Doctor Who Concordance Wiki

"Earthshock" is the sixth story of the nineteenth season of Doctor Who.


Part One[]

Part Two[]

Part Three[]

Part Four[]

Background information[]

  • The opening shot of a bleak hillside was stock footage and was not filmed with the rest of the location material. The rest of the exterior sequences for this story were filmed on 29 October 1981 at Springwell Lock Quarry, Rickmansworth, Buckinghamshire. The site had previously been used as the location for the antimatter universe in "The Three Doctors" and would go on to be seen as Titan 3 in "The Twin Dilemma" and the Chimeron homeworld in "Delta and the Bannermen".
  • The cave sets were mainly supplied from BBC stock, rather than specially made for this story. Many of the cave flats and rock props are made out of Jabolite and plastic.
  • Writer Eric Saward describes the Cyberman androids, or "Silhouettes," in an early draft of the script as: "Very tall and lean - in fact, the very essence of what we consider physical perfection although neither of them have hair or facial features. The Silhouettes are armed but, unlike the troopers, their weapon system is built into their hands. To fire their weapons, they simply extend the index finger of their left hand. Costume: I would suggest the Silhouettes be dressed in a one-piece black body stocking which covers the whole body, including the head." Saward also specified that one of the androids should be male and the other female.
  • The android costumes were the work of Richard Gregory and his freelance design and effects company Imagineering. The android's heads were smooth silver-mirrored masks, out of which the occupant could see although their faces would be invisible to the studio camera. The female android was played by Carolyn Mary Simmonds, a mime artist who was recommended to the Doctor Who production office by Richard Gregory. The male android was played by regular extra Barney Lawrence.
  • Fourteen Earth military trooper costumes were also made by Richard Gregory and Imagineering. The distinctive trooper helmets were made out of fibreglass with commercially available torches fitted into specially designed recesses either side of the wearer's face. A fresh supply of torch batteries had to be available during the studio recording of the cave scenes. The design was inspired by the helmets worn by the Colonial Warriors in the American television series Battlestar Galactica. The helmets were designed to be worn in conjunction with a gas mask faceplate, which can be seen around the necks of the troopers. The faceplates were judged to be too restricting for the actors, and were never fully used in the story.
  • The troopers' guns contained small light units in the barrel section, which were illuminated when the guns' triggers were pulled.
  • The output of a studio camera was tinted red and treated with an electronic "fuzz" effect to represent the androids' vision of the action.
  • The Doctor Who production office went to great lengths to keep secret the surprise appearance of the Cybermen at the end of the first episode. Producer John Nathan-Turner turned down the offer of a special Radio Times cover and saw that the cast details printed in the listings magazine for the first two episodes only credited David Banks and Mark Hardy as "Leader" and "Lieutenant" respectively. Similarly, the death of Adric at the end of the final episode was concealed by having a cameo role for Matthew Waterhouse written into the following story "Time-Flight", where the appearance of an illusory Adric meant that the character was credited in the following week's Radio Times.
  • The new Cybermen costumes for this story were created by Richard Gregory of Imagineering, in collaboration with costume designer Dinah Collin. Nine Cyberman costumes were made in total - eight full costumes plus the Cyberman seen fused to the door in Part Three. Previous Cyberman costumes had been designed around rubber diving suits, but Richard Gregory suggested basing the new design around G-suits. G-suits were designed for aircraft fighter pilots to help ease the rigours of flying at high speeds and encountering G-force. The suits had a network of connected pipes and tubes that could be supplied with pumped water to keep a pilot's body temperature steady and to press the skin inwards to retain the body's shape during periods of low gravity. More importantly, Gregory knew that his local army surplus store in Oxford sold G-suits. Another factor in the use of G-suits was that they looked slightly sophisticated and futuristic to begin with due to the in-built network of pipes and tubes, and only needed spraying silver to complete the look.
  • Richard Gregory and Dinah Collin did consider the idea of having exposed hands on the Cybermen, as they had been in their first appearance in "The Tenth Planet", but abandoned the idea as impractical, as they really wanted the effect to appear seamless so the viewer would not be able to see for definite where the metal body ended and the human arm began. Silver-painted motorcycle gloves were used instead for the hands of the Cybermen. On their feet, the Cybermen wore silver-painted Moon Boots. Of the eight full costumes, one was made for the Cyber Leader, distinguished by having the "handles" on his helmet painted black, a design concept retained from "Revenge of the Cybermen".
  • The helmets for both the Cyber Leader and Cyber Lieutenant had microphones fitted into them so as to pick up the dialogue spoken by David Banks and Mark Hardy, and allow it to be recorded and modulated "live" in the studio. This did have the small drawback of picking up dialogue from other actors who were too close to the Cybermen on occasions.
  • The Cyberman helmet was based mainly on the design used in the story "The Invasion". Dinah Collin was in favour of removing the "handles" from the side of the helmet for the new design but the production team felt that they were integral to the look of the Cybermen. Producer John Nathan-Turner suggested that the jaws of the helmets remained transparent, leaving the lower jaw of the actor inside visible as a reminder of the Cybermen's organic origins as well as giving the viewer a visual clue as to which Cyberman is speaking at any one time.
  • The actors playing the Cybermen had their lower jaws painted silver, which were then covered in crinkled Clingfilm. Their lips and teeth were painted black, to ensure that they would not show on camera. Between the first and second studio recording blocks for this story some of the Cyberman helmets had silver paint applied over the clear jaw pieces, leading to slight variations in the appearance of Cybermen between scenes.
  • The scenes shown on the Cyberscope came from the second episode of "The Tenth Planet", the sixth episode of "The Wheel in Space" and the third part of "Revenge of the Cybermen". It has been suggested that by showing a clip of "Revenge of the Cybermen", a story nominally set in the 29th century, on the screen of the Cyberscope in this story - set in 2526 - that a small continuity error was made by the production team.
  • The space station model was made by freelance model maker Martin Bower, using wood and plastacard. A planned model shot of Briggs' freighter leaving its space dock had to be abandoned, as time ran out during the studio recording of this story.
  • The main screen on the freighter's deck was achieved by using CSO to play in a variety of images. The set also incorporated four colour television monitors that could display images of the other sets or specially created graphics screens.
  • Eric Saward's script had described Captain Briggs as a "large hawk-like woman in her early fifties." It was Nathan-Turner who eventually cast Beryl Reid in the role.
  • Interviewed for Doctor Who Magazine in 1982, Eric Saward recalled how he researched the history of the Cybermen: "We try to the best of our ability to get it right, and obviously it is more of a headache when you're dealing with an old monster than when you're dealing with new situations and characters. Earthshock did not prove to be that much of a headache to me. I watched all the old Cyberman tapes still existing and, noting that the Cybermen had physically changed from story to story and that there were inconsistencies anyway with their history, it was a matter of making sense out of what I could and what was there. It was quite deliberate that Earthshock was such a collation of everything from - because it no longer exists - The Tomb of the Cybermen. It was said that I'd studied that one in particular, which was not true. I hadn't even read the script. I saw, in fact, in Doctor Who Monthly, a selection of photographs and synopsis and I liked so much the image of them breaking out that I wanted to try and incorporate that sort of element into Earthshock. It was a conscious effort on my part to try and bring back the impact I thought the Cybermen had. Of all the old monsters, the Cybermen are my favourite. They are very menacing as a concept, being physically so large, so militaristic and so ruthlessly dedicated that I found it challenging to try and control."

