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Spearhead from Space

Reviewed by Ken Tod

It's an interesting task writing a review of a Doctor Who story you've watched at least three times on TV (1975, 1985 & 1991). It also gives me a chance to recall my response to the programme at ages 11, 21 and 27.

The first time I watched this programme was after a four year wait, the last story having screened was The Wheel in Space with Patrick Troughton in 1971. However I was not surprised to see Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, having gotten used to him in Countdown & TV Action comic strips.

I remember that the story was first transmitted in black and white, even though TVNZ had been transmitting in colour for a good 12 to 18 months at that time. We had a colour TV in time for the Commonwealth Games in 1974, so it was a surprise to me that Doctor Who was in black and white. I remember being terrified of the Autons all the way through the story and enjoying it very much. On the second time through ten years later (and this time in colour!), I still enjoyed it although I started to pick up on its faults - i.e. a naff Nestene octopus! monster/thingy in Episode 4.

Third time through, it's looking very dated, I think a problem of shooting the programme in its contemporary time. It still stands up as a solid start for the new Third Doctor even though the UNIT uniforms are patently ridiculous. Jon Pertwee is readily accepted as the Doctor, although Caroline John seems uncomfortable in the role of Liz Shaw.

This item appeared in TSV 25 (October 1991).

Index nodes: Spearhead from Space