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< Inferno
The Mind of Evil >

Terror of the Autons

Rating Votes
10
7%
7
9
8%
8
8
50%
52
7
24%
25
6
6%
6
5
3%
3
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
7.7
Votes
103
Director:
Writer:

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User Rating:
8
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Reviewed By: EcclestonSmithReview Date: 2/3/19 3:53 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

It was fun but the ending to each episode is very abrupt
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
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Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: GuiannosReview Date: 1/11/19 2:06 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Terror has a lot of positives going for it although it's far from perfect. The Autons make a welcome return and are still an interesting menace even if they aren't as scary or intense as in Spearhead. The introduction of Delgado's Master steals the show and makes a very strong first impression. The intrigue of a new villian helps make up for an otherwise weak plot that is serviceable but a little disappointing after the strength of the previous season's run.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/27/18 12:05 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The most notable aspect of this story is the arrival of The Master as an arch nemesis for The Doctor. This fellow renegade Time Lord is like Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes, an equally brilliant, intelligent regular adversary who is a bit like 'the other side of the same coin' with The Doctor. The idea of this character and the performance by Roger Delgado is absolutely fantastic. The Master and his plan to bring back to Nestenes, with their ability to turn plastic items into deadly living plastic Autons to attack humanity, provides terrific entertainment.

There is a level of terror and horror in this adventure, similar to its predecessor featuring the Nestenes, Spearhead From Space. Attacks by an inflatable chair, a telephone wire, plastic daffodils and especially a creepy child's doll are sinister and thrilling, creating some very memorable 'hide behind the sofa' moments that have lived in the minds of viewers ever since. Also the Auton dummies disguised as people have some great moments. In particular there is a great, spectacular stunt when an Auton is knocked down and falls dramatically, careering down a huge slope, apparently to its death, only to just get straight back up.

Jon Pertwee remains on top form along with an excellent guest cast and all the regulars do well although it is sad that the character of The Doctor's 'assistant' Liz Shaw is replaced. Her replacement character Jo Grant goes on to be a very endearing character but Liz Shaw was an even better companion for The Doctor in my opinion with a strong intellect as well as bravery. I find it very sad this great character was thrown away. The addition of Captain Mike Yates is great but perhaps they transferred the strength and intelligence of Liz Shaw onto Yates and passed the glamour and warmth of Liz onto Jo Grant. That is an unfortunate decision for gender equality. I liked having all those aspects combined within the one female companion. In saying that I do really like Katy Manning as Jo.

The story is not necessarily perfect, if you nitpick you can find a few minor faults in a scene here and there but even then it still stands up against any TV show of any era. The great new villain added to top class thrills, excellent acting, cracking dialogue and good amounts of action make this a classic. Written by Doctor Who legend Robert Holmes and well directed by admirable showrunner/producer Barry Letts, this is a must watch for all fans.

My Ratings: All 4 episodes - 10/10
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 4:29 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Jon Pertwee's era of Doctor Who took a lot of inspiration from the spy genre, so it is hardly surprising that producer Barry Letts decided to add a Bond-style villain in the form of the Master. What is surprising is how long it took them to do it. The Master wasn't introduced into Jon Pertwee's second season in the role in 1971's Terror of the Autons. As we all know, the character became a big hit with audiences and has gained the status of one of the Doctor's most iconic enemies.

When the Master (Roger Degaldo) arrives on Earth in his TARDIS, he steals a Nestene meteorite and hooks it up to a radio telescope in order to boost a frequency wave that will bring to life the plastic of Earth. Meanwhile, the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) introduces the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) to his new assistant Jo Grant (Katy Manning). At first, they don't get on due to Jo's clumsiness and lack of scientific knowledge however over the course of the story they become firm friends and the Doctor starts to accept her as his companion. Together they must stop the Master from summoning the Nestene and destroying humanity with an army of Autons.

Whilst the first story to feature the Autons - Spearhead From Space - focused entirely on shop window dummies, here other forms of plastic are explored as potential threats to the Doctor and his companion and it is nice to see the concept expanded upon. The Autons become a much more terrifying threat when not only are shop window dummies deadly but you cannot trust phone cords and plastic daffodils either. There is even a deadly chair that in perhaps one of the show's most gruesome moments swallows Farrell Plastics' head of production George McDermott (Harry Towb) whole. It is not surprising that this serial was criticised by many at the time for being too scary for kids - the special effects may not be the best the classic series has to offer but many of the scenes like many of Doctor Who's greatest stories wouldn't look out of place in a horror movie. Other examples of this include the Dalek sucker coming towards Barbara in The Daleks and Zygon Harry attacking Sarah with a pitchfork in Terror of the Zygons.

