The Cybermen in Dr Who are a bit of a grisly business. They’re a mash-up of old, worn-out bodies with shiny new kit attached. They’ve replaced their squishy bits – guts and eyes and emotions – with metal and plastic.
They’re not scary because they’re cold, callous robots who don’t know how to argue. They’re scary because they used to be people like you and me. Somewhere in their heads they still know that, and yet they still going round being baddies.
Often, we see people at a half-way stage in the cyberising process, battling to save the people they are from being eaten up by the machine. The spangly new series had Dr Who beat the Cybermen by reminding them of what they’d lost – a trick he’d used before getting Toberman and Lytton back on to his side.
The Age of Steel’s poor Sally Cyberman – worrying about her wedding and why she’s so cold – was in part inspired by “Spare Parts”, a horrific pair of CDs by m’colleague Marc Platt about a cyberised girl and her family.
Normally, even the converted women are made into Cybermen. They lose gender distinctions at the same time as their appreciation of sunsets and well-cooked meals. Though in Sunday’s Hoot Crowd we got to see a woman mid-enmanning, fetchingly decked out in Cyber-bra and thong.
The Cybermen are scary because they fall between two stools; because they’re not neat and tidy there’s room for stories to explore. It also explains why they can do illogical things – saying “Excellent!” and wearing jeans.
Unfortunately, I find I have also fallen between two Cyber-stools.
All set to laser-blast Amazon for my not-yet-in-my-hands DVDs, I discover the address I’ve given them is a bit of a mash-up, too – half the old, worn-out place I was living in this time last year, and half the new and spangly flat on which Daleks help pay the mortgage.
Gah. And I've already head my head examined this week. Think it's probably time for an upgrade.