Doctor Who C5.7: The Wheel in Space review


The Wheel in Space The Wheel in Space review

The Doctor: Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority.

Story Code: C5.7.
Production Code: SS.
Story Number: 43.
Countdown week: 25…

The Cybermen always have crap plans, don’t they?

Well, not always, just most of the time, and not so much crap plans as bizarrely convoluted schemes – maybe they are actually brilliant plans but often the viewer has trouble piecing together what exactly is going on. I’m thinking of the time the Cybes hid in a space freighter while remote-controlling an explosive device that had been inexplicably buried alongside Dino-bones (Earthshock) and the time they built a Steampunk version of some Manga (The Next Doctor), and of course this very story The Wheel in Space.

The Wheel in Space review

Leaving aside the floating egg-pods and the intent to deplete, using nibbling Cybermats, the Wheel-station of a certain material (thus tempting the Wheel-crew to, oh I dunno), there is a certain style to the whole thing, with more groovy Future-Sixties outfits like The Ice Warriors (a few stories ago) featured.

In a really great Doctor Who season, this is quite a good story (though one plus is that a couple of the six episodes exist in the BBC Archives which is more than the season’s norm.) The spacewalk with meteors is an enjoyable spectacle even if it too doesn’t make sense, and another notable feature is new-recruit Zoe being treated to a repeat of a Dalek story on the TARDIS telly…

Season 5 Base-under-siege-ness 3/5. The Cyberplan is too bizarre to really seem like a proper siege.

The Wheel in Space review

Target novelisation cover (Ian Burgess) notes: Published in 1988 during the era of the Seventh Doctor; the Fifth Doctor logo was used for this Second Doctor story.

Season 5 “When I say run” count. None this story. Count is 2 so far this season.

Rating: 3/5


One Response to “Doctor Who C5.7: The Wheel in Space review”

  1. Alan Stevens Says:

    You’re right, in that there are quite a number of Cyberman stories that don’t make a lot of sense, but I would argue that Earthshock is not one of them. This is how it works.

    The Cybermen get to hear that a conference is going to take place on Earth, which will be attended by the heads of many powerful planets. The purpose of the conference is to bring about a military alliance against the Cybermen. In response the Cybermen plant a huge bomb on the Earth, which they intend to detonate once the conference begins. The bomb was transported to Earth some time ago, because the Cybermen knew that once the conference started the Earth would come under a security clampdown. The Cybermen aboard the freighter are a backup force. They will land at the conference area, after the bomb has been detonated, and kill anyone they find who is still alive.

    The person responsible for getting the Cybermen loaded aboard the Earth freighter is a human traitor called Ringway. He may also have been responsible for transporting the bomb and its android guardians to the Earth in the first place, although the Cybermen would probably have more than one human agent working for them.

    The reason the plan goes wrong is because a group of palaeontologists and geologists decide to do a survey of the previously uncharted caves where the bomb has been hidden. This, obviously, brings the group to the attention of the two android guardians. First the androids try to secretly sabotage the group, by stealing and smashing various important instruments (killing the humans would just focus more attention on the caves), but still they won’t go away. Finally, the survey expedition enters the area where the bomb is located, and this causes the androids to react with deadly force.

    One of the group, a professor Kyle, survives. She is unaware of what has happened, as she was in a different part of the cave system when the massacre took place. She decides to radio the security forces and report her colleagues missing.

    I hope that explains everything.:)

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