|Type:||Living plastic automatons|
|First seen in:||Spearhead from Space|
|Another memorable moment|
The Autons were metamorphic Android robots, artificial life forms which were essentially life sized plastic dummies animated by the Nestene Consciousness. Though they were not the only creations of the Nestene Consciousness, they were the most common and the most easily identifiable.
Appearance and abilities
Every Auton was animated by a fragment of the Nestenes to give them motion, albeit still controlled by a central Nestene brain. Larger fragments were given to replicas to allow copying of brain patterns and memories, and in some cases like Channing a large portion of the Nestenes could be given to an Auton so that it could almost be individual, even having feelings. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion)
The typical Auton did not look particularly lifelike. It resembled a mannequin, was robotic in its movements and mute, although an Auton leader might speak in a robotic voice. (TV: Terror of the Autons) Despite their solid appearance, Autons could change the shape of their features and limbs. (TV: Rose) Autons concealed deadly weapons within their hands, which could kill or vaporise their targets using psychic projections. (PROSE: Synthespians™) These were powerful enough to temporarily disable a weakened Dalek. (TV: The Big Bang) Some could also shoot a traquilizing gas from their hands. (COMIC: Plastic Millenium) They were also excellent trackers, able to find other creatures by their brain-wave patterns. (PROSE: Synthespians™)
More sophisticated Autons could be created. They could look and act human except for a slight sheen to the skin and a flat-sounding voice. Autons could also copy specific individuals, though these copies were imperfect. When duplicated, the originals were kept alive to maintain the copy. A copy of Channing was maintained by the Nestenes during their first invasion of Earth. (TV: Spearhead from Space) Mickey Smith was also copied by the Nestene to gather information on the Ninth Doctor. (TV: Rose)
Even more accurate Autons could be made, identical in appearance and actions to their models. These Autons were implanted with false memories and actually believed themselves the subjects they duplicated. The models taken from a memory print of Amy Pond could mimic humans perfectly and were used as sleeper agents. The Nestene Consciousness later asserted its influence over them. Somehow - perhaps due to Amy's proximity to a time crack her entire life - one of the duplicate Autons, the copy of her fiancé Rory, partially resisted the control of the Nestene Consciousness. (TV: The Pandorica Opens)
Autons were extremely long-"lived"; The Auton duplicate of Rory existed for almost two thousand years with no visible signs of wear, even with the link to the Consciousness broken by the latter's erasure from the universe. (TV: The Big Bang)
They were vulnerable to intense heat, as this caused them to melt. Radio waves could also destroy them, as they could intefere with the Nestene's mental control. Bullets had almost no effect on them. (TV: Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons)
In addition to the basic Auton, more agile and manoeuvrable models were made as duplicates of humans. A number of famous figures were duplicated and displayed at Madame Tussauds. A duplicate of General Scobie was made to take the real Scobie's place and command the army. Channing was an Auton developed to carry out the plans of the Nestene which required a human appearance. When destroyed, the duplicates reverted to the appearance of a basic Auton. They were nearly identical to their counterparts, with a slight yellowing and glint of the skin. (TV: Spearhead from Space) This glint was shared by a duplicate of Mickey Smith. (TV: Rose) The Auton duplicates of Rory Williams and the Romans from Amy's book on the story on Roman Britain were indistinguishable from their counterparts. (TV: The Pandorica Opens)
When the Nestene Consciousness joined the Alliance, they produced Autons disguised as Roman soldiers in 102. These, believing themselves to be genuine Roman soldiers, tricked the Eleventh Doctor, who realised too late what they were. They imprisoned him in the Pandorica. One of these Autons, fashioned after the late and time-erased Rory Williams using the memories of Amy Pond, did not want to fire on her and tried to resist the call to arms. However he was unable to prevent himself shooting her fatally. Afterwards, the Auton helped the Doctor resurrect Amy with the Pandorica and save the universe.
After the Doctor reset the universe and time, the Alliance Autons were erased from existence. The real Rory Williams, though, recalled the life of his Auton copy. (TV:The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang)
The late 20th century development of plastics by humans created opportunities for invasions of Earth. One invasion was co-ordinated by a Swarm Leader known as Channing. Channing took over Auto Plastics and arranged for standard Autons to be mass produced and placed in shops across Britain. Channing also obtained a contract from Madame Tussaud's to make plastic "waxworks" of key government and military leaders. The attack was co-ordinated first thing in the morning. The Autons broke out of shops to attack key strategic positions whilst the facsimiles helped soften resistance.
Some months later, the Nestene made an alliance with renegade Time Lord the Master. Although the Nestene used standard Autons for this operation, the assault relied on deadly plastic daffodils. It was again foiled by the Third Doctor and UNIT. (TV: Terror of the Autons)
In 1989, the Nestene took control of Winston Blunt. He formed the Galaxy Plastics Inc and then killed himself. In his place, an Auton named Mr. Dolman controlled the company. When an industrial spy, Max Fischer, disrupted operations, Dolman attacked and later killed him. An Auton copy of Max was later created. (COMIC: Business as Usual)
Circa the 1990s an Auton replica known as Alisha Hammerson set up the Hammerson Plastic PLC company. On New Year's Eve, 1999, she planned to replace several key figures in the plastic industry with Auton replicas so the Earth could be dominated and absorbed. The Seventh Doctor and Mel gate-crashed the party and broke the Nestene link, which de-activated her. (COMIC: Plastic Millenium)
After the Nestene's protein planets were destroyed in a war the Doctor fought in, it arrived in early 21st century London to use standard Autons to conquer the planet. When the Ninth Doctor came to investigate, it sent Autons to try to stop him. When Rose Tyler got in the way, it also sent an Auton duplicate of her boyfriend, Mickey Smith, to try to find out more. The Doctor removed the Auton Mickey's head to track down and confront the Nestene Consciousness. When the Nestene thought it was in danger, it activated the Autons to go on a rampage. When the Nestene was killed with anti-plastic, the Autons were deactivated. (TV: Rose)
In 2013, Autons placed in Hyperville by Miss Devonshire and the Nestene helped with the attempted takeover of Earth. Among the normal Autons, there were several varieties, such as Autons which could stretch their heads about a metre, an incredibly strong Auton, known as B-4, which could strangle victims and Auton replicas. All the Autons were destroyed by the Doctor and Kate. (PROSE: Autonomy)
Post 21st century
- When Es'Cartrss tried to take over the Tenth Doctor's mind via the TARDIS' Matrix, he used his memories of the Autons to attack him. (COMIC: The Forgotten)
- River Song once dated an Auton with a removable/replaceable head. (TV: The Big Bang)
Behind the scenes
- Although Autons have appeared several times in the 21st century incarnation of Doctor Who, since 2005 the word "Auton" has only been used in the credits in Rose, and never within a story, instead they are called "Nestenes" or "Nestene duplicates".