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Jon Pertwee
Terror of the Autons
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Synopsis


Beware Autons Bearing Daffodils
Beware Autons Bearing Daffodils
 The Earth is in terrible danger! The Master has arrived with an evil scheme to destroy humanity and silence The Doctor forever. His plan? To awaken the awesome power of the Nestene - a ruthlessly aggressive alien life form. With their control over all types of plastic, they form into faceless automatons, a willing army of destruction easily controlled by the evil Time Lord himself. This is the terrible threat now facing Earth - the terror of the Autons.

 Aided by the Brigadier and his enthusiastic new assistant, Jo Grant, only The Doctor can combat their evil power, but this is easier said than done when every plastic doll, phone flex, or chair can be turned against him. First, however, he must defeat the Master.

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Eight
Production Code: EEE
Story Number: 55
Episode Numbers:279 - 282
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"The Spray of Death"
Production Dates: September - October 1970
Broadcast Started: 02 January 1971
Broadcast Finished: 23 January 1971
Colour Status: Colour and B&W
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC6 and TC8)
Location: Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles (Buckinghamshire), Queen's Wharf (Hammersmith), Roberts Brothers Circus (Leyton, London), Totterhoe Lime and Stone Company Ltd, Thermo Plastics Ltd (Dunstable, Bedfordshire) and GPO Relay Station (Caddington)
Writer:Robert Holmes
Director:Barry Letts (Uncredited)
Producer:Barry Letts
Script Editor:Terrance Dicks
Editor:Geoffrey Botterill
Production Assistant:Nicholas John
Assistant Floor Manager:Bruce Best
Designer:Ian Watson
Costume Designer:Ken Trew
Make-Up Designer:Jan Harrison
Cameraman:John Baker
Incidental Music:Dudley Simpson
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Brian Hodgson
Studio Sounds:Colin Dixon
Lighting:Eric Monk
Visual Effects:Michealjohn Harris
Title Sequence:Bernard Lodge and Ben Palmer
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Delia Derbyshire
Stunts/Action By: HAVOC
Autons Originally Created By: Robert Holmes
Circus Sequences Courtesy Of: Robert Brothers
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor)
Number of Companions: 4The Companions: Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) (Joins) and Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates) (Joins) Guest Cast: Roger Delgado (The Master) Additional Cast: Michael Wisher (Rex Farrel), Harry Towb (McDermott), David Garth (Time Lord), Frank Mills (Radio Telescope Director), Christopher Burgess (Professor Philips), Andrew Staines (Goodge), John Baskcomb (Rossini), Dave Carter (Museum Attendant), Stephen Jack (Farrel Senior), Barbara Leake (Mrs. Farrel), Roy Stewart (Strong Man), Dermot Tuohy (Brownrose), Norman Stanley (Telephone Mechanic), Bill McGuirk (Policeman), Terry Walsh (Auton Policeman), Pat Gorman (Auton Leader), Haydn Jones (Auton Voice)Setting: Earth (1970s) Villains: Autons and The Master

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
279Episode 102 January 197124'36"7.3PAL D3 colour restoration and 16mm B&W telerecording
280Episode 209 January 197124'48"8.0PAL D3 colour restoration and 16mm B&W telerecording
281Episode 316 January 197123'28"8.1PAL D3 colour restoration and 16mm B&W telerecording
282Episode 423 January 197122'10"8.4PAL D3 colour restoration and 16mm B&W telerecording

Total Duration 1 Hour 35 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 8.0
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)75.89%  (Position = 35 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)77.00% Higher (Position = 51 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)77.62% Higher (Position = 59 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist in colour as PAL D3 restorations and the original 16mm Black and White film telerecordings.



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Notes


"Terror of the Autons" is a direct sequel to Jon Pertwee’s debut story "Spearhead From Space". It sees the return of the Nestene Consciousness and its plastic servants, the Autons.

This story opened Season Eight and introduced Katy Manning as the Third Doctor's new companion, Jo Grant - an intelligence trainee whose wiles and charm brought the show into the 1970's. The UNIT team is also joined by semi-regular character Captain Mike Yates, played by Richard Franklin. Captain Mike Yates was brought in as a possible love interest for Jo (which never materialised) and as a go-between for The Brigadier and his field personnel.

