08 – Eighth Season – Jon Pertwee

Terror of the Autons

The Autons are back! And we are introduced to the Master. One of the classic villains of Doctor Who made his appearance here. It all started with a conversation between Producer Barry Letts and Script Editor Terrance Dicks, noting that the relationship between the Doctor and the Brigadier resembled that between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. But then, what about Moriarty? The Doctor needed a Moriarty, and thus the Master is born. Played by Roger Delgado, he oozes evil and is for my money still the best Master to ever play the part. Sadly, he died in a car crash in 1973, cutting short his run, but they used him a lot while they had him, possibly too much.

As for the Autons, somehow they had hooked up with the Master, and he was helping them to take over the Earth. The thing about the Autons is that they can turn anything made of plastic into a tool or weapon, and gosh there are a lot plastic things around. Plastic chairs can kill you, plastic dolls can kill you, even plastic daffodils can kill you. And then there is the telephone cord. By the end of the story, the Doctor has managed to steal a key component from the Master’s TARDIS, thus stranding him on Earth as well, good for a few more stories.

Jo Grant (Katy Manning) is the new companion, and is not a scientist like Lis Shaw was, and this was a deliberate choice by the producer, Barry Letts. He felt that Liz was taking some of the attention away from the Doctor. She is fine in this episode, and does more than just ask questions and scream on cue.

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The Mind of Evil

A nice little six-parter here. A Dr. Keller has created a machine that can extract the evil thoughts from people’s brains and make them harmless. So the government decides that this is better than executing criminals, just remove the bad stuff and leave them alone. The Doctor attends a demonstration at Stangmoor Prison, and he thinks something is wrong. They bring in a violent offender, strap him into the machine, and he screams in agony as the machine is used, which appears to be an unusual reaction. Meanwhile, the First World Peace Conference is happening in London, and something is going wrong in the Chinese delegation. Some documents are reported missing, then the Captain who reported them missing is seen burning some documents. Then the chief delegate from China is found dead. It turns out all of this is related, and the Master is behind it. In the end he is defeated, but he does get his Dematerialization Circuit back and can again travel through Space and Time. But don’t worry, we haven’t seen the last of him.

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The Claws of Axos

A UFO lands on earth, and golden aliens are offering a mineral of untold riches. What could possibly go wrong with that? When you learn that the Master is involved, well, quite a lot. An American agent is involved who is trying to end the threat of the Master, but of course he does not succeed of there would be no more stories and we know that there will be more stories with the Master. Roger Delgado continues to shine in the role he invented and still does better than anyone else. And is the Doctor really betraying everyone on Earth? A good 4-part story with satisfying action, and a suitably venal British government official for the Doctor to despise and to clash with the Brigadier.

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Colony in Space

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The Daemons

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Season 8

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