Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Terror of the Autons: Episode One 

"Terror of the Autons: Episode One" is an episode of Doctor Who starring Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, and Roger Delgado. 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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Episode complete credited cast:
... Doctor Who
... Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart
... The Master
... Jo Grant
... Captain Mike Yates
... Sergeant Benton
... Rex Farrel
... McDermott
David Garth ... Time Lord
... Radio Telescope Director
Christopher Burgess ... Professor Philips
Andrew Staines ... Goodge
John Baskcomb ... Rossini
... 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

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


| (original broadcast)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the first of two Jon Pertwee serials that Christopher Burgess had key roles in the other being "Planet of the Spiders". See more »


Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart: You've been agitating for a new assistant ever since Miss Shaw went back to Cambridge.
Doctor Who: Liz was a highly qualified scientist. I want someone with the same qualifications.
Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart: Nonsense. What you need, Doctor, as Miss Shaw herself so often remarked, is someone to pass you your test tubes and to tell you how brilliant you are. Miss Grant will fulfil that function admirably.
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Featured in The Rise and Fall of Gallifrey (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Terrible visual quality
18 April 2015 | by See all my reviews

Review of the Complete Story:

TERROR OF THE AUTONS is a prime piece of Dr Who, made during the tenure of the late, great, Jon Pertwee. As a bonus it co-stars Nicholas Courtney as the beloved Brigadier, features the excellent Roger Delgado in his first appearance as the Master, and also stars companion Jo Grant (aka Katy Manning) in her first screen appearance. If all of that greatness wasn't enough, it's also a sequel to my personal favourite of all Dr Who stories, SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE.

A shame, then, that the BBC really dropped the ball on this one. They erased the colour tapes of the production back in the 1970s, leaving them with only a 16mm black and white print. Decades later they got hold of a colour NTSC version and combined the two sources, leading to this colour version we get today. I first saw this on VHS back in the day and thought it was simply a horrid transfer, but it turns out TERROR OF THE AUTONS just looks rubbish.

It looks like one of those old 1930s colourised films they did, but one in which the process went wrong somewhere. Every scene looks fake and like it was done on a green screen. The special effects bits are particularly bad. Even so, this is an enjoyable adventure, although it's both choppier in terms of story and sillier in terms of menace than its predecessor. Here, the Master is using the Nestene Consciousness to attack mankind with all manner of plastic madness. There are killer daffodils, miniature people, creepy Frank Sidebottom lookalikes, plus the oddest (and daftest) doll you'll ever see. It's all great fun, of course, and just a shame the BBC ruined the quality and took the shine off it.

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