Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 5

The Tenth Planet: Episode 1 (8 Oct. 1966)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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In 1986 a new planet appears in the Solar System which turns out to be a long-lost twin of Earth's named Mondas. Its inhabitants are the Cybermen.

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(by) (as Kitt Pedler)
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Title: The Tenth Planet: Episode 1 (08 Oct 1966)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Dudley Jones ...
David Dodimead ...
Alan White ...
...
Williams
Shane Shelton ...
John Brandon ...
American Sergeant
...
Michael Craze ...
Ben
Steve Plytas ...
Christopher Matthews ...
Radar Technician
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Storyline

In 1986 a new planet appears in the Solar System which turns out to be a long-lost twin of Earth's named Mondas. Its inhabitants are the Cybermen.

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8 October 1966 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With the death of Olaf Pooley on July 14, 2015, Earl Cameron (Glyn Williams) is the oldest surviving "Doctor Who" cast member. See more »

Goofs

The Doctor removes his glasses while talking to the Sergeant. In the next shot, which continues directly, he is wearing them again. See more »

Quotes

Cyberman: Our brains are just like yours except that certain weaknesses have been removed.
Barclay: Weaknesses? What weaknesses?
Cyberman: You call them emotions, do you not?
Polly: [appalled] But... that's terrible! You... you mean you wouldn't care about someone in pain?
Cyberman: There would be no need. We do not feel pain.
Polly: But *we* do.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Writer Kit Pedler's name is misspelled in the opening titles to several of this story's episodes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: Episode #4.14 (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A "Legendary" End For The First Doctor?
10 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(Note: Review based on the 2001 BBC VHS release and that this is a review of all four episodes of the story.)

Watching the Tenth Planet some four plus decades after its original broadcast makes for some interesting viewing for any Doctor Who. This is for two reasons the first because of its legendary status it has in Doctor Who fandom because it contains two of the elements of the show's longevity: the Cybermen and the Doctor's ability to regenerate. The other is reason is to view it from the production values of the time and its realization of those two items of interests to fans. In fact it's those values that make this an interesting story to view. So how does The Tenth Planet actually rank so to speak? This was William Hartnell's final Doctor Who story and judging from this story's three surviving episodes (and episode four reconstruction on the VHS release) his time had come. Whether it was by design in the script or the fact that Hartnell was ailing, the first Doctor does very little in his final story. In fact the first Doctor's final story consists almost entirely of him being either a captive or (as in the case of episode three) being unconscious. It's a shame really considering that Hartnell shows that even in his final story he is still capable of bringing authority to his Doctor with the emotions speech to the Cybermen in episode two. As I said it is a shame that the first Doctor can only react to the events around him and not be more proactive like in earlier stories.

The upside to the underwhelming Hartnell is that the companions get to shine. In particular Michael Craze gets to show some chops as Ben. This is no more evident then in fighting a Cyberman in episodes two or episode three where he in fact becomes the focus of the episode. Anneke Willis plays up her role as 60's secretary Polly for the most part though even she gets some good scenes like the scene with her and others in the tracking room talking to the Cybermen in episode two. While Hartnell might not have shinned very brightly in this story his companions sure did.

The supporting cast though is a mixed bunch. There is Robert Beatty's pompous and over the top General Cutler, who kills any realism of him being a military officer and more like a walking talking cliché. On the upside there is David Dodimead's wonderful Doctor Barclay who is as underplaying and believable in his role as Beatty is over the top. That in fact makes Dodimead the best of the supporting cast. While the supporting cast is mainly a group of really nameless technicians there is another group of supporting cast that stands out: the Cybermen.

These Cybermen may look rather silly physically with their cloth faces and car lights attached to their heads but there is potential in them that would later be realized and it is in fact these Cybermen's voices that really stand out some four plus decades later. These Cybermen may also lack the physicality of later stories like The Invasion or Earthshock but one should keep in mind that these Cybermen are a product of their time. That said, while the Cybermen would have better stories later in the 60's (especially The Tomb Of The Cybermen and The Invasion) they make a striking debut here.

In fact it is the Cybermen and the regeneration that raise up this whole story. Without both of them I suspect this would be just another average 1960's "Doctor / companions / supporting cast all under attack" story. Looking at the writing of this story in terms of both plotting and dialogue there is really little stand out material except the dialogue introducing the Cybermen's background and lack of emotions in episode two. While it is not a bad story by any means it lacks many elements of the "classic stories".

So how does The Tenth Planet hold up? Well it has an underwhelming final show by the first Doctor, a good showing by his companions, a mixed supporting cast, the first appearance of the Cybermen, the first regeneration and an average script. It is true that while The Tenth Planet doe shave some stand-out elements it is not a classic story. In fact is rather average in many ways and a little undeserving of its legendary status in my opinion. In short: average but not great.


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