An Unearthly Child
21 November 2013 at 19:19 #21081Craig @craigEmperor
The story that started it all, the very first serial of Doctor Who, first broadcast on BBC TV in four weekly parts from 23 November to 14 December 1963. It was repeated in its entirety on BBC4 on 21 November 2013 at 10:30pm to mark the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Discuss it here.
Teachers Barbara and Ian, concerned about a pupil, Susan, visit the junkyard that is supposed to be her home. There they meet her grandfather who lives in a policebox that is bigger on the inside.21 November 2013 at 20:53 #21098PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
If I can just dip in. I think the first episode of this has been referenced in every anniversary special (worth a note) since. I have a feeling this is going to be repeated, so try to catch the first episode if you can. It’s a remarkable thing.
Sorry – have to dash off for “revision” while watching “An Adventure” of course – I’m not some sort of heathen! 😀22 November 2013 at 08:51 #21136Miapatrick @miapatrick
I really enjoyed watching this last night. Made me think of @htpbdet as well, but not just in a sad way.
It was fantastic watching how it all began, and interesting, knowing the ways in which the show has evolved, seeing what was there from the start. I liked the fact the backstory was very minimalist- the Doctor and his granddaughter (and yes, it seems quite obvious to me that she was, literally and not in some figurative way, his granddaughter) come from a different time and place, from a people more advanced, in certain ways, from humans. A reference to them being exiled, no other explanation that I saw.
The Doctor was very different in many ways. It was Ian who was heroic, helping the injured caveman when the Doctor just wanted to get back to the TARDIS. This added some context, I think, to the relationships between the Doctor and his companions, and especially Rory, where I think it was made explicit- sometimes the Doctor needs a prod from his human companions. Maybe he likes humans so much because they make him better- and this is what saved him from the more arrogant excesses of the other time lords?
The Doctor mumbles crossly ‘I’m not a doctor of medicine’. I’ve always felt the title refers more to a PhD kind of Doctor. I liked the fact that Ace called him ‘professor’ for the same reason. Plus its the older use of the title.
Taking them from the 20th century to- the stone age/ice age?- was a clever idea. Although Susan liked the 20th century a lot more than her Grandfather, you got the feeling that both ages were quite primitive to them.
Oh and I like the way the first reaction to the inside of the TARDIS wasn’t to exclaim ‘it’s bigger on the inside’, instead, they noted the ‘difference in dimensions’.22 November 2013 at 22:19 #21181stevethewhistle @steve-thorp
Not bad at all!!!
It’s of its time, but none the worse for that.
However, I was waiting for two of the flint axes to strike each other and create some sparks!!
At least there weren’t any dinosaurs!
BTW I don’t think that Ian’s attempt at rubbing two Boy Scouts (sorry, sticks) together looked very convincing.
The radiation meter at the end would have seemed even more menacing at that time in the cold war, even without fore-knowledge of the Daleks>.23 November 2013 at 09:45 #21226The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman
The first episode is one of the finest peices of television I have ever seen. The other 3 parts are a step down in quality but are still entertaining.25 November 2013 at 09:52 #21493thommck @thommck
I watched the first 2 parts with my youngest. He lost interest after the first episode but then got a bit more drawn into when he thought the cavemen were going to kill someone!
I loved how alien the Doctor and Susan were. The junkyard looked great and it was amazing to see how detailed the recent re-creations of that and the TARDIS console are.
The quality looked really good compared to earlier shaky clips I had seen of it. I’m really glad they re-aired it. Luckily I recorded it so I can catch up on the 2 remaining episodes later.
Also, nice to see this referenced at the very start of the Day of the Doctor. Clara is a history teacher by the looks of it and Ian is now on the board of governors. I have a feeling we might be seeing more of that school.28 November 2013 at 18:34 #21911Anonymous @
These 4 episodes are fascinating for how they show the Doctor as a completely different character to what he has developed into over the last 50 years. Hartnell’s Doctor doesn’t want to engage with the cavemen; he wants to leave a wounded Za to die on the ground; he encourages Ian to drive out Kal from his adoptive tribe; he describes the Cave of Skulls as ‘an evil place’. And he let Za kill Kal right in front of them all. (and when they’re running away from the cave in Part 4, and Barbara falls flat on her face – the Doctor jumps right over her and keeps on running! the cad!)
