Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Autons

If the Autons were real, they could take over the world as easy as anything. Next time you are in a shopping centre, look around and imagine just what would happen if all those immobile plastic figures suddenly came alive. It’s an unsettling image used to great effect in both 1970’s “Spearhead from Space” and 2005’s “Rose”. It’s a testament to these villains that they were used to kick-start two different eras of the series, the transition to colour and the eventual return of the series under Russell T.  Davies.

The Autons also raised questions in the House of Lords over whether Doctor Who had become unsuitable for children, mainly due to several scenes in the second Auton story “Terror of the Autons”. A scene where a policeman was revealed to be a masked Auton and another in which a doll kills its owner were put under criticism, the latter apparently preventing children from taking their toys to bed with them. 

The Autons have also spawned some of the most iconic scenes in Doctor Who history – the shop window dummies coming alive and gunning down pedestrians (although it is debatable what’s more terrifying – the marauding aliens or the dreadful clothes they have on), the man being eaten by the (rather unconvincing) plastic chair, not to mention the Auton that breaks into an old woman’s house and wrecks the place in a particularly unnerving scene from “Spearhead from Space”.

The Autons are monsters that make everyday objects menacing. They remain a popular adversary to this day, continuing to appear in Doctor Who and ranges of other media, including a spin off straight to video film trilogy.

Join the Doctor Who Bar on Wednesday for the Jon Pertwee classic "Spearhead from Space". Bar opens at  7.30pm and we press play at 8.00pm. Hope to see you there. 

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