The Doctor's companion Millicent did not fare well in season 342 (aired in 2338), being variously hypnotised, seduced, bamboozled, imprisoned and incapacitated during many of the episodes. But the most astonishing turn of events occurred in the third episode of the season, "Silver Lining" in which the TARDIS crew materialised on the planet Essekon Minor in the 541st century, ostensibly to return a lawnmower that the Doctor had borrowed from his best friend the Master three hundred years previously.
Blundering into danger as usual, Millicent and the Doctor were separated within thirty seconds of the episode's teaser opening before it crashed into a brand new title sequence. As an aside, the new sequence was a particularly psychedelic one that year, in full 5D "Ultra-Surround" with swirling pink flowers and subliminal advertising for a brand of soft drink that enquiries would later reveal would liquidise one's kidneys after prolonged use and resulting in the inevitable lawsuit for the beleaguered BBC.
As the episode progressed, with the Doctor's determination to return the lawnmower overriding any other sensible concern for the fate of his companion, it transpired that Millicent had unfortunately been partially converted into a Cyberman.
And much hilarity ensued.
Fortunately for our heroes, the cyber-conversion process was halted after Millicent suffered an allergic reaction to the gold pendant hanging around her neck, and she was able to retain much of her humanity.
In an unusual move, Millicent remained as a Cyberman for the next three episodes until the Doctor was able to find a cure. Said cure did eventually arrive, provided by the Master who had realised that he was only going to get his lawnmower back if he did a favour for the Doctor in return.
Those few people left watching the show had much praise for the performance of Millicent in her four episodes as a Cyberman, which was ironic since most of the scenes saw her stood in one corner of the TARDIS and portrayed by a plastic mannequin with butchered (and cybernised) lines from earlier episodes piped into the studio to make it appear as if she was talking.
The reason for this deception lay in the fact that the actress playing Millicent, Lucy Summers, had actually left the show in a fit of pique and had instead got a job working on breakfast TV as a weathergirl, where she would not so much predict the weather as arrange for it to occur based on audience preference (orbital weather control having finally been perfected in the year 2152).
Producer Cambridge-Smythe was therefore left in something of a quandary, but soon realised that the problem was not as bad as all that, since most of Millicent's lines consisted of dumb questions asked of the Doctor and screaming a lot. For the scenes where Millicent had to move, random passers-by would be conscripted to wear her clothes and the cyber-head. This did lead to some continuity errors when viewers observed scenes in which Millicent would change height dramatically, and in at least two episodes she was observed to have put on twelve stone, had hairy arms and even a tattoo on one arm that read "Muvver".
Fortunately for the show, Summers was fired from her weathergirl position after three weeks after accidentally ordering the total destruction of East Anglia by the weather-control satellites instead of a light shower as the locals had requested.
Brilliant Cyberhead design by JimmytheJ, used with permission. http://www.flickr.com/photos/10962799@N04/4777893173/
Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.