The story marked the first appearance of the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish monthly range since The Company of Friends in 2009. However, an alternative version of the Eighth Doctor had appeared in Klein's Story in the interim.
Roll up! Roll up! To the great Viennese Exposition, where showman Stahlbaum will show you his most wonderful creation, the Silver Turk — a mechanical marvel that will not only play for you the fortepiano, the spinet and the flute, it will play you at the gaming table too!
And that's not even the worst of the horrors at large in the city...
In Vienna, scared Leopold Krauss hails a cab to Stephansplatz because he is being pursued. The driver of the cab introduces himself as Johan Drossel and mentions that they have a mutual acquaintance, Alfred Stahlbaum, who is a beneficiary to them both. Drossel then whistles to call a monster who savages and brutally kills Krauss.
The TARDIS materialises. After several attempts, Mary Shelley guesses that they are in Vienna, Austria. The Eighth Doctor explains that he wanted to introduce her to travelling in the TARDIS gently and, thus, decided to travel only in space, not leaving the year 1816. In addition, he has to meet Samson and Gemma, who are waiting for him in Café Demel, to which Mary and the Doctor proceed on foot.
Count Rolf Wittenmeier, another patron of Stahlbaum, is trying to retrieve his investments in the Silver Turk after losing everything in the Stock Market Crash. The Silver Turk is an automaton exhibited by Stahlbaum at the Vienna Exposition. It is capable of playing musical instruments and games. But the returns on its performances are smaller than expected because of the Crash. Stahlbaum refuses to return any money but offers a bet instead: the loan will be repaid in full if Count Wittenmeier publicly beats the Silver Turk at the game of his choosing.
At Café Demel, Mary marvels at her sudden new-found ability to communicate in German and even read newspapers. The first thing that catches her eye is an article about "the second eyeless murder on the Ringstrasse". But then she notices the date on the newspaper, 11 September 1873, which means that they did travel in time after all and which explains the absence of Samson and Gemma.
Upon realising that this is 1873, the year of the Vienna Exposition, the Doctor brings Mary there, although he has to rely on her paying both at the café and the entrance fee to the exposition. They hear Drossel inviting the public to a puppet performance at the Marionettenburg and promising that the puppets have "no strings attached" but decide to look at more famous attractions, including the Rotunda and the Industrial Palace. Meanwhile Drossel recognises the distressed Count Wittenmeier and invites him to his tent. Drossel says that he has also been wronged by Stahlbaum and seems to ask for the count's help in revenge. He then whistles to call Columbinetta, a puppet moving on her own, and asks her to bring his watchdog, whom he calls "his burden, his curse". Before the watchdog attacks the count, Drossel states that his theatre is "out of this world".
Count Wittenmeier's wife, Mitzi, with whom Stahlbaum used to be in love four years ago, visits him in between performances in hopes of finding her husband. Stahlbaum suggests that they leave Vienna together tomorrow. He is interested in her influence in the Royal circles, but she protests his embraces saying she is married now and has a daughter.
Ernst Bratfisch, a cab driver for the nobility, is very persistent in trying to provide services to the Doctor and Mary. He has been following them since Café Demel upon recognising them as Englishmen. He shares gossip about the grisly murders described in the newspaper. Two nights ago, he himself happened to witness on Wolfstrasse by the river a black hearse-like fiacre without a driver or passengers led by blue-eyed horses sounding like they had wooden shoes. Captivated by this story, Mary does not notice Countess Wittenmeier rushing towards her in her continued search for her husband. Bratfisch, who carried the count several times, recognises his wife and says that fifteen minutes ago the count was arrested by the police looking for him. The Doctor then proposes to accompany the countess to the police station, employing Bratfisch's services after all.
At the police station, the countess, accompanied by Mary and the Doctor, is given only five minutes to talk to her husband through the bars. The angry count lashes at Stahlbaum and his automaton. The Doctor wonders if this is the same Turk that was touring the courts of Europe playing chess and becomes even more interested upon learning that this automaton can play other games, as well as music. Although the policeman refused to explain what Count Wittenmeier is accused of, the count admits that he is a murder suspect. He describes how he was attacked by a malshaped monster with three legs growing from its shoulders and with a bandaged head shaped like a table vase. The Doctor decides to pay a visit to the Silver Turk.
Stahlbaum feeds cabbage soup to the Silver Turk, promising this to be their last performance, when the Doctor lets himself in using his sonic screwdriver. The Doctor only manages to observe the Turk's mask and wheelchair before being asked to leave. Alarmed by what he saw, the Doctor decides to attend the next performance at 5 o'clock. The countess hesitantly decides to join him and Mary.
