29) THE TENTH PLANET

8 - 29 October 1966

Average Viewing Figure: 6.8M

Plot

In Antarctica 1986, The Doctor faces the Cybermen for the first time who are planning to drain the Earth of all of its' energy

Cast

William Hartnell (The Doctor), Anneke Wills (Polly), Michael Craze (Ben), Robert Beatty (General Cutler), Earl Cameron (Williams)

Dudley Jones (Dyson), David Dodimead (Barclay), Alan White (Schultz), Shane Shelton (Tito), John Brandon (American Sergeant)

Steve Plytas (Wigner), Christopher Matthews (Radar Technician), Reg Whitehead (Krail), Harry Brooks (Talon), Gregg Palmer (Shav)

Ellen Cullen (Geneva Technician), Glenn Beck (TV Announcer), Roy Skelton, Peter Hawkins (Cybermen Voices)

Christopher Dunham (R/T Technician), Callen Angelo (Terry Cutler), Harry Brooks (Krang), Reg Whitehead (Jarl), Gregg Palmer (Gern)

Uncredited Cast

Richard Lawrence, Morris Quick, Bill Gosling, Gordon Lang (Tracking Room Technicians), Nicholas Edwards (R/T Technician)

Ken McGarvie, Terence Jones, Nick Hilton, Roy Pearce, Freddie Eldrett, Peter Pocock (Soldiers), Alec Coleman (Corporal)

Chris Konyils, Stanley Davies (High Ranking Officers), Sheila Knight (Geneva Secretary), Freddie Eldrett (Engineer Haines)

Roy Pearce (Engineer), Reg Whitehead, Harry Brooks, Gregg Palmer, John Slater, Bruce Wells, John Haines, John Knott (Cybermen)

Gordon Craig (Double for Dr Who), Peter Pocock (Double for Ben)

and introducing Patrick Troughton as The Doctor

Crew

Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis (Writers), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Sandra Reid (Costumes), Gillian James (Make-Up)

Howard King (Lighting), Adrian Bishop-Laggett (Sound), Gerry Davis (Story Editor), Peter Kindred (Designer), Innes Lloyd (Producer)

Derek Martinus (Director)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Ealing Film Studios: Stage 3

  • Riverside Studio 1

Deaths

  • General Cutler [killed by Krang]

  • Williams [killed when his spacecraft explodes]

  • Schultz [killed when his spacecraft explodes]

  • Tito [killed by a Cyberman]

  • American Sergeant [killed by a blow to the neck]

  • Krail [killed with a Cyber-weapon]

  • Talon [killed with a Cyber-weapon used by Ben]

  • Shav [killed with a Cyber-weapon]

  • Krang [shot and killed by Ben]

  • Jarl [shot and killed by Ben]

  • Gern [dies when Mondas disintegrated]

  • Cybermen [dies when Mondas disintegrated]

  • Joe [killed by a Cyberma​n]

  • Engineer Haines [killed by a Cybermen]

  • Cybermen on Mondas [killed when Mondas disintegrated]

Production Days

  • 8 Days between Tuesday 30 August - Saturday 8 October 1966

Production Errors

  1. There are certain moments when the Cybermen begin to talk before opening their mouths 

  2. The Cybermen's helmets are clearly held together by Gaffatape 

  3. Whilst being ambushed outside, one of the Cybermen's 'jug handles' comes loose 

  4. During episode two, the studio lights are reflected in Krail's head-mounted lamp 

  5. During episode four, Michael Craze fluff a line. He says 'plonet Mandos instead of saying 'Planet Mondas'

  6. Barclay sayss that he designed the base, but couldn't fit a ventilation shaft, however the base is big enough to accommodate Geoff Tapes  ​​​​

Working Titles

  • [no known working titles]

Verdict

For the first time ever, British Television Drama was about to change. The leading actor, that adults and children alike adored for three years were about to watch his entire appearance change, with no explanation until the next adventure. William Hartnell through his highs and lows, his temper and tantrums, the struggles and triumphs, his desire not to let the kids down at home, and his adoration for his show deserved nothing but perfection for his final one and half hours as science fiction’s most beloved hero…. Bring on the Cybermen, those pesky contradicting monsters. Over the years, the Cybermen’s designs became more refined, more robotic and more ‘inhuman’. Here the Cybermen, despite saying otherwise, still possess some of their original selves. It is entirely believable that a flesh and bone being still lurks behind the Cybernetic equipment, and their individual names Karl, Gern, etc. suggests they have a concept of individual identity. 
The Tenth Planet is more of a template for future Cybermen stories than anything else, where almost every subsequent Cyberman story follows the same basic narrative, recycled over and over again. Director Derek Martinus makes great use of the Snowcap base sets, and the snow polar landscapes do make for some frightening imagery, emphasising the isolation that the main character find themselves in, which is aided with an excellent soundtrack. The plot makes excellent use of having the story take place all over the world, emphasizing the scale and danger that the cast will soon find themselves in. 
For the first few minutes, it would seem that the production team were going all out for William Hartnell. There’s only one major problem. The Tenth Planet is unbelievably, painstakingly, pull your hair out frustratingly slow, and padded out with unnecessary filler and tat. The Doctor disappears for HALF of his final adventure, and the whole Mondas destroying the Earth plotline doesn’t really accelerate until EPISODE FOUR. It’s also incredibly lazy that The Doctor doesn’t actually have to do ANYTHING to save the day. He could lie down and take a nap whilst the Cybermen become the makers of their own destruction. Wait a second, THAT’s EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS! The rest of characters are mostly stereotypes, the trigger happy General Cutler being the most painstakingly obvious, which is fine, if this was a social commentary on culture and society, but The Tenth Planet is not a social commentary in the slightest. Doctor Who will later go on to do social-commentaries in later years, but most stories in the Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis era are pure escapism narrative, nothing more.
As a last adventure for William Hartnell this doesn’t hold up compared to other regeneration stories. It’s not that original or imaginative, nor is it that intelligently written, it’s lazy, very lazy, and The First Doctor’s final moments are no fitting departure for Doctor Who’s first and most charismatic, whimsical leading actor. ***