"The Wheel in Space", by David Whitaker, after "The Tomb of the Cybermen", neatly bookends season five, Doctor Who's infamous "Monster season", with a second Cybermen story. Probably not as good as the first of the two, but still entertaining in a low-budget sort of way, "The Wheel in Space" also introduces a new companion, Wendy Padbury's character Zoe. I've never been a Zoe fan (she's too smart and precocious for my liking, and tends to wind me up), but the character is better served here, apparently insecure about her own cleverness and feeling that her extensive scientific training has left her without a heart, which helps me to better understand the character. I find Zoe's role to be one of the strengths of the story. In terms of weaknesses, well, effects are always one weakness of early Doctor Who: in the two surviving episodes, available on the "Lost in Time" DVD, we get to see the real special effects used for the deadly meteorite storm (which is otherwise a good way of adding to the menace conveyed by the story), and they are terrible. There are also, as ever, not quite enough Cybermen costumes available to really convince the viewer that a deadly army of the creatures lies in wait (this is reflected in the writing, as the Cybs actually take a back seat for much of the story, with their possessed human slaves doing more damage). The Cybermats are almost more menacing, because they are more numerous, and so insidious. "The Wheel in Space" has a large cast, making the dialogue a bit harder to follow. However, for much of the time, who is saying what doesn't really matter, as many of the supporting characters are basically ciphers defined only by their various peculiar accents. The more interesting characters, unfortunately, have a tendency to die.Read more ›
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CD Info. 2xCD of a 6 episode audio soundtrack, Running time 146 minutes approx.
Trivia. 1)Only Episode 3 & 6 of this story currently exsist in the BBC archives. 2)Transmitted 27th April-1st June 1968 3)This was the third Cyberman adventure for the Second Doctor & as yet the only story not to be released complete or via animation on dvd. 4)Episode 3 & 6 were released on the Lost In Time 3dvd release. 5)Wendy Padbury first appearance as Zoe Herriot.
Synopsis. The Tardis materializes on a what is thought to be a deserted Silver Carrier Rocket Ship, The Second Doctor & Jamie investigate & the Doctor is rendered unconscious by a Servo Robot & Jamie attempts to get help by contacting the Wheel space station.
But the Wheel comes under attack from the fearsome Cybermen who are one of the Doctor's deadliest enemies who plan to use the Wheels space station beacon to signal there entire Cyberfleet & launch a full scale invasion on Earth.
The recovered Second Doctor & Jamie are helped by Zoe Herriot to devise a plan to foil the Cybermens plans but the odds are stacked against them as Cybermats crawl around the station & the humans are rendered under hypnotic control by the Cybermen!
Timelord Thoughts. Again this story is another missing adventure barring episode 3 & 6 which again happens to be a classic Second Doctor Cyberman adventure to feature the late great Patrick Troughton.
This is a exciting tale seeing the return of one of the Doctors greatest foes the emotionless Cybermen who ooze menace in this tv adventure.
Patrick Troughton dominates the events here & gives a wonderful charming performance as the Doctor who as ever is accompanied by his companion Jamie an excellent Frazer Hines.Read more ›
The Wheel in space, not a classic but not a poor story by far, at this point in the series, the Cybermen were becoming badly over-used, its only really the next Cyber serial and their last until 1975, The Invasion that corrects the over-use of the Cybermen by not having them in it for nearly 4 episodes. In The Wheel, we have some great performances and a solid script from long time Doctor Who associate, David Whitaker. I'll admit now that I much prefer season 4 than the over-hyped classic filled season 5, only The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Ice Warriors and The Enemy of the World really stick out at me as great moments in Doctor Who's rather large canon.
Thats not to say that there are not some fantastic moments in Wheel, because if you have been lucky enough to see the brand new Loose Cannon C.G.I. reconstruction of this tale somewhere, then you will know that the opening episodes to the Wheel are quite something, the set designs and the claustrophobic atmosphere of Silver Carrier is fantastic, especially with that Servo Robot. Quite an action packed story the Wheel can be at times, the Cybermen here are not on-screen as much in this outing, they appear at the end of episode 2 and slowly and quietly move in and take the Wheel by force, but with only 2 Cybermen in the whole serial being seen, it does not feel grand enough.
The plans of the Cybermen are rather silly, they have made a star system go super-nova just so that some meteorites will menace the Wheel, and so the crew will then need to use the x-ray laser, of which the Cybermat's destroyed the Bernalium fuel rods that power the laser. The crew of the Wheel will then send two technicians over to the Silver Carrier and the Cybermen will hypnotise them and make them ferry the 2 Cybermen over to the Wheel.Read more ›
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