Doctor Who

Season 2 Episode 6

The Age of Steel (2)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 20, 2006 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
477 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: A parallel Earth Date: 1st/2nd February 2007 Enemy: John Lumic/Cyber-Controller/The Cybermen The Cybermen are taking over the world. Can the Doctor save this Earth from the Cybermen?

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  • Mickey


    I love Mickey, Ive always thought his character was underused, it was sad seeing him always waiting for Rose, who only uses him whem she needs something... Im happy that he has the chance of beggining a new live, with a loved one, but I will miss him so much
  • Finally! I slogged my way through this one, but it was well worth it.

    Oh gosh, and people say that Moffat can't resolve cliffhangers? Good grief! If The Doctor could just shoot fiendfyre from that little power cell thingy and disintegrate all Cybermen within a certain radius, then why the whole "We surrender!" gimmick to begin with? Did he have to wait for them to lower their shields? Did he suddenly have a moral crisis about putting the poor sods out of their misery? Was it just to create tension?

    Whatever it was, this whole sequence just felt a bit clunky and poorly executed. It felt like a novel where you read through an action sequence and still have no idea who punched whom on the jaw. So yeah, cracks about Scooby Doo not withstanding, I was less than enthusiastic about this beginning.

    This episode is very much a mixed bag. It had a slow, clunky beginning and enough stilted scenery chewing from Lumic (who was more bearable once he had been upgraded) to put Headmaster Finch to shame. Yet there were some truly powerful moments particularly the bits with the Cyberwoman and the shocking ending. Mickey found his purpose in this two-parter when he decided to leave Rose behind (at last!) and remain in the parallel Earth to take care of his Gran and to help out Pete and Jake. The Doctor and Rose were, not completely unbearable. The Doctor got some genuinely frightening scenes and Rose being rejected by Pete was a bit upsetting. I love the ending where Rose finally shows some love towards Jackie (overdue, but all the more fulfilling when it finally happened) and I feel that all of the characters really grew over the course of the episodes. It wasn't perfect, but I would rate Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel as a 9/10 and encourage all future writers who set out to pen an effective Cyberman episode to look back on this one for guidance.

  • The Age of Steel

    The Age of Steel was another perfect and very entertaining episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching because the story was intriguing, fun, and over all awesome. It was great watching The Cyber Men rise and take over humanity. I enjoyed the origin story of The Cyber Men and it was interesting to see the humans behind what was happening. I liked the action, drama, intrigue and character conflicts. I liked how every thing played out and look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • This episode stands out as being different from the rest.

    This episode stands out as being different from the rest even though it's a two-parter. It drives away from the normal stereotype of a Dr Who episode and shocks you quite a lot.

    It is fairly clever in the way they defeat the cybermen. It is also quite spectacular in the way that they defeat the CyberLeader.

    It isn;t the best episode so far, and the acting is a bit weak but at least it wasn't the worst episode.

    7.6 is a reasonale score, the worst Dr Who episode (Boom Town) I would give a 6.1.

    All in all a fair episode by Dr Who standards.moreless
  • good, and intresting

    "Where's Mickey?"

    "He's gone home."

    Much as it was back in the Hartnell days, in the new series episodes have not only an individual title but also an individual identity. Unmistakably Part 2 of 2, "The Age of Steel" is the action-packed follow-up to last week's "Rise of the Cybermen", but it is also a very different animal. The Cybermen are no longer 'rising,' they are here. We know there are two Mickeys. We know about their Gran and about Pete Tyler being alive in this universe. "Rise of the Cybermen" set the pieces up, "The Age of Steel" knocks 'em down. And what's more, it does it in style.

