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2 - 23 January 1971

Average Viewing Figure: 8M


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


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)


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)


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


  • 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


Whilst far less experimental compared to other serials the previous year, Terror of the Autons is aided by a brighter colour palette, a far more leisurable and laidback pace, and an enjoyable narrative made up of several mini set-pieces. The Master’s debut is particularly well-handled, firmly establishing him as the Professor Moriarty type to the Sherlock Holmes persona of The Doctor; the two work well together even when two are in completely different locations. There’s an amusing idea here, where The Master leaves behind a series of clues for The Doctor to solve, almost taunting him to figure out what his next move will be. The main problem is Terror of the Autons is by no means an Auton story; the popular monsters hardly appear, and only serve as a second set of villains for The Doctor to defeat; their purpose in the plot could have been substituted for any monster. The direction is muddled, and suffers from CSO overkill, where various would-be sets are substituted for poorly realised background drops; the effects are less-than-impressive, and were the brainchild of director/producer Barry Letts; the final effects are so un-Barry Letts. Aside from the cut-crossing measures, the rest of the direction is solid, as the story continually shifts from one location/plot focus to another, resulting in a pleasant viewing experience, and perhaps one of the more comfortable serials for fans just beginning to explore Doctor Who.***

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