The Cybermen are the showcased villains of the fifth season of Doctor Who, appearing in the opening and closing stories. Also of note is the introduction of the series’ longest-running recurring character, the stalwart military man Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, better known later as “The Brigadier,” in a story that lays the foundation for the “UNIT” concept that would soon play an integral role in the Doctor Who mythos. New facts about the Doctor also come to light.
From “The Tomb of the Cybermen”
Still on Skaro, the Doctor brings the newly-orphaned Victoria Waterfield aboard the TARDIS for the first time, and he and Jamie McCrimmon explain to her its nature.
Jamie: Well, yes. You see, we travel around in here through time and space.
The Doctor: Oh, no, no, no, no. Don’t laugh. It’s true. Your father and Maxtible were working on the same problem. But I have perfected a rather special model, which enables me to travel through the universe of time.
Victoria: But how can you? I mean, if what you say is true, you must be -- er, well -- how old?
The Doctor: Well, if we count in Earth terms, I suppose I must be about … four hundred … yes, about 450 years old. Yes, well … quite.
They depart, and the TARDIS soon materializes on the planet Telos, where they find an archaeological expedition investigating the lost citadel of the Cybermen five centuries since their last appearance. The creatures are merely in suspended animation, however, and are revived through the treachery of two of the team members. The humans are able to seal the Cybermen in their cryogenics complex, but must remain in the upper levels of the citadel while their sabotaged spaceship is repaired. During the night, the Doctor has a heart-to-heart talk with the grieving Victoria.
The Doctor: Are you happy with us, Victoria?
Victoria: Yes, I am. At least, I would be … if my father were here.
The Doctor: Yes, I know. I know.
Victoria: I wonder what he would have thought if he could see me now.
The Doctor: You miss him very much, don’t you?
Victoria: It’s only when I close my eyes. I can still see him standing there … before those horrible Dalek creatures came to the house. He was a very kind man. I shall never forget him. Never.
The Doctor: No, of course you won’t. But, you know, the memory of him won’t always be a sad one.
Victoria: I think it will. You can’t understand, being so ancient --
The Doctor: Eh?
Victoria: I mean old. You probably can’t remember your family.
The Doctor: Oh, yes, I can -- when I want to. And that’s the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they sleep in my mind, and I forget. And so will you. Oh, yes, you will. You’ll find there’s so much else to think about, to remember. Our lives are different to anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing. Nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.
The Cybermen are released by the traitors, but the creatures desire only the humans’ deaths. The humans fight them off using their own weapons, and the Doctor is able to place the creatures back in suspended animation and to seal the complex once again, leaving only a lone Cybermat outside. The Cyberman Controller, leader of their race, is destroyed in the battle. Despite the passage of time, the Cybermen recognized the Doctor as having foiled their 21st century attack on Earth’s moonbase.
From “The Abominable Snowmen”
The TARDIS returns to Earth, materializing outside a Tibetan monastery in the 1930s. Realizing he had been there some 300 years earlier, the Doctor rummages around and finds a ceremonial bell he intends to return. Reaching the monastery, the Doctor meets the young Professor Travers, who is investigating Yeti sightings. The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria help Travers find the monsters, which turn out to be robots controlled by a non-corporeal alien being called the Great Intelligence, which is trying to create a physical form for itself on Earth. With the help of the Buddhist monks, the Doctor is able to sever the being’s link to this world, trapping it on the astral plane. Professor Travers continues his hunt for the true Yeti and the time-travelers depart in the TARDIS.
From “The Ice Warriors”
The TARDIS materializes in Britain roughly a thousand years in the future, when glaciers are rolling south, heralding the dawn of a new ice age. The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria find themselves in a remote scientific base where an ionizer is being used to halt the advancing ice. However, they discover a Martian spaceship and its crew of warriors frozen in the glacier, which they inadvertently revive. Learning that Mars has long since become a dead world, the warriors decide to conquer the Earth, but the ionizer is used to destroy their ship with the aliens on board.
From “The Enemy of the World”
The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria find themselves embroiled in political intrigue when, arriving in futuristic Australia, the Doctor learns he looks exactly like the megalomaniacal Mexican dictator called Salamander. The Doctor impersonates Salamander, and when his plans lie in ruins, the dictator impersonates the time-traveler in an attempt to escape in the TARDIS. The Doctor arrives just in time, but Salamander manages to activate the dematerialization circuit. However, the doors are still open and he is sucked out into the time vortex. The danger is ended when Jamie manages to get the doors closed, and the travelers continue on their way.
