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William Hartnell
The Edge of Destruction
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Synopsis


Susan Attacks Ian
Susan Attacks Ian
 Something has caused the TARDIS console to explode in mid-flight, plunging the ship into darkness and rendering the crew unconscious. As they slowly recover, they find themselves suffering from loss of memory, and headaches. The TARDIS behaves oddly, as the doors open and close of their own accord.

 Has the ship been possessed in some way, or is something more dangerous happening to the time travellers?

Source: BBC DVD


General Information

Season: One
Production Code: C
Story Number: 3
Episode Numbers:12 - 13
Number of Episodes: 2
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Alternative Titles:"Inside The Spaceship" and Beyond the Sun"
Production Dates: January 1964
Broadcast Started: 08 February 1964
Broadcast Finished: 15 February 1964
Colour Status: B&W
Studio: Lime Grove (Studio D)
Location: None
Writer:David Whitaker
Directors:Richard Martin (Episode 1) and Frank Cox (Episode 2)
Producer:Verity Lambert
Associate Producer:Mervyn Pinfield
Story Editor:David Whitaker
Production Assistant:Tony Lightley
Assistant Floor Manager:Jeremy Hare
Designer:Raymond P Cusick
Costume Designer:Daphne Dare
Make-Up Designer:Ann Ferriggi
Incidental Music:From Stock
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Brian Hodgson
Studio Sounds:Jack Brummitt
Lighting:Dennis Channon
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) and William Russell (Ian Chesterton) Additional Cast: NoneSetting: The TARDIS Villain:None

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
12The Edge of Destruction08 February 196425'04"10.416mm telerecording
13The Brink of Disaster15 February 196422'11"9.916mm telerecording

Total Duration 47 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 10.2
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)61.42%  (Position = 114 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)60.15% Lower (Position = 158 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)61.87% Higher (Position = 183 out of 241)


Archives


 All episodes exist as 16mm telerecordings. An Arabic dubbed version also held.



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Notes


With no overall title being used in the original scripts this story was commonly called "Inside The Spaceship" during its production. Another alternative name was also "Beyond the Sun". However, since the Seventies various reference works and even the BBC named this story as "The Edge of Destruction" in the VHS and DVD releases. This has obviously caused a lot of confusion and controversy. The BBC are still naming this story as "The Edge of Destruction" as this is what this story is most commonly known as.

The first and only story to take place completely within the TARDIS and the only one without anyone but the regular cast.

This story was written as filler material when other planned scripts fell through.

In this story we learn that the TARDIS's power source is held beneath the central column. The TARDIS has an inbuilt memory of previous locations, and the console features a fast return switch (the malfunctioning of which causes the crisis). Also The Doctor shows astonishment at the suggestion that the TARDIS might actually be alive.

The Fast Return switch label on the TARDIS console appears to be written in felt-tip pen. Exactly why this was done is uncertain – it was probably never intended to be seen. This switch is used again in the Eighth Doctor Big Finish Productions audio stories "Seasons of Fear" and "Neverland".

This story introduces the ideas that the TARDIS console and time column directly harness the energies which drive the ship, and that the TARDIS is "alive" and somewhat self-aware. These ideas would come up again on occasion as the show progressed, but would become major plot points when the show was revived in 2005, especially in the Ninth Doctor stories "Boom Town" and "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways".

When Ian examines the injured Doctor, he is heard to remark that ‘his heart seems fine’. However, in the Third Doctor story "Spearhead From Space" it is revealed that The Doctor has two hearts. A possible explanation for this can be found in "The Mind of Evil", "The Christmas Invasion" and "The Shakespeare Code", in all of which, one of The Doctor's hearts stops due to severe trauma.

This story explicitly states that The Doctor and Susan had visited other worlds before 1963 Earth. Susan mentions that four or five journeys back they had visited the planet Quinnis where the TARDIS had almost been lost.

The ‘Chesterfield’ running-gag started in the previous story, "The Daleks", is used in this episode to signify that everything has returned to normal after the climax. Here The Doctor is heard to call Ian ‘Charterhouse’.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first (and only) story to contain just the regular cast.

 The first story to be set entirely inside the TARDIS.

 The first time we learn that the TARDIS can revisit previous locations by the use of a Fast Return switch.

 The first time we learn that the power behind the TARDIS is under the cental column.

 The first Doctor Who story to be watched by more than 10 million viewers.

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by David Whitaker.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Richard Martin and Frank Cox.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
An Unconscious Doctor
An Unconscious Doctor

The Doctor, while attempting to correct the TARDIS's faulty navigation circuits, causes a small explosion. He and his companions are all thrown to the floor as the control room is plunged into darkness.