Jo Grant is immediately endearing as the Doctor's new companion also. Katy Manning plays the part brilliantly, oozing a certain charm and likeability as the bumbling assistant. Whilst some may question the Brigadier's decision to replace Liz Shaw with her despite her lack of qualifications as the Doctor does in the serial, by the end of the serial you really don't care. Katy Manning sells the character right from the beginning and I have a feeling she will always be considered one of the show's most beloved companions. It is a shame that her debut also happens to be the debut of the Master as she is unfortunately over-shadowed but the production crew at the time weren't to know that the Master would go on to become one of the show's most iconic characters.

It's certainly not hard to see why he has become such an iconic character either. The Master is a brilliant adversary for the Doctor; essentially he is a direct reflection of the Doctor. Whilst the Doctor fights for the good of the universe, the Master fights for chaos and destruction. He is essentially the Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock or the Loki to the Doctor's Thor. Compared to, say, John Simm's Master, here he is treated as more of a behind the scenes presence and for the most part it works better when he is not the front and centre of the plot. The drawback is that it results in a plot resolution that comes out of nowhere. The Doctor manages to persuade the Master round but we are not shown enough of the Doctor and the Master's 'frenemy' relationship to make it convincing that he would be so easily persuaded. I would rather the Doctor had managed to out-wit the Master in his plan rather than talk him round.

Roger Degaldo is brilliant as the Master though and will always be to many the definitive version of the character. He has a certain sinister charm as the Doctor's Time Lord nemesis and doesn't need to act insane in order to have a big presence onscreen. Whilst I like John Simm's later portrayal of the character, I would have rather seen him play the part like Roger Degaldo as opposed to bearing more similarities to The Joker. Michelle Gomez as Missy will likely always be my favourite take on the character but if it were not for the legacy left by Roger Degaldo it is highly doubtful that her version of the Master would exist. Roger Degaldo's performance is the reason why the Master has become such an iconic part of Doctor Who mythology; the part was very clearly written for him as he has a wonderful sense of gravitas in the role. Roger Degaldo quite simply WAS the Master.

One of the things I think is a shame is that the Master no longer has the hypnotic powers he displays here. I like the idea of the Master hypnotising people; it helps to show how different he is to the Doctor despite being of the same race and it bears similarities to brain-washing techniques seen in real life ruthless dictators such as Adolf Hitler or Vladimir Putin. The notion that somebody could mess your mind and, for example, persuade you to set off a bomb is a scary one and something that is actually quite true to current society with the way terrorists have twisted people into exacting their plans of terror. A brilliant decision by writer Robert Holmes to have Jo Grant placed under the Master's hypnotic powers also as it leaves the viewer feeling uneasy to see one of the Doctor's friends turn against him. I would like the new series to show Missy hypnotise the companion for an entire series as I think the uneasiness that comes from somebody close to the Doctor being placed under the spell would make for an interesting angle to be explored in more depth.

Overall, Terror of the Autons takes the concept of the Autons and offers a deeper exploration of how they can be a threat to our planet. Not only can they possess shop window dummies now but telephone coils, chairs and plastic daffodils can also be brought to life - giving the terrifying impression that nothing made of plastic material is safe from the clutches of the Nestene. The story serves as a great introduction for Katy Manning's Jo Grant - one of the show's most charming companions - however it is over-shadowed by the debut of Roger Degaldo as the Master. It is easy to see why the Master has developed such a legacy within Doctor Who after watching Roger Degaldo's performance in the role; he is amazing and a true highlight of the Autons' return, even if the character's tendency to act behind the scenes rather than at the forefront of the episode results in a rushed conclusion that comes out of nowhere. It's a shame that the new series has opted to ignore the Master's hypnotic powers as they are a great way to emphasise the difference between the Doctor and the Master, as well as offering a nice sense of uneasiness to the plot when the Doctor's new companion Jo Grant is placed under his hypnosis. I hope for Series 10 that Missy places the twelfth Doctor's new companion Bill under his (or rather her) hypnotic powers but somehow I doubt it is going to happen.