    I found the episode's opening hilarious – after all that hype and all that build up the Doctor just uses that TARDIS battery or whatever it was to disable the marauding Cybermen closing in for the kill. What a cop out! It makes the sonic screwdriver look like a sophisticated plot device! Still, I couldn't really complain as within moments all our heroes were aboard their "Scooby Doo" van and things were really starting to kick off. As with last week the surprises kept on coming, although unlike last week, I was quite disappointed them. Having Pete turn out to be the Preachers' informant, working against Lumic, seemed like a bit of an easy way to get Pete over with the audience. I preferred him as an ordinary, money-grabbing Del Boy – a wide boy, but a wide boy with his heart in the right place. Moreover, having Ricky turn out to be London's Most Wanted "for parking tickets" was equally disappointing, especially considering Noel Clarke's intense performance in the previous episode. I have to admit that a few minutes into "The Age of Steel" I was losing faith… and then it happened. Just like that, he's dead. "Who?" I hear you ask. Exactly!

    I guess I was being a bit daft for thinking that they might kill Mickey off, but considering how some companions have fared in previous Cybermen stories it isn't unprecedented! When I saw Noel Clarke running down that road, I really didn't know whether it was Mickey or Ricky that had been 'deleted' by the Cybermen. Thankfully, Mickey hadn't 'done an Adric' and from that point on we were treated to one of the most nail biting, edge-of-the-seat Doctor Who episodes ever.

    The design and cinematography on this episode is outstanding. "Rise of the Cybermen" was set primarily in daylight with night only falling as the Cybermen rose, and although last week's visuals were technically more impressive, I found "The Age of Steel"'s darker, grittier look much more appealing. The Zeppelin hovering above Battersea Power Station is a particularly powerful image; it looked like something torn out of the pages of a graphic novel. Even more disturbing were the scenes of London's inhabitants willingly walking like cattle into the Power Station; into their doom! As for the Cybercontroller – wow! As it was shot in 1967 most of us can forgive the original, quite feeble Cybercontroller that we met in "The Tomb of the Cybermen," but by 1985 the show's producers should have learned their lesson. A gigantic dome on the top of a normal Cyberman's head looks atrociously bad. A Cyberman with eyes of blazing light and his gigantic brain visible, however, is far more effective. It's a pity that we didn't get to see as much of Roger Lloyd Pack in the flesh this week, but at least we had the consolation of having him voice the Cybercontroller that Lumic is 'upgraded' to.

    "Why am I cold? Why so cold? Where's Gareth? He can't see me. It's unlucky the night before."

    Ouch. As well as being an episode absolutely crammed full of action, "The Age of Steel" is also a very moving story. The Doctor realises that the key to bringing down these Cybermen is to find that code that deactivates their emotional inhibitor chips, driving them mad with the knowledge of what they have become. Of course, if he did that he would be dishing out immense suffering on what are, at the end of the day, innocent victims. It's an intriguing dilemma, but in the end the Doctor has to save the world – no matter what. The death of the female Cyberman really tugs on those heartstrings – of all the nights to be robbed of her humanity, she became a Cyberman on the eve of her wedding. It's heart breaking. The story of Angela Price – Mrs. Moore – is equally sad. Mrs. Moore didn't do much last week, but in this episode she really gets drawn into the action and enjoys a fantastic adventure alongside the Doctor before her inevitable demise. Characters like this are what really make this new series of Doctor Who so special – they could so easily be written as throwaway parts; red-shirts who you aren't ever really meant to care about; characters that are only in the story so that they can die. When they are written (and portrayed) as well as Mrs. Moore, Clive, Jabe, Gwyneth, Lynda with a 'y' and the like are, we remember each and every one of them, reminding us that it is death – not Rose – that is the Doctor's constant companion and that this life that he leads is wrought with danger.

    My money was on Pete for the chop after Ricky bought the bullet, but in retrospect I can see exactly why MacRae killed off the alternate Jackie instead. Not only do we have to see her as a Cyberman – how weird is that? – at the end of the episode we are left with a widowed Jackie in our universe and a widowed Pete in another. Hmmm. In the old Cybermen stories, whenever a character we knew became a Cyberman (Lytton, for example) we never saw them 'finished', for want of a better word. We'd always see their face. Hear their voice. There would always be some clue. "The Age of Steel" comes at things from a completely knew angle – the "which one was it?" angle. We met the Jackie Cyberman, and then she vanished into the crowd and could have been any one of their uniform number. It's one of the most frightening Cyberman scenes ever – forget Star Trek's 'Borg' and the like, the Cyberman represents the complete loss of self. Even your face.

