The Doctor and Nyssa visit a planet which seems to be almost exactly like Earth, but the sky is nowhere to be seen – the cities are all underground. The people have already taken plastic surgery one step further as well – they’ve added artificial organs and limbs, not just altered their skin, and even the indigenous animals are being subjected to the augmentation surgeries. It all adds up to confirm the Doctor’s worst fear: the TARDIS has landed on Mondas, at the moment in history poised precariously between the extinction of the Mondasians and the birth of the Cybermen. And if he and Nyssa stay there too long, they may be captured and converted themselves.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Sally Knyvette (Doctorman Allan), Pamela Binns (Sisterman Constant), Derren Nesbitt (Thomas Dodd), Paul Copley (Dad), Kathryn Guck (Yvonne Hartley), Jim Hartley (Frank Hartley), Nicholas Briggs (Cyberleader Zheng)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: An excellent tale of the origins of the Cybermen, Spare Parts tells a story where we know how the big picture will end. The tragedy witnessed by the Doctor and Nyssa, however, is in the smaller picture as they’re forced to watch helplessly as those events come into being. I was a bit wary of writer Marc Platt’s last adventure, the bizarre fifth Doctor werewolf romp Loups-Garoux, but here he nailed it head-on. Yes, we do know how Spare Parts will end, to a certain degree. But witnessing these events from the Mondasians’ point of view is all the more chilling for knowing the fate that they can’t avoid.
I’ve also noticed that some of my favorite Doctor Who audio stories happen to feature former stars of Blake’s 7, and Spare Parts is no exception. Sally “Jenna”Knyvette brings some much-needed life to the story as an acerbic (and, in the face of the bitter end, increasingly alcoholic) surgeon who tries to reason with the faceless (and probably person-less) Committee which governs the Cyber-conversions. Really, the whole cast is stellar, small as it is, and huge cybernetic high-fives to Big Finish for recreating the early Cybermen voices from the sixties! It added a huge amount of credibility to the mental picture of seeing the first Cybermen begin their reign of terror. In some places, the Committee voices are hard to understand, but overall the voice treatments added tremendous nostalgic and continuity value to the story without detracting from it. Very highly recommended.