The Wheel in Space (TV story)

From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference

The Wheel in Space was the seventh and final serial of season 5 of Doctor Who. It introduced Wendy Padbury as the new companion Zoe Heriot. It also featured the first use of the Doctor's "John Smith" alias.

Currently, only episodes three and six exist in the BBC Archives.

On 15 December 2018, an animated "mini-episode" based on the first episode was released as part of the 25th Anniversary event for Missing, Believed Wiped. It was produced by Charles Norton and directed by AnneMarie Walsh.[1]


The TARDIS materialises on board a spaceship, the Silver Carrier, where the Second Doctor and Jamie are attacked by a servo robot. Jamie contacts a nearby space station known as the Wheel and they are rescued. Meanwhile, the Silver Carrier discharges Cybermats, which also travel to and enter the station. These pave the way for the invasion of the station by Cybermen, who intend to use its direct radio link with Earth as a beacon for their invasion fleet.

The Doctor sends Jamie and a young woman named Zoe Heriot over to the Silver Carrier to fetch the TARDIS' vector generator rod. Meanwhile, he frees the Wheel's crew from the Cybermen's hypnotic control and aims to destroy all the Cybermen on the station.

When Jamie and Zoe return, the Doctor installs the rod in the station's X-ray laser, making it powerful enough to destroy the Cyber-fleet. An approaching force of space-walking Cybermen is also vanquished.


Episode one[[edit]]

Victoria watches from the beach as the Doctor and Jamie row back to the floating TARDIS. The police box shoots up into the sky like a rocket, leaving her behind to start her new life with Frank and Maggie Harris in England, 1968.

The TARDIS is landing, but the scanners show nothing. The Doctor's readings show that air and temperature is OK but they are surrounded by metal. The scanner begins to work. Jamie is delighted to see a lake, which soon turns into a scene with birds then into a waterfall and then a beach. Jamie is confused, but the Doctor explains that this is the TARDIS' defence mechanism and that there is danger. Before they can take off again, there is a power overload which triggers a mercury vapour in the console room. The Doctor and Jamie have to leave. The Doctor opens a panel near the TARDIS door and removes a rod. The TARDIS begins to shake and tremble, and the Doctor and Jamie exit. The Doctor explains he has disengaged the Time Vector Generator — the TARDIS is no longer bigger on the inside. They begin to search their surroundings. They appear to be on a stationary rocket. The Doctor feels in his pocket and offers Jamie a sherbet lemon. He ruminates over what the danger could be. He notices on the floor a trail of oil. Jamie absent-mindedly presses a button. A door opens. The Doctor and Jamie see a trail leading to another door at the end of the corridor. They carefully make their way down the corridors, observing the compact equipment to their sides. The Doctor listens at the door at the corridors end. It all seems safe — but what is the danger? Where is the crew? What has produced this track? The Doctor presses buttons on a console as Jamie wanders off. They wander back down the corridor checking hatchway doors to the side. They enter the living quarters and close the door. Jamie finds some water — not satiated by the sherbet lemon.

A servo robot in the control room begins to move. It opens and then closes the main door.

The Doctor looks out a window and sees that the ship is drifting in space. They cannot leave until they find some mercury for the TARDIS. They look but to no avail. They plan to check the control room, but Jamie moans about being hungry. They move back down the corridor. In the living quarters, the Doctor presses some buttons on a machine which produces a large uniform square. Jamie turns his nose up. They move towards a small table and some chairs. Jamie is delighted to find his square tastes just like what he craved the most — roast beef. They talk about Victoria — Jamie hopes she's safe, and the Doctor reassures him she picked a good time to settle in. Jamie decides to sleep. He moves towards the crew's bed, removes his jacket and lays on the bottom one.

The robot opens the door and moves down the corridor.

The Doctor observes that there are no dangers in the space that they are in.

The robot observes the TARDIS, wheels around back into the corridor and seals the door closed.

The Doctor listens at the door and then presses a button to open it. He moves up the corridor and notices an extra track on the floor. He presses the closed circuit screen but just gets static. He turns away perplexed.

The robot, back in the control room, operates the console.

The rocket moves with a jolt, throwing the Doctor to the wall. Jamie starts and runs into the corridor. The Doctor has hit his head and needs to get back to the TARDIS. They move to the door and attempt to open it but discover it sealed. Jamie helps the Doctor back into the crew quarters and onto a bunk bed. The Doctor implores him to lock the door before passing out.

The robot summons a container with bright orbs in it. They float off down the corridor.

Jamie observes a "great big silver thing" in space. Unseen by Jamie, the Doctor has left his bunk and is struggling down the corridor. He wants to get to the TARDIS. He uses the time vector generator to try to unseal the door. The Doctor places the time vector generator in his pocket and tries the buttons on the door. Sensing movement behind him, he turns slowly to see the robot. Jamie notices the Doctor is missing, grabs a blanket and runs into the corridor. He throws a blanket over the robot. They hurry back to the crew quarters and close the door. The robot frees itself. The Doctor gives Jamie the time vector generator and tells him it can be used as a gun. The robot is outside burning through the door. Jamie uses the time vector generator and blows the robot up. The Doctor has passed out.