At the performance, the Doctor is appalled at the way the Turk plays Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Mary realises that the Turk somehow manages to work the pedals despite having no legs. The Doctor disrupts the performance to the displeasure of the punters and proposes a game of chequers but demands to see the actual form of the Silver Turk. Stahlbaum protests and the Doctor accuses him of fraud, noting that the Turk stinks of antiseptic, ether and cabbage soup, suggesting a living being rather than a fairground automaton. The Doctor proceeds to remove the mask, confirming his suspicions that the Silver Turk is a Cyberman.
The Doctor warns the punters that they are in serious danger and demands that everybody leave the performance. Stahlbaum grudgingly instructs Heinz to refund the cost of the tickets. Doctor explains to Mary that this Cyberman is one of the Mondas originals and wants to restrain it, but Mary is sympathetic to the seemingly helpless creature. The Doctor himself refuses to leave until Stahlbaum explains how he came by the Turk.
Drossel decides to let loose the "dog" giving him the scent of Count Wittenmeier who has managed to escape earlier.
Surrendering to the clearly superior knowledge of the Doctor, Stahlbaum finally admits that he has not created the Turk. He now claims that he has acquired the Turk from a forester who had found it in the woods, that the object he has bought had been barely functional and that he has repaired it and made into the Silver Turk it is now. The Doctor doubts that Stahlbaum had the technology to effect such repairs and asks where exactly the Turk was found, reiterating the dangers. Countess Wittenmeier, however, believes that it was simply a matter of money, the money of her husband who is now accused of murder. Reminded of this, the Doctor confirms with Stahlbaum that Dieter Wallmann and Leopold Krauss, the two eyeless murder victims from the newspaper Mary picked up at Café Demel, were also Stahlbaum's patrons. They correctly surmise that Count Wittenmeier was supposed to be the third victim, and the Doctor suspects that the murderer could have been the Silver Turk following Stahlbaum's orders. In the middle of the argument, the Turk, unbidden, begins playing on the piano and refuses to stop on its own. Mary comes to the Turk's defence. The Doctor attributes this to compassion and explains to her that Cybermen have no feelings, but Mary points out that the count described his attacker as having three limbs, which the countess confirms remembering that they grew from the shoulders. The Doctor points out that the description of the attacker's head, however, fits the Silver Turk well. He is still unsure who the killer was, the Silver Turk or another thing with a Cyberman-like head, and wants to examine the Turk more closely.
Drossel asks a nearby cabby, who happens to be Bratfisch, about a commotion near the Turk exhibition and learns that the Turk seems to have broken down during its last performance. Bratfisch unwittingly blurts out Stahlbaum's address at Kartoffelstrasse. Drossel invites him to the performance of his new attraction, Doctor Drossel's Grand Theatre of Puppetry, which is just across the Exposition, and even gives Bratfisch free tickets with the advertisement: "The denizens of Marionettenburg perform for your delectation." He emphasises the absence of any strings attached to his puppets.
The Doctor uses a knife Mary happens to carry in her reticule to evaluate the Cyberman's responses. The thought of blood causes Countess Wittenmeier to faint, and Stahlbaum comes to her aid using Mary's smelling salts. The Cyberman barely reacts to stimuli. Stahlbaum admits that he uses ether to keep the Turk under permanent sedation due to periodic pain attacks. The Doctor is not surprised given that the Cyberman has lost both legs and one arm but is alarmed by the fact that Stahlbaum was able to replace the lost arm with a wooden one that is operational enough to play piano. This technology should be beyond anything possible in the 19th century. The Doctor explains to Mary that Cybermen originate from the planet Mondas, where people, facing extinction, started replacing their body parts with machines until they became brutal and soulless. To all Stahlbaum's protestations not to harm the Turk, the Doctor responds that he himself is in more danger from the Turk than the other way around. The Doctor then tries to interrogate the Cyberman about his ship, the crew and their mission. At first, its photocell eyes seem dead. But then the Cyberman becomes animated and suddenly the Doctor's speech slows down and he falls down unconscious. While Mary runs out to fetch a medical help for the Doctor, Stahlbaum begs Mitzi to help them escape with the Turk.
Mary finds Bratfisch outside the Turk booth and pleads for his help. When both go back they find nobody inside but the unconscious Doctor. Mary is relieved to find that his eyes are still intact. The countess returns explaining that she could not prevent Stalhbaum from taking the Turk. The Doctor comes to and says that he has been attacked by the Cyberman and needed time to collect his thoughts. He thinks that Stahlbaum is under the Cyberman's influence and is trying to leave Vienna. The Doctor explains that the Cyberman tried to mesmorise him too but was not strong enough to pull this trick. The Doctor now believes that the murders on the Ringstrasse are not the Silver Turk's doing, that Stahlbaum and the Silver Turk are hunted by the Ringstrasse murderer and that the next one on the list is Count Wittenmeier. Hence, he asks Bratfisch to take them back to the police station as quickly as his horses would carry them.
