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William Hartnell
An Unearthly Child
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Synopsis


Inside the TARDIS
Inside the TARDIS
 Susan Foreman is a mystery to teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, seemingly knowing more than she should about the past... and the future.

 Their curiosity leads them to follow her one night, only to find that her ‘home’ appears to be a deserted junkyard. In the junkyard, they discover a police telephone box and a strange old man, who claims to be Susan’s grandfather, and calls himself The Doctor.

 The journey of a lifetime is about to begin…

Source: BBC DVD


General Information

Season: One
Production Code: A
Story Number: 1
Episode Numbers:1 - 4
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Alternative Titles:"100,000 BC" and "The Tribe of Gum"
Working Titles:"The Fire-Maker" (episode 2), "The Cave of Skulls" (episode 3) and "The Dawn of Knowledge" (episode 4)
Production Dates: September - November 1963
Broadcast Started: 23 November 1963
Broadcast Finished: 14 December 1963
Colour Status: B&W
Studio: Ealing Television Film Studios and Lime Grove (Studio D)
Location: None
Writers:Anthony Coburn and CE Webber (Episode 1, uncredited)
Director:Waris Hussein
Producer:Verity Lambert
Associate Producer:Mervyn Pinfield
Story Editor:David Whitaker
Production Assistants:Douglas Camfield and Tony Lightley
Assistant Floor Manager:Catherine Childs
Designers:Barry Newbery and Peter Brachacki (Episode 1)
Costume Designer:Maureen Heneghan
Make-Up Designer:Elizabeth Blattner
Cameraman:Robert Sleigh
Incidental Music:Norman Kay
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Brian Hodgson
Studio Sounds:Jack Clayton
Lighting:Geoff Shaw
Visual Effects:The Visual Effects Department of the BBC
Fights Arranged By:Derek Ware
Title Sequence:Bernard Lodge
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Delia Derbyshire
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: William Hartnell (The First Doctor)
Number of Companions: 3The Companions: Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright) (Joins) and William Russell (Ian Chesterton) (Joins) Additional Cast: Derek Newark (Za), Alethea Charlton (Hur), Eileen Way (Old Mother), Jeremy Young (Kal), Howard Lang (Horg)Setting: London (1963) and Earth (100,000 BC) Villain:Kal

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
1An Unearthly Child23 November 196323'10"4.416mm telerecording
2The Cave of Skulls30 November 196324'35"5.916mm telerecording
3The Forest of Fear07 December 196323'38"6.916mm telerecording
4The Firemaker14 December 196324'23"6.416mm telerecording
-Pilot Episode (Version 1)26 August 199125'23"1.716mm telerecording
-Pilot Episode (Version 2)Not Broadcast25'55"-16mm telerecording

Total Duration 1 Hour 36 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.9
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)69.19%  (Position = 74 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2003)437 Points (Position = 33 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)74.64% Higher (Position = 61 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)75.17% Higher (Position = 78 out of 241)


Archives


 All episodes and the original pilot exist as 16mm telerecordings.



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Notes


In many ways "An Unearthly Child" consists of two stories; there is a strong discontinuity between the first episode, introducing the characters and establishing the premise of the series, and the last three episodes set in the Paleolithic age. The first episode, in particular, is often seen as a classic of television science fiction.

As was usual at the beginning of the show’s history, no overall title appeared on-screen, as each episode has its own title. Therefore which overall title should be used for this story has become a subject that has generated deep controversy amongst Doctor Who fans.

This story is sometimes referred to as being "100,000 BC" and also "The Tribe of Gum", but is more commonly called "An Unearthly Child". The Titan Script book release in January 1988 uses "The Tribe of Gum".

Companion Susan is heard to say that she made up the acronym 'TARDIS' from "Time and Relative Dimension in Space", although later it is referred to as "Dimensions" (in the plural).

We learn that Susan can read very fast, is a brilliant scientist, and calculates in terms of five dimensions (all Time Lord characteristics). Ian Chesterton teaches science, shares Susan's knowledge of the pop group 'John Smith and the Common Men', and owns a car. Barbara Wright teaches history, and lives in a flat.

The Doctor and Susan show surprise when the TARDIS remains stuck as a police box. Susan is heard to explain that the TARDIS is supposed to change its appearance to blend in with its surroundings (an idea seriously considered by the show's creators but ruled out on grounds of cost).

Ian is heard to call The Doctor ‘Doctor Foreman’. In which The Doctor replies, ‘Eh, Doctor who? What's he talking about?’. The question about who The Doctor is can be heard being asked for a humorous effect several times in the show’s history.

During the shows history The Doctor has returned twice to the Foreman junkyard: First, in "Attack of the Cybermen" with the Sixth Doctor and Peri, and then in "Remembrance of the Daleks" which featured the Seventh Doctor and Ace returning to the same time period as this story and so revealing what The Doctor was doing on Earth prior to him meeting Barbara and Ian.

