Peter Capaldi Had One Specific Complaint About The Return of Mondasian Cybermen

Peter Capaldi would like to register a complaint.

When the Mondasian Cybermen made their long-awaited return to the show during Series 10’s finale, you would expect a massive Doctor Who fan like Peter Capaldi to be over the moon…well there was one very specific complaint related to design differences in the new Mondasian Cybermen when compared to their 1960s counterparts, that didn’t pass muster with this Doctor Who fan.

Speaking to the This Week in Time Travel podcast (courtesy of the Radio Times) the finale director Rachel Talalay, elaborated on the source of Capaldi’s nit-picking complaint:

“Steven and Peter both feel strongly about how they remember these things. So they were both involved and had thoughts.

“Peter called me after the first Mondasian incident and said, ‘Why is it they have gloves on their hands, when one of the great things about them was that they had bare hands?’”

It’s a fair point. The bare hands were one of the creepiest design features of the original – hinting at the human engine underneath the cyber-technology.

Defending the change in design, Talalay elaborated:

“I explained that the Pearl Mondasian, we would have an issue with skin colour. And therefore that given in the [original series] black-and-white version you couldn’t really tell if they had skintone gloves, it seemed like we could get a scarier feel and something more artificial by putting the gloves on them.

“But it was partially an issue because of skintone.”

So, there you go. Now where did the Cybermen get all those gloves? Other design tweaks include having to alter the look of the partially converted “patient” Cybermen at the last-minute due to their chest units looking like cyber-breasts.

Talalay went on to share a little bit about her collaboration with superfans Capaldi and Moffat:

“So a lot of the passion of it has been to go back and actually learn the things [Capaldi and series showrunner Steven Moffat] grew up with. Because I had Star Trek growing up in America.”

Of course, the three of them will be bowing out of Doctor Who this Christmas with Twice Upon A Time on BBC One on Christmas Day. 

  • The Lazy Womble

    I don’t think the voices were quite right either.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      Kind of similar, yes. As creepy and iconic as the original, no.

      • The Lazy Womble


  • Jason Z

    And you can’t see their eyes behind the eye sockets!

  • bar

    Fancy a Who director using the ‘it’s not my fault; I had a deprived childhood’ excuse 😉
    Can’t wait to see them in the TUAT (oh dear, what an unfortunate acronym) / Tenth Planet crossover.

  • Rick714

    I thought the voices were just about right but modulated so you could understand what they were saying better, which was the right thing to do. However, Capaldi was right about the bare hands. I would have thought that wouldn’t have been an insurmountable problem though. “Makeup”. I’m glad we got to see the Mondasian cyberman though, something I’ve been rallying for for years. I get the feeling that Chibs will be breaking away from any and all things classic, going in a totally new and different direction–which isn’t a bad thing.

    The first time RTD ever gave us even a hint of the classic show was in the Next Doctor with his little slideshow projected on the wall of past Doctors. where as Moffat really packed in a ton of old doctor visuals, classic references, you name it. RTD shied away from all things classic while the Moff wallowed in it, so I imagine things will change again.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      Sorry, going to be totally pedantic here 🙂

      “The first time RTD ever gave us even a hint of the classic show was in The Next Doctor with his little slideshow projected on the wall of past Doctors”…

      What about: The Invasion/Revenge Cyberman head in Dalek? Sarah-Jane and K-9 in School Reunion? John Smith’s journal with previous incarnations’ sketches in Human Nature/Family Of Blood? Could mention the general inclusion of the Autons, Daleks, Cybermen, Macra, the Master, Sontarans and Davros too. All came BEFORE The Next Doctor.

      Agree with Capaldi too though about the bare hands.

      • Rick714

        I should have been more specific—showing classic Doctors. Virtually never in RTD’s time, a ton during Moffats.

  • DonnaM

    Either way they were creepier than the metal mitts of every other modern cybermen 🙂