Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Wheel In Space (Episode 5)


Originally Broadcast 25th May 1968
Written by: David Whitaker

In a nutshell: The Cybermen prepare to infiltrate the wheel as the Doctor and co. try to work out their plans. AKA The Wheel In Space (Episodes 3 and 4).

NB. This episode is missing from the BBC archives, this review is based upon the surviving audio book narrated by Wendy Padbury and the BBC website’s photo-novel reconstruction.

Review: This arc is getting very tedious now, the plot has begun to be revealed and it’s one of the most ridiculous plots you’ve ever heard. OK, you ready? Here we go; The Cybermen send a meteor on course with the wheel so the humans would have to find some element from the Silver Carrier. Whilst on the Carrier the Cybermen could slowly infiltrate some of their race onto the wheel in order to hang about for a bit to wait for the humans to set up their gun so the Cybermen could then attack and use the gun for some unknown reason. I think that’s the plot. To be honest I’ve stopped paying attention and I’m focusing more on enjoying Troughton, Hines and Padbury trying to do something with a naff script whilst awaiting some sort of Cyber-showdown as it’s closing in on the final episode.

It appears my favourite character, our Honor Blackman-styled Gemma has been killed off in the closing moments of this episode too, much to my disappointment, and she was the best-written character in this weak attempt at a story. But never mind, I got to witness some brilliant interaction between the Doctor and Jamie with the former sending the latter off to the Silver Carrier in another poorly added-in story to pad the episode. This plot point is the Doctor and Jamie have lost the golden rod they need, strangely this exact same plot point dragged the Doctor and company back to the Dalek city four years ago, stretching that serial from four episodes to seven. I love a lot of Whitaker’s Who scripts but looking at this serial, I’m glad he only got one more chance after this (and that was heavily re-edited by Malcolm Hulke to become ‘The Ambassadors Of Death’ (1971)).

Bring on the next part, thankfully the final. Hopefully the Cybers will do something and that something will be audible through the irritating screechy voices they’ve been given for this story.

The brilliant Gemma Corwyn (Anne Ridler) sadly kicks the bucket

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