Two ‘pilot’ versions of the first episode were recorded. This pilot exists in two parts - the first section includes all scenes in the school and at the junkyard; the second begins after a recording break and includes all the scenes set in the TARDIS. Two versions of the second section exist as well as a short aborted take. Despite never being broadcast in 1963 both versions have previously been released into the public domain. The first version, containing the original second section was shown, on 26th August 1991, as part of the BBC's commemoration of filming at Lime Grove Studios. While the second version, containing the retake of the second section, was included in the BBC video documentary "The Hartnell Years" (BBCV 4608) in June 1991. A complete version of the pilot, containing all three takes has been released on the video "The Edge of Destruction and Dr Who: The Pilot Episode" (BBCV 6877) in April 2000.

The first time the first episode was broadcast, on 23rd November 1963 (the day after the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy) It was watched by 4.4 million viewers.

Because of the news coverage of the assassination of the US President John F. Kennedy (which occurred the day before the first episode was shown) as well as a series of power blackouts across the country it was felt that many viewers may have missed this introduction to the new show. It was therefore decided to broadcast the first episode again on 30 November 1963, immediately before the second episode, "The Cave of Skulls". This second showing drew a more respectable 6.0 million viewers.

The whole story was repeated on BBC2 in November 1981.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The very first Doctor Who story. The first episode was broadcast on 23rd November 1963.

 The first time we get to meet The Doctor (as played by William Hartnell). His first words were (to Ian) "What are you doing here?"

 The introduction of companion Susan played by Carole Ann Ford.

 The introduction and first trip in the TARDIS for Barbara and Ian as played by Jacqueline Hill and William Russell.

 As well as being the first to appear in this story, Barabara is the first to enter the TARDIS - so making her the first 'human' companion (that the viewer is aware of) to travel with The Doctor. Technically Susan is the first companion.

 The first words spoken in the show were by Barbara (to an oov Susan) "Wait in here please, Susan. I won't be long".

 The first time we see the TARDIS inside and out.

 The first use of the explanation "Time and Relative Dimension in Space" to describe the TARDIS.

 The first trip to a time in the Earth's past.

 The first visit to the Foreman Junkyard.

 Verity Lambert' first involvement in the show as Producer.

 Mervyn Pinfield's first involvement in the show as Associate Producer.

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Anthony Coburn.

 David Whitaker's first involvement in the show as Story Editor.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Waris Hussein.

 Barry Newbury's first involvement in the show as Designer.

 Brian Hodgson's first involvement in the show providing special sounds.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Barbara and Ian
Barbara and Ian

Schoolteachers Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton become intrigued by the strange behaviour of one of their pupils, Susan, who seems to have a very alien outlook on England. She is precocious but seems to have strange gaps in her understanding of the world. They decide to visit her home address so that they can meet her grandfather.

Her address, 76 Totter's Lane, turns out to be a junkyard. As they look around the only thing that looks out of place is a police telephone box. They then hear the sound of someone approaching. This turns out to be an old man. As he enters the junkyard, unaware that Barbara and Ian are watching him from their hiding place, he unlocks the door to the police telephone box.

They then hear the sound of Susan’s voice coming from within the police telephone box. Concerned that something is wrong Barbara and Ian confront the old man. He denies having heard anything and mocks Ian when the schoolteacher suggests that Susan is inside.

Susan
Susan

As they seem to be getting nowhere the school teachers decide that the need to obtain the services of a policeman. However, when Susan’s voice is heard again calling out for her grandfather, the two schoolteachers barge past the old man and enter the police telephone box.

When the two schoolteachers find themselves inside they are confronted with a room that is much bigger on the inside than the outside, and furnished with futuristic-looking controls. Unknown to the two schoolteachers the old man is in fact The Doctor and both he and Susan are in fact aliens who travel through time and space in their ship, the TARDIS which just happens to look like a police telephone box.

Barbara and Ian watch The Doctor Enter the Police Box
Barbara and Ian watch The Doctor Enter the Police Box

Barbara and Ian are naturally, taken aback by the strange and seemingly impossible surroundings. They start to question The Doctor and Susan in an attempt to make sense of everything. They then realise that they are trapped inside this strange, futuristic place.

The Doctor, it seems, is unwilling to let them go as he is concerned that they will inevitably tell others what they have discovered. Susan pleads with him to change his mind, but instead he activates the ship's controls and sends the TARDIS on a journey through time where the ship arrives in the Stone Age.

On exiting the TARDIS the four occupants become involved in a brutal power struggle within a Stone Age tribe, who are striving to rediscover the lost secret of fire. After being captured and imprisoned in the Cave of Skulls they eventually manage to escape by scaring the tribes-people by placing skulls on top of burning torches. This induces fear and respect in the primitive Stone Age society.

Barbara, Ian and The Doctor Outside the TARDIS
Barbara, Ian and The Doctor Outside the TARDIS

The four travellers make good their escape but they barely escape with their lives reaching the safety of the TARDIS just before the angry tribe catch up with them. Relieved that they all made it back to the time machine The Doctor again activates the controls.

