The Doctor will once again face off against some of his oldest enemies. The Cybermen are returning to “Doctor Who” in 2013 in an episode written by fantasy author Neil Gaiman, BBC announced Wednesday.
Gaiman’s episode will be directed by Stephen Woolfenden, who served as assistant director for four of the eight “Harry Potter” films. The episode will take the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his new companion (Jenna-Louise Coleman) to another planet, where they meet a band of misfits portrayed by Warwick Davis (“Life’s too Short,” “Harry Potter” and “Willow”), Tamzin Outhwaite (“Hotel Babylon”) and Jason Watkins (“Being Human”).
The Cybermen have been around for nearly as long as the show itself, debuting in 1966’s “The Tenth Planet” opposite the first Doctor, played by William Hartnell in his last episode before regenerating. In the series, Cybermen are people whose bodies have been replaced with artificial parts and whose emotions have been deleted, leaving a race of cold, calculating and deadly cyborgs.
“Cybermen were always the monsters that scared me the most,” the show’s lead writer Steven Moffat said in the announcement. “Not just because they were an awesome military force, but because sometimes they could be sleek and silver and right behind you without you even knowing.”
The 2013 Cybermen episode marks the second venture into “Doctor Who” for Gaiman, whose previous episode — 2011’s “The Doctor’s Wife” — won a Hugo Award and a Ray Bradbury Award.
“I saw my first Cybermen watching Moonbase, as Jamie thought the Piper was coming for him (scary). Then Tomb of the Cybermen terrified me,” Gaiman tweeted, referring to two 1967 episodes starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.
When a Twitter follower asked Gaiman if his iteration of the classic “Doctor Who” villains would be scary, Gaiman responded, “I hope so.”
“Doctor Who” returns to television Dec. 25 after a three-month break following “The Angels Take Manhattan,” the heartbreaking end to the Doctor’s travels with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). The regular series, including Gaiman’s episode, returns in spring 2013.
Check out the trailer for the Christmas special above, and let us know what you think of the Cybermen’s return in the comments.
— Noelene Clark
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