THE WHEEL IN SPACE
by DAVID WHITAKER
from a story by KIT PEDLER
first broadcast - 27th April, 1968
1. NORTH SEA COAST
(The TARDIS hovers motionless over the sea, a few hundred yards from the coastline.)
2. INTERIOR, THE TARDIS
(JAMIE looks at the scanner, which shows a forlorn VICTORIA waving sadly from the beach. The DOCTOR sets the controls behind him.)
JAMIE: We can't just leave her!
DOCTOR: We're not leaving her, Jamie. It was her decision to stay.
DOCTOR: She'll be perfectly alright with the Harrises. Now don't worry so much.
JAMIE: I'm not, I'm just... och, come on, let's go.
DOCTOR: Well, where would you like to go?
JAMIE: Hmm? I couldn't care less.
(He stares at the DOCTOR for a moment, almost scornfully. The DOCTOR is hurt by the implied accusation.)
DOCTOR: I was fond of her too, you know, Jamie!
(He operates a control, and the TARDIS dematerialises. As the craft takes off, JAMIE miserably watches VICTORIA's form rapidly diminish.)
3. INTERIOR, THE TARDIS
(Some time later. The DOCTOR is at the controls; JAMIE stands nearby, not paying attention.)
DOCTOR: Jamie, we're landing... Jamie!
DOCTOR: We're landing!
(He sounds distinctly disinterested.)
DOCTOR: Let's have a look at the scanner, shall we?
(The DOCTOR turns on the scanner - the screen is totally blank. This does get JAMIE's attention.)
JAMIE: I thought you said we'd landed?
DOCTOR: Well yes, we are, but I... I seem to have lost the picture. Let's... try a little bit more power, shall we?
(He operates another control. Nothing happens.)
JAMIE: You sure you're pushing the right one?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course I am. Look at the fault indicator, will you? It's round there on the left.
(JAMIE looks at the display the DOCTOR is pointing out.)
JAMIE: Well it's alright here.
DOCTOR: No movement at all?
(The DOCTOR checks some of the other instruments.)
DOCTOR: Well, that's funny - the air's alright, the temperature's perfectly normal... there seems to be rather a lot of metal all around us...
JAMIE: What? Oh, you know I can't hear you when you talk to yourself!
DOCTOR: There we are, it's coming up now.
(They look at the scanner, which is now beginning to register. The picture slowly focuses to show an idyllic lake scene. Sunlight shines down on the
crystal-clear water, and a flock of cranes rises from the surface and flies gently away. The DOCTOR chuckles with pleasure.)
JAMIE: Hey, now that looks alright! Boy!... Look at it...
(The picture changes to an enormous moonlit waterfall.)
JAMIE: ...why, what's that?... The size of it!
DOCTOR: Well that's funny, it's changed to night now!
JAMIE: That's a wee bit quick, isn't it?...
(As they watch, the picture changes again, this time to a tropical island scene, with white sand on the beach and palms waving in a gentle breeze.)
JAMIE: Look, it's changed again! What's going on?
DOCTOR: Oh dear. Those pictures aren't what's happening outside, I'm certain of that.
JAMIE: Well why do they keep appearing then?
DOCTOR: They're temptations.
DOCTOR: The TARDIS is trying to warn us to get away from here to somewhere more pleasant. I must have pushed the wrong switch.
(JAMIE has been glancing back at the console, and quickly interrupts the DOCTOR.)
JAMIE: The red light's stopped flashing.
JAMIE: Something must be wrong!
(He looks at the fault indicator - its oscilloscope reading is showing a chaotic pattern.)
DOCTOR: Well the power's overloading... The power lines are overloading!
(He looks frantically as vapour begins leaking out from the panels under the central column, then something in the console explodes, sending clouds of gas
pouring into the control room. The DOCTOR yells.)
DOCTOR: The fluid link's gone!
JAMIE: Doctor, come over here!
(They both head for the far wall, coughing and spluttering in the fumes. The gas is now almost filling the room.)
DOCTOR: The mercury's vapourising! We've got to get out of here, come on!
JAMIE: But how?
(They struggle towards the main doors. The DOCTOR presses a panel near the doors, and a concealed wall panel opens. A small, rod-shaped component is
connected inside the panel.)
DOCTOR: Hold on to me.
