The six-part serial is the grand finale of 1967-68’s fifth season, Patrick Troughton’s first full season as the Doctor after taking over the role from William Hartnell in the fall of ’66.
Long renowned for being incomplete, due to the BBC’s penchant for erasing content before the age of home video, “The Wheel in Space” has been restored using “tele-snaps,” on-set photos inserted against complete audio tracks. Only parts 3 and 6 are complete as originally filmed.
The story features the Cybermen, a classic Doctor Who villain who also appeared in the season-opening serial, “The Tomb of the Cybermen” — itself once thought lost, until a Hong Kong broadcaster returned complete recordings to the BBC in the early ’90s and it was at last released on VHS tape.
Other missing serials recently have been restored and released through various means, including Troughton’s “Power of the Daleks,” which was completely animated and released on television last year. Before that, “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear,” also starring Troughton, were found to be mostly complete and released on DVD. They all are available to stream on the BritBox service.
BritBox costs $6.99 per month and offers a weeklong free trial to newcomers.
They’ve brought a semblance of order to nearly three decades of Doctor Who content where other services like Netflix struggled to do so, organizing the episodes of each serial into their proper numbered seasons, and also sorting them by “Doctor” as well as offering themed playlists such as “The Cybermen,” “The Daleks,” “The Master,” newcomer-essentials primers curated for each era of the show, extras such as the unaired version of the original pilot episode, and documentary programs and spinoffs.