flight of stairs. Fortunately, though, the Lumic role had already been scripted as being entirely wheelchair-bound, meaning that Lloyd Pack's injury would not interfere with his performance.

Work on Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel began with a day in London on November 1st. The principal venue was Lambeth Pier for the scenes in which the Doctor, Rose and Mickey first explore the parallel Earth; footage was also captured of the Battersea Power Station and the headquarters of MI5. Harper discovered that some helicopter footage of the city had gone unused on the previous year's Aliens Of London / World War Three, meaning that he could save the expense on the Cyberman tale.

Returning to Wales, the cast and crew spent November 3rd at Tal-y-Garn Manor and Country House near Pontyclun, a former rehabilitation centre which now served as the Preachers' hideout. Various street scenes were recorded the next day near the Cardiff Docks. The 7th was spent at the usual Doctor Who studio space of Unit Q2 in Newport, concentrating on material in the TARDIS. On the 8th, it was planned to finish off the sequences set by the Thames at the Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport, but rain forced Harper to postpone most of his schedule. Recording resumed on November 9th and 10th at Unit Q2, this time for scenes aboard Lumic's zeppelin. More delays arose on the 11th, when Uskmouth Power Station in Newport posed as Battersea; it was thought that Uskmouth could be shut down for six hours to allow the crew to film, but an unseasonable cold snap (and the resulting increased power demand) made this impossible.

On November 14th, the scenes on the power station roof were actually recorded on the ground, at the Veritair Limited tarmac of the Cardiff Heliport on Cardiff Bay. The next day saw a return to the disused Ely paper mill in Cardiff, which had recently appeared in both Rose and New Earth; this time, it served as the Cyberfactory stairs, while street scenes were also taped in its vicinity. On the 16th, the outstanding Thames material was finally completed at the Riverside Theatre in Newport. November 17th through 24th (excepting the 19th and 20th) involved filming at Coedarhydyglyn in St Nicholas, where a private residence was used for the Tylers' estate. The 24th also saw the team return to the Veritair tarmac, this time for the disembarkation from the President's zeppelin.

Scenes in the Cyberfactory control room and cooling tunnels were filmed at Unit G12 in Trefforest on November 25th and 26th. Also recorded on this day was the scene between the Doctor, Mrs Moore and the cybernised Sally (originally called Kerry). This had been planned for taping at the Victoria Park Playground in Cardiff on the 24th; at that point, the sequence took place during the journey to Battersea and also featured Rose, Mickey, Pete and Jake. The change in venue inspired its deferral to later in The Age Of Steel, permitting Mrs Moore -- a popular character with the crew -- to survive slightly longer (previously, she had perished in the cooling tunnels).

With just a few scenes left to be filmed for Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel, work on the two episodes then became much more sporadic as the production largely shifted focus to Army Of Ghosts / Doomsday. November 28th and December 5th involved recording on various Cardiff streets; the latter day also included some material shot at Grangemoor Park in Cardiff Bay, as the Doctor and his party spy on Battersea. The cooling tunnels were revisited on the 6th, this time at Brackla Bunkers in Bridgend. Further street scenes were completed on the 15th and 16th on the Newport Docks, including Ricky's death. The intention here had been to leave the viewers uncertain as to whether it had been Ricky or Mickey who actually perished.

Work then resumed in 2006, with the sequence in which the Doctor and Rose observe the “Daily Download” actually taking place in Cardiff Bay's Mount Stuart Square on January 7th. The scenes in the Cyber conversion chamber, delayed from the Uskmouth shoot in November, were finally completed at the Stella Artois brewery in Monmouthshire on January 11th and 12th. The next day, the remainder of the material on the Cyberfactory roof was filmed at RAF St Athan in Barry. The scene in the Tylers' flat was then taped at Unit Q2 on the 18th.

This should have completed work on Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel, but Davies had become unhappy with the first episode's pre-credits sequence (the scene in the TARDIS through to Rose finding the Vitex advertisement). He wanted to hint at the nature of the new Cybermen earlier, and so wrote additional material involving Lumic and a new character named Kennington. This was recorded on February 18th on the premises of Gwinnut Ltd Electrical Engineers in Cardiff. Pick-up shots, chiefly dealing with this scene and the newsreader, were undertaken at Unit Q2 on February 22nd and March 9th.

