Last week, a couple of the British tabloids – celebrated throughout the land for their honesty and scrupulous commitment to high quality journalism ̶ reported that Series 12 of Doctor Who will see the Cybermen return for the first time since, well, Series 10.
Allegedly, the plot will involve the Cybermen stamping through 19th Century England (again) as they pursue a young Mary Shelley, naturally inspiring her to write her famous novel, Frankenstein. If true, this would mark only the 13th time the Cybermen have appeared since 2005 (counting two-parters as single appearances). That compares with 10 outings during the show’s original 26-year run.
Since the silver menaces’ first appearance in William Hartnell’s valedictory adventure, The Tenth Planet (1966), the Cybermen’s look has been reinvented on almost every occasion, but in their most recent encounter with the Doctor, they’d gone retro (principally to please the outgoing Peter Capaldi). So, if they do return, we can likely expect another renovation; although perhaps not as severe as the recent reimagining of a Dalek by a team from Scrapheap Challenge.
So, can we believe this ‘news’? Well, it’s not quite Silly Season yet, and the Mirror has a quote to stand its story up:
This new run is much scarier than Jodie’s first year and will definitely put the frighteners on fans. Things are about to get darker for the Doctor.
Said nobody, ever. This quote has all the naturalistic verisimilitude of K9 leaving a note for the milkman, so the question is only whether it is an invention of the Mirror or Who’s PR department. Either way, it certainly seems to pander to a strong current of fan opinion that found Series 11 to be saccharine and the Oncoming Storm reduced to a shower of Skittles. Either way, we’re not going to find out for quite a few months to come, so don’t expect the speculation to end any time soon: Doctor Who’s ‘silly season’ has always been an all-year event.