Doctor Who: Terror Of The Autons (Story No.
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
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