Doctor Who: Season 8, Episode 1

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

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 187 users  
Reviews: 6 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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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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


| (original broadcast)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The working title for this story was The Spray of Death. 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 Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Very good story which introduces The Master (#55, Terror of the Autons)
20 January 2008 | by ( – See all my reviews

I love Robert Holmes, I love the Autons, I love The Master, I like Jo Grant, and I quite like this story, though it really could have been a lot better. "Terror of the Autons" is a very good story but not a flawless one, this is a story which suffers from a rushed ending, silly plot devices, and even some inexcusable Scooby Doo-like moments in which masks are pulled off to reveal the *yawn* unexpected.

The best part of this story, which is surprisingly light on any of the Auton-induced terror which its title promises (nothing here even comes close to the Autons attacking London in "Spearhead from Space", other than maybe that doll *shudder*), is undoubtedly the first appearance of The Master. Now, The Master may have been remembered by much of the mainstream as a pantomime villain (and apparently Russel T. Davies, who wrote John Simm as an annoyingly flamboyant and silly villain), but that is due to future interpretations of the character. Roger Delgado is nothing short of BRILLIANT as The Master. Cold, menacing, charming, deceptive, and intelligent, this is a proper VILLAIN. Delgado's death was a major loss for Doctor Who.

The Autons and Nestenes are fairly disappointing in this story as they are not really the villains. It would be their last appearance in Doctor Who right until the first story of the revived series "Rose". "Terror of the Autons" is well-written overall although not among Holmes' absolute best. The direction by the uncredited Barry Letts is okay. Katy Manning gets a good start in this story playing Jo Grant, an underrated companion in my opinion.

Episode Ratings:

Episode 1: 8/10 Episode 2: 9/10 Episode 3: 8/10 Episode 4: 7/10

Overall: Average rating amounts to 8/10 and I will stick with that rating for this story across its four episodes

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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