Terror of the Autons


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Terror of the Autons

Serial Code


First Transmitted

2 January 1971

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who) Katy Manning (Jo Grant)

Guest Cast

Roger Delgado (The Master), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), John Levene (Sergeant Benton) [1-2, 4], Michael Wisher (Rex Farrell), Harry Towb (McDermott) [1-2], David Garth (Time Lord) [1], Frank Mills (Radio Telescope Director) [1], Christopher Burgess (Professor Philips) [1-2], Andrew Staines (Goodge) [1], John Baskcomb (Rossini) [1-2], Dave Carter (Museum Attendant) [1], Stephen Jack (Farrell Senior) [2], Barbara Leake (Mrs. Farrell) [2-3], Roy Stewart (Strong Man) [2], Dermot Tuohy (Brownrose) [3], Norman Stanley (Telephone Mechanic) [3], Bill McGuirk (Policeman) [3]&Dagger,, Terry Walsh (Auton Policeman) [3]&sect,, Pat Gorman (Auton Leader), Haydn Jones (Auton Voice) [3-4].


Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by Barry Letts (uncredited)
Produced by Barry Letts


The Earth is in terrible danger! The Master has arrived with an evil scheme to destroy humanity and silence The Doctor forever. His plan? To awaken the awesome power of the Nestene– a ruthlessly aggressive alien life form. With their control over all types of plastic, they form into faceless automatons, a willing army of destruction easily controlled by the evil Time Lord himself. This is the terrible threat now facing Earth – the terror of the Autons.

Aided by the Brigadier and his enthusiastic new assistant, Jo Grant, only The Doctor can combat their evil power, but this is easier said than done when every plastic doll, phone flex, or chair can be turned against him. First, however, he must defeat The Master.


  • This story had a working title of, The Spray of Death.
  • Although credited, Bill McGuirk (Policeman) does not actually appear in the story, his scenes having been cut prior to broadcast.
  • While working on the TARDIS, The Doctor sings”I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire”, a song by the 1930s-1960s vocal group The Ink Spots.
  • This is the first story to feature Mike Yates, Jo Grant, and The Master.
  • The Doctor tells Jo that Captain Yates had the job of clearing up the mess caused by the Autons in Spearhead from Space
  • The Nestene Consciousness appear again in PDA: Synthespians&trade,, Business Unusual and Rose. The Autons will also appear in Rose and The Pandorica Opens.
  • Part of The Master and the Doctor’s relationship is explored in the book called The Dark Path.
  • Not counting those meant to pass as humans, such as Channing, General Scobie’s replica, Mickey Smith (Auton) and Rory Williams (Auton), this is the only story in which Autons speak.
  • * Barry Letts chose to remain uncredited as director for this story.
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