In the police station, Count Wittenmeier's inquiries about his lawyer are ignored. When the police sergeant leaves, the count is attacked by the same creature again.
The Doctor arrives to the police station with Mary and Mitzi and demands to see the count when they all hear the count scream. They arrive to the cell in time to save the count's life. However, one of his eyes has been plucked out. Mary sees the creature getting away scuttling like a spider over the rooftops. Before the count is moved to a hospital, the Doctor breaks the rules by giving him a remedy not yet available in the 19th century, Hyper Eth-iodine. The attack will most probably result in the charges against the count being dropped. The countess needs to go home to check on their daughter. It is decided that Mary will stay with her while the Doctor and Bratfisch go in search for Stahlbaum.
Drossel confronts Stahlbaum at the latter's home and accuses him of stealing the Turk. Drossel thinks that the Turk will necessarily start killing. Stahlbaum claims that the Turk is not with him. Drossel once again mentions a new world he is planning to build with his pets and says that Stahlbaum has no place in it. Stahlbaum draws a revolver and shoots four times. With Drossel appearing unharmed, Stahlbaum flees.
The Wittenmeiers' servant, Hannalore, lets her mistress and Mary in. Mary mentions that the Doctor and Bratfisch were heading to the Stahlbaum's lodgings. Mary and Mitzi hear a horse outside and see a driverless horse-drawn cab across the street.
In Stahlbaum's residence, the Doctor smells sulphur and potassium nitrate guessing this to be gunpowder. They risk lighting a match and see bullet holes in the plaster and some splintered wood. It turns out that Drossel is still there and Bratfisch remembers him as a doctor who gave away tickets for a puppet theatre at the Exposition. Drossel introduces himself, claims that Stahlbaum owes him money and admits that the bullets were intended for him but implies that Stahlbaum has missed, which the Doctor hears with disbelief given how small the room is. Drossel then claims that the Turk was in fact his creation, not Stahlbaum's, and was simply stolen from him by the latter to curry favour of the Royal Family, Franz Joseph and Elisabeth. He threatens the Doctor with consequences if he tries to interfere and leaves. Both Bratfisch and the Doctor noted that there were two bullet holes in Drossel's waistcoat but not a splash of blood. The Doctor suggests returning to Mary and calling it a night.
Meanwhile, Mary and Mitzi are observing the strange cab parked outside Mitzi's house and see a procession wearing masks and moving in a strange way. Mitzi mentions that this is the wrong time of year for Fasching or carnival. The procession rings the bell. Although the Doctor instructed to bolt the door, the women neglected to mention this to Hannalore, who responds to the bell first. Mary bravely takes a stand against the puppets with a poker telling Mitzi to go upstairs and guard the child but is overpowered and carried away.
As Bratfisch brings the Doctor to the Wittenmeiers' residence, he notices that the front door is open. The Doctor is distressed over the fate of Mary wondering who could have opened the door despite his instructions. They find the countess with her daughter upstairs. Mitzi informs them that Mary was taken.
Mary is put in an animal cage with what she recognises as the other Turk, the other Cyberman. It is so surprised that Mary knows the name of its race that it admits to being able to speak.
The other Cyberman asks Mary if anyone else knows his race or if he is not the only Cyberman she has encountered.
The Countess Wittenmeier explains to the Doctor that her maid Hannalore opened the door. While the maid managed to escape upstairs to the countess and her daughter, Mary was taken away by a band of jerkily moving masked figures with clattering shoes, resembling marionettes. She was carried to a cab without an apparent driver. Bratfisch and the Doctor agree that they were following orders but cannot figure out why would they be ordered to abduct Mary.
Mary is reluctant to disclose the existence of another Cyberman. Mary thinks that this Cyberman is in pain due to his loneliness but she has to explain the concept of "pain" to him. He admits to be in pain because of being damaged and malfunctioning. The Cyberman asks Mary's name and states his own specification as Gramm. It turns out that Gramm believes to be on his home planet. He explains that he has lost his legs when his ship had crashed and had to utilise a third arm to increase efficiency. Gramm is, however, surprised by the differences to his planet: people have discarded their containers and inhabit the surface. The atmosphere is not frozen, and there is a sun. When Gramm mentions his planet's name, Mondas, he is disturbed that Mary does not recognise it. At this moment Drossel enters, introduces himself, and welcomes Mary on behalf of the denizens of Marionettenburg. In his presence, Gramm returns back to silence.
