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DOCTOR WHO: TERROR OF THE AUTONS (STORY NO 55)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  95 minutes (four episode story), audio commentary,  documentary, two featurettes, photo gallery, PDF materials, production notes track

VIDEO:  1.33:1 (Full Frame)

AUDIO:  English 2.0 Mono

Subtitles:  English

 

STUDIO:  BBC/ 2 entertain/ Warner Bros. Home Video

RELEASE DATE:  5-10-2011

TERROR OF THE AUTONS was the start of Jon Pertwee's second season as the Third Doctor.   He was introduced to new assistant Jo Grant (Katy Manning who would play her for three seasons) and UNIT Captain Mike Yates (Richard Franklin.  He is also plagued by his evil equal, the sinister Time Lord gentleman known as the Master (Roger Delgado).    The Master was the Doctor's Moriarty whom would go on to clash with the Doctor in several stories.    The Master has a plan to take over the Earth using the Autons resulting in several deaths as the Doctor (and UNIT) scramble to stop the Master from bringing the Nestene Consciousness back to Earth.


TERROR OF THE AUTONS started a high level season that is almost on the level of quality of Pertwee's first season with some of the highlights being the introduction of great characters like Delgado's Master and Jo Grant (that the doctor would form a friendship with in addition to a family type bond).   Some fans of the newer shows may find this slower paced than the newer episodes, but it does allow the characters to get into plenty of additional jeopardy.   Roger Delgado will always be my favorite actor to portray The Master.    The joy of this story is watching the Master trying to kill The Doctor and still feel glad The Doctor is around to see his evil plan come together.   The Master is nice and evil while The Doctor is arrogant and thinks he knows it all.  


 This story was put back together by overlaying NTSC color over PAL black and white sources (I was disappointed not to see a featurette about the restoration of the story on this DVD) .  Now the wait is on for other Pertwee stories like THE DAEMONS and THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH (which is facing restoration difficulties which has lead to a release delay on DVD).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Optional episode audio commentary with actors Katy Manning (Jo Grant), the late Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier), and producer/ director Barry Letts

 

LIFE ON EARTH- a 33 minute documentary that focuses on the making of TERROR OF THE AUTONS in addition to talking about the new characters that were introduced for the Third Doctor's second season and comparing the characters in that serial (and DOCTOR WHO at that time period) to characters in today's series and how the show has changed since then.   Featuring several interviews including archive interview footage with Jon Pertwee.

 

THE DOCTOR'S MORIARTY- a retrospective on the Master which omits mention of Eric Roberts take on the character.

 

PLASTIC FANTASTIC- all about the scary Autons and how the writers created them

 

rounding out the extras are an optional production note subtitle track you can play with the episodes as it gives facts about the serial and the people involved and the reaction to the show, a photo gallery, a coming soon trailer for FRONTIOS, and PDF materials (Radio Times listings and promotional material for Doctor Who Sugar Snacks and Nestle).

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   TERROR OF THE AUTONS is a welcome addition to Third Doctor stories available on DVD.  I hope THE DAEMONS and COLONY IN SPACE get released soon.

 

this DVD review is (c)7-12-2011 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com