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The Dimension Vault
Spearhead From Space
Category: General Blog
Tags: Doctor Who Sci Fi BBC spearhead space

I've been revisiting my childhood recently; back in 1970 and a little under 2 months before my fifth birthday, the BBC aired the scariest Doctor Who story in the programs history; Spearhead From Space. It involved plastic people, rather like mannequins, that were being used to conquer the Earth by 'The Nestene Consciousness'. You Google this story and you will find that anyone now in their mid forties will tell tales of being horrified by the Autons as they were called. I can strongly remember being frightened by them. I recall literally going behind the sofa because I wanted to hide yet still wanted to hear the show. Then on another occasion I left the room for a few minutes because I was finding it very freaky.

The second story; The Silurians, gave me a bad dream. I dreamt I was lying on our sofa in my pyjamas and suddenly heard a raspy-electronic voice say "Hello Adrian!" I looked to our window and saw 2 Silurians staring at me, and the little light started to flash on their heads along with a strange electronic alert sound, which was what happened when the Silurians were killing someone on screen. I told my mom about it and I vaguely remember her saying that because the program was obviously scaring me I shouldn't watch it. This will explain why I don't remember any of the following stories of the first series of Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who:The Ambassadors Of Death and Inferno.

However.... 41 years later I have these stories at my fingertips due to the Internet, and I am very much enjoying revisiting them, especially the ones that I haven't seen before. Doctor Who today still maintains that scary factor, in fact they have been accused of being too horrific for young children. I really think you should stay away from Doctor Who unless you are at least 7 or 8. But that's why I like the show, and back in the 70's the special effects obviously weren't as polished as today's, but the drama and tension of the stories were very entertaining. I like Jon Pertwee's outing as the doctor because of the different approach that the producers took with it. The stories were less about shooting off into space in a craft as they were about Earthbound terrors facing our planet. It was very 'Quatermass'; stories were set on location in rural England and a lot of times involved the British army shooting their rifles at the attacking monsters giving the program a close, outdoor, in-your-yard kind of feel to it. Of course it wasn't exactly the British army but UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce).

So these well crafted science fiction stories were probably one of the first things that I very much liked and became part of my culture. I recommend any sci fi fan to give them a go. If you would like to watch Spearhead From Space, you can do so HERE.

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