JAMIE: What are you going to do?
(Gas is still flooding into the room, and the DOCTOR and JAMIE can hardly breathe. The DOCTOR disconnects the rod-like component. The control room groans,
pulses, and begins to shrink in size; the central console fills more and more of the available space and threatens to crush the two travellers. The doors also
shrink; as soon as they are small enough, the DOCTOR pushes them open and he and JAMIE dive through to safety.)
4. EXTERIOR, THE TARDIS
(They emerge, still coughing and spluttering, into a narrow metal-walled corridor. The TARDIS stands against one wall; an open hatchway stands a short
distance down the corridor.)
JAMIE: What happened to the TARDIS?
DOCTOR: I disengaged the time vector generator.
JAMIE: The what?
DOCTOR: Well once removed, it alters the size of the TARDIS. The inside becomes an ordinary telephone box again. Come along, come and sit down.
(JAMIE, still suffering the effects of the mercury vapour, sits on a nearby ledge.)
DOCTOR: If I hadn't have done, the mercury vapour would have killed us.
(JAMIE looks around and take in the surroundings.)
JAMIE: Well where are we?
DOCTOR: Well... it looks like the motor section of some sort of rocket.
JAMIE: A rocket?
(Now recovered, he gets to his feet again.)
DOCTOR: Yes. Yes, there's an artificial gravity system too.
JAMIE: What does that do?
DOCTOR: Well, it's what keeps us on our feet. Otherwise we'd be floating around.
JAMIE: Oh. There's no water around, is there?
DOCTOR: Water? No, not in here, Jamie.
DOCTOR: There's no movement either, is there?
JAMIE: We're on the ground, then.
DOCTOR: Yes, I expect so.
(He suddenly sucks in his breath.)
JAMIE: What's the matter?
(The DOCTOR digs frantically in his pockets.)
JAMIE: Well don't keep me in suspense, what's the matter?
(The DOCTOR quickly pulls out a paper bag, and hold it out to JAMIE.)
DOCTOR: Have a lemon sherbet. It'll quench your thirst.
(JAMIE gives the DOCTOR a death stare, and takes a sweet.)
(Moments later. The DOCTOR and JAMIE investigate another corridor in the rocket.)
JAMIE: Doctor, the warning mechanism obviously thought there was something wrong out here, but what? I mean, everything's so... dead, isn't it?
(The DOCTOR notices marks on the ground ahead.)
DOCTOR: Hey, Jamie!
(He examines the mark, which stretches in a straight line along the corridor towards a closed hatch.)
DOCTOR: It's a track! Why, that's oil - it must be some sort of machine! It's recent, too.
JAMIE: Well, I wonder what that would...
(As he talks, he follows the track to the hatch and absent-mindedly presses a button on the wall. The hatch slides open with a loud electronic hum. JAMIE
jumps back in surprise, then cautiously approaches the door. It leads to another section of corridor, similar to this one. They both go through the hatchway.)
(They emerge into the next corridor. The oil tracks lead to a closed door in the wall at the far end of the corridor. The DOCTOR and JAMIE advance stealthily
to the far door, passing two closed hatches in the wall on their right; the DOCTOR listens carefully at the door.)
JAMIE: D'you open the door?
DOCTOR: No, no. There may be something on the other side.
(He turns to examine a bank of monitors just to the left of the door.)
DOCTOR: Here we are.
(The DOCTOR fiddles with a few controls, and one of the screens lights up to show the room beyond the door - it appears to be a control room, a large area
covered in shadows. A small cockpit is in the foreground, filled with controls and computer banks. The whole room looks deserted.)
JAMIE: Looks safe enough.
DOCTOR: Yes - now what caused the defence mechanism of the TARDIS to register danger then, hm? And where's the crew? And what's this track? There's
plenty of air in there. Let's try and get in.
(He tries a number of controls. JAMIE tries to help, but the DOCTOR waves him away with a chuckle.)
JAMIE: I'll... look up here, then.
(JAMIE goes over to the two closed hatches in the right-hand wall. He pushes a button to open the first - the room beyond is stacked full of metal
containers. He glances at a few labels, then shuts the door. Behind him, the DOCTOR gives up with the monitor controls and goes to open the second hatch.)
JAMIE: Stores in that one.
DOCTOR: It's living quarters here.