Where is ‘our’ Doctor, the one who would never leave anyone unhelped? Who always wants to help end conflict where he finds it? (These must be traits he subsequently developed, and it appears clear that the influence of Barbara and Ian have a great deal to do with the changes in his character that he will later show.)
The viewer is left to wonder – where exactly have he and Susan been travelling, and what have they been doing all that time? Susan’s reference to her Grandfather’s notebook is a clear indication that they have indeed been travelling for some time, so we can’t assume that London 1963 was their first stop (Susan also says the Tardis has had other shapes, which indicates travels to other places.)
This really was the ‘Ian and Barbara Show’ – I’m amazed by how little influence the Doctor and Susan have in the adventure. Ian might have conceded that the Doctor was ‘the leader of their tribe’ to Za, but he’s clearly in charge here, with Barbara’s able assistance.
I’m confused by how at the end of Part 3 they were near the Tardis, but at the beginning of Part 4 they’re back at the Cave of Skulls. ?? But I enjoyed the firelit caveman version of swordplay in Part 4 – including some very unsportsmanlike biting. (and some interesting cut-away reaction shots from the Tardis crew)
@miapatrick – I too, thought of Rory when the wounded Za was being tended to.
@steve-thorp – I loved the radiation meter going off the scale at the end of Part 4. A cliff-hanger at the end of a story? Wonderful!28 November 2013 at 18:52 #21914Anonymous @
P.S. the comedy extras on the ‘Unearthly Child’ DVD (I got ‘The Beginning’ box set from the BBC Shop – not a bad deal at all for £8.99; includes The Daleks and The Edge of Destruction) are pretty funny. Not funny ‘haw-haw’ so much, just so lovingly made from such obvious fans that it’s hard not to grin along with them.28 November 2013 at 19:10 #21918Miapatrick @miapatrick
@Shazzbot- it was wonderful watching the 50th anniversary episode having watched this. I really think Moffat acknowledged some of the more surprising (in more recent eyes) aspects of this story- as you say, the Doctor is not quite ‘our’ doctor yet, and it seems that he really does need the human input- and then on Saturday, it takes Clara, not as the impossible girl but as a human being, pushing the doctor in the right direction.
This episode does raise the question, in a way: is the doctor better more, or less ‘human’? Do the companions work best humanising the doctor, or demonstrating, by contrast, how alien he is?
Using the opening Moffat did reminded me of something I was thinking after watching AUC- how, if they decide the next doctor should have another companion (and I do, overall, prefer three to two in the Tardis) they really could go back to the beginning in a way. Even if Clara is not connected to Susan, she is the impossible girl. Photographs of her exist across time, basically from the early days of photographs. I could easily see someone spotting her, becoming intrigued, and ultimately following her to the Tardis. Where the Doctor, unused to traveling with ‘ordinary’ people, might be very reluctant to take them along.
After Saturday, I’m thinking about that bloke who bought Clara the message at the beginning…28 November 2013 at 19:57 #21925ScaryB @scaryb
Where is ‘our’ Doctor
Now the funny thing is, that for quite a number of us that’s exactly who Hartnell was from this very first episode! Our Doctor.
It’s hard to describe the impact on a 6 year old brain when those titles started way back then*. It was a real calling card – shivers down the spine time. It looked and sounded quite unlike anything else, and the Doctor being a grumpy old git with an edge of danger put it just slightly beyond any other kids programmes at the time. We were used to “safe”. We were used to being brought “back home” at the end of a story – not delivered to 10,000 yrs BC with the ice age and decidedly unfriendly cavemen. TV quality that was decidedly LoFi (only with hindsight tho). Fireball XL5 and supermarionation was cutting edge stuff!!
(There were rumours of something called Quatermass but that was years earlier, before even I was born, and nobody had a TV! Twilight Zone was USA and Outer Limits had only just started. But these were all for an older audience)
*Not to mention the hum as the thick doors opened… and roundels!
😉28 November 2013 at 20:20 #21929Anonymous @
for quite a number of us that’s exactly who Hartnell was from this very first episode! Our Doctor.
