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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who: Terror Of The Autons (Story No. 55/BBC DVD)

Doctor Who: Terror Of The Autons (Story No. 55/BBC DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A+     Episodes: A+



If you’ve read any number of Doctor Who reviews here on Fulvue Drive-In, you’ll have realized by now that we’re quite fond of John Pertwee’s performances as the 3rd Doctor in the BBC’s storied serial Doctor Who.  A good deal of Mr. Pertwee’s run as the Doctor is spent trapped on Earth, with his TARDIS disabled by his fellow Time Lords.  This period features a good number of stories with the Doctor working closely with UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce).  His unique mixture of panache, energy, and cleverness conveys a Doctor Who is at once in command and a little out of control.  In one scene, Pertwee’s Doctor might be contemplatively solving some conundrum of science, while in the next employing Venusian Karate to knockout a bad guy. 


Story no. 55 Terror of the Autons shows off the best of Mr. Pertwee’s acting wares, and features the introduction of three excellent new characters to the show.  Most important of the three is Roger Delgado in the role of the Master, a fellow Time Lord destined to be the Doctor’s arch-nemesis.  The chemistry between Delgado and Pertwee shines, as the two ham it up and play their scenes to the hilt.  Katy Manning also comes on board as Jo Grant the Doctor’s newest companion, and she turns out to provide an excellent counterbalance to the Doctor’s sometimes wild schemes.  Although he initially thinks she won’t cut the mustard, he reluctantly allows her to hang around and she proves her worth as the story goes along.  Finally, Captain Mike Yates (Nicholas Courtney) joins the UNIT team as another solid right hand man for the Doctor. 


Seeking to bend the alien Nestene to his will and use them in his plans of conquest, the Master utilizes commandeered radar arrays to activate one of their ancient “call” devices to summon their energies to Earth.  The Nestene house their energies in plastic forms called Autons, and the Master makes certain they have many of these indeed, even taking over a plastics factory to see that more bodies can made for them. 


As his insidious plan unfolds, the Doctor stays a step behind him, thwarting the threats from Autons and ultimately forcing a showdown that traps the Master on Earth with the Doctor!  In addition to excellent action, this disc comes loaded with the sort of extras fans have come to expect from the BBC and Doctor Who.  Interviews, featurettes, and commentaries provide excellent support material for this tremendously important and fun episode.  Longtime fans will want this one for its importance and wonderful performances, and newcomers to the classic Doctor Who episodes will find this an easy disc to start their collections with.



-   Scott Pyle


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