At a nearby Earth space station, the unusual behaviour of the rocket is being observed. The rocket is a supply ship that went missing nine weeks ago and is 80 or 90 million miles off course. They try to contact the ship but to no avail. Jarvis, the leader of the station, states that the ship is a danger to them.

The orbs released by the robot are floating in space. The space station pick up the signals from the orbs.

Unbeknownst to them the orbs are being absorbed by the ships.

Jarvis has made his mind up. He is to use the X-ray laser on the ship and blow it up.

An unknowing Doctor awakes.

Episode two[[edit]]

Space Control try to communicate with the rocket one last time. The laser is logged on. Communications Officer Leo Ryan crosses the room to talk to astronomer Tanya Lernov. Leo is all for destroying the rocket, but Tanya is unsure.

On the rocket, Jamie sees a light panel and prises it away from the wall. He pulls the light out, removes the wires and the lights go out. In the gloom, he sees the bright tip of the Time Vector Generator and takes it.

Dr Gemma Corwyn, second-in-command of the space station, pleads to Jarvis to not destroy the ship. Jarvis stands firm. Gemma says that if the ship is on autopilot then it shouldn't have strayed so far from its course. Jarvis is staunch.

Jamie points the Time Vector Generator at the Wheel Space Station and turns it on.

The crew in the Wheel quickly snatch off their headsets and throw them to the desk. Leo helps a crewman who has collapsed over their desk into a bench.

Gemma and Jarvis are still arguing when Tanya bursts in and informs them of the crew. Jarvis orders the sound to be traced. Casually and Vallance, members of the crew, help the fallen Rudkin to his feet and escort him out of the room to the medical bay. Jarvis orders the rocket knocked out when Tanya informs him that the signal is coming from the rocket. Jarvis sends some crew over to investigate.

Jamie looks with concern at the still prone Doctor, then looks to the porthole. He sees two men in space-suits approaching. They tap on the porthole, and Jamie points towards an airlock. As they move off, Jamie rushes from the living quarters. As soon as the men have docked in the rocket, Jamie rushes in and informs them of the injured Doctor.

Later Leo and Tanya are talking. The Doctor and Jamie have been brought over to the Wheel. Leo is informed that there is a magnetic effect being registered on the hull of the Wheel. Tanya puts this together with the slight air pressure anomalies and begins to suspect they are linked to the rocket.

Unbeknownst to the crew, the Wheel is absorbing more and more orbs.

Gemma checks Jamie. Jamie is fine, but the Doctor has concussion and a suspected fracture. Gemma takes down details from Jamie. Jamie gives his own name but doesn't know how to identify the Doctor. Jamie notices a name on some medical equipment and states that the Doctor is called John Smith. Gemma notices the same equipment and looks at Jamie with suspicion. Gemma asks Jamie how they ended up where they are. Jamie stalls for time. Gemma fetches some water. Jamie states that he became ill and was quarantined to his cabin. When he got better, only the Doctor was still alive and he hasn't told him what happened. Gemma seems content. Jamie rises to leave. Gemma organises a tour of the Wheel and suggests Jamie should hunt out Zoe in the library. As Jamie leaves, Gemma goes to her desk and presses a switch on an intercom. She contacts Zoe and orders her to observe Jamie closely. Zoe vanishes from the screen but soon reappears. She pressed the wrong button.

Jamie approaches the library. As he enters, Zoe is recording some astronomical data verbally into the library. Zoe turns off the recorder. She begins to laugh at the way Jamie is dressed before placing his kilt in a historical context.

She begins to show Jamie around the base and is soon accompanied by Leo. He points out some flowers from Venus that belong to a man called Bill Duggan as well as the capacitator bank that controls the X-ray laser. Zoe questions Jamie about the Doctor, but he evades the question.

Jarvis is eager for information regarding the Doctor too. He is worried about the morale of his crew and the break from routine. Gemma reports that she thinks Jamie has been lying; his blood doesn't seem to report that he has been ill or in space for very long. She also found the fact he turned down water as suspicious as this is something he would have lacked on the rocket. Gemma ponders over what the Doctor and Jamie could actually be. She wonders if they might be saboteurs. Jarvis seizes on this piece of information. In his mind they must be saboteurs and they probably murdered the original crew. Jarvis rises and rushes out.

