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When a group of meteors, that seems to fly in formation, lands on
earth, Briegadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) recruits
scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) into the ranks of UNIT (United Nations
Intelligence Task Force) - who seems to be less than pleased.
However, the real person who could help would be Doctor Who ...
unfortunately the Brigadier has no idea where he is ... until an
unconscious man (Jon Pertwee) is found besides a London Police Box
somewhere in the woods - indication enough that this might be the
Doctor (who flies around time and space in a London Police Box) ... only
the man who was found bears no resemblance to the Doctor (not very
surprisingly, since he was previously played by Patrick Troughton, who
does not at all look like Jon Pertwee. Storywise, his facial features were
altered in the previous episode The War Games by his own people,
It takes the man quite a while to convince the Brigadier that he indeed
is the Doctor nevertheless ... and just in time too, since an alien race,
the Nestenes, have travelled to earth in aforementioned meteors and plan
to take the planet over using plastic robots which can shoot from their
hands ... and to this end, they - in person of their human (or is he a
robot) aid Channing (Hugh Burden) have taken over Hibbert's (John
Woodnutt) plastic factory, where figures for Madame Tussaud's are also
produced ... which means the Nestenes also infiltrate earth making plastic
robot facsimiles of politicians and substitute them for the real ones.
However, when all seems to be lost and even shopwindow mannequins leave
their places all over London to attack innocent passers-by, the Doctor and
Liz Shaw come up with a way to destroy the plastic robots and the
Nestenes, which turns out to be not several beings but one central
tentacled intelligence, and the world is saved.
And the Doctor ... he has to stay on earth and help UNIT as the
Timelords have sabotaged his time-and-space-ship/Police Box ...
This episode - the first with Jon Pertwee in the lead - actually falls
into two stories: The first is supposed to establish Jon Pertwee - then a
popular British comedian, who plays the Doctor straight nevertheless - as
the new leading actor, who is in looks, style and charisma quite a
departure from his predecessor PAtrick Troughton, The second stroy, which
does not come into full swing until halfway through, is a rather inventive
alien invasion plot - the plastic-faced robots, although obviously cheap,
just look creepy, and when the shopwindow mannequins attack, that's just
genuinely chilling. Surprisingly, despite telling two only loosely
connected stories, the episode works quite well, a good blend of sci-fi,
horror and action that remains entertaining throughout.