Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Terror of the Autons: Episode One 

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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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


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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Release Date:

2 January 1971 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


| (original broadcast)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The color master tapes of this four-part serial were wiped by the BBC in the 1970s and the BBC only held 16mm black and white telerecordings. The serial remained only in black in white until the 1990s, when the color signal from a domestic NTSC recording was used with the black and white telerecordings to create new color masters on D3 digital tape. See more »


Time Lord: I came to warn you. An old acquaintance has arrived on this planet.
Doctor Who: Oh, one of our people?
Time Lord: The Master.
Doctor Who: That jackanapes! All he ever does is cause trouble.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Terrible visual quality
18 April 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Review of the Complete Story:

TERROR OF THE AUTONS is a prime piece of Dr Who, made during the tenure of the late, great, Jon Pertwee. As a bonus it co-stars Nicholas Courtney as the beloved Brigadier, features the excellent Roger Delgado in his first appearance as the Master, and also stars companion Jo Grant (aka Katy Manning) in her first screen appearance. If all of that greatness wasn't enough, it's also a sequel to my personal favourite of all Dr Who stories, SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE.

A shame, then, that the BBC really dropped the ball on this one. They erased the colour tapes of the production back in the 1970s, leaving them with only a 16mm black and white print. Decades later they got hold of a colour NTSC version and combined the two sources, leading to this colour version we get today. I first saw this on VHS back in the day and thought it was simply a horrid transfer, but it turns out TERROR OF THE AUTONS just looks rubbish.

It looks like one of those old 1930s colourised films they did, but one in which the process went wrong somewhere. Every scene looks fake and like it was done on a green screen. The special effects bits are particularly bad. Even so, this is an enjoyable adventure, although it's both choppier in terms of story and sillier in terms of menace than its predecessor. Here, the Master is using the Nestene Consciousness to attack mankind with all manner of plastic madness. There are killer daffodils, miniature people, creepy Frank Sidebottom lookalikes, plus the oddest (and daftest) doll you'll ever see. It's all great fun, of course, and just a shame the BBC ruined the quality and took the shine off it.

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