Zoe shows Jamie into the Operations and Communications room. He asks her what the Wheel is. She explains it is a multi-purpose construction but functions as a relay station for Earth, a halfway house for deep space ships, a space research station and a stellar early warning station. They stumble into a conversation whereby they discover that Jarvis' orders to destroy the ship are going to go ahead. While the crew are busy, Jamie manages to slip away. Jamie looks round the power room and notices Bill Duggan's space flora. Seemingly dissatisfied with the flora he again looks round the room.

In the Operations and Communication room, Jarvis has noticed the disappearance of Jamie. He questions Zoe and finds out they were last in the power room. Jarvis leaves the room after having a hushed conversation with Duggan. Duggan leaves the room shortly after. Nobody is really sure as to what is going on, but Tanya sniffs a sense of intrigue and is still suspicious of the rocket.

Back in the rocket more orbs have formed. An alarm sounds, and the orbs start to flow. A figure forms inside them. A hand breaks through the protection of the orb. The hand is that of a Cyberman...

Episode three[[edit]]

The Wheel is preparing to destroy the rocket.

Jamie, looking around the Power House, finds a receptacle marked "quick-set plastic". He opens up the mechanism to the X-ray laser and sprays the plastic in. As he does so, Jarvis and Bill discover him. Jarvis calls for all security to come to the Power House.

As Leo goes to see what is going on, he warns Tanya that Zoe has predicted that a star in a nearby system is going to explode and that she should watch out for it.

The Cybermen in the rocket have now fully hatched. They communicate to some higher being that Phase 1 and 2 (their hatching and undetection) is complete and that they are to begin Phase 3.

As more security rush to the Power House, Zoe warns Gemma that the implosion of the star could trigger a meteor shower.

After inspecting the X-ray laser, Bill tells Jarvis that it will be out of action for at least a week. Jamie says he is not a saboteur. Gemma enters and says that Zoe's prediction of a meteor shower will be dangerous without X-ray protection. All of them go to the Operations Room apart from Bill who begins the process of salvaging the machinery. As he does he comes across a Cybermat. He does not know what it is and squirrels it away.

In the Operations Room, Jamie refuses to be labelled as a saboteur. When asked why he did it he states that the Doctor told him to do it.

Later, when brought to him, the Doctor berates Jamie for getting him in trouble. The Doctor barely remembers anything that happened on the rocket.

The Cybermen tell their controller that Phase 3 is to begin.

In the Operations Room, Leo has done some sums and confirms Zoe's hypothesis. He gets cross at her as she is being purely logical and not thinking of the long term issues.

Bill and his team of engineers strip the X-ray machine. Once left alone, he sees the Cybermat again and is horrified to see that it has corroded the ship's store of bernalium — the fuel for the X-ray laser. As he is freaking out about this, the Cybermat disappears.

Gemma checks out the Doctor and finds him physically fine. She asks the Doctor why he ordered Jamie to protect the rocket. Zoe interrupts. She asks the Doctor how he piloted the ship. She has figured out that there is no way that the rocket could have drifted so far in such a short period of time and therefore must have been piloted. She has also realised that such a lengthily journey would have meant that the ship would have needed refuelling. She has inferred that the Doctor was in charge of all this. The Doctor argues against her logic but cannot give a better answer.

The Cybermen contact their controller and say that Phase 4 can now begin. They operate the ship's controls.

On the Wheel the Cybermats begin to glow.

Bill has informed Gemma of the situation with the Cybermats and the bernalium. Gemma wants to see the creatures.

Another crew member, Kemel Rudkin, stumbles over a number of Cybermats. He tries to hit one of them with a metal bar, but he is shocked by it. He is soon surrounded. Before he is killed, he manages to spray one with the quick-set plastic.

A scream rings out across the Wheel. Jamie wants to go to see what it is, but the guard will not let him out.

Gemma and Bill discover the crew member dead. They see the solidified blob of quick-set plastic.

Zoe has had the quick-set plastic brought to the Doctor for investigation. The Doctor suspects that the depletion of bernalium and the death of the crew member are related. Jamie talks about the saboteurs that Jarvis is so concerned about. The Doctor decides to use the X-ray machine to see inside the quick-set plastic.

Jarvis has been informed of the situation and is furious with Bill, saying he will send him back to Earth. Leo is to take over Bill's duties whilst Tanya replaces Leo. Once Jarvis has left, Bill pleads to Tanya and Leo that his version of events is true.

Jarvis is furious about the whole situation. Gemma runs through all the anomalies of the last few days and suggests they are all related, blaming the rocket.

The Doctor and Jamie identify the Cybermat. The Doctor infers that that must mean that Cybermen are on the rocket.

Bennett orders two men, Vallance and Laleham, to look the rocket over.

Laleham and Vallance make their way to the rocket, board and open the air lock. They are beset by Cybermen, who fire a beam from their heads which controls them. They are ordered to take the Cybermen aboard the Wheel...

Episode four[[edit]]

The Doctor is trying to explain to Jarvis the danger that the Wheel is under. Jarvis disbelieves the Doctor's story.

