OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 257
STORY NUMBER: 051
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 24 January 1970
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Derrick Sherwin
RATINGS: 8.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Mannequin Mania Box Set - Spearhead from Space/Terror of the Autons
EPISODE FORMAT: 16mm colour film
"All over the country window dummies are coming alive, attacking police stations, barracks, communication centres!"
The Doctor tries to communicate with the intelligence inside the energy UNIT. "General Scobie" telephones and forbids the Brigadier from attacking the plastics factory. Learning that Scobie had had a replica made at the factory, the Doctor & Liz visit Madame Tussauds to view the replicas where the Doctor finds Scobie's "model" has a working wrist watch at correct time. At the plastics factory, Channing is growing something in a vat in the workshop. While the Brigadier is out trying to get the Home Secretary's support for a raid, "Scobie" seizes the energy UNIT from Captain Munroe at UNIT HQ. The Doctor & Liz hide in at the waxworks museum and are there when Channing and Hibbert come for the replicas. Hibbert sees them hiding, causing the Doctor to tell Hibbert that Channing is controlling his mind and that he must get away, but Channing returns for him. "Scobie" bring the energy UNIT to Channing which he uses to bring the creature in the VAT to life. Knowing from overhearing Channing talking that the Invasion is imminent, the Doctor & Liz labour through the night in the lab to create a weapon to use against the Autons. At dawn Auton dummys are activated, bursting out of shop windows and going on a murderous rampage. Hibbert, Channing's control weakened by the Doctor, attacks the machinery in the lab but is killed by an Auton (Liz looked at this scene and said that random whacking of bits of the metal casing is not going to break it! Why not attack the controls? Because it's a delicate prop that might be needed for a retake!) UNIT raids the factory, but are stopped by "Scobie" and the regular Army. The Doctor uses his weapon on "Scobie" exposing him as an Auton replica. While the Doctor & Liz infiltrate the factory, UNIT and the army engage a squad of Autons outside. The Doctor confronts Channing in the workshop and is seized by the tentacles of the creature emerging from the tank (At this point both Liz & I had a good giggle at some classic Pertwee gurning) The weapon has been damaged somehow, but Liz fixes it enabling The Doctor to kill the creature which renders the Autons & Channing, revealed to be an Auton himself, lifeless. Returning to UNIT HQ, The Brigadier worries about the Autons returning:
BRIGADIER: If they do decide to launch a second attack, I hope we can count on your help again?A cracking episode this with some decent action and set pieces.
DOCTOR: Yes, well, before we go into all that, Brigadier, I think we must discuss terms.
DOCTOR: Yes. After all, you do want to take advantage of my services again, don't you?
BRIGADIER: I think you'll find the salary is quite adequate.
DOCTOR: Money? My dear chap, I don't want money. I've got no use for the stuff.
BRIGADIER: Then what do you want?
DOCTOR: Well, facilities to repair the Tardis, laboratory, equipment, help from Miss Shaw here.
BRIGADIER: Very well. Anything you need. Within reason, of course. Is that all?
DOCTOR: My goodness, no. Don't you realise that when I was stranded on this little planet of yours, I had nothing but these clothes that I Oh, my goodness!
LIZ: What is it, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Well, I've just realised. I don't even own these. I borrowed them from the hospital. And there's that car, too. Yes, you know, I took to that car. It had character.
BRIGADIER: No, Doctor. That car must be returned to its owner.
DOCTOR: Must it? Yes, yes, I suppose it must. Still, there's no reason why you couldn't find me something similar, is there? I mean, it could persuade me to stay, you know.
BRIGADIER: Oh, very well.
DOCTOR: Good. When can we go and choose it?
BRIGADIER: Not yet. I must arrange for a full set of papers first. By the way, I've just realised. I don't even know your name.
DOCTOR: Smith. Doctor John Smith.
Liz made a point while watching this episode: Why does Scobie only call The Brigadier Stewart and not Lethbridge Stewart? Did someone believe that Lethbridge was the Brigadier's first name? Perhaps it was meant to be at this stage because interestingly we're yet to hear what we now know his first name to be said on screen. You'll be surprised how late on we actually find out what it is!
