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Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons (Story 55)

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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(May 10, 2011)
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$89.99 $74.00

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Editorial Reviews

"I have come to destroy you Doctor, once and for all!" The Earth is in terrible danger! The Master is back with an evil scheme to destroy humanity and silence the Doctor forever. His plan: To awaken the awesome power of the Nestene-a ruthlessly aggressive alien life form. Once mixed with plastic, they will form into faceless automatons, a willing army of destruction easily controlled by the evil Time Lord himself. This is the terrible threat now facing the Earth-the terror of the Autons. Aided by the Brigadier and his enthusiastic new assistant, Jo Grant, only the Doctor can combat their evil power, but first he must defeat the Master... Originally transmitted in color January 2nd-23rd 1971, this four part adventure starring Jon Pertwee was lost in its original form. Only a black and white version and an edited color American NTSC standard version remained until now when technology worthy of the Doctor himself has reconciled the two, synchronising them into one full color version.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, Katy Manning, John Levene
  • Writers: Robert Holmes
  • Producers: Barry Letts
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2011
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004L9GMBW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,903 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I am the Reviewer, and you will read this. You will read this... you will read this...
One year after the events of Spearhead From Space, the Doctor has to deal with the Autons again, because a surviving Nestene energy unit that the Brigadier loaned to a museum has been stolen by his arch-enemy, the Master. The Master, a Time Lord like the Doctor, plans to use the globe and a radio telescope to broadcast a signal to invite the Nestenes to victory where they failed before. He also commandeers a plastics factory run by the weak-minded Rex Farrell. Anyone whom he can't hypnotize, he dispatches in ruthless ways, as he does with Mr. McDermott and Mr. Farrell's father. The Doctor, meanwhile, gets a new assistant, the clumsy but adorable Jo Grant, and is drawn into the crisis upon hearing of a raid on a radio telescope research center. Thus begins the opening story of Season Eight, Terror Of The Autons, a classic of classics.
The scene of a Time Lord in a suit, bowler hat, and brolley appearing in mid-air with the noise of a materializing TARDIS borders on the surreal. He and the Doctor trade barbs, but the newcomer is here to warn him about the Master.
Katy Manning, as the cute, blonde, clumsy, and kooky Jo Grant, made her debut here and she's one of the reasons why the Pertwee era is my favorite in the series' history. The miniskirts would come much later, but this is a taste of this season and the ninth and tenth seasons. She accidentally ruins one of his experiments, and the Doctor, who calls her a "hamfisted bun vendor," for that mistake, demands that the Brigadier get rid of her. Jo proves herself worthy by procuring some much-needed parts for him. She eventually becomes one of his longest serving and most beloved assistants.
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Format: VHS Tape
This Jon Pertwee tale has a notorious reputation - it is the story that brought Dr Who its first big controversy. Depicting murderous policemen, dolls and daffodils, it sparked outcry, outrage and was even discussed in parliament. Oh, how it was corrupting the kiddies of Britain! They would be too scared of going to bed with their teddy bears or approaching a police officer! Cue Mary Whitehouse, who would later bring forth her tirades against the evil, godless programme, crusading as an ambassador for all that's good and nice. (Mrs Whitehouse always brings out this reviewer's sarcastic side!) Today such a story would not raise a single eyebrow - it really shouldn't have way back in 1971. It wasn't until the 1980s that violence became a real problem for Dr Who - the Jon Pertwee era is in fact one of the most "cleanest" periods of the show when it came to violence - death was always bloodless, "laser gun" style. However, I will concede that "Terror of the Autons" DOES has disturbing images. The idea of daffodils coming alive and suffocating people is one of them. One of the story's most memorable and vivid scenes is when McDermott is slowly smothered by the plastic chair. The Autons walking about in their freakish carnival masks is another. However, this is a credit to Robert Holmes, one of the series' best writers. For isn't that the purpose of science fiction? To stretch our imaginations and present outlandish scenarios? They may be disturbing, but they leave an impact on the viewer. That is what "Terror of the Autons" achieves overall. The story is basically a sequel to the excellent "Spearhead From Space", the first Nestene/Auton story.Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
Terror of the Autons is not only my favouite story of the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who, but it is also my favourite Doctor Who story of all time. The story not only brings back the Nestine Autons, but it also marks the first appearance of the Doctor's "best enemy". The Master. The Doctor, with the help of UNIT must figure out a way to stop the Master from channeling the entire Nestine Invasion fleet to Earth before it's too late. Jon Pertwee's performance as the Doctor is dead posh and the scenes between him and Roger Delgado (the Master) are such a treat to watch. Although all the Doctor/Master stories I've seen thus far have been nothing short of great, this one is the first and by far, the best out of all of them. A must have for not only fans of Jon Pertwee, but fans of Doctor Who in general.
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Format: DVD
This is a watershed story for several reasons. It introduces both Jo Grant and The Master and the Pertwee/Letts formula really gels as the production team hits its second-season stride. Except for the 4-part 'Spearhead from Space' the four stories in Pertwee's first season were far too long and padded, running 7 episodes each. One slightly clunky seven-parter like 'Ambassadors of Death' and there's more than a quarter of the season gone.
The Doctor also has further interaction with the Time Lords plus the story was notoriously deemed too scary for its young viewers (not by the kids, of course, but by media and 'family values' watchdogs.) Policemen turn out to be Autons, Auton flowers shoot gas, and a little rubber devil comes to life and kills people. Good stuff.
This may be the finest story of the Pertwee era, or at least among the top 5.
Finally on DVD. Buy it!
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