The four time travellers slowly, one-by-one, regain consciousness to find the Console Room in semi-darkness. As they start to recover from the shock of being thrown to the TARDIS floor, The Doctor, Susan, Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton all seem to be acting strangely. The Doctor has sustained a nasty gash to his forehead and the others are suffering memory losses and pains in the head and neck.

Tensions start to mount as a number of unexpected and unexplained events start happening to the TARDIS. The main doors open and close on their own accord and a confusing sequence of images appears on the scanner screen. Even Susan acts strangely when she tries to stab Ian with a pair of scissors.

Barbara and Ian Tend to The Doctor
Barbara and Ian Tend to The Doctor

As these strange events increase the travellers become more suspicious of each other's motives. While Barbara and Ian contemplate the possibility that an intruder may have got on board, The Doctor is convinced that they have sabotaged the instruments with the intention of blackmailing him into returning them home. Even Susan comes to mistrust the two teachers until eventually she realises that they could not possibly have been responsible for everything which has happened.

Barbara though angrily refutes The Doctor's suspicions by reminding them all that, during the recent events on Skaro, she and Ian risked their lives to save The Doctor and Susan from the Daleks. Barbara then notices that the clock The Doctor keeps in the Console Room has melted, a sight which horrifies her.

An Unwell Susan
An Unwell Susan

As tensions increase even further and The Doctor tries, without success, to locate the problem they start to fear that some alien force may have entered the TARDIS. As the danger intensifies the TARDIS then experiences a total systems failure. The Doctor realises that the TARDIS's power source, located beneath the console, is trying to force its way out and that they are only minutes away from destruction.

Faced with a common peril, the travellers forget their differences and begin to work together. It then gradually dawns on Barbara that what they have been experiencing is an attempt by the TARDIS itself to warn them that something is wrong.

Thanks to Barbara's clue-gathering, The Doctor traces the problem to a broken spring in the Fast Return Switch. The Doctor discovers that it has become jammed and that the TARDIS has been rushing backwards through time towards the very beginning of the Universe. The strange events were just the TARDIS's attempts to warn its passengers before the TARDIS was destroyed.

Susan by the Food Machine
Susan by the Food Machine

With the fault repaired, and the ship returned to normal, The Doctor is forced to admit that Barbara's intuition has saved the day and that he has to make some apologies. Although the day is saved, Barbara is still affected by The Doctor's harsh words and accusations that he made earlier. The Doctor though has realised that he was wrong about Barbara and Ian and that they can be trusted.

As the TARDIS lands once more Susan and Ian exit the TARDIS and find that they have arrived on a snowy landscape. Susan then spots a giant footprint in the snow.

 
The TARDIS Console Room
The TARDIS Console Room
The Doctor
The Doctor
Susan Attacks Ian
Susan Attacks Ian
The Doctor with Barbara and Ian
The Doctor with Barbara and Ian
 
Discovering The Melting Clock
Discovering The Melting Clock
The Melting Clock
The Melting Clock
The Doctor has the Answer
The Doctor has the Answer
The Cause of all the Trouble
The Cause of all the Trouble




Quote of the Story


 'As we learn about each other so we learn about ourselves.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
The Edge of Destruction and Dr Who: The Pilot EpisodeApril 2000BBCV 6877Photo-montage
Audio
CD
Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume One - The Early Years 1963-1969June 2000WMSF 6023-2Music and sound effects
Video
DVD
The Edge of DestructionJanuary 2006BBCDVD 1882(C)Photo-montagePart of "The Beginning" box set (BBCDVD 1882) along with "An Unearthly Child" & "The Daleks"
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
The Edge of DestructionMay 1988Target No. 132Nigel RobinsonAlister PearsonISBN: 0-426-20327-5
CD
CD
The Edge of DestructionJanuary 2011Target No. 132Nigel RobinsonAlister PearsonAudio version of the Target Novel read by William Russell (Ian Chesterton).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time)Issue 3
Doctor Who WeeklyIssue 5 (Released: November 1979)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 174 (Released: June 1991)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 276 (Released: April 1999)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 280 (Released: July 1999)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 414 (Released: November 2009)

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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

VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

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

BBC
AUDIO
The Begining Box Set DVD Cover
The Begining Box Set DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
 
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 3
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (An Adventure in Space and Time): Issue 3

CMS
Doctor Who Weekly: Issue 5
Doctor Who Weekly: Issue 5

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 174
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 174

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 276
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 276

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 280
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 280

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 414
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 414

Marvel Comics
   

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