While watching this episode, the machine the Doctor builds to defeat the Autons caught my eye. In particular it was the shiny sphere used in the machine, and the way it was opened up in the lab exposing electronics inside.
I thought "I've seen a silver sphere like that with electronics inside before in Web of Fear!" and sure enough...
A better look at the sphere when it's opened in the factory confirms it's previous usage!
There's several prominent locations used in this episode. The first one isn't 100% obvious as a location but the scenes set as Madame Tussauds were filmed at Madame Tussauds! These were filmed 5th November 1969, nearly the last filming work done for the story, and considerably after the original location work nearly a month previously.
Looking at the pictures I'm guessing the plan was for these scenes to be mounted in the studio, probably quite cheaply with drapes simulating the display area, but following the studio cancellation someone had the bright idea of ringing Tussauds and asking if they could visit!
The Attendant at Tussauds is played by Edmund Bailey who'll return in The Time Monster as an Atlantean Elder.
In the crowd of dummys are several Auton Facsimiles the most obvious of which is the RAF Officer with a moustache: he's played by Walter Goodman who returns as a Villager in The Dæmons, Joseph Chambers in Robot and the Android Farmer in The Android Invasion. His somewhat distinctive appearance makes him quite easy to spot! He was also in the Doomwatch episodes Burial at Sea as a Man and Fire and Brimstone as the Moustachioed Man, but sadly neither episode exists. In Are You Being Served? he's the Jacket Customer in The Pilot. For ITV he appeared in Timeslip as the R1 Patient in The Day of the Clone and The Tomorrow People as a Beefeater in The Medusa Strain.
Movie Dude's Spearhead from Space page identifies the following as replicas:
Sonny Willis,the older man in the suit with folded handkerchief in the pocket holding papers, was a Atlantean Guard in The Underwater Menace and a Cyberman in The Moonbase. He returns as one of the TV Crew in The Daemons, a Villager in The Green Death and a Time Lord in Deadly Assassin In Doomwatch he's a Man in Hear No Evil and a Prison Officer in Fire and Brimstone while in Diamonds Are Forever he was a stand-in for Max Latimer.
Leonard Kingston had been a Militiaman in The Smugglers, an Atlantean Priest & Medical Orderly in The Underwater Menace and a Mine Worker & Citizen in The Macra Terror. He returns as a Technician in The Silurians, a Prisoner & Audience Member in Mind of Evil. He became a writer and contributed to the Look and Read stories Joe and the Sheep Rustlers and Sky Hunter.
Maurice Selwyn, the man in the suit with the moustache and sideburns, was a Soldier in The Reign of Terror and The Custodian in The Krotons. Movie Dude identifies him as a Waxwork Visitors but when I looked at the picture they used I thought he was a replica, ad sticking the DVD back on clearly shows him in the later scene after the Visitors to the Waxwork have left.
Again Movie Dude's Spearhead from Space page identifies the following as Waxworks Visitors:
David Billa first appeared as a Guard in The Savages then played a German Soldier in The War Games episode one, German/Roman Soldiers/Alien Technician in The War Games episode four and a Time Lord Technician in The War Games episode ten He returns as a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a UNIT Soldier in Three Doctors, a Prison Guard & Earth Guard in Frontier in Space, a Spiridon in Planet of the Daleks a UNIT Soldier in The Green Death, a UNIT Soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Soldier/Thal Soldier in Genesis of the Daleks and a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen. In Moonbase 3 he's a Technician in Departure and Arrival and Behemoth while in Doomwatch he's a Man in Flood.
Joy Burnett had been in The Faceless Ones as an Airplane Passenger and returns as a Citizen in Keeper of Traken. She was in the 1965 The Wednesday Play (TV Series) of Up the Junction as a Lady in pub.
Alan Clements returns as a UNIT Soldier in The Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, a UNIT Soldier in Terror of the Zygons, an Android UNIT Soldier in The Android Invasion and a Bi-Al Member in Invisible Enemy,
Gideon Kolb appeared in Adam Adamant Lives! as a Club Member in The Survivors, the Tom Baker version of The Hound of the Baskervilles as a Waiter in Episode 2 and in The Black Adder as a Jumping Jew in Born to Be King.