(They go in, shutting the hatch behind them.)
(The room they enter is a living cabin for two people. Two bunks are pushed against the right wall, with a table and two padded chairs occupying the middle
of the room. Against the far wall is a dispensing machine. JAMIE goes to the machine and reads a label.)
JAMIE: Ah - water!
8. CONTROL ROOM
(Inside the rocket's control room, something emerges from the shadows. It is a small, squat object, metallic but built in a humanoid shape, with head, chest
and short legs - clearly a ROBOT. A light on its shoulder starts flashing at some unseen signal and it emits a grating variably-pitched electronic noise. It
trundles along the oil tracks to the door; a sensor lights up and the door slides open. It moves silently into the corridor.)
(The DOCTOR stands by the cabin's observation port, at present covered with a small metal screen, which he is in the process of unscrewing.)
JAMIE: I'd have thought a rocket this size would have carried more than two people.
DOCTOR: Yes, Jamie, it does. It carries four - two on duty and two resting.
JAMIE: Oh, the TARDIS must have gone mad, then. I mean, there's nothing on board here, so there's no danger.
(The DOCTOR has now removed the metal cover, and is looking through the port.)
DOCTOR: Isn't there? We're just drifting, Jamie - drifting aimlessly in space.
(He stands back for JAMIE to look - the observation port shows only distant stars and the blackness of space.)
DOCTOR: Perhaps that's what the TARDIS was trying to warn us about.
JAMIE: What's it matter?
DOCTOR: Matter? We're just a piece of space flotsam, don't you realise that?
JAMIE: Well alright, stick your rod... dimen-
DOCTOR: Time vector generator.
JAMIE: Aye, stick it back in, and we'll float off somewhere else!
DOCTOR: No, it's not as sa- simple as that, Jamie. The fluid, hm? We need mercury to refill it, don't we?
JAMIE: Well there must be some on board here, surely?
DOCTOR: Yes - I hope so.
JAMIE: Well there's got to be!
DOCTOR: What's happened to the crew? They haven't just gone out for a little constitutional, you know.
JAMIE: Well, we won't find that out till we look inside that control room, will we?
(Away from the corridor by the control room, the ROBOT still trundles along the oil tracks, its sensors emitting the occasional electronic bleep.)
(The DOCTOR returns from the corridor outside to join JAMIE.)
DOCTOR: Well I've searched my side; there's not a drop of mercury anywhere.
JAMIE: Me too. No, the only place we haven't searched is that control room.
DOCTOR: Well, we'll have a breather, and then we'll try in there.
JAMIE: And perhaps we'll find some food in that machine as well.
(He indicates the dispensing machine.)
DOCTOR: I can give you another lemon drop.
JAMIE: Er, something a bit more substantial, please!
DOCTOR: What d'you fancy?
JAMIE: Well right now I'd like a nice plate of roast beef with all the trimmings.
DOCTOR: I'll see what I can do, hm?
JAMIE: Eh? Ah now Doctor, where are you gonna find a plate of roast beef on this place?
(The DOCTOR smiles, walks over to the dispenser and presses some buttons.)
JAMIE: What you doing?
DOCTOR: Roast beef, you said?
(The machine starts humming.)
JAMIE: (Dubiously.) Well yes.
DOCTOR: What vegetables, hm?
JAMIE: Potatoes and cabbage.
DOCTOR: ...And cabbage.
(He presses more buttons.)
DOCTOR:What about a drop of fruit salad?
JAMIE: Fruit salad, yes!
(The DOCTOR chuckles in anticipation.)
DOCTOR: And I'll have some pork, potatoes and carrots. And, uh, I'll have a drop of ice-cream.
(The machine hums and whirrs, and two plates with foil-wrapped cubes of food substitute emerge from a slot, complete with paper napkins. The DOCTOR proudly
carries the plates to the table. He sits, and stuffs a paper napkin into his collar.)
DOCTOR: There we are. Now, what about the gravy?
JAMIE: I don't think so.
(He looks disdainfully at the food cubes.)
DOCTOR: Am I supposed to eat this?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course, it'll be delicious.
JAMIE: I've heard of a square meal, but this is ridiculous!
DOCTOR: Sit down and eat up.
(JAMIE sits in the vacant chair and starts eating one of the cubes.)
JAMIE: Doctor, what do you think Victoria's doing now?