This story though is more renowned for being the first for fellow Time Lord and The Doctor’s arch-nemesis, The Master, as played by Roger Delgado. The Master would appear in every story of this season and sporadically in the next two seasons.

Harry Towb, who plays the unfortunate McDermott, had previously appeared in the Second Doctor story "The Seeds of Death", in which he also came to a sticky end.

Michael Wisher, the young Farrel, had also done uncredited voice work for "The Seeds of Death", and had previously appeared in the Third Doctor story "The Ambassadors of Death" and, later, in "Carnival of Monsters". He would go on to do various Dalek voices and become well known as the first actor to play the evil genius Davros in the Fourth Doctor story "Genesis of the Daleks".

Strong Man Roy Stewart previously appeared as another strong man in the Second Doctor story "The Tomb of the Cybermen".

Although credited on-screen, Bill McGuirk (a Policeman), who was previously used by Barry Letts in "The Enemy of the World", does not actually appear; his entire contribution having been edited out prior to transmission.

Haydn Jones was originally contracted both to provide the Auton voices and to play the telephone engineer who turns out to be The Master in disguise, but the latter part was recast when Haydn Jones was given the more substantial one of Vosper in "The Mind of Evil".

This story is set in the fictional town of Tarminster. In the 2008 The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Mark of the Berserker", Sarah Jane Smith visits a hospital in the same town. The town is also mentioned on the Harold Saxon promotional website. It states that Lucy Saxon's father was Lord Cole of Tarminster.

In addition to his role as producer of Doctor Who, Letts was keen to direct the occasional story - a job which he had most recently undertaken on an emergency basis for part of "Inferno" at the end of the seventh recording block. Since "Terror of the Autons" came at the start of the new season, Letts decided to direct this story himself. However, he is not credited as such in the credits as BBC regulations at the time prevented any person from being credited for more than one production role.

In the closing credits for episodes three and four Jon Pertwee was credited as ‘Dr. Who’ rather than ‘Doctor Who’.

This story is the second time in the programme that a quarry stood in for an actual quarry (as compared with an alien planet or other environment), after the 1964 First Doctor story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". Quarries would further serve as actual quarries in "Terror of the Zygons" and "The Hand of Fear".

The dramatic scene at the start of episode three, where an Auton is hit with a car and tumbles off a cliff, was quite real. Dinny Powell was driving the vehicle in place of actor Richard Franklin, and stuntman Terry Walsh as the Auton fell further down the slope than intended, being injured in the mishap. He nevertheless got back to his feet in the same take as planned.

The Nestene energy unit in this story is blue, whereas in "Spearhead From Space" they were red.

The Master's TARDIS is disguised as a horsebox, and uses a Mark Two dematerialisation circuit, as opposed to The Doctor's Mark One (as revealed in "The Time Meddler"). These are non-compatible (unlike The Meddling Monk's and The Doctor's TARDIS circuits in "The Daleks' Master Plan", which are semi compatible).

This story sees the first appearance of The Master’s signature weapon, the Tissue Compression Eliminator - though the device itself was not named as such until the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "Time-Flight".

The Master can hypnotise people silently, though a strong will can resist. He carries a volatiser (bomb) and grenades. He can create effective disguise masks, and fake security passes.

Certain scenes in the story, particularly the killer doll and the Auton policemen, caused controversy in the press as being too frightening for children. In an unconnected House of Lords debate about the effect of mass media on the public, the story was cited as an example of a programme that might be too 'scary' for younger children.

Like other early Third Doctor stories the original 625-line PAL colour videotapes of this story were wiped by the BBC for reuse, although they retained the 16mm Black and White film recordings. An original PAL colour clip of episode one, depicting The Doctor's first meeting with Jo Grant, still survives in its original 625-line format after being used in a 1973 edition of the news show Nationwide. However, all four episodes currently exist as PAL D3 colour restorations. These were created in 1993, by an unofficial Doctor Who restoration team. They used original NTSC U-matic dubs, that were sent abroad prior to the wiping of the colour videotapes, and the Black and White film telerecordings. The re-colourised version was then released, on VHS video in April 1993. In 1999, an improved restoration was prepared, by the Restoration Team, for a planned repeat on BBC Two. In the event, however, the run was abandoned before the story was shown.