Yes, I know. And I’m always reminded of @htpbdet ‘s exhortations that no-one can ever view these episodes now with anything like the magical wonder of being a child watching them when originally broadcast. I really did expend some effort today, to mentally place myself inside my childhood mind when watching this story, and tried to cleanse my mind of any future Doctor knowledge whilst watching.
But … it’s quite difficult to view Hartnell in An Unearthly Child and NOT think about how different he became later in his own incarnation, not to mention, the rest of the last 50 years. Watching An Adventure in Space and Time, what amazed me most was that Verity Lambert was so SURE that this was a childrens’ show. We saw a man get killed in front of us! 😯 We saw our ‘hero’ leap over a fallen comrade in his attempt to run away from the ‘bad guys’! Good lord!
And in all of the 4 parts of An Unearthly Child, Verity’s leading man really … erm, wasn’t. The Doctor doesn’t take centre stage in this story. I’m amazed at Verity’s courage in shepherding this programme onto our screens, when it was all sorts of ‘wrong’ on paper. She had faith that the character could grow, and her faith has been repaid in bundles.28 November 2013 at 20:37 #21931Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
@Shazzbot – I think you really do have to take yourself back to 1963; most of the parents watching would be familiar with William Hartnell as playing the ‘tough guy’ roles. William Russell played the ‘heroic’ roles.
So I don’t think they’d expect ‘Doctor Who’ to be Mr Nice Guy – so long as Ian and Barbara were there to be the ‘moral centre’, they’d be fine with Hartnell’s character a being somewhat unheroic Mr Grumpy. Just casting Hartnell – who was well known – sent out certain signals about the character.
Given the tendency for characters in the children’s television of the day to not display the slightest character development, the way ‘Doctor Who’ developed as a person was one of the very original things about the show.28 November 2013 at 20:50 #21932Anonymous @
Just casting Hartnell – who was well known – sent out certain signals about the character.
I’m with you on the parallels to the casting of Christopher Eccleston in 2005 with that comment. But am also perturbed by the parallels to casting Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. I’m on record (as so many others are: @jimthefish and others) that P Capaldi’s most famous recent role should NOT proscribe his future portrayal of The Doctor. Nor should it proscribe the viewers’ anticipation of what he will do with the character.
That having been said, the casting of Hartnell in 1963, and Eccleston in 2005, are both decidedly different to the casting of Capaldi in 2013. Both of the former were ‘statement castings’ in a way that Capaldi’s just can’t be.29 November 2013 at 01:08 #21951PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
What’s I find remarkable about the characterisation of the First Doctor here is how well it fits in with the notion of the Time Lords when you eventually see more of their society in Deadly Assassin. I’d obviously seen that first as a kid, and then saw this just before the 20th Anniversary in a rare “Five Faces of the Doctor” retrospective showing of episodes, and it really struck me.
You can see aspects of his character in the other Time Lords and can imagine this one as one of the Prydonian Chapter, with their slight contempt for the rest of the Universe, cunning and pragmatism. I can’t help but think that when Robert Holmes wrote that story, he must have dwelt on the First Doctor, and tried to extrapolate the kind of people he had as contemporaries.
What really sets them apart is the Doctors burning curiosity (almost obsession) that really starts to emerge in the next story, The Daleks, and as time goes on you can see him soften and humanise as he really becomes the hero of his own series. It really is there at the start – the Doctor needs companions as a moral compass, the trip into the past, and then an alien futuristic environment (which @bluesqueakpip pointed out elsewhere has become the hallmark for the intro to the modern companion).
I’ll echo the sentiments though that the first episode is really remarkable. The following three parts aren’t as engaging, but there is an awful lot to chew over. The scene where the Doctor looks set to finish the injured caveman with a rock still leaps out and has been referenced in the Big Finish Doctor Eight audios.1 December 2013 at 22:38 #22112
Hi I am new to the forum.
I have just started an ambitious project for myself, I am trying to watch every episode that exists of Doctor Who. I know there are some missing and am going to avoid the audio + stills versions.
Anyway I watched the Unearthly Child serial a little while ago. I loved it.
