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:
Hamilton Dyce ...
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 »


At 10 min and 20 seconds. The Brigadier and Miss Shaw are watching the TARDIS waiting for it to disappear. As the camera pans out, an arm and a white shirt can be seen on the left just going behind the TARDIS. See more »


Featured in What Lies Beneath (2008) 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 and subsequently getting injured, 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 his regeneration then having to deal with an invasion attempt by the Nestene Consciousness using their power to control plastic and 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 by Derek Martinus and thrilling special effects (shop dummies coming to life and attacking through shop windows etc.) believably and excitingly executed.

The story is brilliantly written by Robert Holmes with superb plotting and dialogue. The acting from Pertwee and the whole cast is impeccable. Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart) and Caroline John (Liz Shaw) do fantastically well in their roles beginning already to get audiences to strongly sympathise and relate to them.

It is not absolutely perfect but it is perfectly entertaining and interesting with thrilling, scary moments. All 4 Episodes 10/10.

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