DOCTOR: Now?... Time is relative, Jamie. If I knew when 'now' was, I might be able to hazard a guess.
JAMIE: You know what I mean.
DOCTOR: Well she's decided to stay in a good historical period - very few wars, great prosperity - she'll be happy enough. This is very filling, isn't
(He finishes his 'meal'.)
JAMIE: Well, what do we do now?
DOCTOR: Well, when we've digested our dinner we'll have another try to get into the control room.
JAMIE: Oh, well while you do that, I'm going to have a wee lie down.
(He spreads himself out on the bottom bunk.)
JAMIE: Tell me, though - what do you think happened to the crew?
DOCTOR: I don't know, Jamie. Wish I did. I suppose they've been overtaken by some disaster or other. Perhaps we'll find out when we get into the control
(The ROBOT continues along its path. It comes to the door which JAMIE had opened. It stops, as if puzzled; its sensors and shiver and probe the surroundings.
Then the ROBOT shuffles on through the doorway and continues along the next corridor.)
(The DOCTOR looks through a small pocket telescope at the stars outside the observation port.)
DOCTOR: Well, uh... at least we don't seem to be in any immediate danger, Jamie. But I would like to know...
(He breaks off as he turns and sees JAMIE fast asleep on the bunk.)
14. EXTERIOR, THE TARDIS
(The ROBOT moves through the motor section and comes to the TARDIS. It scans the strange object meticulously with its sensors. Then it moves on, back to the
door which JAMIE had opened. It goes through and turns; sensors light up and the door closes. A rod then protrudes from the ROBOT's chest panel; it fires an
optical beam around the edge of the doorway, sealing it shut. The ROBOT continues its path back towards the control room.)
(The DOCTOR moves to the closed cabin door. As he prepares to open it, he pauses and listens, convinced he has heard a noise outside. After a moment, he
cautiously opens the door.)
(The DOCTOR emerges into the deserted corridor. He bends down to examine the oil marks, and finds them covered in fresh oil. Standing up, he moves quietly to
the monitor bank, and operates the screen for the control room. This time, the screen shows only static.)
17. CONTROL ROOM
(The ROBOT, now back in the control room, shuffles into the small cockpit area. There are computer panels ahead and to the side, with an unusually large dial
dominating the panel ahead. The ROBOT moves forward, a cable stretching out from its chest to connect with the computers. The control panel comes to life;
lights flicker and dials begin to register. A switch flicks automatically, and the craft lurches to one side.)
(Leaning over the monitor screen, the DOCTOR is caught by surprise by the sudden movement. He is thrown across the corridor with a yell, hits his head on the
far wall and falls to the ground.)
19. EXTERIOR, THE ROCKET
(In the endless depths of space, the rocket can be seen steadily changing course.)
(JAMIE has been thrown from the bunk by the sudden movement. He picks himself up, looks around, and sees the DOCTOR missing. He staggers over to the open
(JAMIE emerges from the cabin to find the DOCTOR slumped against the far wall, dazed and nursing his head.)
JAMIE: Doctor, what's happening?
(The DOCTOR has difficulty speaking, sounding clearly concussed.)
DOCTOR: Hit my head... oh!
JAMIE: We're moving - the rocket's moving!
DOCTOR: Yes, I know, there's someone in the control room.
JAMIE: Well, let's have a look.
DOCTOR: No, no, Jamie. We've got to get back to the TARDIS - it's the only safe place.
JAMIE: But Doctor, the mercury stuff!
DOCTOR: Never mind that.
(The DOCTOR moved painfully towards the door leading to the motor section. JAMIE helps him, then tries to open the door. It is stuck fast.)
JAMIE: It won't open!
(He sees the scorch marks left by the ROBOT's ray-like device.)
JAMIE: Doctor, someone's sealed the door!
DOCTOR: My head!
JAMIE: Easy... back here... in the cabin...
(JAMIE helps the DOCTOR back to the cabin area.)
(The DOCTOR is almost unable to move by himself. JAMIE helps him through the door and onto the bunk. The DOCTOR moans in pain and disorientation.)
DOCTOR: Lock it, Jamie, lock it!
(JAMIE shuts and locks the hatch leading to the corridor outside.)
JAMIE: Easy... Doctor, you alright? Doctor?
