"Spearhead from Space" launched Doctor Who
into the 1970s with not only a new Doctor, Jon Pertwee, but a new assistant, the scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) and a regular place in the show for UNIT and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). It also marked the debut of the programme in colour and saw the Doctor stranded on Earth after Patrick Troughton's last adventure, "The War Games" (1969). Not only that, but it proved the only serial in the show's history to be entirely shot both on film and location, giving it a uniquely cinematic feel. Regenerating in a country hospital, the Doctor finds himself helping the Brigadier investigate an unusual meteorite and its links with a sinister doll factory. The Autons are cybernetic killers--anticipating The Terminator
by some 15 years--and the sequence in which they break through high-street shop windows to slaughter pedestrians remains a chilling highpoint of Doctor Who's
entire history. Things do turn silly with a subplot involving a waxworks museum, while the ultimate battle with the Nestine consciousness is more likely to induce laughter than fear, but as vintage television nostalgia this is fast-moving splendidly characterised entertainment. --Gary S. Dalkin
On the DVD: The remastered picture and sound are exceptional for a 1970 TV show. Obviously in 4:3 and mono, this DVD offers technical quality easily as good as many feature films. There is a very friendly, if not especially informative, commentary from Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John, and subtitles that offer background facts and figures. With an amusing five-minute recruiting film for UNIT, repeat trailers and a gallery including previously unpublished photos, this excellent DVD is a Doctor Who fan's dream come true. --Gary S. Dalkin
Forbidden to continue his travels through time and space by his fellow Time Lords, the newly regenerated Doctor (Jon Pertwee) begins his exile on 20th century Earth. His arrival coincides with a shower of strange meteorites, which are promptly investigated by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Although his old friend Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) is initially suspicious of the Doctor's new appearance and personality, he is forced to ask for his help when several of the meteorites go missing. The Doctor discovers that the meteor shower was in fact the first wave of an invasion by hostile alien intelligence the Nestene; phase two begins when the Autons - deadly plastic mannequins created by the Nestene agents on Earth - launch an attack on the unsuspecting public.