From “The Web of Fear”
The TARDIS materializes in the London Underground, where the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria come under attack by Yeti robots. They are separated, and Jamie and Victoria are picked up by the army detachment battling the monsters. They discover the unit’s scientific advisor is Professor Travers, now some forty years older. Travers is, of course, astonished that Jamie and Victoria have not aged at all. They soon find the Doctor with the officer-in-charge, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart. Together, they battle against the monsters, but find their efforts hampered by a traitor in their midst. To their horror, the traitor is the reanimated corpse of Sergeant Arnold, controlled by the Great Intelligence, which is trying once more to take over the Earth. The alien being tries to drain the Doctor’s mental energy, but the Doctor’s sabotage destroys Arnold’s body and traps the Intelligence on the astral plane once again.
Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart first met the Doctor while he was a colonel in the British Army, leading an operation to rid the London Underground of the Yeti monsters and their mysterious web, which probably occurred around 1965. Shortly thereafter, partly in response to this crisis, the United Nations formed a special paramilitary force to investigate paranormal or extraterrestrial threats to the Earth. The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, or UNIT, was headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with branch operations in different countries (probably the members of the U.N. Security Council) that were led by officers of that nation’s military on attachment to the special taskforce. Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to brigadier and set up the British branch, apparently with the help of Professor Travers, until he and his daughter Anne went to America. Four years after their first encounter, Lethbridge-Stewart and the Doctor met again, this time to fend off an invasion by the Cybermen. Needing a scientific advisor, Lethbridge-Stewart then recruited Dr. Elizabeth Shaw from Cambridge University, only to receive a report that the TARDIS had returned. Although mystified by the Doctor’s new appearance, the Brigadier was glad to have the time-traveler’s knowledge at his disposal, and made the Doctor UNIT’s official scientific advisor for the duration of his exile. The Brigadier took personal responsibility for the Doctor, as the Time Lord had no “official” existence on Earth, which undoubtedly made members of the U.N. Security Council nervous. Throughout the first half of the 1970s, the Brigadier oversaw a variety of missions, aided by Sergeant John Benton and Captain Mike Yates. In fact, he and the Doctor became friends over time, though the Brigadier never lost any of his upright military bearing. In 1976, Lethbridge-Stewart retired from UNIT and the military and took a position teaching mathematics at an English boys’ school, his UNIT post taken over by a Colonel Creighton. Then in 1977, he suffered a nervous breakdown following a strange encounter with the TARDIS, after which he suppressed all memory of the Doctor. It wasn’t until six years later that his memory was restored and he learned the truth about that strange encounter, which involved the Doctor and an alien named Mawdryn. A few years later, the Brigadier was scheduled to give a speech at what was probably the 20th anniversary of UNIT, when the Doctor’s second incarnation turned up and they found themselves whisked away to the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey, where the Brigadier encountered three of the Doctor’s other incarnations as well, and learned a bit about Time Lord history. Returned to Earth, Lethbridge-Stewart eventually retired from his teaching post and married his long-time love, Doris, settling down in a large house in the country. Sometime after the year 2000, Lethbridge-Stewart met the Doctor once more, helping him to drive a cadre of Arthurian knights back to their own dimension, saving the Doctor’s life and killing a monster in the process. UNIT was involved as well, still going strong and under the leadership of Brigadier Winifred Bambera. Realizing he was getting too old for such adventuring, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart resigned himself to a quiet domestic life in his garden.
From “Fury From the Deep”
The TARDIS materializes on the North Sea, off the coast of England, and the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria row ashore in a rubber raft. They soon find themselves helping to defend a gas refinery from a strain of killer seaweed. Once the creature is destroyed and the travelers are ready to depart, Victoria elects to give up adventuring and remain behind to live with Frank and Maggie Harris, workers at the refinery. The Doctor and Jamie are both disheartened by her decision.
From “The Wheel in Space”
The TARDIS eventually finds itself aboard a spaceship, and its mercury fluid links overheat, forcing the Doctor and Jamie to evacuate. The Doctor removes the time vector generator and takes it with him. However, the vessel is adrift, and the two travelers are rescued when they pass a space station known as the Wheel. Here they meet Zoe Heriot and must defend the Wheel from a group of Cybermen hidden aboard the derelict vessel. The Cybermen hope to use the space station as a beacon for the Cyber Fleet to invade the Earth. The Doctor patches the time vector generator into the station’s weapon systems to enable it to destroy the Cyber Fleet. When they are ready to depart, they find Zoe has stowed away aboard the TARDIS.
Zoe Heriot was born in the 21st century, studied astrophysics, and was the librarian on a space station when she saw a chance to travel through time and space. Her mathematical skill and photographic memory proved valuable, but her time with the Doctor was cut short when the Time Lords brought them to Gallifrey and sentenced the Doctor to exile. Zoe was returned to the space station just after the Cybermen were defeated, her memory of subsequent events suppressed. It is unknown what affect this psychic tampering had on her mental health. Perhaps her adventures with the Doctor resurfaced in her mind as nightmares.