The Cybermen order Laleham and Vallance to take them to the Wheel and aid them once there. The Cybermen get into a crate with a false bottom, and Laleham and Vallance pile the crates of bernalium on top of them.

Jarvis vows that if the Doctor's story is true, the Cybermen will never be able to get into the Wheel undetected. Gemma sides with the Doctor, but Jarvis argues and storms out. Gemma wants Bill to see the X-ray. Zoe leaves to fetch him. Gemma agrees with Jarvis that surely the Cybermen won't be able to infiltrate the Wheel unnoticed. The Doctor states they will find a way.

Out in space, Laleham and Vallance bring the crate over.

Laleham and Vallance tell Leo of the bernalium. Tanya checks with Jarvis, who is delighted. Leo waves them in.

Bill confirms that the X-ray is the Cybermat he saw in the Power House. Zoe absents herself to do some more calculations regarding the meteors. The Doctor speculates that the Cybermats might have been sent over to weaken the Wheel's defences but suspects there is more to it than that.

As Laleham and Vallance enter, Chang closes the door. Chang depressurises the hold. Laleham and Vallance wave at Chang and then remove their helmets.

Zoe is calculating the flight of the meteors. Jamie interrupts her recording. Zoe plays back the recording, which amazes Jamie. Zoe walks out into the corridor, closely followed by Jamie. Zoe asks Jamie why he destroyed the laser. He becomes evasive.

Leo is attempting to fix the laser. Leo takes a screwdriver and twists it. Jarvis and Bill enter. Jarvis offers Bill to help. This allows the crewmen to leave. Chang enters, which allows Leo to leave too. Chang and Bill begin to work together.

Gemma and the Doctor talk about Jarvis. The Doctor wonders about Jarvis' state of mind and how he seems to block out anything that doesn't adhere to his sense of logic. Gemma agrees.

Jarvis checks on the state of the ship with Tanya. She begins to raise a problem, but Jarvis ignores her saying everything is fine.

Later, the Doctor is trying to get up. Jamie enters and Gemma tries to get Jamie to convince him to go back to bed to no avail. The Doctor is beginning to panic about the Cybermen and wants to take action. Gemma states there is nothing that the Doctor can do as he is confined to his room. Jarvis enters and states that the Doctor is now free to walk the ship as everything is fine now and he can be trusted. Gemma raises some issues, but Jarvis says that that can't be true because everything is fine before leaving to go to sleep. Gemma is left confused.

Chang tells Bill about the bernalium. Bill is excited and sends Chang to get it. Once in the hold, Chang is cornered by a Cyberman. Chang throws a crate of bernalium at him and is killed by a ray from the Cyberman's chest. Laleham and Vallance passively watch over this. The Cyberman dumps the body in the incinerator. Laleham and Vallance begin to take the bernalium to Bill.

In the Operations Room, Tanya wonders why the incinerator has been activated. Leo tells her to log it as another anomaly.

Laleham and Vallance bring the crates of bernalium to Bill. They say that Chang hurt his hand and has gone to the medical bay. Laleham and Vallance open a box of rods and take some to Bill. They insist the laser must be fixed. Bill moves to the capacitator bank and inserts a rod. He's pleased they work. Laleham and Vallance ask when the laser will be fixed. Bill says within six or seven hours. Bill spins round and is met by a beam from a Cyberman's head. The Cybermen are now going to fix the laser whilst Bill is to go to the Operations Room.

Zoe comes to Gemma in distress. She has found a critical anomaly in the calculations regarding the meteors, but when she reported it to Jarvis he ordered her to forget it. This confirms Gemma's fears. Zoe complains about not having the capacity to feel emotion, but Gemma states that's just the way she was trained.

Tanya shows the Doctor around the Operations Room. Whilst Tanya and Leo are distracted, Jamie reminds the Doctor that they still need mercury for the TARDIS. Zoe informs the Doctor about the meteors and Jarvis as well as the new haul of bernalium brought over from the rocket. The Doctor becomes convinced that Cybermen will have come over in this crate and reports it to Gemma. The Doctor explains that the Cybermen have the ability to control minds. Gemma states that all crew members on the Wheel take drugs to ward off mind control. The Doctor argues that the Cybermen's powers are far more potent than that. Gemma informs the Doctor that all crew are planted with a device called a Solanski Circuit which allows them to judge if they are being controlled. As they check this, Bill quietly enters. Jamie queries this with Zoe, thinking he is still confined to his room. Bill moves to the radio complex and stands still. The Solanski Circuit shows mind control in the room. The Doctor pinpoints Bill. Before anyone can get to him, Bill commits suicide through electrocution. The Doctor takes charge, stating that there can now be no doubt that the Cybermen are here. He orders Gemma to put the whole of the Wheel on red alert and sets Leo off to create a crude plate and transceiver system that will block off the Cybermen's controls. The Doctor and Jamie set off to find the Cybermen. Zoe approaches Leo and Tanya, who are assembling components, and offers them help. They reject her.

