Spearhead From Space

3rd Doctor

Liz Shaw  Lethbridge - Stewart

Location: Earth



The newly-regenerated Doctor is exiled to modern-day Earth by the Time Lords, where he becomes attached to the British branch UNIT as their scientific adviser, ostensibly taking orders from Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Aided by Liz Shaw, the Doctor's first task is to investigate a shower of mysterious meteorites which landed in the countryside. The Time Lord discovers that these are no ordinary meteorites: in fact, the plastic-controlling Nestenes have landed, intending to use their automated servants, the Autons, to take over the Earth.
 Novel  By  Terrance Dicks

Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion

First edition publication date: January, 1974
First edition cover and illustrations by Chris Achilleos

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"Spearhead from Space" launched Doctor Who into the 1970s with not only a new Doctor, Jon Pertwee, but a new assistant, the scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) and a regular place in the show for UNIT and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). It also marked the debut of the programme in colour and saw the Doctor stranded on Earth after Patrick Troughton's last adventure, "The War Games" (1969). Not only that, but it proved the only serial in the show's history to be entirely shot both on film and location, giving it a uniquely cinematic feel. Regenerating in a country hospital, the Doctor finds himself helping the Brigadier investigate an unusual meteorite and its links with a sinister doll factory. The Autons are cybernetic killers--anticipating The Terminator by some 15 years--and the sequence in which they break through high-street shop windows to slaughter pedestrians remains a chilling highpoint of Doctor Who's entire history. Things do turn silly with a subplot involving a waxworks museum, while the ultimate battle with the Nestine consciousness is more likely to induce laughter than fear, but as vintage television nostalgia this is fast-moving splendidly characterised entertainment. --Gary S. Dalkin

On the DVD: The remastered picture and sound are exceptional for a 1970 TV show. Obviously in 4:3 and mono, this DVD offers technical quality easily as good as many feature films. There is a very friendly, if not especially informative, commentary from Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John, and subtitles that offer background facts and figures. With an amusing five-minute recruiting film for UNIT, repeat trailers and a gallery including previously unpublished photos, this excellent DVD is a Doctor Who fan's dream come true. --Gary S. Dalkin

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