Neil Gaiman's next episode of Doctor Who will bring back a classic foe

We learned a while back that author Neil Gaiman would be returning to Doctor Who to write a follow-up to his Hugo Award-winning episode, "The Doctor's Wife." And now we know a little bit more about what he'll be writing about -- one of the series' most classic villains, the Cybermen, will be brought back by Gaiman for an episode later this season! Something else to keep in mind about the next time we see the Cybermen -- it will be the first time the Doctor's new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will meet them. (We will finally meet her on Christmas Day, when Doctor Who's Christmas special airs on BBC!)

The episode, which will air some time next spring, will be directed by Stephen Woolfenden and will feature appearances by Warwick Davis (Harry Potter), Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders), and Jason Watkins (Being Human). The trio will be playing, according to BBC, "a band of misfits on a mysterious planet."

I always found the Cybermen to be one of the most creepy, dangerous, and heartbreaking bad guys on Doctor Who, so I would imagine that Neil Gaiman's take on them will make all of us cry for hours if he does his job correctly.

Photo credit: BBC

Neil Gaiman’s Doctor Who Episode Will Feature Return of Cybermen [Spinoff Online]


  1. *spoilers* possibly.  I believe we already met the Doctor’s new companion in “Asylum of the Daleks”… we just didn’t know it at the time.

    1.  I’m so glad it’s her. Even if she plays a different character she’s going to be cool.

  2. Moffatt’s wasted all the recent appearances of the Cybermen and even RTD’s Cybermen didn’t have the menace they did in the class Troughton era.
    Looking forward to Neil doing something worthy of them!

    1. Although it did provide for that awesome exchange between The Last Centurion and the Cybermen in “A Good Man Goes to War”…

  3. I’ve always been creeped out by the Cybermen as well, and love the amazing “awakening” in Tomb Of The Cybermen, but whenever I see a headline about a classic foe returning I always say, Please, please, please let it be…the Ice Warriors.

    As foes go I admit the Cybermen have it all: they’re powerful, destructive, and single-minded. The only thing the producers should change, I think, is that they should bring back the eerie monotone voices of the 1960’s Cybermen.

    But the Ice Warriors had something else: they had hearts as well as brains. They’re complicated. Sometimes they were villains, sometimes not. The 10th Doctor called them “a fine and noble race”.

    That kind of depth is something I find very appealing in villains. And after the awesome love letter to fans that was The Doctor’s Wife I’d love to see Gaiman’s take on that fine and noble race.

  4. Warwick Davis is from Harry Potter now?  Really?  Never mind Willow or even Return of the Jedi; we’re just going to remember his fractional minutes of cameo time?  Oh dear.

    And as the Cybermen even showed up twice last season, a subsequent appearance isn’t really all that novel.  (Now, if he brought back the Rani or something, that would be bringing back a classic foe.)

    1.  Let’s see… reference “Harry Potter”or “Willow”? Jamie’s choice was correct, for so many reasons.

  5. Jason Watkins’s Herrick from Being Human is one of the greatest TV baddies. He was genuinely scary. Glad to see him in this.

    1. I should add that I find BOSS one of the more compelling opponents – because total processing is quite horrifying, and because of the sense that partial processing, if not total processing, can happen in our society, though authority worship, conformity, etc.

      I think Cyberconversion can carry some of the same meanings, but the visible transformation puts the Cybermen outside our society, except in our concern for their victims, while the partially and totally processed people continue to be in our society. So it’s powerful, but not as powerful.

      I only remember one episode with the Ice Warriors. And I remember them appearing as other people. I think people keep returning to the Cybermen and the Daleks because, in the better episodes, they weren’t other people, they were former people. Individually, we could be turned into Cybermen. Collectively, in the event of nuclear war or some equal disaster, our society could be turned into Daleks.

      1. I had never really looked at the Daleks and Cybermen that way. But you’ve also given me pause to think about the Ice Warriors. I think the fact that they look different from us makes it easier to see them as “other”, but in the first appearance on Doctor Who they were invading Earth because they’d depleted the resources of their home planet (which just happens to be Mars). On the one hand their actions could be seen as a hostile invasion. On the other they could be seen as an act of desperation by a race threatened with extinction. Physical differences aside they aren’t so different from us.

        Another thing to consider is the social structure of Ice Warrior society, which has rigidly defined classes: there’s the lower, warrior class which is (supposedly) less intelligent and merely exists to serve, and the upper leader class. This could be read as a comment on how we oversimplify class structures in our society. In fact I’d really like to see an episode in which it’s discovered that the warriors aren’t the mindless oafs they appear to be, and are actually challenging the upper echelons for power.

        One more thing and I’ll shut up about the Ice Warriors: in The Curse Of Peladon there was a mystery afoot and the Doctor immediately suspected the Ice Warriors because of his history with them. It turned out that (spoiler alert!) they weren’t guilty but were being framed, but it’s a good reminder that even the Doctor has his prejudices and preconceptions, and that they need to be challenged sometimes.

  6. Wow the cybermen again.  Yeah that’s bringing back a classic foe.  They have been brought back how many times now?

  7. Granted I haven’t seen a lot of Dr. Who episodes, but the thing from Midnight has got to be the creepiest.  I like Neil’s work a lot but can’t really get excited about more Cybermen.

  8. Am I the only one who thinks Neil Gaiman should just take over all writing duties for Doctor Who? The Doctor’s Wife was one of the funniest, most original episodes on the show. If he took the show in a direction reminiscent of The Sandman… the show could be absolutely brilliant, instead of merely great.

    1. I’m with you. Especially if that results in never having to deal with the terrible inconsistancy of the Moffat episodes.

  9. No Josh, you are correct, but misguided (in my opinion).
    the Dr Who folks are good at what they do.  It’s pretty much down to Davies and Moffatt that we’re even talking about this.  

    Pick great writers, make the stories very different, let the writers choose their “baddies”, let them do their stuff.  C’mon, no way was Gaiman going to choose anything else for his first foray.  And for his second?  Well, he’s the writer, and I can rest assured he’ll surprise us, regardless of knowing who the enemy is.

    But. It can’t be one writer, ever.  It’s like doing a crossword set by the same person every day, it becomes boring.  Challenge and change.

    Gaiman will be fantastic, and I want to see what he does, but not for a whole series.

    1.  second half of the season kicks off around christmas. I’m not a fan of the scheduling either, but it’s a full season.

  10. The Cybermen have generally been disappointing in Nu Who (though I did like the pathos in Torchwood’s—really—”Cyberwoman”). Still, the old Who foe I’d like them to bring back is The Rani. Great character (basically Sherlock as a Time Lord!) hobbled with the declining writing at the end of the Classic Series. And don’t even get me started on the Eastenders episode….

  11. “Bringing back” hardly counts when they showed up a couple of seasons back, also given that the girllady is a new companion, every enemy from met from now will be an initial meeting (except perhaps the Daleks).

    Agreed re: The Rani. Or The Mara!

    Regardless – Neil Gaiman!

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