Number : Season 5, episode 7 of 7.
Which One : Meet Zoey.
Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Zoey : Wendy Padbury
Victoria Waterfield : Deborah Watling (archive)
Jarvis Bennett : Michael Turner
Dr Gemma Corwyn : Anne Ridler
Leo Ryan : Eric Flynn
Tanya Lernov : Clare Jenkins
Bill Duggan : Kenneth Watson
Kemel Rudkin : Kevork Malikyan
Elton Laleham : Michael Goldie
Armand Vallance : Derrick Gilbert
Enrico Casali : Donald Sumpter
Chang : Peter Laird
Sean Flannigan : James Mellor
Servo Robot : Freddie Foote
Written By : David Whitaker & Kit Pedler
Produced By : Peter Bryant
First UK Broadcast : 27 April – 1 June 1968.
Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor and Jamie emergency land the Tardis on a mysterious silver rocket on route to a wheel-shaped base in space. The Doctor is injured and Jamie is taken prisoner by the base’s human occupants. Meanwhile, Cybermen emerge from the rocket and begin a stealth takeover of the base.
Whats good : Base under-siege type story. The Cybermen are creepily effective. The Cybermen and Cybermats do a Stealth takeover. Good set-design. Jamie gets to take centre-stage. Doctor gets his John Smith alias.
Whats bad : It’s very similar to Moonbase but not as effective. Badly paced and drawn out. Cybermen don’t appear until halfway through. Zoey.
Review With Spoilers : The Wheel In Space is the 7th and final episode of season 5 and marks the first appearance of new companion Zoey.
The Tardis has to emergency-land onboard a silver space rocket. The Doctor and Jamie discover that the rocket is pilotless but is on course to rendevous with an orbiting space-station, known as the “Wheel”.
The Doctor is injured and Jamie is captured and taken aboard the Wheel. Meanwhile, the silver space rocket jettisons a number of white “eggs”; which attach themselves to the hull of the Wheel and hatch into Cybermen.
The Wheel In Space follows a similar formula to previous Cyberman tale – The Moonbase; which also featured a stealth takeover of a human-base by Cybermen.
In this regard, The Wheel In Space feels like a pointless retread of The Moonbase which is not as effective as its predecessor.
Most of the episode, is given over to long drawn out scenes aboard the Wheel; with pointless exposition between personnel, as to the day-to-day duties and how the base works, etc. The first 3 parts infact don’t build to anything substanial.
“Obey! Inside the Wheel, you will help us. You will obey!” Cyberman
Infact, there is no real buildup to the Cybermen takeover either. From the point-of-view of the Cybermen or from the human resistance. In the end, it comes across kind of plodding and half-baked. Especially, as it is not until halfway through that the Cybermen are introduced.
The Moonbase, did the Cybermen invasion thing; so much more effectively. Slowly ramping the tension, by introducing the Cybermen in fleeting glimpses from the start and by the end – a whole army; on the surface of the moon.
For the problematic structure and pacing though, The Wheel In Space does betray some memorably good moments and nice touches.
Including; the first use of the Doctor’s inherited “John Smith” acronym, which Jamie reads from a computer console when being interrogated by the Wheel personnel – about who the Doctor really is.
Inventive use of the Sonic Screwdriver as a welding torch. Plus, Jamie is given centre-stage – for 3 parts; which helps develop his character further. Especially, in his role as a “saboteur”; aboard the Wheel.
The Wheel In Space is a messy and inconsistent Cybermen invasion tale. Not really worthy of a season finale and not as effective as it’s inspiring predecesssor; The Moonbase.
It isn’t a total disaster though and The Wheel In Space does provide a few good moments and ideas. However, it could have been better paced and introduced the Cybermen sooner – into the story.
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