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Context Recap / DoctorWhoS7E1SpearheadFromSpace

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1[[quoteright:350:]]˛[[caption-width-right:350:The first of ''many'' of the Third Doctor's Earth adventures.]]˛->''"We deal with the odd... the unexplained. Anything on Earth... or beyond."''˛-->-- '''TheBrigadier''' sets out UNIT's mission statement˛˛The one where the Doctor takes a shower.˛˛"Spearhead from Space" is one of the most important ''Doctor Who'' serials ever made. It was the first serial of ''Series/DoctorWho'' to be broadcast in colour.[[note]]although colour TV sets were the minority at the time, so the vast majority viewers would still be watching the show in monochrome for some time[[/note]] It proved that [[TheNthDoctor recasting the Doctor]] into a different sort of person was a trick you could do more than once, meaning the series could run indefinitely. And it was the beginning of a long stretch that takes place almost exclusively on Earth. Due to a decision on the part of the previous production team to reformat the series,[[note]]It is a fan myth that budgetary restraints had anything to do with it[[/note]] the setting would be "contemporary Earth" for the foreseeable future, with the Doctor exiled to Earth by the Time Lords. With the Third Doctor being confined to life with UNIT, the show's atmosphere changed completely and started drawing much inspiration from that ''other'' famous Creator/SydneyNewman show: ''Series/TheAvengers1960s''.˛˛-----˛˛The year is... whatever the hell people feel like it being. Blame Creator/JohnNathanTurner. Or Creator/RobertHolmes. Or maybe even Creator/DerrickSherwin. Anyway...˛˛A series of meteorites crashes onto Earth in a suspiciously uniform manner and without leaving an impact crater, which the British military decides to ignore (despite the suspicions of one very unnerved air traffic controller). One meteorite ends up being discovered by a hunter up in the country, who takes home the purple rock that to modern viewers sounds uncannily like someone's cell phone going off.˛˛The TARDIS materialises (in colour, no less!) and a tall, white-haired man dressed in a Creator/PatrickTroughton costume steps out and collapses.˛˛UNIT troops arrive and find the man, taking him off to hospital, where he spends some time in a coma. [[TheBrigadier Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart]] arrives and, after hearing that the man has two hearts and was found near a police box, concludes that it's probably the Doctor, who he last met while [[Recap/DoctorWhoS6E3TheInvasion fighting a Cyberman invasion in London]]. When the Doctor wakes up-- still with his previous personality-- he's not at all happy at having been forcibly regenerated, but has to admit that his new face is rather dignified. The Brig is less content, being confused as to why this man looks nothing like Patrick Troughton and initially doubting that he's actually the Doctor, only to have his suspicions debunked once the odd man who looks like Creator/JonPertwee verbally recognizes him. One gratuitous shower scene later, the Doctor's stolen some oddly frilly clothes and a car (from the "Doctors only" car park) and is on his way to UNIT, where scientist Liz Shaw is trying to make sense of the mystery of the day. An employee of the local plastic factory is claiming that he's seen a walking mannequin. ''And'' there's a meteorite shower on.˛˛The new Doctor is still suffering from amnesia (caused by both his execution and the Time Lords having removed large chunks of his memory pertaining to TARDIS operation) and tries to get used to his new personality while he investigates the strange meteorite shower. He discovers that the meteorites are in fact hollow globes containing the Nestene Consciousness, another disembodied alien intelligence (see "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E2TheAbominableSnowmen The Abominable Snowmen]]" and "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E5TheWebOfFear The Web of Fear]]"), which uses plastics to achieve its ends as opposed to Yeti balls (no, not ''those'' kinds). In one classic scene, shop dummies come to life, smashing through the shop windows (off-screen) and firing guns concealed in their hands, spreading panic-- but the Nestene Consciousness's real plan is to create plastic replicas of world leaders and take over the Earth.˛˛The Doctor and Liz manage to repel the Consciousness back into space thanks to the power of a tiny satellite dish (after the Doctor spends some time mugging for the camera while being strangled by the Consciousness) and the Doctor agrees to sign on as UNIT's "Scientific Advisor" for the duration of his exile, signing the paperwork as Dr. John Smith. In exchange, UNIT will give him technical facilities to try and repair the TARDIS (which has been deactivated by the Time Lords), and the use of a vintage car just like the one he had earlier appropriated from the hospital.˛˛!!Tropes˛* AnswerCut:˛-->'''Corporal:''' Is he dead, sir?\˛''[cut to the hospital, some time later]''\˛'''Dr. Henderson:''' No.˛* ArmCannon: The Autons love their folding/unfolding wrist guns.˛* ArtisticLicenceChemistry: In the scene where Liz describes how the alien plastic differs from anything known on Earth, everything she mentions is actually a real characteristic of Earthly plastics -- but by the time she's finished, she's effectively said that it lacks every characteristic necessary to defining a substance as being a plastic.˛* ArtShift: The only serial of Doctor Who shot entirely on film. This also makes it the first Classic Who serial released on Blu-ray.