The second contribution from director Matthew Robinson is in much the same mould as his previous story, 'Resurrection of the Daleks' and maintains much of the same gritty feel. It also sees the welcome return of Lytton, the mercenary whose allegiances are not always as clear-cut as they might appear...
'Attack of the Cybermen' was produced in studio on 1" videotape and on location on 16mm. It has always had a reputation as being a very noisy / grainy story, and in fact the recording report forms in the tape boxes include a reminder that a noise reducer must be used on transmission. Yet when we came to remaster this story for DVD, it became obvious that the whole of the video was 'sat-up' by about 15% above black level - ie there were no true blacks, just a very noisy and murky dark grey. Once the grading controls had been set to produce the correct black level, most of the picture noise simply vanished and the remainder was managed using the DVNR-1000 noise reducer as per every other story we have worked on. Jonathan Wood's grade pulled out a richness of colour previously unseen - indeed some of the London location film had to be desaturated to match the studio video as it was extremely colourful. Attention was paid to the special 'look' that the director had deliberately applied to the exterior shots on the planet Telos and the grade was sympathetic to the original, maintaining the cold blue and desaturated visuals.
Aside from these points, restoration was fairly straightforward. The episodes were graded by Jonathan, with manual picture cleanup by SVS and audio restoration by Mark Ayres.
DVD extras for this release include:
• Commentary with actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Terry Molloy and Sarah Berger.
• The Cold War (dur. 27' 26") - cast and crew look back at the making of the story in this documentary from John Kelly. With actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Terry Molloy and Sarah Berger, writer Eric Saward, director Matthew Robinson, continuity advisor Ian Levine and film cameraman Godfrey Johnson. Narrated by Stephen Greif.
• The Cyber Story (dur. 22' 49") - Brendan Sheppard gives us a brief history of the Cybermen in the classic series. With director Morris Barry, writer Eric Saward, costume designers Sandra Reid and Dinah Collins, Cyberman actor Mark Hardy, voice artiste Roy Skelton and Professor Kevin 'Human Cyborg' Warwick.
• Human Cyborg (dur. 8' 07") - an interview with Professor Kevin Warwick, who has used himself as a human guinea pig for cybernetic implant experimentation.
• The Cyber-Generations (dur. 7' 48") - a gallery of Cyberman through the history of the series, set to music from their stories.
• Trails and Continuity (dur. 3' 09") - BBC1 trails and continuity announcements from the story's first transmission.
• Isolated Score - option to view the episodes with isolated music soundtrack.
• PDF Material - Radio Times listings for 'Attack of the Cybermen' and 'The Invasion' (previously missed from that story's DVD release), plus a 1969 article from 'The Listener' magazine by Cyberman co-creator Kit Pedler in Adobe pdf format for viewing on PC or Mac.
• Plus of course the usual Coming Soon Trailer, Programme Subtitles, Subtitle Production Notes and Photo Gallery.
Copyright Steve Roberts, 20 February 2009. No reproduction allowed without written permission.