    The ending was absolutely fantastic. It was so rewarding to see Mickey absolutely kick ass! He pilots a Zeppelin (all those hours on the Playstation came in handy!), baits a Cyberman, hacks into a computer and saves the world. On top of that, he even demonstrates a different type of courage, standing up to Ricky's friend Jake and refusing to leave without the Doctor, Rose and Pete. And so the idiot saves the world. Of course, the Doctor helps – luckily his spiel about "ordinary, stupid, brilliant people… some idiot…" didn't fall upon deaf ears!

    In terms of suspense, you can't beat having the Doctor, Rose and Pete dangling from a Zeppelin over an exploding factory with the Cybercontroller grabbing at their ankles! I was sure Pete was dead, especially when the sonic screwdriver didn't work immediately; it was so, so well done. I also enjoyed the shot of the Cybermen looking in the mirror and letting out a painful, mechanical howl. MacRae did everything right with his script. Doctor Who stalwart Graeme Harper, the first classic series director to return, did everything right and more. As for the actors… there's not a bad performance in there. Tennant, Piper, Pack, Dingwall, Coduri and Helen Griffin (Mrs. Moore) all give 110%, Andrew Hayden Smith (Jake) isn't bad, and Noel Clarke completely steals the show – just as he should if this is indeed his swansong. Somehow though, I doubt we've seen the last of Mickey.


    "Just don't."

    Or Pete, for that matter. Unable to cope with Rose's revelation that she is his daughter (of sorts), "The Age of Steel" concludes with Pete slipping away into the night, his understated exit overshadowed by the departure of Mickey, who decides to stay behind to look after his Gran and fight the remaining Cybermen from his van.

    "Nothing wrong with a van. I once saved the universe with a big yellow truck…"

    Out of six episodes this year, half of them have ended on tearjerkers. I have no objection at all to pathos and such 'soap' elements in Doctor Who; I feel that the 'real life' element they bring to the show only add to the magic and somehow make it all much more real. Rose obviously doesn't want to leave Mickey behind because they've been through so much together and probably because subconsciously, he's her backup. "What if I need you?" she selfishly asks him, but the time has come for him to stop playing second fiddle to the Time Lord who turned his life upside down.

    "We had something a long time ago, but not anymore."

    Gags about the Cybermen's marching sounding like Wallace's "Wrong Trousers" aside, this two-parter has certainly been handled brilliantly by all involved. To be fair, I was never a massive fan of the Cybermen in the classic series, but after a trip on this phenomenal roller coaster ride I cannot wait until they come back. That final shot of the episode, the shooting star or whatever it was… something following in the TARDIS's wake, perhaps? I have a funny feeling that Mickey, Pete and the Cybermen will all be back in our universe before long…

    Until then, we'll have to make do with "Gatiss by gaslight…"

    It's such hardship being a Doctor Who fan these days!moreless
Helen Griffin

Helen Griffin

Mrs. Moore

Guest Star

Andrew Hayden Smith

Andrew Hayden Smith

Jake Simmonds

Guest Star

Roger Lloyd-Pack

Roger Lloyd-Pack

John Lumic

Guest Star

Noel Clarke

Noel Clarke


Recurring Role

Camille Coduri

Camille Coduri

Jackie Tyler

Recurring Role

Nicholas Briggs

Nicholas Briggs


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Lumic: Excellent. Then let's begin!

      The expression 'Excellent' is a reference to the use of the word by the Cyber-Controller character (although Lumic has not yet become the Cyber-Controller at this point) in almost every previous story beginning with the Fourth Doctor episode, Revenge of the Cybermen.

