Cybernauts - Killer humanoid robots with white
skin and blank, expressionless faces seen on episodes of the espionage series
THE AVENGERS/ABC/1966-69 and THE NEW AVENGERS /CBS/SYN/1976.
The Cybernauts first appeared on episode "The Cybernauts: In which Steed
receives a deadly gift-and Emma pockets it."
Designed by Dr. Armstrong (Michael Gough), a mad scientist in a wheelchair,
the Cybernauts were programmed to follow the signal from a special
radio-transmitter pen planted on the bodies of electronics industry executives
and then kill them with a deadly karate chop.
These killer robots were finally deactivated when undercover agents John
Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) orchestrated the death of
the mad doctor.
John Steed and Emma Peel examine a Cybernaut
The Cybernauts were resurrected in the episode "Return of the Cybernauts: In
which Steed pulls some strings-and Emma becomes a puppet."
This time around, Dr. Paul Beresford (Peter Cushing), the brother of Dr.
Armstrong devised a plan to kill both Steed and Mrs. Peel by capturing
scientists to assist him in his deadly plot.
Reluctantly, one of the scientists designed a
watch which turned the wearer
into a puppet to be controlled by Dr. Beresford. Emma Peel donned one of these
watches and consequently attempted to kill Steed. Steed, however, managed to
place one of these watches onto a Cybernaut which ran amok and killed Beresford.
Dr. Paul Beresford with assistant
The Cybernauts appeared for a third time in the episode entitled "The Last Of
The Cybernauts...?" on THE NEW AVENGERS/ITV/1976-77.
In this final encounter, we find Frank Goff (Robert Gillespie) a former
assistant of Dr. Armstrong (released from prison after ten years) abducted and
forced at gunpoint to reactivate the Cybernauts for Felix Kane (Robert Lang), a
double agent horribly scarred and crippled in an accident with a petrol
tanker...an accident caused by the members of the Avengers team Mike Gambit
(Gareth Hunt) and Purdey (Joanna Lumley).
When his first attempt at killing the Avengers failed, Kane programmed a
second Cybernaut to kidnap a leading cybernetics expert, Professor Mason (Basil
Hopkins) to incorporate a series of cybernetic limbs with his brain
waves...turning Kane into a half-man, half-machine.
Filled with revenge, Kane's cybernautic body traveled to Purdey's home to
mutilate her body. John Steed and Mike Gambit came to her rescue by spraying
Kane's cybernetic limbs with plastic skin which deactivated the electrical
impulses and rendered Kane immobile.
TRIVIA NOTE: On the original AVENGERS episode
“Never, Say Never Again” Mrs. Peel is watching her television at the beginning
of the show. It showed scenes from “The Cybernauts.”
This episode was about the Ministry of Technologies Neoteric Research Unit
that housed humanoid robots created by Professor Frank N. Stone (Christopher
Lee). They were virtually indestructible and planned to trade places with
political figures and other notables. They were defeated when they were exposed
to their Achilles heel - 540 megacycles short wave band frequency.
After subduing the robots Mrs. Peel said “We’ve just averted a disaster. Can
you imagine plastic politicians. Her partner Steed responded “Who would ever
know the difference.”
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