Which One : Beware Axonites bearing gifts.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton : John Levene
The Master : Roger Delgado
Corporal Bell : Fernanda Marlowe
Chinn : Peter Bathurst
Bill Filer : Paul Grist
George Hardiman : Donald Hewlett
Winser : David Savile
Captain Harker : Tim Pigott-Smith
The Minister : Kenneth Benda
Pigbin Josh : Derek Ware
Tech : Royston Farrell
Written By : Dave Martin & Bob Baker
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 13 March – 3 April 1971.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Axonites crashland on Earth offering gifts of unknown scientific wealth. The Doctor is suspicious though and finds the Master imprisoned in the Axon spaceship. It seems the Axons are not what they seem and have a “tangled” secret.
Whats good : New subtle take on the Earth invasion piece. The Master.The Axonite design and look – both of them. The Axonitr ship exterior and interior set design.
Whats bad : Chinn subplot.
Review With Spoilers : Claws Of Axos is the third episode of season 8 and features The Master and new monsters – The Axons.
The Axon spaceship crashlands on Earth and to the UNIT welcoming committee, appear friendly and benevolent – in a gold human/cherub-looking form.
They offer the humans “Axonite” – a substance which they claim, can mimic any substance that the humans want and ask the humans to distribute it round the world.
The Doctor is suspicious though and upon snooping around their ship, is captured and put in a prison cell; which already has the incarcerated Master.
The Master has used Earth as a bargaining chip – to save his own neck and the Axons (in their true tangled monster form) intend to literally suck all of the life out of the planet, using the Axonite gifts, distributed.
The Doctor and The Master have a rare moment of teaming up, to use the Tardis to cast the Axons into an infinite timeloop. In doing so, the duo make the Tardis flightworthy but it automatically returns to Earth – as soon as the task is done.
“…Obviously the Time Lords have programmed the TARDIS always to return to Earth. It seems that I’m some sort of galactic yo-yo!” The Doctor
Claws Of Axos is the best of the ‘UNIT’ Earth invasion’ type stories. This is mainly due to the effective way the Axons try to “stealth” inflitrate – by bearing unusual gifts.
This allows the episode to build a bit of tension and mystery, which then gives way to an action packed final third. As the Doctor and UNIT attempt to fight off the Axons, in their true “tangled form.
The Axon “false” look is striking aswell, borrowing from the image of a cherub and a gold statue. It gives the subtle undertones of a Greek god-like creature or an image of cherub.
Reverted to their true form, the Axons take a giant bulky monster form, covered in tentacles and vines; which can shoot deadly gas at their victims. It’s one of the better Who monster-getups and the SFX dept must have at least, spent a bit of time attaching all of those vines.
Claws Of Axos also features the other staples of ‘Invasion Who’. A succession of inefficient humans and government ministers – who come into conflict with the Doctor and the Brig and a powerstation location backdrop (in this case Kent’s – Dungeness).
The action scenes are well staged. Especially the jeep chase and the attack on the powerstation, by the Axons. Its also interesting seeing the Doctor and The Master team up, to defeat the Axon threat. This shows what a usefully broad range the Master character has – all-out villain and untrustworthy ally.
Claws Of Axos is the most purposeful invasion tale in the Pertwee era, thanks to a fresh take on the invasion concept, some good SFX and a well designed monster – both of them.