The Doctor and Jamie sneak into the air lock to investigate. While they are busying themselves, a Cyberman slowly makes his way down the stairs...

Episode five[[edit]]

The Doctor and Jamie hide behind a case and peer over it. The Cyberman picks up a crate and walks upstairs with it. They emerge from hiding. The Doctor points out that, if it was the Cybermen's intention to destroy the Wheel, they could have done it ten times over by now. They must have some other plan. The Doctor decides that the first thing they should do is protect the Wheel's air supply. The Doctor contacts the Operations Room and tells them to seal the airlock doors. Gemma agrees and sends Leo to do it. Leo moves away. Tanya asks Gemma if she trusts the Doctor — she has to admit she does despite not being sure why. As they are in contact, Jamie sees something move in the corner of the room. It is a pair of Cybermats. The Doctor orders Tanya to set up a specific audio frequency. The Cybermats are closing in on the Doctor and Jamie. Enrico produces the frequency. It forces the Doctor and Jamie to hold their ears but makes the Cybermats lose control. One spins round and round until it begins to smoke, whilst the other runs into a wall and explodes. Enrico stops the noise. The Doctor shows the defunct Cybermats as proof of danger.

Meanwhile, in the Power House on the Wheel the Cybermen are setting up base.

Tanya reports a power surge from the Power House. Leo decides to check this new anomaly.

The Cybermen contact their controller and tell it about the destruction of the Cybermats. The controller realises that someone on the Wheel has knowledge of their methods and orders the Wheel to be taken over.

Tanya orders Enrico to monitor the meteors. Enrico is very fatalistic about their chances of survival. Gemma shows Jarvis the Cybermat — he refuses to acknowledge their existence. Gemma crosses the room to talk to the Doctor. There is nothing more she can do for Jarvis. The Doctor suggests his functions may return. Until then, the Doctor says, she should take control of the ship. She tells the Doctor that she has put a magnetic force field around the Operations Room, but other than that she doesn't know how to protect them from the machines. In another part of the Operations Room, Zoe confides to Jamie that she feels her sense of logic does not help her in situations like this. Jamie tries to cheer her up — but to no avail.

Leo tries to contact the Power House. Unbeknownst to him within the room they are all dead. Flannigan, an Irish engineer, enters the Power House and speaks to Laleham and Vallance. When he goes to answer Leo's call, Vallance pulls out a laser pistol and aims it at Flannigan. Flannigan knocks the pistol from Vallance's hand, but Laleham grabs him from behind. A fight breaks out, and eventually Flannigan is subdued. Vallance grabs the pistol and aims it at Flannigan, who manages to spin Laleham in the way of the beam. A Cyberman enters and uses his head beam on Flannigan, rendering him under his command. The Cyberman wants to know how the force field is operated. He is told it can only be operated from inside the Operations Room. The Cyberman orders Laleham's body to be disposed of. The Cyberman turns and leaves as Flannigan and Vallance pick up Laleham's body.

Back in the Operations Room, Zoe tries to nurse Jarvis, but he is rejecting it. Tanya tells her to leave him alone. The Doctor asks Gemma if everyone on board has the mind control blocking equipment yet. She says not everyone. They are distracted from shouting elsewhere. They rush to Leo and Enrico. The meteor shower is approaching and bigger than expected. It is less than a million miles away. The Power House contacts the Operations Room. It is Flannigan — he says that the laser is fixed. When asks why they haven't been answering their calls, Flannigan says there must be a fault in the line. They decide to test the laser. Leo begins to panic as the meteors are getting closer. They test the laser with a random shot. It works. The Doctor speculates that the Cybermen must have caused this meteor shower not to destroy the Wheel but to make them need to use their laser, forcing them to go to the rocket to get the bernalium that the Cybermats corroded and allowing the Cybermen a way onto the Wheel. When asked why, the Doctor states that the Cybermen are obsessed with conquering Earth and they must see the Wheel as integral for their new plot. The Doctor wants to know what Jamie did with the Time Vector Generator. Jamie informs him he put it back in the Doctor's pocket on the rocket. He pats his pockets. It's not there. The Time Vector Generator is integral to his plans and somebody has to go back and get it. Jamie is forced into going.

The Cybermen tell the controller of the magnetic force field. The controller tells them to initiate plan 3. The Cyberman calls over Vallance.

Gemma, Jamie and Zoe leave the Operations Room. Zoe moves off. Jamie protests at taking Zoe with him to the rocket, but Gemma insists.

Back in the Operations Room, Leo shouts at the Doctor for jeopardising the lives of the crew. The Doctor tries to defend himself but gets a bit flustered. Leo takes control.

