Doctor Who: Season 8, Episode 1

Terror of the Autons: Episode One (2 Jan. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 143 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 3 critic

When a Nestene Energy Unit is stolen and a radio telescope sabotaged, the Doctor is contacted by a Time Lord who tells him his old rival the Master is responsible.

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Title: Terror of the Autons: Episode One (02 Jan 1971)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Roger Delgado ...
...
Richard Franklin ...
...
Michael Wisher ...
Harry Towb ...
David Garth ...
Frank Mills ...
Radio Telescope Director
Christopher Burgess ...
Professor Philips
Andrew Staines ...
John Baskcomb ...
Dave Carter ...
Museum Attendant
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Storyline

When a Nestene Energy Unit is stolen and a radio telescope sabotaged, the Doctor is contacted by a Time Lord who tells him his old rival the Master is responsible.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

2 January 1971 (UK)  »

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| (original broadcast)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Norman Stanley replaced Haydn Jones. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Who: Look, I said I don't want any tea today, thank you.
Jo Grant: I'm not the tea lady.
Doctor Who: Then what the blazes are you doing in here? Don't you know this area is strictly out of bounds to everybody except the tea lady and the Brigadier's personal staff?
Jo Grant: I'm your new assistant.
Doctor Who: Oh, no.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Restoring 'The Aztecs' (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Master of Thrills
25 September 2014 | by (South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

Review of all 4 episodes:

The most notable aspect of this story is the arrival of The Master as an arch nemesis for The Doctor. This fellow renegade Time Lord is like Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes, an equally brilliant, intelligent regular adversary who is a bit like 'the other side of the same coin' with The Doctor. The idea of this character and the performance by Roger Delgado is absolutely fantastic. Even in this first story with the character though they do not get it perfectly right as he seems to change allegiances too quickly and easily without a fully satisfying reason. This is a minor quibble though and overall The Master and his plan to bring back to Nestenes, and their ability to turn plastic items into deadly living plastic Autons to attack humanity, provides terrific entertainment.

There is a level of terror and horror in this adventure, similar to its similar predecessor Spearhead From Space. Attacks by an inflatable chair, a telephone wire, plastic daffodils and especially a creepy child's doll are sinister and thrilling, creating some very memorable 'hide behind the sofa' moments that have lived in the minds of viewers ever since. Also the Auton dummies disguised as people have some great moments. In particular there is a great, spectacular stunt when an Auton is knocked down and falls dramatically, careering down a huge slope, apparently to its death, only to just get straight back up.

The regulars do well although it is sad that the character of The Doctor's 'assistant' Liz Shaw is replaced. Her replacement character Jo Grant goes on to be an endearing character but Liz Shaw was the better companion for The Doctor in my opinion.

The story is not perfect but the essence of it and the great new villain added to top class thrills, excellent acting and dialogue in general and good amounts of action make this a classic.


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