They soon arrive at a new random destination. But even The Doctor does not know where or when. The TARDIS's view screen shows a mysterious scene, a petrified forest and none of the monitors warn of any danger. However, as the time travellers leave the TARDIS, they are unaware that the needle, on a radiation meter, starts to move until it is registering "Danger".

 
Ian and The Doctor Outside the TARDIS
Ian and The Doctor Outside the TARDIS
Entering the TARDIS
Entering the TARDIS
Susan by the TARDIS Consol
Susan by the TARDIS Consol
The TARDIS Lands in a Prehistoric Landscape
The TARDIS Lands in a Prehistoric Landscape
 
Barbara and Ian's First Trip in the TARDIS
Barbara and Ian's First Trip in the TARDIS
Ian and Barbara
Ian and Barbara
Inside the Cave of Skulls
Inside the Cave of Skulls
The Doctor
The Doctor




Quote of the Story


 'Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles?'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
An Unearthly ChildFebruary 1990BBCV 4311Alister PearsonThe 'next episode' caption has been removed from "The Firemaker"
Video
VHS
The Hartnell YearsJune 1991BBCV 4608Photo-montageContains The Pilot (Version 2) Introduced by Sylvester McCoy
Video
VHS
The Edge of Destruction and Dr Who: The Pilot EpisodeApril 2000BBCV 6877Photo-montageContains both versions of The Pilot
Audio
CD
Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume One - The Early Years 1963-1969June 2000WMSF 6023-2Music and sound effects
Video
VHS
An Unearthly ChildSeptember 2000BBCV 6959Photo-montageDigitally remastered re-release
Video
DVD
An Unearthly ChildJanuary 2006BBCDVD 1882(A)Photo-montagePart of "The Beginning" box set (BBCDVD 1882) along with "The Daleks" & "The Edge of Destruction"
Audio
EP
Sounds From The InfernoApril 2013Photo-montageIncludes music from "An Unearthly Child" and "The War Machines"
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and An Unearthly ChildOctober 1981Target No. 68Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20144-2
(Red Foil Logo)
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and An Unearthly Child1982Target No. 68Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20144-2
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and An Unearthly Child1982Target No. 68Terrance DicksBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Bill Donohoe
Re-released as part of The First Dr Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19270-2
Script
Script
The Tribe of GumJanuary 1988Titan BooksAnthony CoburnDave McKeanEdited by John McElroy.
ISBN: 1-85286-012-X
Novel
Novel
An Unearthly ChildFebruary 1990Target No. 68Terrance DicksAlister PearsonVirgin new cover reprint. ISBN: 0-426-20144-2
CD
CD
An Unearthly ChildFebruary 2015BBC AudioNigel RobinsonOriginal audio novelisation written specially for audio. Read by William Russell (Ian Chesterton).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time)Issue 1 Part 1 (Titled "An Unearthly Child")
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time)Issue 1 Part 2 (Titled "The Tribe of Gum")
Doctor Who WeeklyIssue 2 (Released: October 1979)
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/FeatureIssue 58 (Released: November 1981)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 132 (Released: January 1988)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArticleIssue 152 (Released: September 1989)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 279 (Released: June 1999)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 337 (Released: December 2003)
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive1994 Summer Special (Released: 1994)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 128 (Released: November 2013)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
William Hartnell
The First Doctor

   

Carole Ann Ford
Susan
Jacqueline Hill
Barbara Wright
William Russell
Ian Chesterton
   




On Release

Original VHS Video Cover
Original VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The Hartnell Years VHS Video Cover
The Hartnell Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Pilot Episode VHS Video Cover
Pilot Episode VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Audio - Volume 1: The Early Years
Audio - Volume 1: The Early Years

BBC
AUDIO
   
Remastered VHS Video Cover
Remastered VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The Begining Box Set DVD Cover
The Begining Box Set DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Sounds From The Inferno Cover
Sounds From The Inferno Cover

Hysterion Records
AUDIO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   



In Print

Original Target Book Cover (Red Foil Logo)
Original Target Book Cover (Red Foil Logo)

Target
NOVEL
Original Target Book Cover
Original Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The First Dr Who Gift Set
The First Dr Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
   
Titan Script Book Cover
Titan Script Book Cover

Titan
SCRIPT
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover

Virgin
NOVEL
Original Audio CD Cover
Original Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 1 Part 1 (Titled
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 1 Part 1 (Titled "An Unearthly Child")

CMS
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 1 Part 2 (Titled
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 1 Part 2 (Titled "The Tribe of Gum")

CMS
Doctor Who Weekly: Issue 2
Doctor Who Weekly: Issue 2

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 58
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 58

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 132
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 132

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 152
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 152

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 279
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 279

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 337
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 337

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive: 1994 Summer Special
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive: 1994 Summer Special

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 128
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 128

GE Fabbri


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