Metal monsters in human form? Self-programmed, semi-sentient and (more importantly) evil robotic life forms, evolved into a planet-conquering,galaxy-ravaging, warmongering race? Yep, that’s the Cybermen.
Cold, logical, unfeeling and ruthless, their mission is almost always to capture and colonise a planet – and to convert the inhabitants into Cybermen themselves. Conversion seems not to be a pleasant experience. However, if you’re a woman, they replace your underwear first to preserve your dignity. Don’t believe us? Torchwood’ll tell you…
There are reasons for their Cyber villainy. Not that you’d know it from the walking Kenneth Williams statues that John Lumic built. But those ones are from an alternative dimension I suppose. Sticking with this one, it’s sort of important to remember they were the unfortunate victims when the earth’s twin planet, Mondas (the home world of these Cyber-chaps), left its regular orbit around the sun and froze.
As the planet became less hospitable, they started trying to colonise other worlds. Like Telos, where they built tombs where they could hang out in suspended animation until salvation came in the form of well-meaning human idiots; and Voga, where they were beaten by a group of frail, beardy fellas who happened to have some gold dust.
Having quite obviously watched too many re-runs of Top Gear on Dave while swigging far too many cans of Castrol GTX, the Cyber lads decided to hook up a propulsion system to Mondas and drive it round the universe looking for a 24-hour service station.
They were beaten by the Doctor on several occasions, but also at times with the help of others – for example, most fondly in the mind of a certain Ood Cast member, when someone in a lycra suit and crash helmet threw arrows at them in a quarry. Other notable battles took place with Nazis and Elizabethan women (at the same time – who says metal men can’t multi-task, eh?) and with a group of Daleks – who rather unfairly pulled out a special box that produced more Daleks – in the Battle of Canary Wharf.
In the alternative universe – a place where dirigible flight was the best they could do while advertising had already reached the magical Daily Prophet level – John Lumic had “invented” the next stage in human evolution. It would not end well. They were beaten when the Doctor essentially confused them. They then reappeared in Victorian Britain, using child labour and offcuts of shagpile carpet to build a Cyber King. This, also, did not end well. And was daft.
First appearance: The Tenth Planet (1966)
Best story: Tomb of the Cybermen (1967).
Worst, but funniest story: Silver Nemesis (1988).
Most pointless and incompetent appearance: The Five Doctors (1983)
Weaknesses: Gold things – from gold teeth to dust. Oh, and confusion. So maybe a good defence might be to show them a photo of say, David Guest and ask them why he’s famous. If they tell you, please let us know. It’s one of life’s enduring mysteries…