The Doctor plans to search for Mary, correctly surmising that Drossel must be behind this and guessing that it was the Countess, not Mary who was the target of this abduction. But Bratfisch would prefer waiting till the morning: it's already two o'clock. Trying to persuade him, the Doctor shows him a wooden thumb broken off by Mary's poker, which must be from one of Drossel's wooden puppets. To Bratfisch's objection that puppets cannot move by themselves, he points out a splinter exposing tiny wires on the inside of the thumb that the Doctor calls filamental circuitry resembling a nervous system. The Doctor is sure that Drossel could not have done it himself. But no amount of dire warnings about the Silver Turk and the second Cyberman on the loose, the one that Mary saw, can persuade Bratfisch to forgo sleep, and he leaves with his cab.
Meanwhile, through Drossel's talkativeness, Mary learns that she is mistaken for Countess Wittenmeier, that Gramm spends his time working on wood and that Drossel is not aware that Gramm can speak. When Mary demands to be freed, Drossel instructs a puppet named Brighella to do so.
The Doctor returns back to the Countess. He is worried not only about Mary but also about the potential temporal paradox if she ends up not writing her books. The Countess, moved by his distress, confesses that she knows how to find the Silver Turk. A cab arrives and the Countess sends her daughter with Hannalore to her sister in Linz. She and the Doctor need to decide whether to go in search for Mary or the Silver Turk.
While Drossel pretends to be hospitable, Mary, now out of the cage, pretends as best she can to be the Countess. Drossel seems fascinated with Mary's eyes, albeit in a somewhat sinister way, and says that "eyes show the soul". Mary asks if it was Gramm who attacked the Count and the other two victims. But the name does not say anything to Drossel, who is surprised by her even giving him a name. While Drossel leaves to check up on his dog, Mary searches for a way to escape and discovers eyes in jars. Shocked, she is even more terrified when Drossel returns with her puppet facsimile, just finished by Gramm, which even copies her voice by repeating words after her. Desperate, Mary admits that she is not the Countess, which Drossel has guessed on his own. He orders her back in the cage and repeats his sinister innuendo about her eyes.
The Countess meanwhile brings the Doctor to the place where she used to meet with Stahlbaum. Soon he arrives as she expected. He assures them that the Turk is hidden and he will not part with it. When the Doctor explains that the Count has been attacked and Mary kidnapped on Drossel's orders, Stahlbaum finally admits that it was Drossel who bought the Turk from that forrester and that they both worked on the Turk. He also explains that the Turk's "sky rocket" crashed somewhere in the mountains. Moreover, Stahlbaum knows about the second Cyberman and that Drossel used him to attack his patrons. According to Stahlbaum, the second Cyberman was also damaged in the crash but had a mind and some powers. The Doctor explains to Stahlbaum that he has been under mental influence of the Cyberman, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to repair technology centuries ahead of his time. Stahlbaum does not believe this.
With Mary back in the cage with Gramm, Drossel leaves in search of the real Countess. Alone with Mary, Gramm says that he has preserved Mary's hidden identity. He also says that some eyes he collects from graves at cemeteries and confirms that Drossel believes the eyes give puppets soul. Forgetting her earlier denials, Mary mentions the other Cyberman and mentions that he is owned by Stahlbaum. It turns out that Drossel told Gramm that his companion, Bremm, was dead. Gramm grabs Mary, orders the puppets, who turn out to obey their creator rather than Drossel, to open the door and leaves in haste with Mary.
Stahlbaum brings the Countess and the Doctor to where he keeps the Turk and says that he's planning to leave for Paris, London or America. The Doctor's examination shows that the Cyberman will not survive such a trip and only a massive energy boost, unachievable with 19th century technology, can save him. When the Doctor proposes to put the Turk out of his misery, Stahlbaum draws a gun on the Doctor. As Mitzi tries to prevent bloodshed, Bratfisch appears with a message from the Hofburg with the royal seal. It is the letter from the Empress Sisi commanding Stahlbaum to give a performance with the Turk at the Hofburg the same day. As the Doctor refuses to help Stahlbaum with the repairs, Bratfisch, at gun point, agrees to help him transport the Turk. In addition, Bratfisch hopes to get a special privilege from the court: to have a crest on the cab and a designation "by appointment". Mitzi refuses to go with Stahlbaum, citing the need to see her husband. The Doctor notices the change in weather. As he gets into the cab, Bratfisch sees the driverless black cab with blue-eyed horses and they leave in haste.
The Doctor thinks that it is Drossel who is after the Turk. Both cabs turn onto the Ringstrasse, with the black cab pulling level. As Stalhbaum shoots at it, the Doctor hears Mary's shouts. They realise that instead of Drossel they are being pursued by the other Cyberman and Mary. Mary asks the Doctor to stop because Gramm needs his companion. The Doctor instead asks Mary to ask Gramm why it is here. They near the turn for the Hofburg. The Doctor tells Bratfisch to continue on. So when Stahlbaum once again brandishes his gun to make Bratfisch turn, both cabs crash. It begins to rain.