(The DOCTOR has lapsed into unconsciousness.)
23. CONTROL ROOM
(The course change completes. The rocket stops moving, and the ROBOT disconnects itself from the navigation console. It then shuffles out of the cockpit to
the centre of the control room, where a long cylindrical metal pod lies on the floor. The ROBOT's sensors flash, and the pod slowly splits open along its
length, revealing its contents - a number of smooth, white, egg-shaped objects suspended in a wire frame.
A hatchway opens in the wall, and the pod steadily slides into the small airlock beyond. The internal door closes, and another opens on the outside. As air
rushes out of the airlock, the eggs slowly float out of the cylinder and out through the open hatchway into space, forming a long procession. The hatchway
The ROBOT watches in silence as the eggs form a line and move off towards some destination. It then turns to a monitor screen. Its sensors flash, and the
screen lights up. It shows a giant wheel-shaped space station.)
(The observation port now also shows the Wheel space station. JAMIE looks at the object in amazement, and fails to notice the DOCTOR stirring behind him.
Still dazed, the DOCTOR shakes his head, rises unsteadily to his feet and heads for the door.)
JAMIE: Doctor, there's a great big silver thing out here!
(With JAMIE's attention still fixed on the port, the DOCTOR unlocks and opens the cabin door, and moves into the corridor.)
(The one confused thought in the DOCTOR's concussed mind is that of JAMIE's safety.)
DOCTOR: Into the TARDIS... I've got to get him to safety... oh!
(He holds his head and groans. Then, arriving at the still-sealed door, he takes the time vector generator from his pocket and removes the black tip from one
end. Inside is a glowing tip, almost like a torch. He points this at the edge of the door - the device hums, and the DOCTOR traces round the outline of the
door, melting the ROBOT's sealant.
As he finishes, he senses a movement behind him. He turns. The ROBOT is bearing down on him, the rod-like laser extending from its chest. Too weak to resist,
the DOCTOR cowers back against the door as the ROBOT advances.)
(JAMIE is still staring out of the observation port.)
JAMIE: Doctor, you must see this!
(Hearing no reply, JAMIE finally turns to see the DOCTOR gone, his blanket dumped on the floor by the bunk and the door open. He picks up the blanket, and
sets off through the door to find the DOCTOR.)
(JAMIE emerges to see the ROBOT bearing down on the helpless DOCTOR. Thinking quickly, JAMIE flings the blanket over the squat ROBOT, then shoves it with all
his strength against the wall. He runs to drag the DOCTOR back.)
JAMIE: Back to the cabin, quick!
(JAMIE shuts and locks the door behind them, and helps the DOCTOR back to the bunk.)
JAMIE: Easy... easy.
(The ROBOT recovers its balance, and with a blasting noise, the blanket is violently hurled down the corridor in little pieces. It aims its laser at the
cabin door and starts burning a hole.)
(The DOCTOR hears the hole burning in the door. He takes out the time vector generator and hands it to JAMIE.)
DOCTOR: Jamie... take this... it's... a gun... like a torch... have to be careful... oh!
(He collapses back on the bed.)
(The ROBOT has melted a small hole in the door. As the hole grows bigger, JAMIE appears on the side of the door. He points the time vector generator at the
ROBOT and fires. The results are spectacular - the ROBOT is blown across the corridor at high velocity, hits the far wall and falls apart.)
(JAMIE admires his handiwork, then turns to the DOCTOR.)
JAMIE: Oh, we're alright for the time being. But listen, you, no more gallivanting about till I say so. Alright? Doctor? Doctor?
(The DOCTOR has again fallen unconscious. JAMIE returns to the observation port, which still shows the giant space station.)
33. WHEEL OPERATIONS ROOM
(The control room of the space station, W3, is a hive of activity. Technicians and scientists monitor an array of instruments; all are standing in the
Wheel's artificial gravity. Banks of instruments and computers surround the central floor area. To the right, a raised platform stands in front of the exit. LEO
RYAN, an Australian, sits by the monitors, with British doctor GEMMA CORWYN standing just behind him. TANYA LERNOV, a Russian scientist, monitors another set of
instruments, while the Italian ENRICO CASALI sits by the radios.)
LEO: Hold. Get a fix on that.
GEMMA: It's not moving now.
TANYA: Crossover zero.