That leaves the following unidentified as which role they're playing from the DWAS Production File's list of Auton Facsimiles and Waxworks visitors :
Leslie Bates cast the shadow that falls across the Tardis at the end of the first episode, An Unearthly Child and then played a Tribesman in the second, The Cave of Skulls. He's a Man at Lop and a Mongol Bandit in Marco Polo, a Guard in The Massacre, a Customer at Inn/Pirate in The Smugglers, an English Soldier in The Highlanders, an IE Guard in The Invasion, and an 1862 soldier, Confederate Soldier, foot soldier in The War Games He returns as a BBC3 TV Crewmember in The Dæmons, a UNIT soldier in The Three Doctors, a Lunar Guard, Draconian & Williams Guard in Frontier in Space, a Security Guard & UNIT Soldier in The Green Death, an Army Corporal & UNIT soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks, a Guard in Planet of the Spiders, a Time Lord in Deadly Assassin and a Bi-Al Member in Invisible Enemy. In the The Andromeda Breakthrough he was a British Soldier in Gale Warning, in Doomwatch he was a man in Hear No Evil, The Islanders & Flood and in Moonbase 3 he's a Technician in Castor and Pollux. He's also in our favourite Adam Adamant Lives! episode D for Destruction as a TA Soldier.
Cara Stevens was a person in the Square of Troy in The Myth Makers and returns as a Technician in The Silurians.
Sheila Knight had been Wigner's Secretary in The Tenth Planet. She returns as the Receptionist & a Technician in The Silurians, and a Technician in Inferno.
Maurice Quick was a Technician in The Tenth Planet. returns as a Priest in Masque of Mandragora and Gold Usher in Deadly Assassin. In Adam Adamant Lives! he's Kilvert in Face in a Mirror while in Douglas Camfield's Beau Geste he appears in episode 8 as Burdon.
Terrance Denville had previously been a double for Captain Blade in The Faceless Ones, a Cyberman in The Invasion and a Foot Soldier & Alien Technician in The War Games. He returns as a Technician & UNIT Soldier in The Silurians, a UNIT Soldier in The Three Doctors, a Cyberman again, briefly, in The Carnival of Monsters, Presidential, Earth & Prison Guards in Frontier in Space, a Spiridon in Planet of the Daleks, an an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks, and an Ice Warrior in The Monster of Peladon. He plays a Technician in Moonbase 3 Departure and Arrival, Behemoth and Outsider, appears as a Russian Security Council Member in the Pierce Brosnan James Bond film GoldenEye and appears in the Miranda episode Before I Die as an Old Man. Bill Matthews who is also a Regular soldier in this episode, returns as Davis in The Silurians, a Prison Officer in The Mind of Evil, a Draconian in Frontier in Space, and a Villager in Planet of the Spiders. He was in Quatermass and the Pit as a Sightseer in The Halfmen, Man in Crowd in The Wild Hunt and a Sightseer in Hob, A for Andromeda as an Extra in The Murderer, Adam Adamant Lives!as a Man in Theatre in The Deadly Bullet and Doomwatch as a man in the episode The Islanders.
June Gray returns as a Technician in Inferno.
Reg Lloyd returns as a Councillor in The Time Monster In Doomwatch he's a Man in Train and De-Train and the Squadron Leader in Survival Code. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy he's in episode 6 as a man.
Vi Kane can be seen in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin as a Neighbour in Trying a Frenchman, Welshman, Scotsman and an Italian. She was the chairman of the Equity council representing extras and bit-players.
This episode is best known for the scene where the Autons break through the shop window, filmed in Ealing Broadway using the same location as in Monty Python's buying a bed sketch from the eight episode Full Frontal Nudity.
The actors playing Autons in this seen then rampaging in the streets after are:
Dennis Hayward was a Scotsmen in Hold/Highlander in The Highlanders He returns as a Control Room Assistant in The Ambassadors of Death and one of the Peasants in the Village Centre in State of Decay. He's in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Warlord and Doomwatch as a Man in The Islanders.
