One of the purposes in assembling a list of 50 stories in this anniversary year is to highlight not only what we as fans think are the best Doctor Who stories but also the most important, and there are few stories as important in terms of pivoting the program from one era to the next than Spearhead From Space. It’s not the best episode of its season, but it is the first in so many different areas, of significance:
- The first story in color.
- The first story with UNIT as a regular presence in the story.
- The first story featuring the Autons. Their inclusion in Rose was a direct nod to this story.
- The first story shot entirely in film. No story until the advent of nu-Who looks as slick as Spearhead, and the contrast between this story and, for instance, The Space Pirates, couldn’t be more stark.
The countdown pushes forward with #41 next week.