Gemma, Zoe and Jamie find the body of Laleham. This slightly unnerves them, but Jamie and Zoe make their way into the air lock. Before he goes in, Jamie gives Gemma his laser pistol.

Gemma contacts the Doctor in the Operations Room to say all is clear. Larger meteors are coming in now.

Gemma hears a noise and hides behind a machine. A Cyberman and Vallance enter the room. The Cyberman orders Vallance to turn the oxygen into pure ozone, killing everyone on board.

In the Operations Room, Enrico is panicking about the meteors. Gemma contacts the Doctor to tell him about the air. A Cyberman emerges behind Gemma and moves towards her. The Doctor cries out for her to run. She fires the laser pistol, but it has no effect so she backs towards the door. The Cyberman fires at her using his chest beam causing her to fall down dead.

Outside Jamie and Zoe see the meteors heading their way...

Episode six[[edit]]

Leo sets about destroying the meteors. He keeps destroying despite the crew's warning he may be endangering Zoe and Jamie.

Outside Zoe and Jamie are separated by space debris.

All meteors are gone. Enrico cannot find any trace of Jamie and Zoe on the radar. Leo berates the Doctor for the danger he put Jamie and Zoe in. The Doctor states it was worth the risk to get back the Time Vector Generator. The Doctor warns Leo that he should switch to the emergency air supply as Gemma warned. Leo wants to check with Gemma, and the Doctor breaks the news that Gemma is dead. Leo checks on the cameras and sees her prostrate body. They are soon distracted by more meteors approaching. As they fend them off, Jarvis slips away. As soon as they have dealt with the meteors, they realise that Jarvis is gone. They search for him on the cameras. They soon find him, and he tells them he has gone out to find the Cybermen. As he is talking, a Cyberman approaches. The two approach each other. They grapple, and Jarvis is lifted above the Cyberman's head, thrown to the ground and killed using the Cyberman's chest beam. Tanya pleads for the communications to be severed so she does not have to see anymore.

Zoe and Jamie have been reunited on the rocket. They set about looking for the Time Vector Generator.

A Cyberman orders Vallance to begin poisoning the air. Vallance reports back that they have already switched to the emergency air supply. The Cyberman contacts his controller, who processes this data. He computes that someone on the ship must know of their ways. The controller orders the Cyberman to check everyone's identity on board.

On the rocket, Zoe discovers the work station that the Cybermen set up. From there they can see the communication between the Cybermen and the controller.

Vallance is given a blast from the Cyberman's head beam and asked to picture and identify everyone on board. He goes through everyone until he gets to the Doctor, whom he cannot name.

Leo, Enrico, Tanya and the Doctor are discussing why the Cybermen are here when they see something else on the radar. The Doctor identifies it as a Cyberman ship. Leo encourages Enrico to contact Earth, but Enrico states that Bill damaged all communications when he killed himself. Leo asks if it can be fixed, but Enrico states that all spare parts are kept in the Power House. Leo states that they must go and get them despite the danger.

The controller verifies the Doctor as their enemy and orders his destruction. He is to be lured out of the force field and destroyed.

All of this has been overseen by Zoe and Jamie, who hurry back to the Wheel to warn the Doctor.

Tanya, Leo and the Doctor examine the blueprints of the Wheel to figure out how to reach the Power House. Flannigan contacts the Operations Room to explain he has a number of Cybermen captive in a workshop. Leo tells him to keep them sealed up whilst they get the spare parts. The Doctor insists that he will go, and it is arranged that Flannigan is to meet the Doctor in corridor 6. Once communication has been broken off, the Doctor states that he is suspicious of Flannigan. He states that Flannigan will turn up in the Operations Room and that he will need to have a plate put on his head immediately. He rushes off.

Flannigan meets a Cyberman and tells him of his plan to meet the Doctor. The Cyberman orders Flannigan to destroy the force field by entering the Operations Room and destroying it from the inside.

The Doctor has made his way to the Power House through the air tunnels. Once there he pockets some mercury for his TARDIS, checks outside and begins to examine some machinery.

Jamie and Zoe return to find Gemma dead. They soon bump into Flannigan, who says he will accompany them to the Operations Room.

The Cyberman and Vallance wait for the Doctor in corridor 6 but to no avail. Vallance wonders if the Doctor used the air tunnels. The Cyberman orders to be shown the tunnels.

Flannigan enters the Operations Room with Zoe and Jamie and is soon jumped on by Leo. He has a blocker plate installed and is soon groggy but back to his normal self. Jamie tells Leo of the Cybermen's trap for the Doctor, and Leo says he has already gone. The Doctor contacts them — he wants Jamie to come to the Power House and give him the Time Vector Generator. He signs off abruptly, stating that he has company.