Keith Simon returns as a UNIT Soldier & Control Room Assistant/Technician in the Ambassadors of Death and an IMC Guard in Colony in Space.
Roger Minnis returns as a UNIT Soldier in the Caves in The Silurians, a UNIT Soldier & Control Room Assistant/Technician in the Ambassadors of Death, and an Axon Man in Claws of Axos. Sadly I can find no IMDB entry or further Doctor Who role for Kenneth Lindford who completes this group
We mentioned earlier in the story that episode one marks the cleanest break in Doctor Who's history so far: It's interesting that when Doctor Who returned to television in 2005 they used to the concept of the Autons to relaunch the show, recycling the window breaking sequence from this episode!
Look at the scene again carefully: You never see any glass break (Derrick Sherwin says on the DVD commentary that it was too expensive to do) but thanks to some decent sound effects and tight editing you could of sworn you did moments after watching it. I used to occasionally shop in Ealing when I lived in London, in fact I bought my first Beast Wars deluxe from the Toy Stack there, I thought for a long while it was the closest Doctor Who location to where I lived. Little did I know....
Knowing the area some of the editing amuses me. You see the Autons walking down High Street Ealing towards a queue of unsuspecting passengers at a bus stop, the implication being they're walking away from where they left the shop but actual they are walking towards the shop they left from! Given the stop, they are almost certainly waiting for a number 65 bus towards Richmond & Kingston!
Those queuing are probably found in the list of those down as Passers By in this episode:
Fred Davis was a Man at Banquet in The Romans, and an Atlantean Priest in The Underwater Menace. In Monty Python's Flying Circus he played a Pantomime Animal in Blood, Devastation, Death, War and Horror and he's the Casino Manager in A Hard Day's Night.
Colin Cunningham (rep: Bill Lodge) returns as a Plague Victim in The Silurians and a Councillor in The Time Monster.
Somewhat amusingly, straight down that street you are looking at Ealing Studios, frequent home to Doctor Who's special effects filming, outside of which the Moonbase Cybermen were photographed at a bus stop. In fact the building visible in the Cybermen photo is also in the bus queue shots!
I'm reasonably certain the man on the bike, and then falling off the bike, is Stuntman Billy Horrigan who had been a UNIT Soldier in The Invasion. He returns as one of Collinson's men in Ambassadors of Death, a Technician and UNIT & RSF Soldiers in Inferno, a U.N.I.T. soldier, Auton Policeman & other stunts in Terror of the Autons, UNIT Corporal & Prisoner in The Mind of Evil, a colonist in Colony in Space, a guard in The Curse of Peladon, a Sea Devils & Sailor Stuntman in The Sea Devils, a security guard in The Green Death. a guard in Planet of Spiders, and a soldier/guard in Masque of Mandragora. He was also in Blake's 7 as a Scavenger in Deliverance. In the world of films he acts or does stunt work in Jabberwocky, The Spy Who Loved Me, Superman, Superman II, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, Superman III, Krull, Never Say Never Again, 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Lancaster Road, which the Policeman runs down, used to be between the store and the bus stop but has now gone, consumed by shopping centre.
UNIT, the Army and the Autons battle on the TCC Condensors location used for the battle with the Cybermen in the Invasion.
Cy Town is making his Doctor Who début here as an Auton. returning as a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, a Prisoner, Audience Member & Medical Orderly in The Mind of Evil, a Gel Guard in Three Doctors, a Dalek in Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks, a Soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Dalek in Death to the Daleks, a Dalek in Genesis of the Daleks, multiple Vogans in Revenge of the Cybermen, an Android Villager in Android Invasion, a Traveller, Drummer, Pikeman, Brother & Servant in The Masque of Mandragora, an Bi-Al member in The Invisible Enemy, a Guard in The Sun Makers, a Dalek in Destiny of the Daleks, a Castrovalvan Warrior in Castrovalva, a Guest Gambler in Enlightenment, a Dalek in Resurrection of the Daleks, a City Person in Street in Attack of the Cybermen, a Dalek in Revelation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks, Execution Victim Harold L & a drone in The Happiness Patrol and a Haemovore in The Curse of Fenric.