Drossel finds Countess Wittenmeiter and introduces himself. She pretends not to know him, but he sees through it and invites her "husband" to come closer. She is surprised to see his eye already healed when she realises it is just a puppet.
Bratfisch and his horses are killed in the crash, Stahlbaum is hurt, but Mary and the Doctor seem unharmed. Gramm is finally reunited with Bremm. The Doctor realises that Gramm's third arm has been taken from Bremm. Mary is still at odds with the Doctor refusing any humanity to Cybermen. She compares his description of them as monsters with his own state when she first met him. The Doctor learns that Gramm though he was on Mondas. As the Doctor mocks the Cybermen and Mary defends them, Gramm realises that he is on Earth. He runs away carrying both Bremm and unwilling Mary to find a source of power to restore himself and his companion.
The Cybermen and Mary enter Stephansdom. Mary explains that this is a cathedral and that they will be safe here and asks to let her go. But Gramm demands to know where to get power. Mary remembers how her friends experimented with electrostatic power of the storm, with galvanic lightning, to bring a man back to life and that the experiment was successful: the Doctor lived again. Gramm decides to go to the top of the cathedral.
Stahlbaum and the Doctor try to find where the Cybermen took Mary, when they see their figures on the cathedral tower.
After they exit to the roof, Mary says that she cannot climb any further. The Cybermen continue alone up the spire to the very top. The Doctor reaches Mary and she explains that she gave them the same idea that Percy Shelley used on the Doctor. The lightning strikes. The Cybermen are renewed.
The Cybermen leap from the spire. The Doctor thinks that they have regenerated their systems using the power of the lightning. The only thing Mary can tell the Doctor about the Cybermen's plans is that their mission is not completed yet. Mary realises that much of what happened is her fault. The Doctor comforts her by saying that sometimes the worst things result from the best intentions. Mary says it is a chilling thought.
Stahlbaum prays in the cathedral. Among the deaths and injuries he's caused, he mentions as his sin keeping Sisi, the Empress, waiting. As he asks Lord for a sign, the door opens and the Doctor emerges from the stairs with Mary. When Stahlbaum learns that the Cybermen fell from the spire, he despairs that all his work is lost. He has no desire to help Mary and the Doctor stop Drossel and leaves shouting that he needs to make amends elsewhere. Mary surmises that he must have gone to see the Countess and explains to the Doctor that the two are clearly in love. Mary suggests that Gramm will probably go to Drossel's Puppet Theatre at the Exposition because there are puppets there who would obey his every command.
The Cybermen determine that Gramm's systems are at 87% and Bremm's at 25% capability. Gramm asks Bremm, who was responsible for navigation, if this planet was shown as Mondas in their navigation system. When Bremm confirms, Gramm explains that this is erroneous and that the crash of their scout craft has corrupted their perceptions. It turns out that their mission was to find Earth, which they call "the lost binary twin of Mondas". They are the first Cybermen to return to it. Now they need to inform Cyber-Control on Mondas of their findings even though they cannot be sure of their information due to the perception corruptions. In order to create a transmitter, Bremm suggests to use the neural generation unit from his head. He has analysed the Doctor and is sure he must have a power source sufficient to transmit the signal. He proposes that Gramm also use his remaining arm because without the neural generation unit he cannot survive. It is agreed. Gramm, alone again, is determined to begin again.
Mary brings the Doctor to where Drossel's theatre was at the Exposition, opposite the Japanese Pavilion. But the spot is now empty. Then Mary notices someone looking like late Bratfisch.
Stalhbaum comes to the hospital where Count Wittenmeier is held. He is surprised to see the Count not in bed. But the Count only repeats one word "Mitzi". Stahlbaum realises it is not the Count he knew, but too late. He is taken much like Mary was before.
The visitors of the Exposition are too scared to tell the Doctor where the Marionettenburg went. Then Puppet Bratfisch approaches them. He has finely chiselled features and eyes, probably taken from some dead person. With him, there is the cab drawn by wooden horses with human eyes. When Puppet Bratfisch invites them into the cab, the Doctor tells Mary to obey.
Stahlbaum is brought to Drossel, who offers him a glass of schnapps. Having finally murdered Count Wittenmeier, he is now lodging in his house. Mitzi is also there. Drossel explains that, while most of his puppets are given whatever eyes he can get, for the Puppet of the Count he used the real Count's eyes and the Count is now good as new. Drossel intends to "preserve for posterity" many people in this way. Drossel wants the Turk back, but Stahlbaum explains that Drossel's dog took him and they both died from lightning. Realising that his puppet maker is gone, Drossel tries to hypnotise Stahlbaum to persuade him to work together with him again. Mitzi is alarmed to see that Stahlbaum not only succumbs to the hypnosis but himself speaks of a new race, of a perfect world.
