Return of the Cybermen is a Doctor Who audio drama released by Big Finish Productions and is the latest from the range known as The Lost Stories. This story was going to be aired as a serial in the 1970’s, however this one was reworked into what the fans know as Revenge of the Cybermen. This is the original script by Gerry Davis and has been adapted to this audio drama format by John Dorney. Nicholas Briggs returns to the director’s chair as well as voicing the dreaded Cybermen. Tom Baker returns as the Doctor and is accompanied by old friends voiced by new performers. Sadie Miller takes on the role originated by her mother, Elisabeth Sladen, which is Sarah Jane Smith. Christopher Naylor steps in for the deceased Ian Marter and resurrects Harry Sullivan. The rest of the guest cast is comprised of Nicholas Asbury, Nickolas Grace, Amanda Shodeko, and Robert Whitelock. Okay, so that is the background and important credits observed.
The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry have been separated from the TARDIS for a bit and have returned to Space Station Nerva to retrieve it, however it isn’t going to be that easy. They have arrived in a different time zone and find a crew that has been decimated by a mysterious plague. The Cybermen were thought to have finally died out, however that it is not the case either. They have plans to return to their efforts of conquest and assimilating others into their stoic ranks. First, they want to destroy an asteroid made up of a precious metal that is their ultimate weakness.
Revenge of the Cybermen is not one of my favorite stories in the classic television era, and this version is not much of an improvement. Tom Baker does sound great in this one and seems to be having quite a bit of fun. Miller does not quite have the same vocal quality as her mother, but she does do a good job. There were a few moments where Sarah Jane Smith came through. Naylor’s version of Harry Sullivan is passable but could use some work. Although the plot is not all that impressive, I am rather fond of the idea of another important era in the series being explored. Sadie Miller has said that she took on the role to honor her mother, and I do think she has managed that well enough. I look forward to Sarah returning in more original stories. I like Harry Sullivan, and I appreciate Naylor’s attempt to being that role to life once again, but Miller does a little better on hitting closer to her character.
This may not be the greatest idea to recycle a story already well known to the fans. but I was still glad to get it. The performances were fine. Tom Baker had some great moments as usual. In spite of the flaws, enough elements are there to gain some pleasure from it. If nothing else, the history surrounding that era and this script is still quite fascinating.