Auton (BBV video)
|Main setting:||UNIT storage facility, Earth|
|Format:||57 minute, VHS|
|none||Auton 2: Sentinel|
Auton was the first video story in the Auton Trilogy of video dramas produced by BBV in the late 90s. It was a sequel to the first Nestene/Auton story Spearhead from Space. Like most video drams of this era this story features aliens and concepts from Doctor Who without any main characters from the series, although Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was to have appeared but Nicholas Courtney had to withdraw from the project due to health concerns.
The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce was set up to tackle human contact with the extraterrestrial and paranormal - especially when that contact proved dangerous. But when the battles were over, when the top-secret 'clean ups' were completed, where was all the alien technology taken?
The Warehouse... UNIT's highly classified storage and research establishment. Here lie the dead, forgotten relics of past battles and encounters.
But what happens when one of these relics is reactivated?
UNIT has only one way of dealing with its mistakes. The Containment Team has been summoned... and the outcome is far from certain...
Doctor Sally Arnold is a research scientist working in one of UNIT's forgotten storage facilities. She has put together a communications device to communicate with an unknown artifact part of AAA/RH/2961. She subjects it to UNIT's most powerful deep space satellite. The object, the energy unit receives something from deep space and begins to communicate with it.
Doctor Arnold, realising what she has done; allowing the energy unit to communicate with deep space ends its satellite uplink. The energy unit explodes as the communication link is ended.
A UNIT Containment Team is called in to clear up Dr Arnold's experiment. However, as UNIT's expert Lockwood begins to investigate they discover that the energy unit did not explode, it absorbed energy and changed its state. Shifting between an ooze and a solid state, killing and communicating with other Autons and a duplicate of one of the UNIT archivists Graham Winslet.
Whilst interviewing Sally Arnold he and the UNIT Containment team discover other crates relating to the AAA/RH/2961 and a sectioned off portion of the UNIT Warehouse that contains items relating to the Nestene's first invasion attempt.
As Lockwood and Dr Arnold make their way to the sectioned off location Autons are being activated throughout the Warehouse to fight the remaining UNIT personnel. The sectioned off area is protected by a retina scan and code, the latter of which Lockwood, at least initually does not know. He is however able to grant them access after a moment's "thought", inside they find several items including a UHF transmitter used against the Autons in their first attempted invasion and another energy unit.
The duplicate Winslet forces Lockwood to allow it access to the sectioned off part of the facility in order to gain access to the remnant of the Nestene body it attempted to create during its first invasion attempt.
Whilst Lockwood is engaged with Winslet Sally Arnold utilises "Dr John Smith's UHF transmitter created to combat the Autons during their first invasion attempt to fight back against the Autons active inside the warehouse.
Having gained the remnant the energy unit changed shape once more, shifting to a gel-like ooze, escaping through the ventilation systems.
- Lockwood - Michael Wade
- Dr. Sally Arnold - Bryonie Pritchard
- Graham Winslet - George Telfer
- Dr. Daniel Matthews - Reece Shearsmith
- Sergeant Ramsay - Andrew Fettes
- Janice - Verona Chard
- UNIT Soldiers - Roy Hughes, Gabriel Mykaj, Mike Parry, David Ringwood, Richard Smith
- Autons - John Ainsworth, Gareth Baggs, Blaine Coughlan, David Ringwood
Production crew edit
- First Assistant Director - Ben Hicklin
- Production Manager - Annalesa Hunt
- Second Assistants Blaine Coughlan, Samantha Hardman
- Technical Engineer - Rob Belton
- Military Advisor and Visual Effects Supervisor - Gabriel Mykaj
- Military Costume Designer - Elisabeth Mykaj
- Special Props designed and constructed by - David Brian
- Make-up Designer - Zoë Randall
- Assistant - Cath Rayner
- Sound Recordist - Ray Turner
- Assistant - Darko Mocilnikar
- Lighting Cameraman - Andy Bell
- Assistant - Simon Alderdice
- Scenic Design - David Rowston
- Assistant - Gareth Baggs
- Music and Sound Design - Alistair Lock
- Editor - Bill Baggs
- Producer - Bill Baggs
- Director - Nicholas Briggs
- UNIT headquarters is in Geneva. UNIT also owns several deep space satellites, one of which is the most powerful such satellite yet developed.
- Lockwood is the head of a UNIT containment team.
- Lockwood uses the call sign Greyhound Leader, which is usually used by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
- UNIT's containment teams are for dealing with (extra-terrestrial) contamination risks. A risk of contamination is afforded a Code 7 categorisation - UNIT automatically prepares the death certificates of any personnel involved in advance, as a precaution.
- Ramsay uses the call sign Greyhound One when requesting back up.
- When Lockwood examines the Doctor's UHF transmitter, he refers to UNIT's scientific adviser as "Dr. John Smith".
Story notes edit
- Nicholas Briggs originally planned for this story to feature Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but Courtney had to drop out at the last minute due to health issues. The character of Lockwood was created to replace the Brigadier.
- The crates containing the other energy unit and the Autons are coded AAA/RH/2961 (AAA is the story code for Spearhead from Space and RH is the initials of Robert Holmes, the creator of the Autons).
- In the credits it states:
- "We gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of Dr M K Thompson and Shirley Thompson"
- "Thanks to Vetrepharm Ltd for their help in this production"
to be added
Filming Locations edit
to be added
Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors edit
to be added
- The Doctor's UHF transmitter from TV: Spearhead from Space makes an appearance. This story is very much a sequel to Spearhead from Space.
- The Autons first appeared in TV: Spearhead from Space. This story is set thirty years after TV: Terror of the Autons. The Autons appear again in HOMEVID: Auton 2: Sentinel and Auton 3: Awakening. Following this, their next on-screen appearance is in TV: Rose. Nicholas Briggs, who wrote and directed the Auton stories, would appear in that episode as the voice of the Nestene Consciousness.
DVD and Video releases edit
- Released on Video in 1997 by BBV Productions.
- Released on DVD as a double sided DVD for PAL and NTSC formats. DVD Authoring by MERV STATION. DVD release included:
- The Making of AUTON, produced by Keith Barnfather
- Music Soundtrack by Alistair Lock
- Picture Gallery
- US Trailer
- Cyberhunt, a BBV audio starring Nicholas Briggs