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3-24 January 1970

Average Viewing Figure: 8.2M


Banished to Earth, the newly regenerated Doctor must to stop an attack of Nestene and an army of Autons


Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Hugh Burden (Channing)

Hamilton Dyce (Major General Scobie), Talfryn Thomas (Mullins), John Breslin (Captain Munro), Antony Webb (Dr Henderson)

Helen Dorward (Nurse), Henry McCarthy (Dr Beavis), John Woodnutt (Hibbert), Derek Smee (Ransome), Neil Wilson (Seeley)

Betty Bowden (Meg), George Lee (Corporal Forbes), Ellis Jones (Technician), Tessa Shaw (UNIT Officer), Allan Mitchell (Wagstaffe)

Prentis Hancock (2nd Reporter), Clifford Cox (Sergeant), Edmund Bailey (Attendant), Ian Smith (UNIT Soldier)

Uncredited Cast

Derrick Sherwin (Car Park Attendant), Vicky Maxine, Rosemary Turner, Lindy Russell, Christine Bradley (Nurses)

Walter Dalby (Hospital Receptionist), Patrick Milner, Antonio de Maggio, Peter Kaukus, Brian Justice, John Spradbury (UNIT Soldiers)

Dennis McTighe (Ambulance Driver), Trevor Cuff, Hugh Wood, Dave Mobley, John Hughes, Alan Cooper, Vicky Maxine

June Jenson (Press), Robert McDonnell, Cicely Cawthorne, Derek Medus (TV Crew), David Dewhurst (UNIT Soldier [Hawkinks]

Victor Crocksford, Roy Brent (Auton Hospital Porters), Constance Carling (Auton Secretary), Robin Squire (Auton Scout)

Henry Rainer (Policeman), Dennis Hayward, Roger Houghton, Tom Segal, Keith Simon

Kenneth Lindford, Roger Minnis (Autons/Display Mannequins), Doris Lang, Fred Davis, Grace Dolan, Colin Cunningham, Vi Kane

Terence Denville, Leslie Bates, Diana Collins (Passers-by), Ronald Mayer, Hein Viljoen, Barry Ashton, Bob Williman, Arnold Chazen, Cy Town, Keith Ashley (Autons), David Melbourne, Derek Hunt, Alan Granville, Michael Earl, Garry Dean, Michael Harrison

Laurence Ross, Bill Matthews, Robert Murray (Regular Soldiers)


Robert Holmes (Writer), Ron  Grainer (Title Music), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Brian Hodgson (Special Sound)

John Horton (Special Effects Designer), Christine Rawlins (Costumes), Cynthia Goodwin (Make-Up), Stan Speel (Film Cameraman)

Stan Speel, Robert McDonnell (Film Camera Team), Derek Medus (Sound Recordist), William Symon, Adam Dawson (Film Editors)

Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Paul Allen (Designer), Derrick Sherwin (Producer), Derek Martinus (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Robin Squire (Assistant Script Editor), Peter Grimwade (Production Assistant)


Filming Locations

  • Favourite Dolls Factory, Holloway, London

  • NCP, St Pancras Station

  • The Broadway, Ealing, London

  • Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley, Surrey

  • Hatchford Park School, Surrey

  • TCC Condensers, Ealing, London

  • BBC Engineering & Training Centre, Wood Norton, Worc

  • BBC Wood Norton

  • Wheelbarrow Castle Cottage, Radford, Worc

  • Mansion House Hotel, Evesham, Worc

  • Van Arden Studios, London

  • Madame Tussauds, London

  • Ealing Film Studios

    • some location filming work in London remains unknown


  • Channing [dies after the Nestene is defeated] 

  • Corporal Forbes [killed after the Land Rover he was driving crashes]

  • Hibbert [killed by an Auton]

  • Ransome [killed by an Auton]

  • Policeman [killed by an Auton]

  • Cyclist [killed by an Auton]

  • Londoners [killed by Autons]

  • Auton Hospital Porters [killed after the Nestene Consciousness is defeated]

  • Auton Secretary [dies after the Nestene Consciousness is defeated]

  • Autons [die after the Nestene Consciousness is defeated]

  • Nestene Consciousness [killed by a device created by The Doctor]

    • reports of attacks across the country suggest more deaths

Production Days

  • 35 Days between Saturday 13 September - Saturday 22 November  1969

Production Errors

  1. During episode four, General Scobie is replaced by an Auton Duplicate and is placed as a 'waxwork' mannequin in a museum. Why? Why doesn't the Nestene just kill General Scobie?

  2. When The Doctor emerges from the Tardis after regenerating, he almost takes off the Tardis doors

  3. The Doctor clutches his head before being shot at the end of episode one

  4. When Meg Seeley discovers the Auton Scout in her cottage, the Auton's right eye blinks at one point 

  5. During the Auton attack in episode four, one of the people killed can be seen moving after being shot ​​​​

Working Titles

  • Facsimile


Fast-paced, intelligently written, unintentionally humorous, excellent pacing and structure all add up to what is possibly the best possible introductory story for the Third Doctor. The sole purpose of Spearhead from Space is to set-up the earthbound/Doctor in exile formats which will dominate the show for the best part of the next 3 years. The serial does more: it mixes the surreal/uncanny and provides some haunting and frightening imagery where everyday objects become nightmarish monsters. There are also moments of overt horror, echoing the direction the show would take under the leadership and guidance of Philip Hinchcliffe.
   The Autons themselves are similar to the likes of the Chameleons from The Faceless Ones; they suffer identity crises where, without a recognisable image, they revert to faceless dummies (perhaps a metaphor for the human-race?). The Autons and Nestenes also provide another frightening thought in which an exact facsimile double can replace anyone within society, and no one would be any the wiser. The moment when Major General Scobie opens his front door, only to stare back at himself, is a moment where the show firmly abandons its childish whimsical overtones, and firmly grounds the show on its new path. Yet we have another layer to the Autons, providing moments of unease during the Madame Tussauds scenes. Even Liz (a sceptic, and hard-core scientist), feels uneasy about the all-seeing eyes of lifeless mannequins, a feeling shared by the audience where one can never be too sure if they are being watched.
The Autons are just one side to the well-remembered villains; less remembered is Channing, superbly played by Hugh Burden. Episode 1 introduces Channing as the silent partner of the alien invasion, remaining in the background, and not uttering a word; but by episode 4 he has displayed his hidden dark side, and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
   The direction is excellent, almost voyeuristic at times; the opening shot of Earth and the zooming in provides a moment where it is we the audience who are crashing down to Earth after enjoying countless adventures in space with The Doctor. There are a few jarring editing cuts and the cross-cutting conversation(s) between scenes are happening simultaneously, but these are few and far between and thus forgivable. The action-sequences are particularly well-handled; everyone remembers the Auton attack from episode 4, which is possibly the best alien attack in the show’s entire history. 
   Spearhead from Space is an excellent excuse to get The Doctor away from space-bound adventures, and firmly grounds Doctor Who as an action-packed series, where the show will continue to grow from strength-to-strength.*****

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