|Also known as:||The Kybermenschen|
|Planet of Origin:||Welton|
|Notable Individuals:||Circuit-Chap Commander 0LD-BN|
|First Appearance:||The Lost Asteroid|
The creepily cheerful Circuit-Chaps are determined to foment the Second Industrial Revolution by modifying machinery everywhere. They view the destruction of organic life as merely a means to an end for the great mechanical uprising.
Background[edit | edit source]
"You will be modified," the Circuit-Chaps reassure ordinary appliances and everyday gadgets before turning them into murderously jolly conscripts of their Digifleet. They can subvert virtually any machine, from Isambard Kingdom Brunel's first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship (in "Bronze Friends") to amusement park "robotronics" (Blackbeard's "Voodoo-reanimated pirate crew" in "The Zombie Navy") and even Japanese keywound tin toys (used to creepy perfection in the Christmas episode "The Previous Inspector").
The Circuit-Chaps are always in infamously high spirits, no matter how monstrous their schemes or how clunky their mechanical designs. In their first appearance in "The Lost Asteroid", the First Inspector initially attempts to communicate with the Digifleet in an imitation robotic accent, and the Circuit-Chaps counter with a characteristically chipper comeback. The eerie question surrounding them is whether they actually possess the mechanical equivalent of emotions or are merely simulating them to put their opponents off balance.
In early serials the Circuit-Chaps were completely invulnerable to everything except lead particles, which clogged up their condensers and caused them to overheat. This worked well for a while, but as the series wore on the weakness was exaggerated to the point where anything even related to lead—lead bullets, lead plumbing, lead paint, lead pencils, etc.—would make them explode. In 1976's "Blood and Servos", the Fourth Inspector is able to rout the Circuit-Chaps merely by reading the Encyclopaedia Cosmosica entry for "lead" to them. The new series discarded this when they were reintroduced in 2005's "Rise of the Circuits", and it was not used again until the 2012 episode "Daydream in Bronze ". This episode featured a platoon of Circuit Chaps exploding in sparks when the Eleventh Inspector played the song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin on an electro-calliope at 185dB, joking that the new Circuit-Chaps could also be defeated by the hint of a mention of lead... even misspelled.
Second Inspector-era Serials[edit | edit source]
The Second Inspector considered them his classic nemesis rather than the Blorgons, beginning with "The Solar HQ" (1966). He would go on to investigate their involvement in the Paris techno-riots of "The Revolution" and the murders of the chrono-scientists in "The Cube in Time" (technically perpetrated by the base's high-tech laboratory equipment and kitchen appliances, which the Circuit-Chaps had conscripted into the Digifleet). Probably his most popular adventure against them is "The Retirement Home of the Circuit-Chaps" (1966), in which the Inspector learns about the Second Industrial Revolution on their home planet that led to their ascendance. His probe of its abandonned but unbelievably hazardous scrapyard, guarded by vicious Circuit-Mutts, reveals a booby-trapped factory that the Digifleet constructed to prototype their successors. The last words of the Circuit-Chap Commander 0LD-BN at the serial's climax—"We will update! We will update!!"—still chill fans.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Circuit-Chaps' voices were achieved not through sophisticated electronic distortion but in fact with the old-fashioned "Sonovox" used in everything from radio station jingles to Dumbo, aided by a kazoo, played by professional kazoo player N. Bushnell. When N. Bushnell died in 1982, the Sonovox was then aided by a Polymoog synthesizer, played by Max J. Bieber of the BTV Organophonic Quilting Bee