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Spearhead From Space

Rating Votes
10
24%
29
9
41%
50
8
23%
28
7
11%
13
6
2%
2
5
0%
0
4
1%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.7
Votes
123
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User Rating:
10
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Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: GuiannosReview Date: 1/11/19 1:20 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Spearhead has a lot of goals it tries to accomplish and somehow manages to do them all very well. First and most obviously is the introduction of a new Doctor. Pertwee's forced regeneration and amnesia throws his Third into as much of a lurch as the viewer which creates a sense of discovery a shared experience through the screen. We get to find out what sort of man this iteration will be as he figures it out himself. Any skepticism on the part of the viewer is handled between the Brigadeer and Dr. Liz Shaw, the former leaning towards acceptance as the story progresses and the latter far more resistant to the change. The menace of the Autons and Nestene Consciousness have a similar effect with the audience. The Autons are a very terrestrial menace at first glance but as the Doctor investigates we learn of the alien menace and invasion plot on Earth which both harkens to the height of the Troughton era while setting the stage for the type of story to expect from the revamped series. The Autons themselves are well executed and hit the uncanny valley of being realistic enough to look fearsome but artificial enough to add an extra eerieness to them. By the end of the story we have a new dynamic; The Doctor now assumes the role both of the clever explorer and the man of action previously reserved by one of his companions. Liz takes a step forward as a capable scientist rather than the curious youth / screamer that had been rounding out the party. Everything about the story is very deliberate and planned out to revitalize the program in only 4 episodes. The end result is nearly perfect and the gold standard for a regeneration story.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/20/18 11:30 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Spearhead From Space marks perhaps the biggest combination of changes in Doctor Who history:

- the change from the Patrick Troughton era to the Jon Pertwee era.

- the change from black and white to colour.

- the change from constant time and space travelling to an exile leaving The Doctor stranded in contemporary Earth.

- the change from two or three traditional companions to a whole organisation (UNIT) regularly working with The Doctor.

These changes are made even more striking by the fact that Pertwee's Doctor, having been forced to regenerate as a punishment from the Time Lords and subsequently getting injured, spends much of the early part of the story inactive in a hospital bed. Yet the story manages to be interesting enough and contains enough action, humour and thrills to make this big transition go very successfully.

The story involves the new Doctor finding himself stranded on Earth and suffering from his regeneration then having to deal with an invasion attempt by the Nestene Consciousness using their power to control plastic and creating armies of shop dummies.

The production is a peach with a superb look (recorded beautifully on film rather than the usual video), excellent direction by Derek Martinus and thrilling special effects (shop dummies coming to life and attacking through shop windows etc.) believably and excitingly executed.

The story is brilliantly written by Robert Holmes with superb plotting and dialogue. The acting from Pertwee and the whole cast is impeccable. Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart) and Caroline John (Liz Shaw) do fantastically well in their roles beginning already to get audiences to strongly sympathise and relate to them.

It is not absolutely perfect but it is perfectly entertaining and interesting with thrilling, scary moments.

All 4 Episodes 10/10.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
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10
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Reviewed By: XxDachshundxX Review Date: 9/24/18 7:43 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Everyone has their childhood stories, and for many, including me, Spearhead from Space is among them.
It’s one of the best Doctor Who stories of all time, full stop. It has everything, a great villain, a great Doctor, a great companion, a great everything. I honestly can’t praise it enough.
It’s also extremely refreshing. As much as I love the Troughton era, I think we needed a change, and this story perfectly provides that.
This story is very simple, an alien intelligence that can control plastic wants to take over Earth and destroy the human race. There’s no big twist, no shock value, its simple, yet terrifying. The Autons have to be one of the creepiest Doctor Who monsters ever, just a mannequin wearing a boiler suit. The way they walk and run stiffly, the way they show no body language, it just gets to me. The sequence of the Autons going rampage in the city is amazing, and is one of the trademark moments in Classic Who. The Nestene’s puppet, Channing, is played incredibly by Hugh Burden. Channing goes down in my books as one of the most amazing villains, along with Mavic Chen, Tobias Vaughn and Harrison Chase.
We also get to see the new Doctor for the first time, Jon Pertwee. From the word go, he plays the role expertly, sliding into the Second Doctor’s shoes instantly (and literally!). He has some great moments in this story, such as when he meets the Brigadier for the first time, and the battle at the end.
This story also properly introduces us to the UNIT Family who we follow for the rest of the Jon Pertwee era. The Brigadier is an excellent character, and it is no wonder that he’s considered one of the greatest characters in Doctor Who. The new companion, Liz Shaw, played by the late Caroline John, is on top form and is one of my favourite companions. The UNIT headquarters looks great here, and it gives off a real sense of command and military.
I never usually comment on this, but I love the sets used for this story. The steaming factory, the English forests, the grasslands, the tents, Madam Tussauds, the offices. It just all works together and creates an amazing atmosphere.
And the direction...I love the way this is shot. The camera angles are expertly done, my favourite shot being when the Brigadier looks through the glass and sees the twisted face of Channing. That shot is incredible.
I won’t go much into the script, as I would be going on for hours, but Robert Holmes is the best Doctor Who writer. No one has ever come close to writing scripts as expertly as he has done. This narrative flows smoothly, is fast-paced and well-written. Everything works well together.
I literally have no criticisms. This story is perfect.
In conclusion, Spearhead from Space is one of the best Doctor Who stories ever produced. It is no wonder that Bob Holmes was asked back next series to write another Auton story.

