The Third Doctor must face terrifying plastic Autons and the evil Master in these two classic 1970’s adventures. Terror of the Autons
: The Master arrives on Earth in his TARDIS, camouflaging it as a horse box in a Circus. He immediately contacts the Nestenes and assists them in mounting a second invasion of Earth. The Doctor and his new assistant, Jo Grant, have to tackle the Autons, the Master and a large number of deadly daffodils. Spearhead from Space
: Newly regenerated, the Doctor returns in the first colour tv adventure. Exiled by the Time Lords to Earth, he finds himself working with UNIT to investigate an apparent meteor shower connected to strange events at a local plastics factory. The factory is manufacturing mannequins with a sinister purpose..
When Doctor Who
was revived for its modern day adventures back in 2005, its interesting choice of first monsters to bring back was the Autons. These mannequin-like beasts have since returned again, yet their pedigree goes right back to the 1970s, when they first did battle with Jon Pertwee’s incarnation of the Doctor. And it’s those encounters that the Mannequin Mania
box set brings together.
You get two stories for your money, here. Terror Of The Autons also throws The Master into the mix, and it’s a cracking yarn, with plenty of imagination and some significant attempts to scare. But Spearhead From Space is better. Pertwee’s first story, it’s an alien invasion story of real skill, and the Autons from the off make compelling monsters. Pertwee was, inevitably, still finding his feet in the role here, and the effects don’t date well, but it’s a smashing adventure nonetheless. Do note that it’s already been released as a standalone disc, though.
What you also get, of course, is a smashing collection of extras, as is usually the case with the BBC’s classic Doctor Who releases. The love and care put into the added features is an example to many, and it’s an exhaustive package you get for your money. As such, Mannequin Mania is, rightly, really quite hard to resist. --Jon Foster