Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Wheel In Space (Episode 2)

Originally Broadcast 4th May 1968
Written by: David Whitaker

In a nutshell: The wheel in space is ready to blow up the Silver Carrier, containing Jamie and an injured Doctor. After a lucky escape, they are transported to the wheel, where more trouble lies for the TARDIS couple.

Review: The second of six episodes in this serial has author David Whitaker relying on the old and the stereotypical once again. Jarvis, head of the wheel in space has fallen into the ‘standard’ Doctor Who irritant character, who doesn’t trust the TARDIS duo and wants to destroy everything. I have no idea, other than filling time, why the characters had to have a debate over whether to instantly shoot down the Silver Carrier or check it for life first, surely that’s not a debate-worthy topic as one of the characters pointed out.

Zoe finally makes her debut in this episode as well, soon to become the second Doctor’s next companion, although at the moment I’m much preferring Clare Jenkins as Tanya, she sounds like Honor Blackman and is just as good an actress, I want her for the next companion. She’s definitely given the most to do this episode and really carries it, shining in her performance.

There’s a severe lack of the Doctor and Jamie here though, which not even Jenkins can entirely make up for. Troughton’s holiday must’ve been due here, as he’s absent from the entire episode and Jamie doesn’t appear a tremendous amount. And when he does appear he doesn’t really do an awful lot. Strangely though, despite the lack of a Troughton performance, this episode flowed a lot better than the previous and I enjoyed it much more.

More irritating sound effects buzzed once or twice near the start of the episode, where some random directing and/or editing came in too, where the workers on the wheel pick up interference on their headsets from the Silver Carrier. All this succeeded in doing was distort my attention and take me out of the plot, there could’ve easily been another way to direct this scene. The biggest shame about episodes one and two of this serial being missing is the cliffhanger to this episode. I would love to see how director Tristan de Vere Cole carried off the effects work as a Cyberman slowly becomes visible and bursts out of a balloon-type prop. At least the following episode is surviving, as is episode six of this story, as the Cybermen make their move…

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