Outside of Doctor Who appears in the Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes Spam as a Surfer and The Money Programme as a Trumpeter plus the film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life as a Restaurant Diner. In Doomwatch he's a Man in Flood, he's a Technician in all six episodes of Moonbase 3, a Security Guard in The Sweeney Golden Boy, in Quadrophenia he's a hairdresser, in Blake's 7 he's a Rebel Technician/Federation Trooper in Blake, he's a Coach Passenger in Miss Marple: Nemesis and in Jeeves and Wooster he's the Vicar in Wooster with a Wife (or, Jeeves the Matchmaker). And if you want to know what he looks like outside of his Dalek shell then there's some screencaps of him on his Aveleyman page.
Other Autons include the following actors:
Hein Viljoen was a Scotsman in Hold/Highlander in The Highlanders, Atlantean Priest & Miner in The Underwater Menace and a Machine Gunner in The War Games. He was also in UFO UFO as one of the SHADO Mobile 1 Personnel in Computer Affair.
Barry Ashton had been a Highlander in Jail in The Highlanders, Scientist Franz Shultz in The Moonbase, the Double for the Doctor’s Hand and The Policeman in the Antique Shop in The Evil of the Daleks. He returns as a UNIT Soldier in The Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, Proctor in The Time Monster, and Kemp in Frontier in Space. He'd been in Out of the Unknown as Frank in The Counterfeit Man, which you can see on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set, Doomwatch as man in You Killed Toby Wren and The Inquest, both of which are on The Doomwatch DVD
Arnold Chazen had been Scientist John Stacey in The Moonbase. He was in the first Adam Adamant Lives! episode A Vintage Year for Scoundrels as a Foreigner. His daughter is Debbie Chazen who was Foon Van Hoff in the New Series episode Voyage of the Damned.
Keith Ashley was a Citizen & Male Elder in The Savages, an Atlantean Guard & Miner in The Underwater Menace, and a Firing Squad Member in The War Games. He returns as a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, a Villager in The Dæmons a Skybase Guard in The Mutants. a Villager in Planet of the Spiders, a Dalek Operator in Genesis of the Daleks, a Zygon in Terror of the Zygons, an Android Mechanic, Android Man in Canister and Man at Space Defence Station in The Android Invasion, a Krynoid & Sir Colin's Aide in The Seeds of Doom and a Peasant, Traveller, Workman Peasant & Brother in The Masque of Mandragora
Bob Williman is down as an Auton for this episode but has no IMDB entry. I speculated last episode that he might be the Robert Willman listed as Walk On there and that he was an Auton in bothepisodes.
One of the Soldiers killed by the Autons in this sequence is played by actor and stuntman Derek Martin who had been one of the Rabble in The Romans, a Citizens of Paris (Rue des Fosses St Germain) in The Massacre, an English Sailor & Highlander in The Highlanders and a Stuntmen/Soldier in Covent Garden in The Web of Fear. He returns as a Heavy in Ambassadors of Death, a UNIT soldier, RSF Soldier & Technician in Inferno, a Prisoner in Mind of Evil, a Stuntman/UNIT Soldier, Stuntman/Corporal & Stuntmen/Axon Monster in Claws of Axos and David Mitchell in Image of the Fendahl. He was in Out of the Unknown as a Guard in The Counterfeit Man which you can see in the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He was in Adam Adamant Lives! three times: firstly as a TA Soldier/TA Driver/RA Technician in in our favourite episode D for Destruction: this episode also features second Doctor Patrick Troughton and a large number of our friends the Power Station Control Panels and Tape Spool Computers, then as a Coach Driver in Death Begins at Seventy and a Villain in The Tunnel of Death. In Survivors he was in The Peacemaker as Cyril. He's also in The Sweeney as Spooner in Messenger of the Gods and The Professionals as Renshaw in Not a Very Civil Civil Servant. He goes on to be Charlie Slater in Eastenders
The UNIT Officer in this episode is Norman Littlejohn, who I can't find on IMDB. He returns as a UNIT Soldier in Robot.