˛* AsideGlance: When the Brigadier and the other members of UNIT leave the Doctor alone and unguarded in his hospital bed, he gives the camera a short, conspiratorial look.˛* AttackOfTheKillerWhatever: Attack of the killer 1970s shop window mannequins!˛* AttentionDeficitOohShiny: The Doctor finds the shell of a Nestene Consciousness much more interesting than his conversation with the Brig, and breaks into talking about it mid-sentence.˛* BadassInDistress: In the very first episode of his very first story, the Third Doctor gets gagged and kidnapped by the Autons, who mistakenly think the reason UNIT is interested in him is because he has information on where the Auton Spheres landed. He proceeds to escape by himself, survive ''a bullet to the head'', and go on to wreck the Nestene Consciousness with help from Liz and UNIT.˛* BizarreAlienBiology: Dr. Henderson spends most of the first episode trying to comprehend a creature that has two hearts, unidentifiable blood, a pulse rate of 10 per minute and a flatline EEG.˛* BoundAndGagged: The Doctor is kidnapped by a raiding party of Autons. He escapes. [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome In a wheelchair]].˛* BriefAccentImitation / ContinuityNod: With one of his first lines, Pertwee does his best Creator/PatrickTroughton imitation: "That's not me 'tall!"˛* CantYouReadTheSign: Played with -- in the hospital, the Doctor walks right past a "Doctors Only" sign.˛* TheCharmer: The Doctor quickly seduces Liz and flirting her into getting his TARDIS key for him (though she loses interest when she realises he's tricked her). ˛* CombatTentacles: The Nestene attacks the Doctor with these.˛* CorporateConspiracy: The local plastics factory Auto Plastics has been taken over by the Nestene Consciousness which uses the factory to produce Autons, sending them out to recover meteorites containing individual Nestene while simultaneously replacing key government and public figures with Auton duplicates.˛* {{Corpsing}}: When the Doctor turns up the charm and swaggers across the room to Liz, Creator/CarolineJohn gives a rather helpless little giggle.˛* CouldHaveBeenMessy: The Doctor gets shot in the head, and ''VERY'' narrowly dodges a '''''bullet to the brain''''' in Episode 1.˛* CreatorCameo: Producer Derrick Sherwin plays the UNIT guard the Doctor gets past. Supposedly, they had an actor hired to play the part, but he was utterly terrible, so [[ThrowItIn Derrick put the costume on and took over]].˛* CreepyDoll: Part 2 has a scene in a creepy doll ''factory.''˛* DarkerAndEdgier: Part 2 has a guy whose face gets ''smashed into a windshield''. This trope would become a staple of Creator/RobertHolmes episodes.˛* {{Doppelganger}}: The Auton facsimiles of key authority figures.˛* FamilyUnfriendlyViolence: There's a car accident when a man avoids running down an Auton and instead goes into a tree. We see a shattered windscreen covered in blood.˛* {{Fanservice}}: The Doctor's ShowerScene. Tempered somewhat by the tattoo on Jon Pertwee's arm and fandom's attempts to explain it away. (It's generally accepted that the tattoo is a Time Lord-administered "criminal mark" that remains in place until the Doctor's exile is lifted.)˛* {{Fingore}}: A meta-example: Derek Smee, who played Ransome, gashed his left index finger pretty badly while climbing over the barbed wire while on location shooting the "infiltration into the plastics factory" scene. He insisted on the doctors administering first aid and placing a flesh-coloured bandage over the finger so he could return to finish the day's shoot. Afterwards, he was immediately rushed to a hospital for surgery. Scenes shot subsequently show him with a bandage on the finger and favouring it while climbing stairs.˛* GiantSquid: The Nestenes create "a life-form perfectly adapted for survival and conquest on this planet"; it's basically an enormous squid.˛* HadTheSillyThingInReverse: Inverted when the Doctor makes off with the surgeon's car -- he needs to reverse to get out of the parking space, but starts going forward first.˛** Creator/JonPertwee claimed that he damaged the car slightly during this sequence with that gag -- he had accidentally thrown the car into the wrong gear and wrenched the transmission.˛* HeKnowsTooMuch: Ransome.˛* HeroStoleMyBike: The Doctor "borrows" a vintage car and takes a liking to it. UNIT ''does'' return the car to its rightful owner, but they get the Doctor another one a lot like it.˛* HiddenInPlainSight: The waxworks museum where evil plastic {{Doppelganger}}s of government officials are held. And where their victims are [[{{AndIMustScream}} frozen in place]].˛* ImmuneToBullets: The Autons.˛* InnocentInnuendo: It's hard to tell whether it was this or an ''{{Accidental|Innuendo}}'' [[AccidentalInnuendo Innuendo]], but when the ''actual'' doctor meets with his superior in the restroom and they discuss the Doctor, he asks if his superior wants to review the Doctor's charts "before you examine him." Little do they know, the Doctor is showering with his back to them, in plain view. "Examine" indeed.˛* LaserGuidedAmnesia: The Doctor is ''not'' happy when he realises that his amnesia isn't just regeneration sickness, and that the Time Lords have messed with his brain. ˛* MurderousMannequin: The Autons. Shop window dummies coming alive to stalk the streets is one of the most iconic moments of classic Who. ˛* MrSmith: The Doctor's chosen "alias". The Brigadier is not impressed.˛* TheNthDoctor: Creator/JonPertwee makes his debut as the Doctor.