In the cab, Mary starts regretting eloping with the Doctor. She wanted to travel to the stars. Meanwhile, they arrive to the Wittenmeiers' house, Puppet Bratfisch helps them out of the cab and Puppet Mitzi welcomes them to the house. Mary is afraid they will take her eyes. She doesn't trust the Doctor can protect her and runs away. But the puppets of Bratfisch and Mitzi just keep repeating their simple phrases unperturbed by Mary's departure.
In the house, Drossel offers a glass of schnapps to the Doctor too. Puppet Mitzi is happy to serve, but the Doctor declines the offer. Drossel welcomes the Doctor to Marionettenburg praising his puppets for being ageless and compliant. The Doctor comments on their poor vocabulary. They continue treating barbs. Drossel mocks the Doctor by demonstrating Puppet Mary.
Mary wanders the streets, lost and helpless. She is scared by a passing train, when Gramm finds her. He is indeed renewed and Mary notices his fourth arm. Gramm explains that Bremm is now terminated, while he needs to find the Doctor. He claims to be in pain. Mary says she is not with the Doctor anymore. She sees similarities in their current situation and proposes to travel together. Gramm promises to find a place for her. But first he must locate the Doctor.
The Doctor notes that the eye colour of Puppet Mary is wrong, to which Drossel promises to soon obtain the original eyes, confirming Mary's fears. Then Drossel observes the colour of the Doctor's eyes, making it clear that he is intending to make a puppet out of the Doctor. He orders Columbinetta, Puppet Mitzi and Pierrot to throw him in the cellar and asks to send back a newly completed Imperial puppet.
The Doctor is thrown into the cellar with the real Countess. He has realised that Drossel's goal is to replace all people with puppets. Mitzi tells him about the death of her husband. It turns out that Stahlbaum is also there. He also knows the extent of Drossel's plan. However, his main concern is that Drossel is doing it wrong. Stahlbaum himself wouldn't have used puppets. He would have done it with real people. Mitzi thinks he is mad, but the Doctor understands that this is the Cyberethics of survival implanted into Stahlbaum by the Cybermen. It seems that Drossel's hypnosis, instead of persuading Stahlbaum to work with him, activated the Cybermen's seeds previously planted in his mind. The same has happened to Drossel. Mitzi explains that in their kitchen puppets are now constantly making new puppets. The cellar door opens and Puppet Mitzi invites Stahlbaum and the others upstairs.
Upstairs, Drossel prepares for a performance. The Doctor, Mitzi and Stahlbaum enter. Drossel offers collaboration again. Stahlbaum defiantly mocks him. At this moment, the doorbell rings and Puppet Bratfisch introduces Empress Elisabeth. Mitzi, who knows the Empress, warns her to run. Drossel, unperturbed, welcomes the Empress to Marionetteburg. She addresses him very complimentary and announces that she wanted to look at his work. Stahlbaum is enamoured and completely impervious to the admonitions of Mitzi and the Doctor that this is a puppet. Then Puppet Sisi turns to Stahlbaum and compliments his Silver Turk too. Stahlbaum's obsession with the Empress takes the better of him. He confesses that the Silver Turk is no more. He is ready to follow her every command, and the command is to work with Drossel. The Doctor cannot take it any longer and snaps the fake Empress's head to prove she is not real. Drossel really enjoys Stahlbaum's humiliation, but then orders them all to be killed as they are more use to him dead. The Doctor, Mitzi and Stahlbaum are saved by the arrival of Gramm who searches for Drossel. The Doctor and Mitzi use the commotion to leave, taking Stahlbaum with them. The Drossel is delighted to see his dog back, and with Mary in tow. Then Drossel notices Gramm's fourth arm. He is even more surprised when Gramm speaks and tells him he is not needed anymore announcing he needs to find the Doctor. As Mary tries to leave, Gramm orders the puppets to lock the doors in front of her. Drossel's surprise grows as Gramm demonstrates his power over the puppets. Gramm keeps repeating that Drossel is unimportant. He plans to use puppets to create a transmitter to contact Cyber-Control. Gramm says that Mondas is 200 light-years away but it will soon be here. He orders the puppets to search the house and find the Doctor.
Mitzi escapes through a back gate, taking Stahlbaum, still in stupor, with her, but the Doctor returns to the house, telling her to call the police and then to go to her daughter. As they leave, Puppet Mary finds the Doctor.
Mary tries to find a way out and bumps into the Doctor. She asks him to take her home before realising it is the Doctor's puppet, who is waiting for his eyes. The real Doctor bursts in pursued by Puppet Mary. He manages to direct Puppet Mary to Puppet Doctor and escape with real Mary but runs right into a group of puppets searching for him.