The Nestene and the Autons were due to return in an ultimately cancelled story, "Yellow Fever and How to Cure It" during Season Twenty Three; the production was cancelled in the 1985 hiatus as Robert Holmes died before beginning work. The Autons did make a return thirty four years later, in the 2005 Ninth Doctor's introductory story, "Rose". The Autons also appear in two BBC The Past Doctors Stories novels; "Business Unusual" by Gary Russell and "Synthespians™" by Craig Hinton. They also return in the BBC Books The Tenth Doctor Stories novel "Autonomy".



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first story of Season Eight.

 The introduction of new companion Jo Grant played by Katy Manning.

 The introduction of semi-regular companion Captain Mike Yates played by Richard Franklin.

 The first appearance in the show of The Master played by Roger Delgado.

 The first appearance of The Master’s signature weapon, the Tissue Compression Eliminator.

 Jan Harrison's first involvement in the show as Makeup Artist.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Master
The Master

At a circus, a horse box appears out of thin air and a bearded man dressed in a black suit emerges. He introduces himself as ‘The Master’ to the circus owner, Luigi Rossini. The Master then hypnotises Luigi Rossini thus enabling him to get the circus owner and his crew to break into the National Space Museum and steal a sole surviving Nestine energy unit that is there on loan from UNIT. The Master then takes the energy unit to a radio telescope facility, killing the technician on duty. After hooking the energy unit to the radio telescope a signal is sent into space and this results in the Nestene Consciousness once more inhabiting the energy unit.

At UNIT headquarters, The Doctor is introduced to his new assistant, the rather overexcited Jo Grant, who has joined UNIT as a replacement to Liz Shaw, who has returned to Cambridge. Despite his initial apprehensions, at not getting a scientist to replace Liz, The Doctor cannot bring himself to tell the enthusiastic Jo that he doesn't want her help.

Reports of the theft of the Nestene unit and the act of sabotage at the Beacon Hill radio telescope facility lead The Doctor, The Brigadier and Jo to investigate. On arrival, The Doctor encounters a fellow Time Lord who warns him that his old enemy, The Master, is on Earth. The Time Lord also alerts The Doctor that The Master has left a booby trap bomb in the control room. Pre-warned The Doctor manages to prevent the bomb from exploding. He also discovers the murdered technician who has been shrunk to a tiny size – a hallmark, which The Doctor recognises, as being the work of The Master.

The Master's TARDIS
The Master's TARDIS

After The Doctor explains all about The Master, The Brigadier orders the search of all plastic factories in the hope of finding and The Master. Meanwhile, The Master has hypnotised the owner of a plastics factory, and the production of Nestene-controlled plastic Auton products begins. This includes a deadly chair and a very ugly looking troll-like doll.

Jo, after being excluded from the carrying out any of the searches decides to do some investigating of her own. More by luck than judgement she stumbles upon the correct plastics factory. However, she is caught and hypnotised by The Master, and made to return to UNIT headquarters with the box that originally contained the Nestene energy unit. Now though it contains a bomb intended for The Doctor. On realising that Jo has been hypnotised The Doctor is alerted to the danger just in time and throws the box out of the window where the bomb explodes harmlessly. The Doctor then breaks Jo's trance but she is unable to tell them where The Master was based.

'I Am The Master'
'I Am The Master'

With the help of Captain Mike Yates, The Doctor learns that The Master’s TARDIS is located at the circus. He goes there along with Jo, who had stowed away in Bessie, and is able to steal the dematerialisation circuit from The Master's TARDIS – hoping that he can use it in his own TARDIS and so escape from his exile on Earth. They are then attacked by a mob of circus workers but are rescued by two policemen. But they turn out to be Autons in disguise. The Doctor and Jo are eventually rescued when The Brigadier with some UNIT troops arrive. Back at UNIT HQ, The Doctor discovers that The Master's dematerialisation circuit, that he stole, does not work in his TARDIS. His action however, means that The Master is now trapped on Earth as well.

Then UNIT become aware of an increasing number of strange and unexplained deaths that are suddenly occurring across the country. At first there does not seem to be any link between them until it is discovered that the first two victims have connections with a plastics factory – the same factory that Jo originally discovered. When The Doctor and The Brigadier visit the plastics factory they find it deserted barring a plastic daffodil on the floor and an Auton in the safe.