Its true that William Hartnell’s doctor is less warm to start with, but I have know watched The Daleks (Another great serial), Edge of Destruction which I thought was a bit strange and keys of Marinus.
I am now onto The Aztec’s.
Anyway I hope to enjoy posting here.2 December 2013 at 00:21 #22113Charlie Cook @charlie-cook
As someone old enough to have watched from day 1, I was impressed with the quality of ep1 of Unearthly Child, and suprised how poor the next 3 were. Now if only we can get them to repeat the Dalek epidodes…2 December 2013 at 00:41 #22116Anonymous @
Hello to @steveaki13! It’s great you started watching Dr Who from the beginning. May I ask, please, how you managed to get them all? I have bought, over the years, a few of the (for want of a better expression) best or significant episodes which usually come in a box from the ABC Down Under 🙂 labelled as “The Beginning” or “The William Hartnell years” etc. I wanted to get all the bits and pieces which were not necessarily the best episodes but I watched them when I was little and they’re vivid in my imagination. I would love to order them all -and I guess that’s what you must be doing?? 🙂 I have a few friends and a brother who also have managed to capture the odd series and episode so we beg and borrow from each to each. It’s great isn’t it? I loved “The Unearthly Child” for its mystery and Hartnell’s wonderful English authority which seeps through everything he says and every subtle look he transmits. I feel like I’m back there as a 7 year old -it’s fab!
purofilion2 December 2013 at 18:31 #22138
I own a number of series that have been released on DVD, but the in between serials I have found on Dailymotion and Youtube.
They are a bit scattered but you can watch a large number of the serials on dailymotion.2 December 2013 at 18:32 #22139
I have to say The Aztec’s were my least favourite so far.3 December 2013 at 08:25 #22183Anonymous @
@steveaki13 – welcome. You have an ambitious task ahead of you, but an enjoyable and rewarding one. Although the audio+stills options are still great value and at this time, the only way to experience some of the early stories, so I hope you don’t discount them.
By great coincidence, I just watched Edge of Destruction yesterday and like you, thought it a bit strange upon viewing. As @purofilion says (p.s. welcome to you too!), it’s available on DVD as part of a trilogy called ‘The Beginning’. There is a DVD extra called ‘Over the Edge’ which explains all about Destruction – they had a last-minute two week window open on the schedule, and no budget. So a story was written which took place totally within the Tardis (no money to go outside!), and only with the 4 principal characters. The idea was to have a story which allowed us to learn more about each individual character and their interpersonal dynamics, over and above what we’d seen in An Unearthly Child and The Daleks so far.
If you don’t have this story on DVD, maybe you can see if ‘Over the Edge’ is available on YT? It really did help me to appreciate the story and the circumstances around it.3 December 2013 at 09:56 #22192Anonymous @
@Shazzbot -exactly, a good intro, cheap (for them) and fun for us
purofilion3 December 2013 at 17:58 #22205
Thanks for all your welcomes.
I loved the moment when the Doctor and companions land on Ancient Earth and The Doctor and Susan both comment on the fact that the TARDIS is stuck as a police Box. That really made me chuckle.
I was watching The 7th serial of season 1 yesterday “The Sensorites” It was the first serial that I noticed they began making slightly more refrences on a regular basis on the fact that The Doctor and Susan had been travelling before the Story is picked up in Unearthly Child.
I am now onto The reign of Terror. How close we came to losing the Doctor before so much here. Locked in a burning Barn, but for a young boy who saved him. We would have a lot fewer adventures to watch.8 December 2013 at 11:14 #22396Anonymous @
I watched the whole thing in one sitting! I wasn’t interested in the 1ST two doctors because I heard terrible things about bad acting and wobbly sets and monsters that were unintentially funny not scary. But all of the 50TH Anniversery hoop-lah made me buy the boxset. And I’m glad I did!
The cavemen were pretty scary to me. (they are not monsters I know!) But I don’t think there was enough of The Doctor here. It was mostly Ian and Barbara doing everything.
I watched The Daleks too, and its the same thing, all Ian and Barbara (and some Susan with the Thals). When does The Doctor get more of the story? I need to see more 1ST and 2ND doctor stories I guess.17 December 2013 at 20:23 #23001Whisht @whisht
y’know, as I was walking home tonight through the rain (I hate rain) I had a bonkers thought.
