Tag Archives: Autons

Doctor Who Serial 055 – Terror of the Autons

Synopsis: The Master arrives on Earth stealing the Nestine Consciousness and planting himself in a plastics factory.

vlcsnap-2014-04-11-18h42m52s59This is the first time we meet The Master, an old childhood friend of The Doctor’s, who has turned evil.

It’s also the first time we encounter Time Lords other than The Doctor since War Games. There’s both The Master, and another Time Lord pops in to warn The Doctor wearing a bowler hat and suit. Not the most Time Lordy outfit.

We don’t know much of The Master’s intentions, but he is intent on causing disruptions in the lives of humans and The Doctor.

We are also introduced to Jo Grant. Liz is suddenly gone without explanation, and instead we are introduced to a young woman eager to be The Doctor’s new assistant. Jo Grant is a funny looking woman wearing a mullet a la Linda McCartney. She’s an idiot. She’s boring. And most importantly, based on this one story, she’s a horrible companion compared to Liz.

Liz was intelligent, and challenged The Doctor. Liz was skeptical and humorous.

Jo is stupid.

vlcsnap-2014-04-11-18h43m54s169In this story, The Doctor once against must face the Autons. A race of plastic people that are the precursor for the Nestine’s invasion of Earth. The Master is helping them out.

This leads to one of the worst endings in Doctor Who history. Our buddy The Master is excited that the plan is working, and the Nestine are about to arrive. The Doctor tells him that they won’t distinguish between The Master and the humans. The Master looks alarmed and suddenly helps The Doctor.

Of course, their solution is to “reverse the polarity.”

It’s an awkward ending.

The Master escapes, but can’t get far, as The Doctor had stolen his dematerialization circuit, which unfortunately does not work in The Doctor’s TARDIS.

The ending feels like it needs The Master to shout out, “I’ll get you next time Gadget, next time!”

Doctor Who Serial 051 – Spearhead From Space

Synopsis: The Doctor, having just regenerated, finds himself on exiled on Earth helping UNIT. Strange objects have fallen from the sky, as a forerunner for the Nestines to conquer Earth.

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Hello Jon Pertwee.

Though most of episode one has The Doctor unconscious, we quickly get a good idea of who The Doctor is now. He’s tricky, he’s clever, and he loves a bit of action.

We get reintroduced to UNIT who are investigating falling meteorite, they also find the unconscious Doctor along with the TARDIS. This gets Brigadier General Lethbridge-Stewart excited, thinking The Doctor has returned. He finds out about this while interviewing a young woman named Liz Shaw, so he brings her with.

Sadly, the man in the hospital bed does not look like The Doctor, but he recognizes Lethbridge-Stewart.

We learn The Doctor has two hearts for the first time.

The Doctor gets kidnapped by some strangers, but quickly breaks free, and tries to get to the TARDIS, only to be shot by the UNIT guards.

They take The Doctor back to the hospital where the physician says, “He’s more unconscious than anyone I’ve ever seen!” Which is the most amazing line of dialogue, ever.

In an excellent scene, The Doctor hides from the hospitals doctors in the staff room then steals clothing from them. This scene will be riffed upon in “The Eleventh Hour.”

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The production quality is vastly different than the previous seasons. They reduced the number of episodes from forty-something to a more manageable twenty-something. This serial, is a bit unique in that it was completely filmed on location on film. Usually Doctor Who has a few scenes filmed on location on 16mm, and the rest is video taped in studio. This makes for a very drastic change in Doctor Who.

The mystery of the fallen spheres takes a back seat to reintroducing The Doctor, Lethbridge-Stewart, and introducing Liz Shaw.

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Creepy dude is creepy.

Episode four seems to finally get into the plot, where the plastics company is making models for Madame Tussaud’s, oddly though of top civil servants, not of famous people.

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Perhaps what make Jon Pertwee so great of a Doctor is the elasticity of his face. He’s able to bring a great level of comedy to Doctor Who.

The comparisons to “Rose” are really easy. Both Spearhead From Space and “Rose” are the start of a new era of Doctor Who. Both feature the same baddies and have shop window dummies go on a killing spree. In both stories we have to learn to love a new Doctor. I think in some ways “Rose” is better, and in other Spearhead From Space is better.

I don’t know if there’s a lot of comparison between Christopher Eccelston’s version of The Doctor and Jon Pertwee’s. Eccelston plays a damaged man who is looking for a bit of fun. Pertwee is trying to remember who he is, and hoping to run away.

In the end, these are two great Doctor Who stories.