The UNIT Soldiers are:
John Spradbury who was a Cyberman in The Invasion, and a Foot Soldier & Alien Technician in The War Games. He returns as a UNIT Soldier in The Silurians.
Brian Justice is on début and returns as a UNIT Soldier in Ambassadors of Death, an IMC Guard in Colony in Space, a Stuntmen/UNIT Soldiers (inc. McDougall, Parker) in Claws of Axos, a Guerilla in Day of the Daleks, Castle Guard Wilson in The Sea Devils and Yates' Guard in The Green Death.
The Regular Army Officer is Barry Kennington who had been a German & Roman soldier, an Alien Technician and a Resistance Man in The War Games. He returns as a UNIT Soldier in The Silurians and a Heavy in Ambassadors of Death. In Doomwatch he was a Man in Hear No Evil and The Islanders and in Monty Python's Flying Circus he played a Pantomime Animal in Blood, Devastation, Death, War and Horror.
The Regular Soldiers have a few familiar names and faces:
Michael Earl was a citizen & Lab Assistant in The Savages and an Atlantean Guard in Underwater Menace. He returns as a Technician in the Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, a Man in Pub/Coven & Villagers (inc Mr Greville) in The Daemons, a Time Lord in Deadly Assassin,
Derek Hunt had been an Atlantean Guard in Underwater Menace, and a British Soldier in No Man's Land & a British Soldier in The War Games. He returns as a Unit Soldier in the Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, a UNIT Man in Day of the Daleks, a Prison Guard in Frontier in Space, a Guard in Planet of Spiders, an Android Mechanic & Android Soldier in Android Invasion, a Bi-Al Member in Invisible Enemy, a Time Lord in Invasion of Time, a Technician/Guard/Citizen in The Ribos Operation, a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden, James the Footman in Black Orchid, a Worthy in Snakedance, a Guard in Planet of Fire and a Time Lord in all 14 episodes of Trial of a Timelord: we know he's an Orange Time Lord in Terror of the Vervoids & The Ultimate Foe so assume he's wearing the same colours the whole story.
Gary Dean was a Technician in The Ice Warriors, a Guard in The Enemy of the World, a UNIT Soldier in The Invasion and a German Soldier in The War Games. He returns as a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians, an Earth Control Guard in The Mutants, a Lunar Guard in Frontier in Space, a Spiridon in Planet of the Daleks, a guard in Pirate Planet, a Technician in The Armageddon Factor, a medic in Nightmare of Eden, a Passenger in Time-Flight and a Pallbearer in Remembrance of the Daleks. He was in Doomwatch as a Man in Project Sahara and Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in Communication problems.
David Melbourne had been a Gond in the Krotons, a British Soldier & Resistance Man in The War Games, a Regular Soldier in Spearhead from Space, a UNIT Soldier in Silurians, a UNIT Guard in Day of the Daleks, a UNIT soldier in The Three Doctors, an extra in robot, a Galifreyan in Invasion of Time and a Crewmember in Earthshock. In Blake's 7 he was a Technician in Dawn of the Gods while in Doomwatch he was a Man in Flood and in Moonbase 3 he was a Technician in View of a Dead Planet and Castor and Pollux. In Monty Python's Flying Circus he was a Milkman in Spam and a Soldier at Award Ceremony in It's a Living while in Fawlty Towers he was a Hotel Guest in Communication Problems.
They are supplemented by Bill Matthews, who is also a Waxworks Visitors/Auton Replicas in this episode as listed above.
Robert Murphy was in Doomwatch as a Train and De-Train. Alan Granville and Michael Harrison I've not seen in anything else and I can't find Laurence Ross, who's a regular soldier or Christopher Rushton, down as an extra, on IMDB.
The Doctor's own confrontation with the Nestene creature was deemed not good enough on it's first attempt and was remounted at Ealing on 22nd November 1969. As he is molested by tentacles Pertwee puts in yet more gurning!