˛* NobodyHereButUsStatues: The Doctor and Liz hide in the waxworks museum in this way.˛* NonIndicativeName[=/=]LineOfSightName: The name "Auton" comes from ''Auto Plastics'', the factory where they were first made.˛** To disguise non-union actors being used as Autons, internal BBC documents credited the extras as "Ivan Orton." Say it fast.˛* NoodleIncident: Most likely an unintentional example, but at the start of the story the Brigadier explains to Liz Shaw that there have been two attempted alien invasions defeated by the Doctor and UNIT since UNIT formed. One is clearly meant to be the events of [[Recap/DoctorWhoS6E3TheInvasion The Invasion]], however the other, likely meant to be [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E5TheWebOfFear The Web Of Fear]], actually takes place ''before'' UNIT was formed, giving rise to the possibility that at some point there was another unseen adventure featuring the Second Doctor and UNIT.˛* ObscuredSpecialEffects: Creator/TheBBC didn't have the budget at the time to show the dummies breaking the glass, so instead we just cut to the faces of shocked onlookers while the sound effect plays. This was gleefully played with in the New series Auton episode ("[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E1Rose Rose]]"), in which they did have the budget to break the glass, and so we got several pornographic, slow-motion shots showing the Autons doing it again and again...˛* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: General Scobie is rather dubious of his claims when he talks to him on the phone, but agrees that it sounds serious and will give the Brigadier his whole support. Then he puts down the phone and answers the door...˛* RecycledPremise: This is essentially a loose remake of the first two UNIT stories from the Second Doctor's era, with the major distinction of showing how the Third Doctor will handle things differently to his predecessor.˛* ReReleaseSoundtrack: This serial featured a Music/FleetwoodMac track that was edited out of the 1988 VHS and 2001 DVD releases. The licence was subsequently renegotiated, allowing the track to appear on the 2011 DVD release.˛* ResurrectionSickness: The newly-regenerated Doctor spends the first episode in hospital in a somewhat drowsy condition.˛* {{Retool}}: A black-and-white series based on travelling throughout time and space becomes a colour series set entirely on 1970s ([[RunningGag or was it the eighties...]]) Earth with a largely new regular cast. This season also marked the end of the show running most of the year round with a break of two months around the summer, with the show now running for half of the year instead; this decision was chiefly informed by Creator/PatrickTroughton's exhaustion with the production schedule under the old format.˛* ShoutOut: "Smith. Doctor John Smith.". [[Creator/JonPertwee Jon Pertwee]] was after all a great [[Film/JamesBond 007]] fan, and this reference would only be the first of many during his tenure. Made awesome in hindsight by the fact that Pertwee was friends with [[Literature/JamesBond 007]] creator [[Creator/IanFleming Ian Fleming]], and once worked in the British Secret Service with him during WWII.˛* ShowerScene: The Doctor takes a nice long shower, which to this day is still the largest amount of Doctor nudity the show has seen.˛* SingingInTheShower: The Doctor warbles out a tune while taking a shower.˛* SmashCut: The Auton rampage in Part 4 uses a literal "smash" cut to suggest that the mannequins have broken through the shop-window.˛* SoundOnlyDeath: The Seeley's dog is apparently killed by an Auton, or at least spooked off. The animal is heard barking offscreen, as its mistress berates it to be quiet; this is followed by a yelp, then silence.˛* ThisWasHisTrueForm: The Auton facsimiles revert to the default blank-faced Auton form when they're deactivated.˛* TookALevelInDumbass: While UNIT used sensible tactics, like grenades and rockets, on the ImmuneToBullets Cybermen [[Recap/DoctorWhoS6E3TheInvasion when we last saw them]], they now keep shooting the equally bullet-immune Autons without result. Justified, since most of their regular troops were reassigned or out of contact and the ones on hand are regular army men who were not intending to face living shop dummies.˛* TrackingDevice: After UNIT takes the TARDIS into protective custody while the Doctor's in hospital, the Doctor uses a homing device to find the TARDIS and therefore UNIT HQ.˛** The Autons can also track the orbs containing the Nestene consciousness, as long as they aren't shielded too much.˛* WaxMuseumMorgue: Likely a homage to this trope when government officials who've been replaced by Auton replicants are 'stored' under hypnosis at Madame Tussands.˛* WhamEpisode: The series is now in colour, the entire starring cast is reset (with the sole exception being TheBrigadier, who has been promoted to main cast after previously being a OnceASeason recurring character), the Doctor is suddenly on a much more violent adventure, it's revealed that the Doctor has two hearts, and [[SocietyIsToBlame the space race suddenly has a much more chilling consequence.]] It also satisfies the "game changing" aspect of the trope by changing the format of the series, with the Doctor now exclusively Earth-based and working for UNIT, rather than travelling on his own.˛* WiperStart: When the Doctor tries to drive a car, he finds the horn before the starter, and starts in forward gear when he needs to reverse. (But no funny business with the wipers, because it's a veteran model that doesn't have any.)


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