55) TERROR OF THE AUTONS

2 - 23 January 1971

Average Viewing Figure: 8M

Plot

The Master arrives on Earth to help the Nestenes with a plan to invade the Earth

Cast

Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Roger Delgado (The Master)

Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Dermot Tuohy (Brownrose), Michael Wisher (Rex Farrel)

Harry Towb (Mc Dermott), David Garth (Time Lord), Frank Mills (Radio Telescope Director), Stephen Jack (Farrel Senior)

Barbara Leake (Mrs Farrel), Christopher Burgess (Professor Phillips), Andrew Staines (Goodge), John Baskcomb (Rossini)

Dave Carter (Museum Attendant), Roy Stewart (Strong Man), Norman Stanley (Telephone Mechanic), Terry Walsh (Auton Policeman)

Pat Gorman (Auton Leader), Hadyn Jones (Auton Voice)

Uncredited Cast

Tom O'Leary (Auton), Tommy Reynolds (Troll Doll), Les Clark, Bob Blaine, Ian Elliott, Stuart Harwood, Paul Warren, Charles Pickless

Mike Stevens, Brian Gilman, Nick Hobbs (Daffodil Men)

Crew

Robert Holmes (Writer), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Circus Sequences Courtesy of Robert Brothers

John Baker (Film Cameraman), Geoffrey Botterill (Film Editor), Michaeljohn Harris (Visual Effects), HAVOC (Action)

Ken Trew (Costumes), Jan Harrison (Make-Up), Eric Monk (Lighting), Colin Dixon (Sound), Brian Hodgson (Special Sound)

Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Ian Watson (Designer), Barry Letts (Producer [also Director])

Uncredited Crew

Linton Howell Hughes (Grams Operator), Jennie Betts (Facilities Booker), Sybil Cave (Artists Booker)

Peter Pegrum, Peter Logan (Effects Assistants), Alan Rixon, John McPherson (Inlay Operators)

Ray Hilder, Graham Southcott (Technical Managers), Shirley Coward (Vision Mixer), Maurice Watson (Props Buyer)

Sarah Newman (Production Secretary), Edward Pugh (Floor Assistant), Penny Forster (Pre-Production Seretary)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • St Peters Court, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks

  • Church Lane, Chalfont, St Peter, Bucks

  • Hodgemoor Woods, Bucks

  • Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith, London

  • Les Bridge Road, Waltham Forest, London

  • Totternhoe Lime & Stone Co Ltd, Dunstable, Beds

  • GPO Relay Station, Caddington, Beds

  • Thermo Plastics Ltd, Dunstable, Beds

  • Television Centre: Studio 6

  • Television Centre: Studio 8

Deaths

  • Rex Farrell [shot and killed by Captain Yates]

  • McDermott [killed by The Master's plastic chair]

  • Farrell Senior [killed by the Auton Troll Doll]

  • Professor Philips [killed when a grenade detonates]

  • Goodge [shrunken down in size by The Master]

  • Auton Policeman [killed when the Nestenes are ejected back into space]

  • Auton Leader [killed when the Nestenes are ejected back into space]

  • Autons [killed when the Nestenes are ejected back into space]

  • UNIT Soldier [killed by the Auton Policeman]

  • Telescope Technician [pushed over handrail by The Master and falls to his death]

    • many others are killed by Plastic Daffodils which release a deadly plastic film

Production Days

  • 9 Days between Thursday 17 September - Saturday 24 October 1970

Production Errors

  1. Terror of the Autons relies heavily on the extensive CSO (Colour Separation Overly) instead of construction sets in a studio, the final result is often rather underwhelming 

  2. The Doctor could have easily jumped through the window to get to the volatizer instead of knocking the door down and catching the volatizer before it hits the ground. The bobby trap isn't rigged to the window 

  3. The Doctor quickly comes to the conclusion that Jo is attempting to open a bomb without knowing what is inside the box. Isn't it possible that the box contains a phial of deadly gas or something? 

  4. Towards the end of episode one, Jo Grant attempts to find a key that will open the zinc box padlock. It is quite obvious that the padlock opens several times, before Jo acknowledges the fact

  5. Both of the Auton Policemen survive the reprise of episode three, but only one of them returns to The Master. What happened to the other one? And why don't we see it again? 

  6. How is it possible for The Master to disguise himself as someone of a different height. Both Roger Delgado and Norman Stanley are of different heights. 

  7. Whilst The Doctor and Jo are held prisoners on the bus, one of the extras playing an Auton isn't wearing his white glove, revealing a human hand for a few seconds

Working Titles

  • The Spray of Death

Verdict

Whilst not overall ambitious and far less experimental compared to the last four serials nothing much happens until the closing moments. The Doctor gets an archvillain – The Master who is only evil because he's evil – kind of like a Moriarty to Sherlock Holmes. The Master leave little clues behind for The Doctor, almost as if he wants to be caught and stopped. The Autons are far less frightening than before who do not really appear until the story calls for The Doctor to face a little danger here and there. The whole thing is enjoyable jumping around from one location to the next where The Doctor pieces everything together to save the day. There is some nice set pieces and a colorful palette working here which make for decent viewing. ***​