Using the same distinctive location makes me want to compare The Invasion and Spearhead from Space:
Both are mainly the prelude to an alien invasion, both feature a factory boss working with the enemy, both have the aliens concealed and then revealed in the latter half of the story, both have a regular army liaison in the thrall of the enemy. The vast majority of what's left is the first episode of this story which is a reworking of the British sci fi film confusingly also called The Invasion written by Roger Marshall from an idea by this story's writer Robert Holmes! And while we're at it, the Nestene Consciousness, the controlling intelligence behind the Autons which brings them to life: is there any similarity to The Great Intelligence, the controlling influence behind the Yeti that animates them and being them to life? Nooooo....... Indeed the entire concept of Shop Dummies coming to life was present in The Big Store, a story by David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke meant for season 5 which was ultimately reworked to form The Faceless Ones. But this story is done so so well that you don't notice any of that till you stop and think about it, so I think that makes Spearhead from Space a very decent opening story for the new Doctor. It is one of my favourite Pertwee's, helped by it being one of the earliest Doctor Videos (and then DVDs) that I owned meaning I have seen it quite a few times now.
This is the last episode with Derrick Sherwin's name on the credits. Sherwin had stepped into the producer's role when Peter Bryant was taken ill but I believe the plan was for Bryant to resume duties on his return. In the meantime the drama Paul Temple has ran into trouble and instead of resuming his old post Bryant was parachuted in there to save the show. Finding the scripts in a terrible state he called in his old colleague Sherwin and they were both joined by Trevor Ray, an assistant Script Editor working with the Doctor Who team at the time.
This is also the last episode directed by Derek Martinus. He first worked on the show during 1965's Galaxy Four, quickly followed by the next story the one episode Mission to the Unknown before returning for 1966's Tenth Planet, introducing the Cybermen, 1967's Evil of the Daleks and later that same year The Ice Warriors. His work is greatly affected by the junkings of the 1970s and despite six episodes of his being recovered over the years this remains his only story complete in the archives with 13 of his 26 episodes still missing. He later directed Trial and The Keeper for the second season of Blake's 7. Martinus died in 2014.
This story is a début for production assistant Peter Grimwade. He returns for The Dæmons, Robot, Pyramids of Mars, The Robots of Death (where he gave his name to the medical name for Robophobia, Grimwade's syndrome) and Horror of Fang Rock. He directs Full Circle, Tom Baker's swansong Logopolis, then Kinda and Earthshock for Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor as well as writing Time Flight, Mawdryn Undead & Planet of Fire. He should have directed the final story of Peter Davison's second season, Warhead, but when that gets cancelled he accidentally sets in motion a chain of events which sours relationships behind the scenes with considerable consequences.
Spearhead from Space was the first colour Doctor Who story to be repeated on 9 to 30 July 1971. It was remastered for a second repeat in 1999 where the intention was it would serve as the start of a grand repeat run of all the colour Doctor Who stories. Needless to say things didn't go to plan......
Spearhead from Space was one of the first Doctor Who novels to be released by Target books in 1974. Disliking the title (Why? It's great), the editor changed the name of the novel to The Auton Invasion. This title was used through first a logo change and then not one but two rejacketings. Several of the other Doctor Who books which had their names changed found themselves correctly titled for their 90s reprints but not this one and it's under this altered title that it has been reissued by BBC books. My copy was a gift from my Uncle Brian at Christmas in either 1981 or 1982. It's one of the best Doctor Who novels so treat yourself to the reissue.
Spearhead from Space was the ninth Doctor Who title and third Pertwee story released on video when it appeared as a compilation volume on 11/02/1988. An episodic volume followed on 13/02/1995. Spearhead was the third Doctor Who DVD released on 29 January 2001, based on the remastering done for it's 1999 repeat. A Special Edition re-release occurred in 2011 as part of The Mannequin Mania Box Set alongside it's sequel Terror of the Autons. Really the BBC missed a nostalgic trick by not entitling the set "The Auton Invasions"!
Because of the problems that afflicted the making of this story it remains the only Doctor Who story recorded entirely on film, as opposed to on videotape or a mix of the two formats. However this made it an ideal candidate for a High Definition Blu Ray release and the Spearhead from Space Blu Ray was released on 15th July 2013.