LEO: Triangulate it, Rico. How's it now. Tanya?
(GEMMA glances at TANYA's instruments.)
GEMMA: The same.
TANYA: Just a slight drift.
LEO: No, no the movement isn't real, it's just an illusion caused by slight polar precession.
(JARVIS BENNETT strides in and stands on the raised command platform. The crew are briefly silent in respect to the Station Commander. BENNETT speaks with an
BENNETT: How's our mystery rocket?
GEMMA: Suddenly lifeless.
LEO: Doesn't make sense, sir. It must have been driven by something.
GEMMA: No radio contact.
BENNETT: I'm not surprised. I've just checked out its description on the register. It's a Phoenix Mark IV. Name 'Silver Carrier'.
TANYA: The register's even. No crossover reading now.
LEO: No, it's definitely stopped moving.
GEMMA: 'Silver Carrier'?
BENNETT: Supply ship for Station Five. Reported overdue nine weeks ago. (Laughs.) It's only about eighty or ninety million miles off course!
LEO: Try radio contact again, Rico.
(He speaks into the radio transmitter.)
ENRICO: Station Three to Silver Carrier. Station Three to Silver Carrier. Call sign LX88J, repeat, call sign LX88J. Come in please... Nothing.
GEMMA: It couldn't have drifted all that way, Jarvis.
BENNETT: No, it couldn't.
TANYA: Try the emergency again, Leo?
LEO: Station Three to Silver Carrier. Call switched with red band to operate the emergency transmitter.
GEMMA: You think their radio's gone?
TANYA: In case.
BENNETT: Good procedure. I'm afraid we're wasting our time, but waste it we must.
LEO: Any reaction, Tanya?
TANYA: No. Nothing. No movement at all.
GEMMA: How does Silver Carrier turn up in this part of the cosmos?
BENNETT: Something happens to the crew. One of them puts on the automatic. The rocket's travelled so far now, the power feedback to automatic is probably
LEO: Yes, that's possible.
BENNETT: It could start up and start moving again at any minute.
GEMMA: And the crew?
BENNETT: A dozen and one things.
LEO: Well, we've tried everything, sir - we can't raise a sound!
BENNETT: Trouble is, if I'm right about that automatic - and I think I am - that rocket could suddenly accelerate and whip straight towards us.
(He studies the instruments.)
BENNETT: There can't be any life on board there, can there?
(The Silver Carrier hangs motionless in space, with the Wheel nearby.)
35. EXTERIOR, THE WHEEL
(The small white egg-like objects float towards the space station, and begin colliding with the outer rim. As they hit, they appear to be drawn in through
the station's rim with a popping noise.)
36. OPERATIONS ROOM
(TANYA looks at her instruments.)
TANYA: I'm getting something. Like - small meteorites... hitting our outer rim!
37. EXTERIOR, THE WHEEL
(The eggs continue to collide with the Space Station, each making the same popping sound as it hits.)
38. OPERATIONS ROOM
(As another egg hits, TANYA speaks.)
TANYA: There's another drop in air pressure!
GEMMA: It can't be meteorites, we'd have had some warning.
TANYA: Well, something - look!
(She points to a dial.)
TANYA: Jumping all over the place!
BENNETT: It's obvious. We must take it some minor objects have escaped from the Silver Carrier. Objects of small mass and high density.
GEMMA: Then these objects would be clinging close to the rocket, Jarvis, not descending on us!
BENNETT: It doesn't matter, Gemma, it really doesn't. Don't start looking for mysteries. I can't risk that rocket homing on this station.
GEMMA: What are you going to do?
BENNETT: In a few moments, you're going to experience a sight rarely seen by human beings. Leo, is that projector on standby?
LEO: Yes, sir, moving into position now.
(The hum of motors is heard as LEO moves some controls.)
GEMMA: Jarvis, what are you going to do?
BENNETT: Turn the X-ray laser on the Silver Carrier. In a few moments you're going to witness the complete destruction of a rocket in space!
39. EXTERIOR, THE WHEEL
(The huge cannon-like form of the Station's laser swings itself around, and aims directly at the Silver Carrier.)
(On the Silver Carrier, JAMIE still stands and watches the Space Station through the observation port...)
Title Music by
Special Sounds by
BBC Radiophonic Workshop
TRISTAN de VERE COLE