The Doctor slowly turns to see two Cybermen behind him. The Doctor questions why they got Bill to destroy the communications when it was that that they needed. The Doctor has deduced that the Cybermen fleet need a radio beam to focus on to navigate to Earth. The Cybermen confide that Bill was only supposed to destroy incoming communication. The Doctor invites the Cybermen in and then switches a machine on that he has rigged up. The Cyberman that has been caught up in the machine is deactivated whilst the one behind him cannot use his chest beam on him as the machine creates a force field. The Cyberman leaves to get reinforcements. Flannigan and Jamie emerge through the tunnels. The Doctor takes the Time Vector Generator from Jamie and says that he plans to incorporate it to the X-ray laser to boost its power and destroy the Cybermen fleet. Flannigan arms himself with quick-set plastic, and he and Jamie go off to seek more Cybermen.

In the Operations Room, Leo sees that the Cyberman fleet is drawing closer. The Doctor orders the laser to be pointed at the fleet and for Leo to wait for his orders.

Jamie and Flannigan make their way to the loading bay. On meeting a Cyberman and Vallance, Flannigan pretends to still be under Cybermen control.

Leo urges the Doctor to hurry.

Outside in space, the fleet is a large spaceship but also swarms of Cybermen marching through space.

Jamie and Flannigan seize their moment and put the protective plate on Vallance's head whilst Flannigan sprays the Cyberman with the quick-set plastic. The Cyberman is deactivated, but not before he can open the loading bay doors to reveal a stream of Cybermen ready to enter. Flannigan closes the doors but it is too late, the first Cyberman is holding the doors open.

The Doctor confirms with Leo that he is ready. Leo flicks the switch, and the Cyberman ship is destroyed.

In the loading bay, the surviving Cybermen are repelled by Flannigan turning on the neutron force field, which sucks them out to space.

Later Leo has taken control of the ship, and he is contacting Earth to explain what has happened. Things have got even better for him as he is now with Tanya.

On the rocket, Jamie is explaining to Zoe, who has escorted them, the very basics of the TARDIS. Zoe is upset that she is not being invited to join them.

The Doctor is refilling the TARDIS with mercury when Jamie joins him. They are about to set off when the Doctor sees a chest close behind Jamie and finds Zoe inside. Jamie is dead against Zoe joining them on their travels, but the Doctor is more open-minded and decides to test her. The Doctor puts on a telepathic projector, a device that reads his thoughts and projects them onto the scanner screen, and proceeds to show Zoe the most horrific foe he has just recently faced — the Daleks. As Zoe watches a man being gunned down by a Dalek, her face fills with horror.


Uncredited cast[[edit]]


Animation Unit[[edit]]


The Doctor[[edit]]

  • The Doctor gets his pseudonym of John Smith from Jamie, who sees it as a brand name on a medical device.



  • Cybermats are vulnerable to quick setting hyperoxide plastic.
  • The Cybermen have records of the Doctor and are aware of his history.
  • When they attack, the Cybermats' eyes glow.
  • The Cybermen of this time are able to bring people under their control with the tops of their helmets and fire their weapons from their chest units.



  • The TARDIS still has problems with its fluid links evaporating.

Story notes[[edit]]

