Doctor Who: 10 Best Cybermen Stories Ranked

The Daleks are most people’s favourite Doctor Who enemy but the Cybermen come a close second. This emotionless race of cyborgs, who hailed from the planet Mondas, became a firm fixture on the show, regularly turning up to convert human beings into members of their own army.

In this article, we have delved into Doctor Who’s history to rank our favourite Cyberman stories. 

Do you agree with our picks? Have we missed your favourite episode? There is a full list of Cybermen stories here if you need a reminder of the many times the Doctor’s emotionless enemies have appeared on the programme.

Get in touch and let us know your favourite Cybermen storyline in the comments below. 

#10: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday (New Who, Season 2)

During the first part of the Season 2 finale, the people of Earth are visited by the ghosts of their loved ones. Or are they? As it turns out, these ghosts are actually Cybermen who have come to our planet from a parallel world. As the story continues into the second episode, the Doctor’s second deadliest foes begin to rebuild their army by ‘upgrading’ humans into more of their kind.

This epic two-parter is particularly memorable because of the face-off between the Cybermen and the Daleks. Neither race of aliens is a match for the Doctor, of course, but he does find himself a little out of sorts during this story’s closing moments. After sucking the Cybermen into the Void, the Doctor is forced to say a tearful goodbye to Rose who has found herself stuck on the parallel Earth. 

#9: The Tomb of the Cybermen (Classic Who, Season 5)

In this story, the 2nd Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria arrive on the planet Telos where they discover an archeological dig is taking place to uncover the lost tombs of the Cybermen. Of course, their meddling has severe consequences for the Doctor and co, as their messing around awakens the Cybermen from their supposed slumber.

It turns out the tomb is a giant trap designed to lure humans into the Cybermen’s lair for conversion. This is the type of twist that we have now become familiar with but at the time, it likely shocked viewers. The episodes in this story are full of iconic moments, from the shots of the Cybermen leaving their tombs to the introduction of the Cybermats, the mouse-like droids that are capable of stunning humans. 

#8: The Five Doctors (Classic Who, 20th Anniversary Special)

The Cybermen aren’t the only classic foe causing problems for the Time Lord in this multi-Doctor adventure. The Daleks, the Yeti, and the Master also make an appearance, alongside several companions from the programme’s history. 

For reasons too complicated (or too silly) to explain, the various Doctors are pulled from their time streams and brought to the Death Zone on Gallifrey. The 3rd Doctor and Sarah Jane have a nasty encounter with the robotic menaces soon after being transported to this dark and desolate place. Then it’s the 1st Doctor and Tegan’s turn to square off against the Cybermen but they don’t have to worry about them for long as The Master has a trick up his sleeve to dispose of the cyborg cretins. 

The Cybermen aren’t the focus of this anniversary special but their presence is a welcome one within the enjoyable storyline. 

#7: The Moonbase (Classic Who, Season 4)

Once again, the Cybermen want to destroy life on Earth and to do this, they have set up a base and a world-destroying weapon on the Moon. Their plan isn’t destined to work, of course, as the 2nd Doctor arrives just in time to save our planet and send the Cybermen floating off into space. Hooray! 

This was the storyline in which the Cybermen became more robotic in look and appearance, setting up subsequent episodes for their eventual return. It’s all rather preposterous but these episodes are still entertaining, so it’s a good thing that we can experience this classic again thanks to the animated segments that have replaced the original footage that is now lost in time. 

#6: The Invasion (Classic Who, Season 6)

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe return to Earth and meet up with their old friend Lethbridge Stewart who has recently been upgraded to Brigadier. It’s an enjoyable reunion but there’s no time for tea and crumpets as the Cybermen have returned to Earth for another invasion of our planet.

Much of the footage for this story has been lost but the missing elements have been reconstructed with animation. This takes away some of the story’s impact but it’s still memorable for the first appearance of UNIT and the chilling sight of the Cybermen marching through iconic London locations. 

#5: The Tenth Planet (Classic Who, Season 4)

Every good/evil monster has to start somewhere and in the Cybermen’s case, it was in this 1st Doctor adventure in which they made their first appearance. In terms of their look and voices, they are somewhat laughable now, so are not quite as fearsome as their later incarnations in future episodes. But despite their less than scary exterior, the story does a good job of introducing them to viewers and explaining the origins of this deadly species.

As memorable as the Cybermen were in this instalment of Doctor Who, they aren’t the reason why this story is best remembered. This was the one in which the Doctor made his first regeneration, clips of which can be found online but not on the DVD of this classic serial because the fourth episode is still missing. 

#4: The Next Doctor (New Who, Special Episode)

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with the Cybermen who turn up again for this festive special set in Victorian London. Thankfully, the 10th Doctor doesn’t have to face them alone as he has the ‘Next Doctor’ to help him. The new guy doesn’t turn out to be a future regeneration, however. We learn that he’s a man named Jackson Lake who accidentally used a Cyber device to download into his mind all of the Doctor’s memories.

There is much fun to be had in this episode, with the Doctor mistakenly thinking he has met his future self and the first (and so far only appearance) of the Cyber King, who is possibly the largest monster in Doctor Who history. The episode is both funny and scary and sometimes ridiculous too (the Cybershades) and is well worth a watch (or a rewatch) during the Christmas period. 

#3: Earthshock (Classic Who, Season 19)

This isn’t the greatest Cyberman story of all time but it is the most shocking. The story revolves around the Cybermen’s plan to destroy Earth, this time by crashing a space freighter into it. It’s business as usual, right? The Doctor saves the day and flies away with his companions for another great adventure? Erm…not quite. 

The Doctor is a good match for the Cybermen but it’s Adric who steps in to stop the Cyberman threat by sacrificing his life to save his friends and our planet. The Doctor moved on from his death quite quickly, much to the annoyance of Tegan and Nyssa, but long-term Whovians are probably still grieving the loss of this beloved companion.

#2: Dark Water/Death in Heaven (New Who, Season 8)

The Cybermen are on the streets of London again but they’re not the only menace threatening the Doctor. The Master is also back to cause trouble, although he is now a she and going by the name of Missy, and she uses the Cybermen as her own personal army.

This two-parter leans into the show’s horror aspects a bit, with scenes of the Cybermen wandering around graveyards with a chilling plan to resurrect dead bodies and turn them into their own kind. But as scary as part of these episodes are, they are particularly memorable for scenes of the Cybermen taking to the skies and the return of the once-dead Brigadier whose consciousness is restored and placed in the shell of a Cyberman!

#1: World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls (New Who, Season 10)

At the time of broadcast, the Cybermen had been absent from our screens for quite some time so their return was much anticipated in the Season 10 finale. Surprisingly, their comeback was not quite as expected as they weren’t the Cybermen that had become familiar to viewers during recent seasons. Instead, the returning Cybermen were the Mondasian versions of the enemy that were first seen in one of the 1st Doctor’s earlier adventures. 

The thrill of seeing the classic Cyberman model makes these episodes a standout but this isn’t the only reason why this storyline tops this list. As triumphant as the Cybermen’s return was, we most remember this series entry for the reunion of Capaldi’s Doctor with his first incarnation and his eventual regeneration into Jodie Whittaker. 

So, there we have it, our picks for our favourite Dalek storylines. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the comments below. 

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