The penultimate Cybermen story of the Sixties, the last outing of their mk2 outfits, and the second last Troughton edit, The Wheel In Space is a story that takes ages to get going. The entire first episode is nothing more than the usual David Whitaker fluid link stuff, a pointless robot and the Doctor & Jamie buggering about on the rocket so all that gets cut right back to the absolute minimum.
On telly Jarvis Bennett and his dodgy American accent get ready to destroy aforesaid rocket nineteen minutes after the opening credits, here it’s eight minutes and sixteen seconds. Part two is just as tedious, with the story going nowhere fast as Pat was on holiday that week. After we’ve said hello to Zoe and Jamie’s gummed up the X-ray laser, we can start part three after just eighteen minutes of story instead of nearly fifty and and we hit part four at twenty-five minutes in.
This is one of those stories with no music, just lots of radiophonic workshop atmospheres burbling away in the background. So, for the last time, I get to add some music to an edit and, given that The Moonbase featured the Space: 1999 Year One music of Barry Gray it seemed appropriate to use the Space: 1999 Year Two music of Derek Wadsworth for this since it features the same mk2 Cybs before their upgrade for The Invasion next time out.
Choosing new music for these edits has been one of the most creatively enjoyable parts of the whole process over the past six years and Wadsworth’s music, though not as distinctive as his predecessor’s, seemed to me to fit the mood of the story perfectly. The edit features music from The Metamorph, The Exiles, One Moment of Humanity and Space Warp as well as the alternate end titles.
By the time we reach the half hour mark, we’re on to episode five with lots of Cybs creeping about but not doing very much apart from killing that nice Gemma Corwin. We stick with events onboard the Wheel and leave Jamie and Zoe to dodge the meteorites and find the Doctor’s magic stick offstage while Pat dodges the Cybs and sets his trap. And just what was the point of Jarvis Bennet? His nervous breakdown subplot didn’t really go anywhere, he just cracked up a bit and sat in a corner. It’s as if the writer got bored with the character and didn’t know what to do with him. Still, I’m sure the actor was quite pleased to find he only had a couple of lines in part six , not only was he getting paid the same money for less work, he would be in the BBC Bar first!
About the only really significant moment in this story comes right at the end, as Pat plonks Zoe in front of his time telly and shows her one of his old home movies – The Evil of the Daleks, the first time an entire story had been repeated since the show began. That must have had the urchins squee-ing with delight back in the day and Whoflixers can feel free to do the same as that will be our next upload and our final audio edit.
Only four more to go!