  • The working title for this story was The Space Wheel.
  • This story marks the first appearance of the teardrop motif on the Cybermen's faces. This image would become iconic for the race, appearing on later redesigns before being retired in Earthshock and renewed in Rise of the Cybermen. Unlike future appearances, the "teardrops" appear on the centre of their mouths' bottoms as well as on the corners of their eyes.
  • This story is the first to have an incidental music score as well as sound effects provided by the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop.
  • Only episodes three and six of this six-part story exist in the BBC Archives. Episode six was transmitted from a 35mm black & white film telerecording and retained in the BBC Film Library (although episode five was not). This was because all studio material was telerecorded on film instead of being recorded on videotape, no VT copy of this episode ever existed. A private collector obtained a 16mm black & white film telerecording of episode three and returned it in 1983.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode one was accompanied by a line illustration of two Cybermen and a Cybermat by the artist Russell, along with a black-and-white head-and-shoulders shot of the Doctor, with the accompanying caption "At 5.15 today Dr. Who (Patrick Troughton) and the Tardis crew begin a new adventure which will bring them up against their old enemies the silver Cybermen". (original published text)
  • A clip from The Evil of the Daleks is used for a sequence in the TARDIS at the end of episode six, where the Doctor shows Zoe 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 episode six. However, the clip used is actually from the end of episode one, rather than the beginning of the extant episode two, meaning that this story contains a few frames of footage from the currently missing first episode of The Evil of the Daleks.
  • The incorporation of the repeat screening of The Evil of the Daleks into continuity remains a unique circumstance in the history of Doctor Who, and indeed perhaps television in general. Although "clip shows" are common, in which flashbacks to past episodes are featured and are sometimes (in science-fictional contexts) incorporated into the plot, this was a case where the production team actually incorporated a "reliving" of the events of a complete story into the continuity of the series.
    • The second novelisation of that story by Frazer Hines, released in 2023, also ran with this concept. The novelisation's primary narrative is framed as Zoe being shown the events in their entirety immediately following the end of The Wheel in Space. Effectively, the novelisation continues the story from where The Wheel in Space left off by expanding upon those scenes with Zoe and the telepathic projector, and slots in before Fear of the Daleks which takes place immediately after.
  • Patrick Troughton makes no appearance in episode two as he was on holiday during the week when it was recorded. The Doctor is seen only as an unconscious figure, with Chris Jeffries doubling for Troughton.
  • Similarly, Anne Ridler was not rehired for episode six after her character's death in the previous episode, so the deceased Gemma Corwyn is represented by a double and photographs of Ridler are used for close-ups of Corwyn's body.
  • Deborah Watling's appearance as Victoria in episode one was a recap from the end of the previous story, Fury from the Deep. Unusually, Watling received an on-screen credit for this appearance despite not having any lines.
  • The Cyber-Planner has exactly the same voice as the Cyber-Controller from The Tomb of the Cybermen.
  • Several characters were renamed to give the crew an international feel. Nell Corwyn became Gemma Corwyn; Tanya Lerner's surname was changed to the Russian Lernov; Tom Stone gained a promotion when he was rechristened Captain Leo Ryan; Harry Carby became the Italianate Enrico Casali; and Ken was switched to the Asian Chang.
  • Tristan de Vere Cole and Peter Bryant clashed on set, reportedly because de Vere Cole preferred to talk to the writers and script editor to make changes and not the producer and made changes to the script. Bryant would also later allege that de Vere Cole had exceeded his budget, and lodged a complaint with Shaun Sutton. De Vere Cole never directed for the show again.
  • This is the last story that voice actor Peter Hawkins worked on.
  • This is the last incomplete Doctor Who story to have tele-snaps and it is also the last story to be tele-snapped in its entirety. John Cura did take tele-snaps for The Dominators and The Mind Robber, but only for episodes one to four and episodes one to three respectively.
  • Anne Ridler barely made it through one scene after inadvertently damaging her sciatic nerve. As a result, she spent the rest of the serial on painkillers.
  • The Cyber Planner was originally envisaged as a regular Cyberman attached by wires to a special chair.
  • The John Smith alias was inspired by a stethoscope box bearing the label “John Smith & Associates”.
  • Two new Cybermen costumes were created for this serial, but during rehearsals, they proved problematic. The exoskeleton added by costume designer Martin Baugh did not work well, and the new vinyl material became visibly wrinkled. It was agreed that the outfits would have to be replaced for studio recording; a spray-painted wetsuit now made up the body of the costume, while the exoskeleton was simplified and reconfigured. The unusual three-fingered gloves were retained.

Production notes[[edit]]


  • Episode one - 7.2 million viewers
  • Episode two - 6.9 million viewers
  • Episode three - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode four - 8.6 million viewers
  • Episode five - 6.8 million viewers
  • Episode six - 6.5 million viewers


  • This story went considerably over budget. (It was one of the few stories of the second Doctor's era to come in under budget.)
  • There is a suspenseful scene in which the two Cybermen menace Zoe in the Wheel's library. (There is no such scene. The photographs that exist of this were specially posed for publicity purposes only.)
  • Only two Cyberman costumes were used in the making of this story. (A third was put together from stock for the sequence in episode six where a force of Cybermen space-walk toward the Wheel.)
  • Eric Flynn, who plays Leo Ryan in this story, was the son of Hollywood film star Errol Flynn. (Eric Flynn is no relation to Errol Flynn.)

Filming locations[[edit]]

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • The Cybermen's voices change drastically in episode three between their first scene and the cliffhanger. The sound box used for their voices had broken down.
  • During the scene in episode six where Jarvis Bennett is killed, the sound effect for the Cybermen's weapon is quietly but clearly audible throughout the scene, even when cutting between the corridor and the control room.
  • When Jarvis is killed, there is some sort of powder on the floor.
  • In episode six, when a Cyberman is instructing Vallance to poison the Wheel's air supply, a boom mic is visible on the top of the screen.
  • Patrick Troughton makes one of the series' all-time best line fluffs in episode six, when the Doctor earnestly entreats "We're all going to be killed shortly unless you switch over to sexual air supply." He meant to say "sectional air supply".
  • When the Doctor is pouring the mercury into the TARDIS console, part of one of the controls on the left panel is missing.
  • When Zoe is discovered hiding in the chest in the TARDIS, the background is simply TARDIS roundels painted on a draped cloth.


Home video and audio releases[[edit]]

DVD releases[[edit]]

BritBox availability[[edit]]

  • The story was made available on BritBox in the autumn of 2017.

VHS release[[edit]]

Audio releases[[edit]]

External links[[edit]]