The Autons, also known as the Nestenes, are creatures that have existed since the “Dark Times”, such as the Racnoss, the Great Vampires and the Carrionites. The Autons were first seen in Spearhead from Space (Classic series) alongside the Third Doctor. Autons are artificial creatures created from plastic and the Nestene controls them (and can also control other plastic items, as seen in Rose (Series 1 : Episode 1)). The Autons infiltrated the British Government by replacing key figures with members of the Autons and attempted to invade Earth in a multi-tentacled cephalopod. The Autons were defeated by the Doctor with the assistance of UNIT.

Autons from the Classic Series

The Autons were next seen in Terror of the Autons (Classic series) again fighting against the Third Doctor. The Nestene attempted to make use of mundane plastic object such as toys, inflatable chairs and artificial flowers in addition to the Auton servants. The Autons were being aided by the Master, but the Doctor convinced the Master that the Nestenes were too dangerous to have an alliance with and the pair of Time Lords reversed a radio beam the invasion force was arriving on, sending it back into space.

Autons from the Revived Series

When Doctor Who was revived in 2005, Autons were the first enemy to appear in the first episode. The Nestenes infiltrated Earth using “warp shunt technology” as they planned to harvest the Earth as a source of food. The Nestenes protein planets rotted in a war. The Doctor’s response to this information suggests that they were lost during the Time War. As a result, the Nestene Consciousness intended to destroy the humans on Earth and use it as a replacement food planet. They were defeated when a vial of anti-plastic fell into the vat of lava that contained the Nestene Consciousness, causing it to explode.

The Nestene Conciousness, the Ninth Doctor and an Auton

The Autons were seen at the end of Series 5 as part of the allied forces locking the Doctor into the Pandorica. Here they played the part of realistic Roman soldiers created from Amy Pond’s memories to trick the Doctor. Among them was the incarnation of Rory William’s, though due to the influences of the cracks in time, Rory’s personality and a copy of his soul was also copied to the Auton duplicate. The Rory Auton survived almost 2000 years on Earth while protecting the Pandorica, which shows that Autons have a long life span.