In An Unearthly Child ep 2, Susan notices that the Tardis hasn’t changed its outward appearance and that this was unusual.
This was also the first time (presumably) that the Tardis had travelled with Humans in it (ie neither the Doctor nor Susan seemed to have travelled with Humans before).
So – could the Tardis have deliberately kept the image of the Police Box for Ian and Barbara? It wasn’t like the seemingly desolate environment could give a stuff what it looked like?
Its just that the Tardis may have deliberately kept this shape to give reassurance to Ian and Barbara when they left it, and for them to recognise it when they returned.
There could have been issues with them recognising it if it was properly camouflaged as a boulder, while the Doctor and Susan may have had more experience/ telepathic linkages etc etc to recognise it.
And after Ian and Barbara left for good, the Tardis may simply have liked that that particular shape had given comfort to people (much like the sound of ‘landing with the handbrake on’ would give a sense of hope to people) and so let it continue….
sorry – came from nowhere and just an idle bonkers thought (that really doesn’t further us for xmas or Capaldoc anything).13 January 2014 at 02:45 #24258Anonymous @
The Tardis may have deliberately kept this shape to give reassurance to Ian and Barbara when they left it, and for them to recognise it when they returned.
And after Ian and Barbara left for good, the Tardis may simply have liked that that particular shape had given comfort to people (much like the sound of ‘landing with the handbrake on’ would give a sense of hope to people) and so let it continue….
I love that explaination! It makes perfect sense now that we know the TARDIS is a sentient being capable of making decisions on her own. Not only that, but it is much more interesting than just being broken. Which I never liked since nothing else ever breaks, that the Doctor can’t repair in someway.
The Doctor saying that it was broken would still make sense under the new explaination, and I think make it funnier. Since the “Doctor Lies” rule would apply and reveal that he just didn’t want anyone to know he wasn’t always in control of what the TARDIS did.
And giving the TARDIS the ability to change its appearance (if she would want to – like a personal grudge against a companion?) could be funny too or another way to communicate with the Doctor. I do think the shape of the TARDIS has become a symbol of hope. So I would make changing it very rare, but not impossible.13 January 2014 at 15:50 #24268Whisht @whisht
hey, thanks @Raxacoricofallapatorius ( @barnable ?) – I’m touched that you liked it.
I like how the character of the Tardis has grown from box/ship, to anthropomorphized vehicle to travelling companion with free will of her own. Over time the Doctor would naturally think it ‘broken’, then ‘temperamental’ and only later that it might choose that shape (in the same way we learn that it sometimes chose where the Doctor needed to go). Its funny in this context when the most egocentric sixth Doctor was one to ‘fix’ it (or at least try to).
And the disguise of a police box only makes sense because of Ian and Barbara and what travelling with them has meant to the Doctor (and herself) as well as those they’ve affected.
anyway, thanks again and I agree – I’d not want too many episodes where it changed!21 February 2014 at 16:35 #25593Marinus lost his keys again @marinus-lost-his-keys-again
If I may be permitted to make this my first post here, I want to say that watching something back before any concrete backstory was established and only getting vague hints is very interesting because of the many many ways in which things could have gone. For instance, would there be any great mystery/attachement of this kind had the production team not scrapped “Nothing at the End of the Lane” which gave the Doctor a more or less definite backstory ?
There is not a whole lot to say about this story, beyond the fact that Za was an ungratefull ass.2 June 2014 at 02:24 #27968Anonymous @
I just watched the episodes, and I noticed that Susan had mentioned a John Smith, now I wonder if John Smith (The human version of the doctor) was a reference to this or it was just a coincidence?. Well I guess it doesn’t matter.1 November 2014 at 23:40 #34472Marinus lost his keys again @marinus-lost-his-keys-again
@tbird7702 Given the years before that first came up, no, not likely. : P2 November 2014 at 18:30 #34552newtunicorn @workb
I have to say I can watch the first episode for ages and I doubt I will get bored.