Links and references[]


  • The Doctor - Peter Davison
  • Briggs - Beryl Reid
  • Scott - James Warwick
  • Kyle - Clare Clifford
  • Tegan - Janet Fielding
  • Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
  • Adric - Matthew Waterhouse
  • Walters - Steve Morley
  • Snyder - Suzi Arden
  • Mitchell - Ann Holloway
  • First Trooper - Ann Clements
  • Second Trooper - Mark Straker
  • Berger - June Bland
  • Ringway - Alec Sabin
  • Cyber Leader - David Banks
  • Cyber Lieutenant - Mark Hardy
  • First Crew Member - Mark Fletcher
  • Second Crew Member - Christopher Whittingham

Uncredited performers[]

  • Tom Baker as the Doctor (2) (archive footage only)
  • Robert Beatty as Cutler (2) (archive footage only)
  • William Hartnell as the Doctor (2) (archive footage only)
  • Jerry Holmes as a Cyberman (2) (archive footage only)
  • Barney Lawrence as a Cyberman android (1-2)
  • Ronald Leigh-Hunt as Stevenson (2) (archive footage only)
  • William Marlowe as Lester (2) (archive footage only)
  • Christopher Robbie as a Cyberleader (2) (archive footage only)
  • Carolyn Mary Simmonds as a Cyberman android (1-2)
  • Gordon Stothard as a Cyberman (2) (archive footage only)
  • Patrick Troughton as the Doctor (2) (archive footage only)
  • Reg Whitehead as Krail (2) (archive footage only)
  • Anneke Wills as Polly Wright (2) (archive footage only)
  • Unknown performers as
    • Bailey (1)
    • Brooks (4)
    • Collis (1)
    • Foster (1)
    • Marshall (4)
    • Seaton (1)


  • By Eric Saward
  • Directed by Peter Grimwade
  • Incidental Music - Malcolm Clarke
  • Special Sound - Dick Mills
  • Production Manager - Geoffrey Manton
  • Production Associate - Angela Smith
  • Production Assistant - Jane Ashford
  • Assistant Floor Manager - Nicholas Laughland
  • Film Cameraman - Keith Hopper
  • Film Sound - John Gatland
  • Film Editor - Mike Houghton
  • Visual Effects Designer - Steve Bowman
  • Video Effects - Dave Chapman
  • Vision Mixer - James Gould
  • Technical Manager - Alan Jeffery
  • Senior Cameraman - Alec Wheal
  • Videotape Editor - Rod Waldron
  • Studio Lighting - Fred Wright
  • Studio Sound - Alan Machin
  • Costume Designer - Dinah Collin
  • Make-up Artist - Joan Stribling
  • Script Editor - Anthony Root
  • Title Sequence - Sid Sutton
  • Designer - Bernard Lloyd-Jones
  • Producer - John Nathan-Turner


65 million BC; 2526

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