Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Spearhead from Space: Episode 3 

Ransome manages to escape from the plastics factory and alert UNIT, prompting the Doctor and the Brigadier to start an investigation.




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Episode complete credited cast:
Hugh Burden ...
Hamilton Dyce ...
John Woodnutt ...
Derek Smee ...
Neil Wilson ...
Betty Bowden ...
Clifford Cox ...


Having seen Ransome on the factory premises, Channing, sends a robotic being - an Auton - to deal with him. The terrified Ransome however is stopped by the army and taken to UNIT headquarters. The Doctor and Liz Shaw are making little headway in the lab with the equipment available to them. Lethbridge-Stewart has the key to the TARDIS and it's up to Liz to get her hands on it. The TARDIS is out of commission however and after Ransome's report, the Doctor suggests a visit to the factory. They learn the factory has been producing shop window mannequins and shipping them across the country. Meanwhile, the poacher who found one of the cylindrical objects that fell from space seeks a reward for what he's found. The Autons are soon on to him. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

17 January 1970 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 8.3 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


When the Doctor leaves the UNIT tent, the "sky" goes all the way to the floor, revealing it to be a blue backcloth. See more »


Featured in Down to Earth: Filming Spearhead from Space (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Spearhead of a new era!
20 September 2014 | by (South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

Review of all 4 episodes:

Spearhead From Space marks perhaps the biggest combination of changes in Doctor Who history:

  • the change from the Patrick Troughton era to the Jon Pertwee era.

  • the change from black and white to colour.

  • the change from constant time and space travelling to an exile

leaving The Doctor stranded in contemporary Earth.

  • the change from two or three traditional companions to a whole

organisation (UNIT) regularly working with The Doctor.

These changes are made even more striking by the fact that Pertwee's Doctor, having been forced to regenerate as a punishment from the Time Lords, spends much of the early part of the story inactive in a hospital bed. Yet the story manages to be interesting enough and contains enough action, humour and thrills to make this big transition go very successfully.

The story involves the new Doctor finding himself stranded on Earth and suffering from regeneration then having to deal with an invasion attempt by the Nestene Consciousness using their power to control plastic, creating armies of shop dummies.

The production is a peach with a superb look (recorded beautifully on film rather than the usual video), excellent direction, well executed and thrilling special effects (shop dummies coming to life and attacking through shop windows etc.) believably and excitingly executed.

The acting and dialogue is very good and Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart) and Caroline John (Liz Shaw) do well in their roles beginning already to get audiences to sympathise and relate to them.

It is not perfect but it is perfectly entertaining and interesting with thrilling, scary moments.

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