The Tomb of the Cybermen is another great Patrick Troughton story featuring an enclosed location and a classic implacable baddie with a large initial cast, which is whittled down slowly one by one during the course of the story from the non speaking extras to the secondary characters to the main characters.
This is the third story to have featured the Cybermen and is considered by a lot of people to be one of the better Cybermen stories. I am not one of those people as I think that honour belongs to The Moonbase, which this story is very similar to.
In Tomb the TARDIS lands on a planet that happens to be Telos, the planet that the cybermen fled to after the destruction of Mondas and at a time when the Cybermen had apparently died out so basically if they hadn’t have landed there then the events in the story would not have happened. In this case curiosity got the better of certain people, and delusions of power got the better of other people and an expedition to Telos was financed.
To be honest looking at the first part of the first episode the Doctor not turning up there might have been a good thing as they didn’t seem able to get the doors open without help but is doubtful that they would have let that stop them. They might not have been as successful though if they did get in either I would say.
The Cybermen are as menacing as ever in this story, and even when it is just a picture of them, or a model of one for instance it still creeps both the characters out and the audience along with them. The Cybermats make their debut in this story too and certainly they look much better from a distance than they do up close, when they entirely lose their credibility, but they do do the job that they were designed to do so they are not totally redundant in that sense.
Like the previous story this one uses stock music to great effect specially to ratchet up the tension during certain scenes, particularly the scenes of the Cybermen breaking out of their tombs.
Morris Barry, who directed the previous Cyberman adventure, returned for this episode and did a great job with the story using the set design to great effect, with its expansive vistas replete with the cyber symbol and the impressive tombs themselves. Hats off to the designer Martin Johnson for his sterling work on this adventure, his only work on the show, which is a shame given what he did in this episode.
Victoria gets more to do in this story than she did in her debut adventure but is shielded against much of the action apart from when she gets herself trapped in the first episode and some of her scenes with Kaftan, the only other female character in the story. Jamie gets stuck in as usual; the Doctor himself lets the other characters get on with their stuff and buts in when needed and to save them from themselves making some of them very cross that he is much smarter than them – notably Kleig and you can see the Doctor getting more and more under his skin as the story progresses.
Troughton is sublime in this story and the chemistry between the three leads is evident even in their first adventure together. There was quite a large cast in this story with sterling performances from Shirley Cooklin, Aubrey Richards, Cyril Shaps, George Pastell as Kaftan, Professor Parry, John Viner and Kleig, which is a pretty impressive cast list whichever way you look at it.
I would have to say that Tomb of the Cybermen is a very good example of its era, but there are better.