The talk of this hidden planet which was supposed to collide with us and end the world on Saturday bought to mind the 1966 Doctor Who story “The Tenth Planet”. This story is notable for two reasons: 1. It introduces the second most iconic Doctor Who monster: the Cybermen, and 2. It features the first change of actor playing the titular character. I haven’t used the term ‘regeneration’ because at that point the term hadn’t been invented.
The Tenth Planet as a story has some curious factors about, although as a whole the story is pretty average. It works as a template for the “base-under-siege” set up which would become the norm with the second Doctor and it has a not-too-outrageous idea of what was then the future. It is set in 1986 (or 2000 if you read the novelisation) and while space travel is in the story, it is little more than orbit shots. Also we have some nice forward thinking with a senior astronaut being black without it trying to make a statement, a black aide to Wigner and a the crew of the Snowcap base being of various nationalities. But on the flip side there are next to no women in the story aside from the Doctor’s companion Polly.
The story is about a planet approaching Earth and it used to be the twin planet of Earth but got blow out of orbit, somehow, and as a consequence the people began to get weak and had their failing organs and flesh replaced by metal and machines. The power source of Mondas is running out (no-one has a shilling to put in the meter) and some how they can steal the energy from Earth and a side effect is the end of the world. But, the Cybermen offer to bring the human race to Mondas and turn them into Cybermen so they will survive. Anyway, the science of the story is total B.S. aside from the reason for the Cybermen’s need to augment themselves. The conclusion is equally nonsense with Mondas absorbing to much energy and burning up…
Now while the Cybermen design in the story has been mocked in the past, I quite like it. They are wrapped up in surgical bandages and still have a vaguely humanoid face and it gives them a ghoulish appearance, the sing song voices also have an unerring feel about them.