Drossel, having lost control of his puppets and his pet, wants to help Gramm build the transmitter. The Doctor, who is just brought in, overhears and immediately guesses that Gramm is building a super-light transmitter to inform Mondas about the Earth's location. He decides to plant doubts in Gramm's mind whether his logic is correct by pointing out that building a transmitter out of wood, a poor conductor, is madness, that there will not be enough power to fire a cellulose capacitor. But Gramm is planning to use the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, which Bremm has previously assessed to be powerful enough. The Doctor pretends to have lost the screwdriver, but Gramm detects its presence in the inner pocket of the Doctor's coat and threatens to kill Mary if the Doctor does not cooperate. The Doctor gives Gramm a potato from his pocket. When Gramm points out it is vegetable matter, the Doctor questions his perceptions. He reminds him how Gramm thought Earth was Mondas. Gramm insists and repeats his threat. Only then does Mary see how right the Doctor was about Cybermen having no compassion. The eager Drossel takes the sonic screwdriver from the Doctor's pocket but, instead of giving it to Gramm, wants to help by installing it himself. The Doctor reminds Gramm what Drossel did to him after the crash. He suggests that Drossel cut his and Bremm's legs so that they could not escape, which Drossel denies. Gramm says that he is in control. But the Doctor continues sewing doubt in his mind saying that his logic is clouded by emotion. He suggests that Gramm ask Bremm, who is now a part of Gramm. While Gramm's attention turns inwards to access Bremm's memories and Drossel's attention is occupied by attempts to figure out where to stick the sonic screwdriver, Mary grabs it from him and smashes to pieces. The Doctor is delighted at her action. When Gramm emerges from his self-inquiry, the hope of building a transmitter is lost and Mondas will never know about their success. As Gramm is agonising over the news, Drossel attacks him and tears him to pieces. As a result though, he also falls down motionless. Mary thinks that he was also a puppet. The Doctor says that he made himself in his own image. All the other puppets also switch off as they cannot function without their creator. Gramm says: "There is no logic here, Bremm," and dies with the word "Mondas" on his lips.
The Doctor burns all the puppets destroying the false cybertechnology. Mary asks about Drossel. The Doctor explains that he has stripped his body of the cyber-inlays that kept him alive, leaving the mutilated human remains for the police to puzzle over. The Doctor credits Mary with saving the day. He is sad that he failed to show her some fun time and promises to take her back to Geneva. But she wants to travel with him again, to see the stars as he promised.
Stahlbaum and Mitzi, who are now married, are now overseeing the performances of the Silver Doctor, who can sing, play the trumpet and tell the future. They perform with the Silver Doctor by appointment to the crowned heads of Europe.
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Mary Shelley / Barker - Julie Cox
- Dr Johan Drossel / Policeman / Barker / Punter - Gareth Armstrong
- Alfred Stahlbaum / Barker - Christian Brassington
- Ernst Bratfisch - David Schneider
- Count Rolf Wittenmeier / Barker - Gwilym Lee
- Countess Mitzi Wittenmeier / Hannalore / Empress / Punter - Claire Wyatt
- Krauss / Waiter - Barnaby Edwards
- The Cybermen / Heinz / Barker - Nicholas Briggs
- Both Bratfisch and Countess Wittenmeier mention the economic problems besetting Austria as a result of "the stock market crash." This refers to the crash of the Vienna Stock Exchange in May 1873 during the Long Depression.
- Mary begins to consider how old she would be in September 1873 and the fates of her family and friends. She later notes that she would be seventy-six years old by this time, meaning that she was born in 1797.
- The Doctor attempts to pick up Samson and Gemma Griffin in Vienna, having left them there in June 1816.
- The Doctor refers to Ludwig van Beethoven and the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and his wife Empress Elisabeth, commonly referred to by her nickname "Sisi."
- Mary carries a knife for sharpening her pencil and smelling salts.
- Mary used to imbibe so much laudanum that she could not trust her memory.
- Count Wittenmeier used to be a skilful gambler. He once beat Count Larisch at cards in a spectacular manner.
- Percy Shelley told Mary that she would never master German.
- Leopold Krauss ordered a cab to Stephansplatz.
- The Doctor takes Mary to Café Demel where he had been scheduled to meet with Samson and Gemma Griffin in June 1816.
- A newspaper picked up by the pair in Café Demel calls the murder of Leopold Krauss "the second eyeless murder on the Vienna Ringstrasse".
- The Doctor and Mary visited the Rotunda and the Industrial Palace at the Vienna Exposition, which also featured the Machine Hall, the Temple of Kyoto, and the Japanese Pavilion.
- Ernst Bratfisch proposed to take the Doctor and Mary to the Opera House and the Hofburg Palace.
- Mary has never been to Frankfurt.