    • At the begining of the episode as the van drives up to rescue the Doctor and the others you can see a row of Cybermen marching toward them in the background. The camera angle changes and suddenly the Cybermen are nowhere to be seen.

    • When the Cyberman is hit by the electro-magnetic bomb, it falls to its knees, then backwards. Yet in the next shot, it is flat on its back, with its leg extended.

    • Reference is made to the episode School Reunion where Mickey refers to himself as "the tin dog", a comparison to K9.

    • Reference is made to the episodes Dalek (Rose mentions seeing a Cyberman head in Van Statten's museum), and Parting of the Ways (Mickey mentions saving the world with a big yellow truck).

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Rose: You're alive! (hugs Jackie) Oh, Mum, you're alive!
      Jackie: Well, I was the last time I looked. What is it, what's happened, sweetheart? What's wrong? Where did you go?
      The Doctor: Far away. That was... far away.
      Jackie: Where's Mickey?
      The Doctor: He's gone home.

    • The Doctor: (Speaking to a disabled Cyberman) Can you remember your name?
      Cyberman: Sally. Sally Phelan.
      Mrs. Moore: You're a woman.
      Cyberman: Where's Gareth?
      Mrs. Moore: Who's Gareth?
      Cyberman: He can't see me. It's unlucky - the night before.
      Mrs. Moore: You're getting married?
      Cyberman: I'm cold. I'm so cold.
      The Doctor: It's all right. You sleep now, Sally. Just go to sleep. (The Doctor uses the Sonic Screwdriver on the emotional inhibitor and the Cyberman's power dies...)

    • Cyber Controller: You are proud of your emotions?
      The Doctor: h yes.
      Cyber Controller: Then tell me, Doctor, have you known grief and rage and pain?
      The Doctor: Yes. Yes, I have.
      Cyber Controller: And they hurt?
      The Doctor: Oh yes.
      Cyber Controller: I can set you free. Would you not want that? A life without pain?
      The Doctor: You might as well kill me.
      Cyber Controller: Then I take that option.
      The Doctor: It's not yours to take; you're a Cyber Controller, you don't control me or anything with blood in it's heart!

    • Cyber Controller: I will bring peace to the world. Everlasting peace. And unity. And uniformity.
      The Doctor: And imagination? What about that? The one thing that led you here. Imagination? You're killing it dead.
      Cyber Controller: What is your name?
      The Doctor: I'm the Doctor.
      Cyber Controller: A redundant title. Doctors need not exist. Cybermen never sicken.
      The Doctor: But that's it! That's exactly the point! Oh, Lumic, you're a clever man. I'd call you a genius, except I'm in the room… but everything you've invented you did to fight your sickness. And that's brilliant. That is so human. But once you get rid of sickness and mortality, then what's there to strive for? Eh? The Cybermen won't advance. You'll just stop. You'll stay like this forever. A metal Earth with metal men and metal thoughts. Lacking the one thing that makes this planet so alive. People. Ordinary, stupid, brilliant people!

    • The Doctor: That's the key. The emotional inhibitor. If we can find the code behind it, the cancellation code, then feed it throughout the system, into every Cyberman's head, they'd realise what they are.
      Mrs. Moore: And what happens then?
      The Doctor: I think it would kill them. (pause) Can we do that?
      Mrs. Moore: We've got to. Before they kill everyone else. There's no choice, Doctor. It's got to be done.

    • Mickey: You're just making this up as you go along!
      The Doctor: Yep. But I do it brilliantly.

    • John Lumic: My everlasting children. Tell me, how does it feel?
      Cyberman: We feel nothing.
      John Lumic: But in your mind, what do you think?
      Cyberman: We think the same. We are uniform.
      John Lumic: But you think of what?
      Cyberman: We think of the humans. We think of their difference and their pain. They suffer in the skin. They must be upgraded.

    • Mickey: The Preachers know what they're doing. Ricky said he's London's most wanted.
      Ricky Smith: Yeah, that's not exactly…
      Mickey: Not exactly what?
      Ricky Smith: I'm London's most wanted… for parking tickets.

