Doctor Who: Neil Gaiman on making the Cybermen scary again

News Louisa Mellor 13 Nov 2012 - 12:07

Neil Gaiman has been chatting to a French website about his Cybermen story in the forthcoming run of Doctor Who…

This story contains a potential spoiler for Neil Gaiman's new episode.

In France for the Nantes Utopiales sci-fi festival, Neil Gaiman revealed a little about the background of his forthcoming Cybermen story to French site

Gaiman confirmed a few basics for starters, “I can tell you that there are Cybermen in it. It will be a stand-alone episode, I don’t know if it will be number twelve or thirteen. It will be the series’ penultimate episode. But it has a beginning, a middle and an end.”

Gaiman went on to reveal that his busy schedule meant he initially turned down the opportunity to write another Who episode, but that he revised his answer following an email from Steven Moffat:

"Steven wrote to me and asked if I wanted to make the Cybermen scary again. I thought back to myself at the age of six or seven, The Moonbase, Tomb of the Cybermen… I saw them when they were first broadcast. The Cybermen were much scarier than the Daleks, because they didn’t make any noise. The Daleks moved around all over the place shouting “Exterminate”, etc. With the Cybermen, it’s different. You turn around and bam! There they are. It’s scary. I told him that I was going to take the Cybermen from the sixties […] and see what I could do. I don’t know if it’s going to work, we’ll see.”

Despite The Last Cyberman being mooted as his episode’s title after a script for the story sporting that name was discovered in the back of a Cardiff taxi last week, Gaiman insists he doesn’t know what his sophomore episode will be titled. “I don’t know anything. The title of The Doctor’s Wife was Bigger on the Inside until two weeks before it aired. It could be anything.”

So Gaiman could write dialogue for Jenna-Louise Coleman’s new companion character, Moffat has been keeping him informed as the second half of series seven has progressed. “Steven sent me his ideas and the beginnings of scripts. Once the auditions started he even sent me videos."

How does the new companion compare to her predecessors then? "Jenna-Louise Coleman is very different from Amy, Rose or Sarah-Jane. The dialogue is completely different. Just as it is with the various Doctors. But some things don’t change: the companion will always be intelligent and brave, and the Doctor will always be funny, annoying and strange, and he will always succeed in getting out of inextricable situations.”

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Does he mean that he's actually going to use a different set of Cybermen, the original ones, as opposed to the new series? Because the new series Cybermen most certainly are not quiet at all. Let us pray for classic series Cybermen, although I'd prefer Earthshock era to the oldest ones.

Psssht wish Chris Chibnall was in charge of this episode. The Doctors Wife was a very sloppy script where as Chibnall hasn't put a foot wrong IMO.

whoa.... Wha? You're a troll right? Troll or mental one of the two.

What, exactly, was down-arrowable about that post? Someone's a real dime bar.

There's been some set photos around in which there's new more sleaker Cybermen...I'm digging the new design.

"I told him that I was going to take the Cybermen from the sixties […] and see what I could do. I don’t know if it’s going to work, we’ll see.”

WooHoo!!!!!!! That might just be the most fantastic thing I've heard regarding this story. I hope the Cybermen design gets a bit of a change. I'm very excited to see what Neil can do with them.

HUH???? What are you smokin, bud????

What about a troll with a mental disability?

When Davies gave the Cybermen a catchphrase, like the Daleks, it came off as silly, so agree with Gaiman that they work better when they are silent. Tomb of the Cybermen worked really well in that regard.

Chris Chibnall is ok. He could have done a bit better with Cold Blood/The Hungry Earth double episode but it was enjoyable.I did really like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. I don't understand though what you have against The Doctor's Wife. I thought it was an excellent way of exploring The Doctor's relationship with the Tardis.

Yes - I've seen them - they look like a cross between a few different generations.

A helmet inspired by the Troughton Era cybermen - specifically those seen in The Wheel In Space - and the upper body armour like those in McCoy's Silver Nemesis all wrapped up with several hints of the Cybus cybermen (but thankfully no "C" in their chest).

The previous new Cybermen were all from the alternate Rose universe developed by I mean John Lumic. So there has to be the Dr's universe Cybermen out there, the ones he has always met. The ones that were originally Mondasians from the planet Mondas.

Sounds promising, but then we were also promised we would see every Dalek ever this series...

Oooh...goodie. I for one can't wait for DW to get back on our screens again.

I think they look a bit Iron Man, or maybe War Machine, personally. Not complaining, mind.

Tomb of the Cybermen is my favorite episode by some way . Anything close to that would be amazing.

technically we did see them....they just happened to be in the shadows and impossible to make out...But that was Moffat talking, Neil Gaiman has proven himself far more trustworthy!

Gaiman knows scary but can he write it for a family show?

These days he seems to be better at 'oddball' than creepy.

Not a criticism btw, just an observation.

You're right there, chief. Remember when he told us we were going to get all designs of daleks in Asylum? What did we actually get? Let's hope Gaiman takes presedence over Moffat on this one.

Hopefully Gaiman will write the scary as he would for any piece of work and the episode's editor/director will use their judgement to make it family friendly while keeping it as scary as they can.

Where in the 60s did the Daleks zoom around shouting "exterminate!" ? That wouldn't be the scheming Daleks from "Power" or "Evil" or "The Daleks" or TDIOE or TDMP I assume? (They mentioned the word once the "The Daleks" IIRC...) So he must have only watched "The Chase" where they are admittedly a bit like that.
What's a "sophomore episode" ? Is that some sort of Americanism? If we're getting more US cultural imperialism could you please provide a transalatin so the rest of the world knows what you're talking about (I must admit I thought Dr Who was from the UK - ditto Neil Gaiman...???)
However, sleek cybermen that recover the body-horror element and don't look and act like stompy robots would be nice, certainly. If they can update the silver wetsuits with ping-pong balls look to look like a person with implants (but without looking too like the Borg, which are after all a cyberman ripoff) that would be nice.

Yes, he can. Just read Coraline.

yes the cybermen are sooooo scary but cool

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