The only significant edit made to the story was the excision of a line confirming that Ricky and Jake had been lovers, as part of a sequence of Mickey vowing not to try to take his counterpart's place. Meanwhile, the TARDISodes for both episodes had been written by Gareth Roberts. Unlike earlier podcasts, these principally relied on footage shot for the story itself rather than on specially-filmed material, although Noel Clarke did appear as Ricky for a small amount of recording on February 1st. The TARDISode for Rise Of The Cybermen, 53 seconds in length, took the form of a message from Gemini to the Preachers about the Ultimate Upgrade program, eventually interrupted by an ad from Cybus Industries. Its 42-second counterpart for The Age Of Steel consisted of Lumic's order to his worldwide Cyberfactories to implement the Ultimate Upgrade initiative.

Rise Of The Cybermen was broadcast on May 13th, delayed slightly due to the FA Cup Final which aired before it. The episode enjoyed an audience of 9.2 million viewers, placing it sixth amongst all programmes for the week. This represented the highest chart ranking achieved to date by the new Doctor Who series (besting Rose, which had finished seventh) and coming within one position of Doctor Who's all-time peak: The Ark In Space, which earned fifth spot in 1975.

Sources

Original Transmission
1: Rise Of The Cybermen
Date 13th May 2006
Time 7.23pm
Duration 46'02"
Viewers 9.2m (6th)
Audience App. 86%
2: The Age Of Steel
Date 20th May 2006
Time 6.38pm
Duration 45'52"
Viewers 7.6m (15th)
Audience App. 86%


Cast
The Doctor
David Tennant
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Jackie Tyler
Camille Coduri
Mickey Smith
Noel Clarke
Pete Tyler
Shaun Dingwall
John Lumic
Roger Lloyd Pack
Jake Simmonds
Andrew Hayden-Smith
The President
Don Warrington
Rita-Anne
Mona Hammond
Mrs Moore
Helen Griffin
Mr Crane
Colin Spaull
Dr Kendrick
Paul Antony-Barber
Morris
Adam Shaw
Soldier
Andrew Ufondo
Newsreader
Duncan Duff
Cyber-Leader
Paul Kasey
Cyber-Voice
Nicholas Briggs


Crew
Written by
Tom MacRae
Directed by
Graeme Harper
Produced by
Phil Collinson

Cybermen originally created by
Kit Pedler &
Gerry Davis
1st Assistant Director
Clare Nicholson
2nd Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
3rd Assistant Director
Lynsey Muir
Location Managers
Lowri Thomas
Gareth Skelding
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
Production/Script Secretary
Claire Roberts
Production Runners
Victoria Wheel
Tim Hodges
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Bonnie Clissold
Continuity
Non Eleri Hughes
Script Editor
Helen Raynor
Camera Operator
Roger Pearce
Focus Puller
Terry Bartlett
Grip
John Robinson
Boom Operators
Jeff Welch
Bryn Thomas
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Electricians
Chris Davies
Clive Johnson
Choreographer
Ailsa Berk
Stunt Co-ordinator
Abbi Collins
Stunt Performers
James O'Dee
Derek Lea
Shelly Benison
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Art Dept Production Manager
Jonathan Marquand Allison
Standby Art Director
Nick Burnell
A/Supervising Art Director
James North
Design Assistants
Matthew Savage
Peter McKinstry
Rob Dicks
Al Roberts
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Trystan Howell
Standby Carpenter
Silas Williams
Standby Scenic Artist
Louise Bohling
Set Decorator
Julian Luxton
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Props Chargehand
Paul Aitken
Props Storeman
Stuart Wooddisse
Forward Dresser
Matthew North
Storyboard Artist
Shaun Williams
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Art Department Driver
Patrick Deacy
Specialist Prop Maker
Mark Cordory
Prop Maker
Penny Howarth
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Allen Jones
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Marnie Ormiston
Costume Assistants
Lindsay Bonaccorsi
Barbara Harrington
Make-Up Artists
Anwen Davies
Steve Smith
Moira Thomson
Prosthetics Supervisor
Rob Mayor
Prosthetics Technicians
Martin Rezard
Jo Glover
Special Effects Co-ordinator
Ben Ashmore
Special Effects Supervisors
Mike Crowley
Paul Kelly
Special Effects Technicians
Danny Hargreaves
Richard Magrin
Casting Associate
Andy Brierley
Assistant Editor
Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisors
Chris Blatchford
Samantha Hall
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Sound Editors
Paul McFadden
Doug Sinclair
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Finance Manager
Richard Pugsley
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Simon Fraser
Costume Designer
Louise Page
Make-Up Designer
Sheelagh Wells
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Visual FX Producer
Will Cohen
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Special Effects
Any Effects
Prosthetics
Neill Gorton and
Millennium Effects
Editor
David Cresswell
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Ernie Vincze BSC
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Associate Producer
Helen Vallis
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner


Working Titles
Whole Story
Parallel World


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Series 2 Volume 3 (2006; single disc)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series (2006; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA

Updated 13th November 2006