Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Spearhead from Space: Episode 1 

As the newly regenerated Doctor arrives on Earth, so does the Nestene.


Derek Martinus


Robert Holmes (by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Jon Pertwee ... Doctor Who
Caroline John ... Liz Shaw
Nicholas Courtney ... Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Hugh Burden ... Channing
Neil Wilson ... Seeley
Talfryn Thomas ... Mullins
John Breslin ... Captain Munro
Antony Webb Antony Webb ... Dr. Henderson
Helen Dorward Helen Dorward ... Nurse
George Lee George Lee ... Corporal Forbes
Tessa Shaw ... Unit Officer
Ellis Jones Ellis Jones ... Technician
Allan Mitchell Allan Mitchell ... Wagstaffe
Prentis Hancock ... 2nd Reporter


As strange meteorites are crashing down, an unconscious Doctor is found lying just outside the TARDIS. The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) commanded by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is already onto the issue of the meteorites and when he learns that a man has been found unconscious in the woods lying next to blue police box, he's certain that his old friend the Doctor has returned. He visits him at the nearby hospital but doesn't recognize him, not realizing that he Doctor has regenerated. The Doctor foils an attempt to kidnap him and he's soon back in hospital having been shot by the soldiers guarding the TARDIS. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

3 January 1970 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fans voted this number 27 in a countdown of the 163 Doctor Who (1963) stories in Outpost Gallifrey's 40th anniversary poll in 2003. See more »


The rotation of the badge on the UNIT Officer's tie move through 180 degrees between shots. See more »


Lethbridge-Stewart: In the last decade, we've been sending probes deeper and deeper into space. We've drawn attention to ourselves, Miss Shaw.
See more »


Featured in The Chronic Rift: Beauty and the Beast (1991) See more »


Oh Well, Part 1
Composed by Peter Green
Performed by Fleetwood Mac
See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastic debut for both the Third Doctor and the Autons (Story #51)
13 January 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

Jon Pertwee's debut as the Third Doctor coincides with Robert Holmes introducing the Autons for one of only three television stories they would be prominently featured in (if I recall correctly, they are the only three they would be featured in, period). Ah, Robert Holmes. Always good to see that name at the start of a story, isn't it? In many ways this was the first story in which he really showed his knack for creating solid dialogue and characterization as well as keeping the science fiction, horror, or adventure plot fresh every episode of the story ('The Krotons' was average and 'The Space Pirates' is missing, but apparently not a hidden classic based on reconstructions). I don't want to give any of the plot away but it will suffice to say that the Autons are really bloody good villains, and so is the intelligence behind them, the Nestenes. There are some pretty violent scenes in this story and I remember being very scared upon watching this story for the first time when I was five or so, which is always good in a Doctor Who story.

It was ingenious to actually have Doctor Who villains who are ACTUALLY made of plastic within the confines of the story, and one of the reasons this doesn't seem particularly dated. The character of the Third Doctor is brilliantly introduced over the course of this four parter, as is Liz Shaw, and there is also some excellent character development for the Brigadier. The story was shot on film rather than video for some reason and does look fabulous and is directed well.

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

Overall: The average rating amounts to 8 out of 10 stars, but I will give it an 8.5 out of 10 overall.

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