Marketing synergy: that's why the BBC knows what to do with Doctor Who now. Since the Cybermen are the baddies in the 2-part season finale starting this Sunday ("Ascension of the Cybermen" and extended 65-minute wrap-up "The Timeless Children"), it was their turn to get the video treatment – and they get a lengthy one.
The Cybermen are the Doctor's second most deadly enemies after the Daleks. They were created by the show's then-story editor Gerry Davis and scientist Kit Pedler. While the Daleks were inspired by Nazis, the Cybermen represent the opposite end of the spectrum: Soviet Communists. Think about it: the Daleks were filled with hate and bigotry and wanted to kill everyone and conquer everything. The Cybermen wanted to conquer everyone and turn them all into Cybermen. The Daleks wanted to kill everyone who was not them. The Cyberman wanted everyone to be like them.
Cybermen from the Start
The Cybermen made their debut in "The Tenth Planet", William Hartnell's final story as the First Doctor before he regenerated into Patrick Troughton. It's fun to see the first version of the Cybermen, designed with barely any budget so their faces were just cloth masks with eye and mouth holes cut out. Those expressionless dots for eyes became the most consistent design for them ever since.
I was always amused that the first Cybermen had voices that made them sound like passive-aggressive waiters at London's most pretentious restaurant. Someone obviously made the wise decision to make subsequent Cybermen speak in lower, more growly voices so they sounded more menacing.
I wonder why they didn't include a clip for "Revenge of the Cybermen", the only time Tom Baker's 4th Doctor ever faced the Cybermen. No one ever talks about that story anymore, for some reason.
Cybermen in The Modern Era of "Doctor Who"
Showrunner Russell T. Davies brought them back and updated as a post-cyberpunk version when the show returned. Both he and Steven Moffat explored themes of free will and humanity deeper than the old show did.
Someone pointed out that The Doctor actually lost more friends and companions to the Cybermen than he did to the Daleks. Adric died because of them. He lost Rose Tyler because of them. He lost Bill Potts to them. Somehow, the Doctor's fights with the Cybermen had more personal stakes than with the Daleks. And now Jodie Whittaker's Doctor is getting a lot of Cyberman action.
If Chris Chibnall's teases are anything to go by, the 13th Doctor might suffer her worst losses.
It's all about "the feels" these days, and the Cybermen unfeelingly bring them to fans.