Completed: The Wheel in Space (Story #43)
Cyber Eggs, a Girl Genius, Explosions in Space!
This serial gives us the return of the emotionless Cybermen, as well as introducing our next female companion: Zoe. I enjoyed these episodes. It was a refreshing change of pace from the base-under-siege storyline that is so often employed in these early Doctor Who serials.
In episode one the TARDIS got smaller on the inside and became a regular police box? WHY does that episode have to be missing!? And what a cliffhanger ending…CYBER EGGS!
I really like Zoe already, and do enjoy the banter between her and Jamie. It’s refreshing to have a female assistant that is intelligent and brave. We have had our fair share of minor female characters that have filled that role well, such as Gemma, but they are usually portrayed by more mature women.
I thought Zoe’s concerns over her emotions nicely accompanied this story of the Cybermen. Finding that balance between logic and emotion is a very human thing.
I can’t recall if this happened in the previous Cybermen stories, but I noticed here that the Cybermen rock back and forth when they speak. It almost looks as if they are children desperately needing to go to the bathroom. And I very much enjoyed their little moon hop dance as they attempted to enter the Wheel in episode six.
This serial concludes the fifth season of Doctor Who. Thankfully, many more episodes from season six still survive today. I’m very much looking forward to viewing them immediately!
GEMMA: Can you give me your full name please?
JAMIE: James Robert McCrimmon. Jamie.
(GEMMA writes this down.)
GEMMA: Thank you. And your friend?
JAMIE: Err. The Doctor.
GEMMA: I can’t put that down.
(JAMIE is stuck but he is in luck. He spots the lid of Gemma’s stethoscope box with the words “JOHN SMITH & ASSOCIATES” on it.)
JAMIE: John Smith.
GEMMA: (with a bemused look on her face.) Really?
(GEMMA writes this down.)
GEMMA: Dr. John Smith.
WIKIPEDIA FUN FACTS:
- Episode 2 of this story features the first time the Doctor uses or is referred by the pseudonym “John Smith”. Jamie McCrimmon devised the alias when answering medical questions, and reading it off of a piece of equipment manufactured by John Smith & Associates.
- A clip from The Evil of the Daleks (1967) is used for a sequence where the Doctor shows Zoe, on the viewscreen, what she may face if she travels with him. This was used as a way to introduce a repeat of The Evil of the Daleks the week following the original broadcast of The Wheel in Space. The Doctor uses a clip from the end of Episode One of Evil, an episode which no longer exists in the archives; as a consequence, this is the only remaining footage from that episode.
- As things turned out, Zoe never encountered the Daleks on television; decades later, the Big Finish Productions audio story Fear of the Daleks would tell of an encounter between Zoe and the Daleks, set immediately after the Doctor’s telepathic re-run.
- The spacesuits worn by Jamie and Zoe, previously seen in The Tenth Planet, later were used as costumes in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (most famously worn by Bossk the Bounty Hunter). [Is that not the coolest thing ever!?!?]
- Patrick Troughton did not appear in episode 2 as he was on holiday. Thus, a body double was used to substitute for the unconscious Doctor.
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