News Big Finish is redoing Revenge of the Cybermen, using its original script, Return of the Cybermen

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Evil Headhunter, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. Evil Headhunter

    Evil Headhunter Scarecrow Keeper Premium Member

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    In perhaps not a surprising turn, Big Finish is recording a new version of Revenge of the Cybermen as Return of the Cybermen, using Cybermen-creator Gerry Davis' original script for the serial, under its old Lost Stories banner.

    I say not a surprising turn because it's my least favorite Tom Baker serial, my least favorite Robert Holmes script, and probably my least favorite Cybermen story (which is saying something...), and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who holds that opinion.

    Producer David Richardson explained how the production came about: “I’d known of Return of the Cybermen for many years, but it was only relatively recently that I was able to source Gerry Davis’s script thanks to some great detective work by archivist Richard Bignell!

    John Dorney’s adaptation stays true to the original script and the era, though there have been some very minor changes to bring it in line with the kind of amends we believe Robert Holmes would have asked for. Little things that make it sit comfortably in season 12.

    “It’s rather different in tone to Revenge of the Cybermen - darker, scarier and more reminiscent of claustrophobic 1960s Cybermen tales like The Moonbase and The Invasion.”

    Director Nicholas Briggs added: “It was interesting working with Tom on this, because he noticed the difference in style immediately. This is Doctor Who as Gerry Davis imagined it in 1974, and it’s very much like he wrote Doctor Who in the mid-1960s. So the script didn’t quite have the same levels of emotional sophistication and wit that was present either in what Robert Holmes eventually crafted into Revenge of the Cybermen, or certainly the more recent Fourth Doctor Adventures we’ve made on audio.

    “I imagined what it would have been like, back in the day, if Tom had been presented with this script to rehearse and record. If you look at the script book of the first Tom Baker season, you can see masses of line changes that were added by the cast or director during rehearsals and shooting in all those stories. Some of them are the best, most memorable moments, so I reasoned that it would be a faithful process to take on board Tom’s suggestions for this production of Return of the Cybermen.

    “We had loads of fun, as usual, with Tom finding it particularly amusing when I was directing him with a Cyberman voice effect. At one point, he asked, 'Is he talking to me?' which made us all laugh out loud!”
    I imagine the script has a bit more than "some very minor changes," unless they recast both Sarah Jane and Harry...and honestly, I don't want them to do that. And I can't imagine Tom would be terribly happy with that considering how close he was to both Lis and Ian, but I suppose I could be wrong.

    One possibility is that they could do it in a Companion Chronicle-style, not unlike how the Lost Stories were done for the first three Doctors, only this time it's The Doctor who is narrating with a guest or two.
     
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  2. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    No they are doing it full cast according the link.

    Anyone know if Elizabeth Sladen's daughter (Sadie?) went into acting? I wonder if they would cast her as Sarah-Jane in the same way Caroline John's daughter played her mother's character in one of the Third Doctor adventures.
     
  3. Hennessy Badger

    Hennessy Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Rumor has it Sarah Jane will be played by Sadie Miller (Elizabeth Sladen’s daughter). We can be fairly certain Sadie recorded something Big Finish with Tom since she was seen in Big Finish’s Christmas greeting video on YouTube with him.

    Big Finish previously “recast” Liz Shaw with Caroline John’s daughter, so this wouldn’t be a first.

    No clue on what they’d do for Harry through.
     
  4. Hennessy Badger

    Hennessy Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You beat me to it! :lol:
     
  5. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    The script was printed by DWB back in the 90s. It's pretty awful.
     
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  6. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    So what we could with Revenge of the Cybermen could have been an even bigger stinker?

    Though I gather from the wiki entry the story was commission prior to Pertwee's final so the characteristics of the 4th doctor were an unknown at the time it was written.
     
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  7. Evil Headhunter

    Evil Headhunter Scarecrow Keeper Premium Member

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    Oops, I don't know how I missed that. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I can live that, I suppose, especially if Tom is good with it.
     
  8. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Does she sound much like her mother?
    I was wondering if they might just rewrite it for one of the other Fourth Doctor companions, but I guess if they do that then it won't be the original script.
     
  9. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How difficult could it be to source the script, unless it isn't the draft printed in DWB 93 and the compendium?
     
  10. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  11. Evil Headhunter

    Evil Headhunter Scarecrow Keeper Premium Member

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    Good to have it confirmed. I'm glad it's her if it had to be anyone.

    Edit to add: The Big Finish article (as always) has more details than what io9 provided, including a cast photo. I'm happy to read that Tom Baker was very happy with what both Sadie Miller and Christopher Naylor did.

    I haven't closely followed cast photos as I use to but, damn, when did Tom lose all of that weight?!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  12. the vet

    the vet Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Wasn't it going to be set on some sort of casino in space?
     
  13. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The very earliest concept for the story involved a casino in space (still reusing sets from another station-based story, though at that point it was called “Space Station” and was going to be written by Christopher Langley), but by the time the first draft scripts were actually written it was a relay beacon (and the other story on the same sets had become “The Ark in Space”).
     
  14. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the surviving draft Voga is inhabited by human miners who remained behind and now worship a golden idol. The other major difference is that was one more surviving member of the beacon crew, a woman medical offIcer.