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Doctor Who: Terror Of The Autons DVD Review

The cast shines in the fun-filled “Terror Of The Autons.”

In “Terror Of The Autons,” The Master makes his first on screen appearance in a story involving the villainous Master attempting to use the deadly Nestene Consciousness to take over Planet Earth. The Nestene Consciousness, as some Whovians may recall, is an alien force which can make any plastic object come to life. They also created the Autons. In addition to all of that, ‘Terror’ is also notable for the introduction of two new characters in the lovely companion Jo Grant and U.N.I.T. soldier Mike Yates.

Let me say upfront that “Terror Of The Autons” is not a perfect episode. The story is vague and anti-climactic, the direction is somewhat awkward, the music score is often irritating, and the episode could have used some editing here and there as the camera often lingers on shots. Despite all of these issues, however, ‘Terror’ is still one of the most entertaining “Doctor Who” adventures of the classic era. Here’s why:

  1. The episode is filled with entertaining action sequences (such as the Autons attacking the Doctor).
  2. The bizarre, surrealistic imagery (such as the killer goblin doll and a plastic chair killing a man) is both comical and memorable.
  3. The Master (wonderfully played by the late Roger Delgado) is at his best here.
  4. Jo Grant (‘nuff said).
  5. The Brigadier + Mike Yates= U.N.I.T. at its best.
  6. Jon Pertwee, as per usual, gives a stand-out performance. His scenes with Delgado are especially noteworthy.

Summary: If you are a fan of classic “Doctor Who,” “Terror Of The Autons” is worth seeking out.


The 4:3 fullscreen picture quality isn’t in the best of shape. The colors are faded and sometimes the motions on screen look a bit fuzzy.

Much like a few of the Pertwee era DVD releases, the Dolby Digital Mono audio track leaves a lot to be desired. There are several instances in which you can audibly hear background noise. It’s a low quality track, but thankfully, you can hear the dialogue relatively well.

* Photo gallery, Radio Times Listings, “Doctor Who” series 5 and “Frontios” trailers, promos for Sugar Smacks and Nestle, and info text.
* “Plastic Fantastic”- An 11 minute featurette about plastic.
* “The Doctor’s Moriarty”- A 19 minute featurette on the Doctor’s arch enemey- The Master.
* “Life On Earth”- A making of that includes the usual script discussions, interviews, chats about Jo Grant and The Master, autons, etc. The highlight here is archival footage of interviews with Jon Pertwee. 
* Commentary by Katy Manning, Barry Letts, and the late great Nicholas Courtney. This is a nice nostalgic track with Katy Manning being the most talkative here.

May 30, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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