Doctor Who: Season 8, Episode 11

The Claws of Axos: Episode One (13 Mar. 1971)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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When a mysterious object lands near the Nuton power complex, UNIT investigate and encounter the Axons, a group of aliens who offer the mineral axonite, which can duplicate matter, as a gift.



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Title: The Claws of Axos: Episode One (13 Mar 1971)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Delgado ...
Richard Franklin ...
Peter Bathurst ...
Paul Grist ...
Donald Hewlett ...
David Savile ...
Derek Ware ...
Michael Walker ...
1st Radar Operator
David G. Marsh ...
2nd Radar Operator (as David G. March)
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When a mysterious object lands near the Nuton power complex, UNIT investigate and encounter the Axons, a group of aliens who offer the mineral axonite, which can duplicate matter, as a gift.

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Release Date:

13 March 1971 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Master didn't appear in the original script. He was added by Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks, to the annoyance of 'Bob Baker' (II), as he did not feel that the Master fit well in the established plot. See more »


Referenced in Blue Peter: Episode #1.1052 (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Saved By The Director's Imagination
12 August 2010 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

The Claws Of Axos had a very troubled history . Originally written as a seven parter in 1969 and featuring the second Doctor it eventually got produced as a four parter for the third incarnation of The Doctor played by Jon Pertwee . Producer Barry Letts wasn't happy with Martin and Baker's original script calling it a " jumble of ideas " . The problem with the 1971 finished product is that narrative wise it's not much different from what you'd expect from an early 70s DOCTOR WHO story or a science fiction B movie

First of all the audience are one step ahead of the human characters . . We know fairly early on that the Axons are baddies but the humans are easily taken in by the gold Axon humanoids . Fair enough but what this means the audience are left twiddling their thumbs until the penny drops

The reason the humans are taken in is simple greed . Axonite can solve food shortages etc but the characters like Chinn , Hadimann and Winser are so broadly painted that they're almost pantomime characters . One great thing about season seven was that the bureaucrats like Maters and Sir Keith Gold were written and played with absolute conviction and you could believe in them as being real people . Not here though . Even the character of Pigbin Josh is written as comic relief

The story also suffers from a lack of budget . The inside of the organic Axonite spaceship is ... well not organic looking at all . It looks like it's composed of the stuff used to insulate walls of buildings . That's probably because that's what it is - Styrofoam . We also see a supposed tentacle grabbing Josh and later Filer that looks like it's made of plastic ( Go on guess ) and later on a tentacle that amazingly looks like a tentacle . Do you think it may have appeared in Spearhead From Space by any chance ?

That said the season suffered from overspending on the previous story The Mind Of Evil which probably qualifies for the most expensive story from the classic show with inflation adjusted and Michael Ferguson shows outstanding visual flourish for the story . It might not be to everyone's taste but this is a truly psychedelic story . The Axons are truly nightmarish creations thanks to the director , especially the eldritch whistling effect when they appear

What you think about this story is how you view the Pertwee era . I confess it's very run of the mill plot wise with aliens once again invading early 70s Britan on a Saturday . The regular cast are good and soldiers running around getting blown up by bulletproof aliens is always entertaining in my opinion and the director tries to bring great imagination to the story

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