Rose quite obviously recycles a lot of elements from Spearhead from Space, but it also builds on what we know of The Autons – as Terror of the Autons does. But in the 2005 adventure, we see a bit more of what happens to The Autons after they’re deactivated, and I wanted to incorporate this into their 1970 counterparts.

The orange smoke effect in Spearhead is, in my opinion, one of the most effective non-CGI realisations in Doctor Who’s history. The first appearance of The Autons sidelines them slightly, and I wanted to give them a share of the limelight. Until the final episode, we don’t actually see a whole group of them doing anything together, so, in this epilogue, I’ve tried to incorporate all of those elements whilst staying true both to their sources and to Spearhead itself - possibly the greatest earthbound adventure in the programme’s history, due to the realism, humour and threat stemming from Robert Holmes’ genius.
Terror quickly spread through Ealing High Street as the shop window dummies ran wild. Shoppers fled for their lives as the manic mannequins initiated the end of the human race. Left, right and centre the dummies were coming to life and smashing their way through the flimsy glass shields before them. The Autons weren’t letting up. Their right wrists flicked open to expose terrifying gun attachments. They easily picked off the humans, and virtually none of them tried to resist.

Jasper cycled speedily down the road, a casual cigarette hanging limply from his mouth, occasionally catching in his raggedy grey beard. He pulled his flat cap down over his forehead and peddled on. “Why,” he thought, “have I got to get up at this godforsaken hour just to get a paper and some blimmin’ milk? Why can’t she go?” Sighing, he carried on. “Not much further”, he thought, and he was correct in more ways than one.

He turned the corner of the deserted street and rode on, only to pull to a halt a moment later. He saw the chaos unfolding in front of him as men and women alike were gunned down. Jasper gasped, shocked. He turned his bike round swiftly and mounted, intending to pedal off before he got involved in it all, when he saw an elderly woman step out unknowingly into the carnage. He sighed and wheeled round. He spotted a well-dressed mannequin heading for the lady, but assumed his eyes were playing tricks. Either way, he wasn’t going to let any harm come to her.

He rode quickly towards the man and knocked right into him. The man’s arm came clean off, but apart from that he stood his ground. Jasper went flying from his bike and grazed his arm on the tarmac of the road a few feet away. The male mannequin picked up the detached arm and aligned it with its shoulder. The arm was pressed back into position and a second later, it was part of the body again, having somehow fused itself back on. Jasper just gaped, unable to comprehend what he was seeing. The Auton turned back to the old lady, still hobbling down the street away from the chaos oblivious to it all. Jasper staggered to his feet as the Auton’s arm rose. The hand swung away and a narrow brown tube slid out.

The end ignited and Jasper’s chest burned with agony as he was struck. He fell to his knees, saving the old lady’s life. His face told of the severe pain he was experiencing. But, a second later he was replaced by a plume of orange smoke which seemed to rapidly swallow itself up. The Auton, evidently still unsatisfied, turned its attention to the woman and took aim. It fired again and she fell flat on her face, followed by a similar sequence of events to Jasper’s futile death only moments before.

This process of total destruction was echoed all around the High Street and beyond as the Autons took control of the country. They were winning.

But then, they stopped. The shoppers continued to evade and flee the certain death that awaited them if they should remain, but unknown to them, their deaths would not come at the hands of the mannequins. The shop window dummies froze and then clutched their temples in pain, as if there was a terrible screaming inside their minds. They toppled to the ground, twitching and writhing in agony still, but they no longer posed any threat to human life.

Their plastic heads began to melt as the chorus of sonic torture reached its peak. The thermosetting material was dribbling along the pavements and roads, dripping down the drains. The Autons melted away, leaving no trace of themselves but puddles of thick, flesh-coloured material and the clothes they had been wearing.

The shoppers had stopped in their tracks, watching the defeat of their attackers. They stood open-mouthed as they ceased to exist. The silence was interrupted by the wail of sirens and sure enough, seconds later, police cars, ambulances and fire engines whizzed around the corner. They stopped as they saw what had happened.

The ambulance crews tumbled out, stretchers desperately being carried to the injured, but there was no record of the dead or the living plastic. The police officers and firemen just took in the situation for a moment before coming to their senses and helping with the clean-up operation.

The Auton invasion was at an end. For now...

© Copyright Dave Spilsbury, Niki Hunter & Doctor Who Online, 2013.
Page Updated: 30/3/2013

Written by:
Dave Spilsbury

Artwork by:
Niki Hunter

Doctor Who is © Copyright to the BBC. No infringement intended.