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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 4:25 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Spearhead From Space was perhaps the biggest change Doctor Who had ever faced. For the first time, not only was the show was going to be in colour but the Doctor was also going to be stranded on Earth. No adventures set in the past, future or space. Everything on present day Earth.

They even decided to give the Doctor a job. He became the scientific advisor at UNIT. His boss: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. This was in some ways a great move by the production team. It helped to make the Doctor more relatable. More like us. In other ways, however, it limited the scope of the show. No longer was it anywhere or everywhere, it was just London. Nevertheless, it worked and proved to be a huge success from the show.

Looking at the introductory story, it's not hard to see why. Sam Seeley (Neil Wilson) sees a shower of meteors come down in Oxley Woods and decides to take one back home when he notices a UNIT officer's interest in them. Meanwhile, the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) is found collapsed outside a police box and taken to the local hospital. The Brigadier enlists the help of scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) and eventually the Doctor to help investigate the mysterious meteors and combat an Auton invasion. It's a rather simple story for the show and that's why it works so well as the beginning of a new era. It's also why the new series frequently uses it as a blueprint to easing viewers into a new take on the show; this is exactly how to introduce a new era. They couldn't have possibly got it more right.

The Autons make for very effective monsters too. There's something rather eery about how their body and facial features resemble that of shop window dummies and Doctor Who is always a show that works well when it turns an everyday inanimate object into a force to be reckoned with. Let's face it: if you haven't seen a shop window dummy at some point in your life, then you haven't been out much. The Autons work so well that despite only featuring in two serials of the classic series (they were also in Terror of the Autons) they have become one of the most iconic Doctor Who monsters of all time appearing in three new series stories (Rose, Love & Monsters, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang) and even in a LEGO game (LEGO Dimensions). It's one of those monster creations that will survive the test of time. I have no doubt that we'll see an Auton invasion story in the future: perhaps in the Chris Chibnall era.

The Nestene Consciousness unfortunately are not as successful. It looks a bit too rubbery and thanks to Jon Pertwee's bizarre facial expressions during his fight with it doesn't appear like much of a threat. Its new series look was stronger overall.





Its not entirely fair to compare the two considering that with Spearhead they were operating on a shoestring budget and the new series has much more money but I do wish the classic series had been able to provide a better Nestene Consciousness for Jon Pertwee to fight as it is the only thing that lets the story down. Something more like this from the Terror of the Autons target book would have been preferable:



The cast are on top form. Jon Pertwee is amazing in his first appearance as the Doctor, especially when demonstrating how to communicate with your eyebrows on the planet Delphon. Nicholas Courtney is as brilliant as he was in The Invasion as the Brigadier and continues to be a highlight throughout the 3rd Doctor era. Caroline John is extremely convincing as the sceptical scientist tiring of the Brigadier's talk of the extraterrestrial. It's a crime that she generally tends to be forgotten as a companion of the Doctor's.

Overall, Spearhead From Space is a brilliant introduction story to the Jon Pertwee era and features one of the series' most iconic monsters in the Autons. Unfortunately, the Nestene Consciousness are less successful due to budget constraints but the cast are all on top form and due to the decision to exile the Doctor on Earth the character is more relatable than he was prior to the change.