- Before figuring out that they are in Vienna, Mary unsuccessfully guesses the city to be Frankfurt, then Stuttgart, then Prague, then Salzburg, then Innsbruck.
- Mary mentions Germany and Austria.
- The Doctor describes Vienna as the city of Kaffee, Kuchen and waltzes.
- Mary mentions that only an hour ago they were near Lake Geneva.
- The Doctor mentions that Mary's left her friends at the Villa Diodati.
- Alfred Stahlbaum plans to leave Vienna with the Silver Turk and go to London, Paris or America.
- According to Alfred Stahlbaum, a forester sold Bremm and Gramm to Johan Drossel for just a few marks.
- Mary is unfamiliar with the term "science fiction".
- The Doctor compares wooden puppets of Marionettenburg to Pinocchio, a popular wooden character from literature.
- Mitzi sings a lullaby to the tune of "Silent Night".
- The Silver Turk plays the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven on a piano.
- Posters advertising performances of the Silver Turk stated that it could also play spinet and flute.
- The Silver Doctor can sing and play trumpet.
- Johan Drossel mentions gavotte.
- The Doctor refers to the Cyberman as "one of the Mondas originals".
- Mondas is located 200 light-years from Earth.
Food and drink
- The Doctor mentions that Sachertorte hasn't been invented yet in 1816 but should already exist in 1873.
- The Doctor orders gingerbread with hot chocolate at the Café Demel. Mary orders apple strudel and coffee.
- Alfred Stahlbaum feeds cabbage soup to the Silver Turk.
- There are tea rooms and a beer tent at the Vienna Exposition.
- Johan Drossel offers schnapps first to Alfread Stahlbaum and then to the Doctor.
- The Doctor tries to pass a potato for his screwdriver to prevent Gramm from building a transmitter to Mondas.
- The TARDIS has a workshop.
- The Turk existed in the real world. It was a man masquerading as a robot, and also served as inspiration for the Clockwork Droids from TV: The Girl in the Fireplace.
- This is the first full length Eighth Doctor story to be released in the main range since AUDIO: The Girl Who Never Was in December 2007 and the first such story not to feature Charley Pollard.
- This is the first Cyberman story to be released by Big Finish in any range since Legend of the Cybermen in June 2010. Their next Big Finish appearance was Last of the Cybermen in May 2015, over three years after this story's release.
- This story is notable for the fact that the Doctor is more or less relegated to the role of a bystander. Neither of his two main antagonists either aims at harming him in particular or considers him a significant threat. In the end, they eliminate each other, with the minimal interference from the Doctor.
- Julie Cox, David Schneider, Gwilym Lee and Claire Wyatt also voiced the puppet copies of their respective main character uncredited. Paul McGann had two uncredited roles: as the puppet of the Eighth Doctor and as the Silver Doctor, both being androids modelled to some extent on the Eighth Doctor.
- Some elements of this story, especially the second part, have many similarities with Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.
- This audio drama was recorded on 5 and 11 April 2011 at the Moat Studios.
- Discounting AUDIO: The Company of Friends, this is the earliest release in Big Finish's main range in the Eighth Doctor's timeline. This also doesn't include AUDIO: Terror Firma as the then-incumbent companions were Charley Pollard and C'rizz, despite the presence of Samson and Gemma Griffin and the sequences of their time with the Doctor.
- This story was originally released on CD and download on 15 October 2011.
- This story begins only an hour after the events of Mary's Story from the Doctor and Mary's perspective. The Doctor recalls what he told Mary at the end of that story: that he promised her "the marvels of the universe", that he is "the Doctor" and "not the Monster" and that she called the TARDIS his "hut". The Doctor initially believes that they have not left June 1816 and wants to pick up Samson and Gemma Griffin, whom he left in Vienna. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)
- The Doctor tells Mary that he witnessed the creation of the Cybermen on Mondas. (AUDIO: Spare Parts)
- Mary is unfamiliar with the term "science fiction". The term was created by H. G. Wells, another 19th century author, who accompanied the Sixth Doctor on a trip from Scotland in 1885 to Karfel. (TV: Timelash)
- The Doctor refers to Draconian sazou. (AUDIO: Paper Cuts)
- The future Eighth Doctor previously told Mary that they had encountered the Cybermen during their travels together. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)
- Mary feels pity for the deteriorated condition of the Cybermen as she did for the future Doctor. (AUDIO: Mary's Story) It also resembles how Rose Tyler felt pity for the deteriorated Dalek in the Vault in 2012. (TV: Dalek)
- Although much of Vienna was destroyed by the Allies during World War II, Hofburg Palace remained unharmed. The Sixth Doctor materialised his TARDIS behind the palace in 1948. (AUDIO: Quicksilver)
- Official The Silver Turk page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for The Silver Turk at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide