Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Doctor Who-Terror Of The Autons
                        Following the departure of Caroline John,and therefore the doctors companion Liz Shaw the producers of Doctor Who had a necessity to create a new companion for the doctor. The fact that he was stranded on Earth also meant that there would have to be someone from within the UNIT organization he was advising to do so. Enter Katy Manning,an eccentric actress who got the part of the new companion Jo Grant largely on the basis of her strong charisma and personality. This completed the lineup of what is sometimes called the UNIT family,consisting of the doctor,Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart,Sgt. Benton and new arrivals Captain Mike Yates and companion Jo Grant. Since previous villains such as the Daleks and Cybermen seemed to be unwieldy at this juncture a new villain was created. This time it was someone from the doctors own race as well.

                      A mysterious traveller referring to himself only as the Master arrives at an English circus where he hypnotizes one of the carnies. He uses him to get to a nearby radio telescope where he does the same to one of the researchers there and shrinks the other to death. This incident draws in the attention of UNIT,where the doctors new companion Jo Grant has just arrived much to his chagrin. When he goes to investigate the incident at the telescope he finds the door booby trapped with a bomb and Jo follows him to investigate. Her encounter with him ends in her being hypnotized in the same manner and used to nearly blow up UNIT with the similar bomb. 

                   While her revelations,plus a visit from an advising time lord help the doctor in understanding whom he's actually dealing with,The Master has put himself into an advisory position in a polymer manufacturing plant,hypnotizing or even murdering anyone who stands in his way with autons he's created from the Nestene consciousness he plundered earlier with the help of one of his hypnotized companions. These autons take the form of humanoids,chairs,artificial flowers and even a murderous doll-all with the intention of allowing the Master to destroy humanity,take over Earth and destroy the doctor.  While the doctor is successful in destroying the Masters attempts to contact the Nestene consciousness to accomplish his mission and thereby stopping the autons as well,the Master manages to escape. Though the doctor managed to plunder the dematerialization circuit from his TARDIS so if the doctor was trapped on Earth,so would the Master.

                This is one of the most exciting and compelling Doctor Who adventures of the Jon Pertwee era. And an excellent introduction for Katy Manning. While at first perceived as a clumsy interloper who was  involved with UNIT purely through nepotism,her willingness to succeed and eventual helpful assistance to the doctor following her being hypnotized by the Master endear her to the doctor and the rest of the UNIT staff as well. The Master for his part is an excellent adversary for the doctor. Not only is he on his intellectual level,but his mission being essentially the polar opposite of the doctors makes him the ideal counterpoint. Given his suave portrayal by the late Robert Delgado,the Master's ability to manipulate key industries and institutions on Earth to facilitate his misdeeds point to the avarice and inefficiency of the modern industrial world. That plus the addition of darkly comic characters such the murderous "devil doll" and the new smiley faced autons add a fractured fairy tale element to what was already a well written and developed story.
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