Back at UNIT headquarters another attempt is made on The Doctor’s life. This time a newly installed telephone cable comes alive and tries to strangle him. Luckily The Brigadier comes to his rescue. The Doctor then discovers that the daffodils can be activated by short wave radio signals and that they spray a fast-hardening plastic over the nose and mouth of anyone close enough, causing death by asphyxiation. UNIT realise that it is these deadly daffodils that are responsible for most of the reported deaths and that they are being distributed by the Autons. Disguised in fancy dress they are travelling around the country, in a bus, giving them away free to members of the public in a fake promotional campaign. On realising that the Nestenes can put life into anything made of plastic The Brigadier orders an air-strike to destroy the Auton’s bus to prevent the distribution of any more of the daffodils.

The Doctor
The Doctor

On realising that his TARDIS’ dematerialisation circuit has been stolen The Master arrives at UNIT headquarters and threatens to kill Jo if The Doctor does not hand it over. Jo, however, accidentally blurts out about the airstrike on the bus. This prompts The Master to take both The Doctor and Jo hostage so as to prevent The Brigadier from destroying the bus. The Master then reveals to them that he intends to activate the daffodils by radio impulses from the Beacon Hill radio telescope facility. When The Brigadier and UNIT arrive a battle begins with the Autons. This allows The Doctor and Jo to escape from the bus. While the battle between UNIT and the Autons continues, The Doctor manages to convince The Master that the Nestenes will have no further use for him once they arrive. The Master, realising that The Doctor is right, helps him repel the Nestene Consciousness back into space causing all the Autons to collapse.

Distracted by the sudden demise of the Autons, The Master is able to return to the bus. He then tricks UNIT into shooting the owner of the plastics factory, who is disguised as The Master. This enables the real Master to drive off in the bus. However, with the dematerialisation circuit in The Doctor's hands, The Master is still trapped on Earth and The Doctor confesses that he is quite looking forward to him turning up again.

 
Jo Grant
Jo Grant
The Doctor with Jo Grant and Captain Yates
The Doctor with Jo Grant and Captain Yates
The Doctor and Jo Grant
The Doctor and Jo Grant
The Deadly Auton Doll
The Deadly Auton Doll
 
The Master Takes Control
The Master Takes Control
An Auton
An Auton
Beware Autons Bearing Daffodils
Beware Autons Bearing Daffodils
The Master Surrendering?
The Master Surrendering?




Quote of the Story


 '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.'

The Brigadier



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
Terror of the AutonsApril 1993BBCV 4957Alister Pearson
Video
DVD
Terror of the AutonsMay 2011BBCDVD 3135BPhoto-montagePart of the "Mannequin Mania" Box Set (BBCDVD 3135) Released along with "Spearhead From Space"
Video
DVD
Terror of the AutonsSeptember 2013BBCDVD 3814Photo-montagePart of "The Monster Collection - The Master" boxset


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Terror of the AutonsMay 1975Target No. 63Terrance DicksPeter BrookesISBN: 0-426-10639-3
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons1979Target No. 63Terrance DicksAlun HoodNew cover reprint.
ISBN: 0-426-11500-7
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons1986Target No. 63Terrance DicksBook: Alun Hood
Box: Photo
Re-released as part of The Doctor Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-32410-8
CD
CD
Doctor Who and the Terror of the AutonsJuly 2010Target No. 63Terrance DicksAudio version of the Target Novel read by Geoffrey Beevers (The Master).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time)Issue 55
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 164 (Released: September 1990)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 165 (Released: October 1990)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 311 (Released: December 2001)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 325 (Released: January 2003)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 385 (Released: August 2007)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 386 (Released: September 2007)
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive1984 Winter Special (Released: 1984)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 101 (Released: November 2012)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Jon Pertwee
The Third Doctor

   

Nicholas Courtney
The Brigadier
John Levene
Sergeant Benton
Katy Manning
Jo Grant
   
Richard Franklin
Captain Mike Yates





On Release

VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Mannequin Mania DVD Cover
Mannequin Mania DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The Monster Collection - The Master Cover
The Monster Collection - The Master Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   


In Print

Original Target Book Cover
Original Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
Reprinted Target Book Cover
Reprinted Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The Doctor Who Gift Set
The Doctor Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   



Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 55
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 55

CMS
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 164
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 164

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 165
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 165

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 311
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 311

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 325
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 325

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 385
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 385

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 386
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 386

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive: 1984 Winter Special
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive: 1984 Winter Special

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 101
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 101

GE Fabbri
   

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