    • The Doctor: How did you get in to this, then? Rattling along with the Preachers?
      Mrs. Moore: I used to be ordinary. Worked at Cybus Industries nine to five. Till one day I find something I'm not supposed to. A file on the mainframe. All I did was read it. Then suddenly I've got men with guns knocking in the middle of the night. A life on the run. Then I found the Preachers. They needed a techie so I just sat down and taught myself everything.

    • Mickey: I know it's not easy with my face looking exactly like Ricky. But I'm a different man. I'm not replacing him. But we can remember him by fighting in his name. (Jake nods) With all those Cyber factories out there, do you think there'd be one in Paris?
      Jake Simmonds: Yeah.
      Mickey: Then let's go liberate Paris.
      Jake Simmonds: What, you and me? In a van?
      Mickey: Nothing wrong with a van. I once saved the universe with a big yellow truck.

    • Peter Tyler: Who are you?
      Rose: It's like you say. Imagine there are different worlds. Parallel worlds. Worlds with another Pete Tyler, Jackie Tyler still alive and their daughter.

    • Cyber Controller: This is the Age of Steel and I am it's creator.

    • The Doctor: Good luck. Mickey the idiot.

    • Peter Tyler: Encrypted wavelength 657 using binary 9. That's the only reason I am working for Lumic, to get information. I thought I was broadcasting to the security services, what do I get? Scooby Doo and his gang. They even got the van!

  • NOTES (7)

    • International Airdates:
      Turkey: August 15, 2010 on CNBC-e

    • As with Part 1, Marc Platt receives a "With thanks to" credit. Platt wrote the script for the Doctor Who audio, Spare Parts, which provided much of the inspiration for this episode.

    • The only significant edit made to this episode was the removal of a line confirming that Ricky and Jake had been lovers, as part of the sequence of Mickey promising not to try to take his counterpart's place.

    • Footage from Rose, most specifically, the destruction of the Nestene Consciousness was reused as part of the destruction of the Battersea Cyber-conversion facility.

    • This episode is the first time since Attack of the Cybermen that gold has not been used as a weapon against the Cybermen. The Cybus Industries tie-in site makes reference to earlier prototypes having an allergy to gold, stating that this was eliminated after further improvements of the Cyberman body.

    • At one point, the Doctor orders everyone to split up so that Lumic's Cyber processing centre can be broken into most effectively. He says this is so everyone can find a way in, either "above, between, below." This could be a reference to The Five Doctors because the 2nd Doctor recites a poem on how to enter the Tower Of Rassilon that uses the same phrase in it.

    • The final viewing figure for the BBC One airing of this episode was 7.63 million.


    • Peter Tyler: Encrypted wavelength 657.

      BBC Radio Wales is broadcasting on frequency 657 kHz. Doctor Who is produced by BBC Wales.

    • The Doctor: Give people their minds back. So they don't walk into that place like sheep.

      The marching of thousands of pod-controlled Londoners to Battersea echoes the song 'Sheep' by Pink Floyd from their album Animals, where the sheep obediently walk into a valley of steel to be butchered. The album cover features an image of Battersea Power Station, with a pig floating above it just like Lumic's zeppelin.

      Incidentally Pink Floyd is known for incorporating the Doctor Who theme music into live performances of the song 'One of These Days'.

    • Rose: Where'd you learn to fly that thing!?!
      Mickey: Playstation. Just hold on, Rose. I'm coming to get you.
      The Sony Playstation is a video game console first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s, the game Mickey mostly likely used to learn to pilot a Zeppelin is X-Plane.

    • Pete: I thought I was broadcasting to the Security Services, and what do I get? Scooby Doo and his gang. They've even got the van!

      'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?' premiered in 1969. The cartoon introduced four kids and a dog named Scooby-Doo. The kids were Daphne Blake, Freddy Jones, Velma Dinkley, Norville "Shaggy" Rogers. They travelled around in a green van known as "The Mystery Machine" and solved many 'scary' mysteries along the way.