The Cybermen are as much feared enemies of the Doctor as the Daleks and the Master, and have been around almost as long. The Cybermen first appeared in The Tenth Planet (Classic series), fighting the First Doctor. The Cybermen were originally humanoids who lived on the planet Mondas, Earth’s twin planet. As a means of self-preservation however, they implanted more and more artificial parts in order to keep themselves alive, leading to the race becoming coldly calculating and logical, with every emotion removed from their minds. The Cybermen and the Daleks have a rivalry with each other, though were not seen in the same episode together until the end of Series 2 in Army of Ghosts (Series 2 : Episode 12) and Doomsday (Series 2 : Episode 13). The Cybermen resemble metallic humanoid beings, though they have a human brain as their control centre. The hands of the Cybermen have changed from humanoid hands, to two finger claws and back again. The Cybermen are regularly low on army numbers, and so commonly use other humans or robots as pawns in their plans until they need to appear. They also seek to increase their army through means of “cyber-conversion” – converting humans into Cybermen.

New Cybermen design in the 2008 Christmas Special, The Next Doctor

The Cybermen are said to have removed all emotion from themselves, in a similar fashion to the Daleks, but some emotions are seen to be present, such as anger or smug satisfaction around the Doctor. In Doomsday, Yvonne Hartman retained some elements of her personality, which allowed her to stop the advance of Cybermen while the Doctor worked, and was last seen weeping an oil or blood like substance. The Cybermen are ruthless in their goal to survive through conquest of other planets and life forms.

Classic Cybermen

In the revived series of Doctor Who, the Cybermen were built on a parallel Earth by John Lumic, to extend human life. These Cybermen were created in an identical fashion to those on Mondas, but were built with an emotional inhibitor rather than having their emotions removed. The process of converting to a Cyberman was called “upgrading” in this instance. Unlike the Daleks, the Cybermen have been seen to have a number of weaknesses, including a strong aversion to gold. It was originally believed that the gold dust choked their respiratory systems due to its non-corrodible nature, though it has also been seen that gold tipped bullets have the same effect, prompting the thought that gold affects the Cybermen in the same way that silver affects Werewolves. In the revived series, Cybermen are shown to have no weaknesses, however this could be due to them being created in a parallel universe. The armour of a Cybermen is bullet-proof and flexible, allowing great manoeuvrability by the Cybermen but can still be penetrated by gold-tipped bullets and other projectiles made of gold. The parallel Earth Cybermen are also bullet-proof but not indestructible, they are vulnerable to electromagnetic pulses, specialised weaponry (such as Dalek blasters) and heavy explosions. Early Cybermen (such as those from Mondas) were also vulnerable to gravity based technology, excessive levels of radiation and solvents. An EMP grenade was also seen to effectively kill a parallel universe Cyberman in The Age of Steel (Series 2 : Episode 6).

Classic Cybermen

Occasionally, Cybermen have been given titles, such as:
  • Cyber Leader
  • Cyber Lieutenant
  • Cyber Scout
  • Cyber Controller
  • Cyber Planner
  • Cyber Director
  • Cyber King
In an instance where the Cyber Leader is killed, their data files are downloaded into a new Cyber unit, upgrading them to the rank of Cyber Leader, as seen in Doomsday.

Apart from the bodies of the Cybermen, their technology is orientated towards their weaponry. When they were first seen in The Tenth Planet, they had large energy weapons attached to their chests, where as in The Moonbase (Classic series) the Cybermen had two types of weaponry; a gun and an electrical discharge used to stun their victims. Cybermen have also had death rays attached to their chests, X-Ray lasers, and long range rifles. They also have access to weapons of mass destruction in the form of cobalt bombs, which were banned by the galactic Armageddon Convention. A Cyber-megatron bomb was mentioned as being the possession of the Cybermen in The Invasion (Classic series). The Cybermen from the parallel universe were able to electrocute their victims just by touching them.

Classic Cybermen

The Cybermen have attempted to invade Earth numerous times, usually allying themselves with others in order to keep a low profile until it was absolutely necessary for them to reveal themselves. In The Tenth Planet, Mondas was being prepared to return to the Earth’s solar system, and as it got closer to Earth it took energy from it to power the Cybermen. However, Mondas absorbed too much energy and disintegrated. The Cybermen on Earth fell apart due to their home world being destroyed and the energy drain exhausted the Doctor’s life-force, causing him to make his first regeneration. The Cybermen also notably tried to invade Earth around 1970 in The Invasion, where they allied with industrialist Tobias Vaughn, who installed mind control chips into the electrical appliances his company made, preparing for the ground invasion. This attempt was stopped by UNIT and the Second Doctor. In 1988, the Cybermen tried to invade in Silver Nemesis (Classic series) but was stopped by the Seventh Doctor. The Cybermen were trying to find the legendary Nemesis Statue to turn Earth into a new Mondas. The Nemesis was a Time Lord artefact made of “living metal” validium. The Nemesis ended up destroying the Cyber-fleet instead. The Cybermen also invaded a space station created by the humans in the mid-21st century called The Wheel, and intended to use it as a staging point for another invasion of Earth, but was stopped by the Second Doctor in The Wheel in Space (Classic series). In the year 2070, Earth’s weather was being controlled by the Gravitron installation on the Moon. The Cybermen invaded this with the intent of changing the Earth’s weather to kill the inhabitants. This attempt was again stopped by the Second Doctor.

New Cybermen design

The Cybermen were forced into a Cyber War against several planets united in stopping them. Earth held a conference in 2526 to unite these planets and the Cybermen tried to disrupt this. They failed and then tried to crash their freighter into Earth to cause an ecological disaster but were stopped by the Fifth Doctor and catapulted back in time to become the asteroid that killed the Dinosaurs. The Cybermen faced complete defeat as the humanity united against them developed a glittergun that could shoot gold dust at the Cybermen. The planet Voga, known as the Planet of Gold, was a major supplier of gold dust and other gold ammunition. The Cybermen stole a time-travel machine to go back to 1985 and try to stop Mondas being destroyed but were stopped by the Sixth Doctor in Attack of the Cybermen (Classic series). In the 29th century the Cybermen tried to destroy Voga, which had drifted through space into our Solar System and was being drawn into orbit as a moon of Jupiter, with Cyber-bombs to disrupt their enemy’s supply of gold. This plot was stopped by the Fourth Doctor.