The pilot has a more intriguing feel to it too <34 January 2015 at 22:31 #36946Barbara Lefty @barbaralefty
Having watched the classic Hartnell “The Daleks”, in which the Doctor was incredibly passive (radiation, I know, or was it something else?) the Mind Robber and the Silurians, we finally watched the Unearthly Child arc as a family. I had seen it as a child but it was fascinating to watch and my fave of the classics I have seen. As an Extended Gapper (Eggy?), I’m missing a lot still and I know I lack context so I apologise for making pronouncements which after further viewing I will probably reject and also for rehashing stuff which will doubtless have been covered before and better. Notwithstanding the above, off I go.
I was incredibly impressed with it as a universe and character establishing arc. Obviously it goes without saying that as so many of the key elements established in the opening episode were so strong, so unique, they still persist today (the Tardis, it’s ability to camouflage itself but wonkiness when doing so, the advanced state of the Doctor’s race and the relative simplicity of the humans) and were special enough that they were revived, but in a show whose central conceit necessitates contradictory plot points, it is the powerful, unambiguous way they are established which impressed me. As someone who has only come back to the fold recently, the aloof Doctor, the antagonism and lack of understanding between characters driving the drama, the Doctor holding back information, dissembling, outright lying, hanging back until that moment of chaos when he can take control and drive Kal from the tribe, indicated to me just how hard series 8 is calling back to the very start of the Doctor’s journey and, unlike others, caused me to think, “That IS my Doctor!” Sure he’s been on a journey, he’s grown, but essentially, he is the guy who first runs over Barbara (I spit on him) then gets her out of there. He has to think about his goodness because he cannot identify even so much with Ian and Barbara as they do with the Cavemen, but his intellect, curiosity and love for Susan allow him to overcome his instinct. Susan’s presence in these episode, and her openness and liking of the humans allowed the Doctor to see past his prejudice, but equally allowed for a show in which an arrogant, aloof alien could both be presented as such and somewhat (but not entirely) rehabilitated. Interesting that his attitude was toned down from the pilot to ep 1; he was really quite abusive to Susan in the pilot, but I didn’t think it out of place, even after contrasting with the ep 1 slight rewrite. In either case, he did end up apologising profusely by the time they were trapped in the cave of skulls. I see series 8 as a continuation of this antagonism/rehabilitation theme, but am not sure if this is actually quite a common and long established motif for a not quite hero-protagonist (thinking Frodo in LotR)
I loved the dramatic set up between Ian and Barbara, the real, adult concern for a pupil, the ordinariness of it, in particular the (presumably very deliberate) contrast/parallel between the junkyard and the somewhat clapped out piece of insanely advanced alien tech. I guess you can do contrast and parallelism at the same time. Who knew?
I know folks might disagree but I really loved the Cavemen and their treatment. I was just commenting to Mr Lefty on how they always write these people humourless when they start ripping the proverbial out of another tribe member and commenting on how good it is to laugh. I remember reading the foreword to a copy of the Iliad, and it commented on how for the characters within, you had to forego logic and treat them as if, any time a thought popped in their head, they considered it divinely inspired. Now that may have been Homer (or whoever) using exactly the same presentation of his pre-Homeric ‘heroes’ as the Who writers used for ‘savages’ but the politics, negotiation and statement-making felt compelling, if telegraphed. Sure they didn’t seem to have a full understanding of altruism, but they were written in a way which left the audience in no doubt that it was a damned good thing we got it in the end. We got to watch ourselves develop, with a little help from the Doctor. And who wouldn’t love that.4 January 2015 at 23:24 #36950blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
A wonderful reflection on “An Unearthly Child”. I agree with everything you say–about its strengths at establishing the premise, about the obvious callback in S8 to the opening, about the links between Hartnell and Capaldi, about the dynamics of Ian, Barbara, Susan and the Doctor, hey, I even agree with your comments on the cavemen!
Like you, I first saw it as a child (it was a life-changing moment for me, as I have stated on this site elsewhere). I watch it again every now and again, and your reflections have great resonance. I haven’t watched it since Capaldi, but you have encouraged me to do just that. Thank you.4 January 2015 at 23:33 #3695114 July 2015 at 18:08 #41193KirstyThinks @kirstythinks
I love this serial, I think it establishes some of the main concepts of the series but it also establishes the heart of it. I just made a video about my top 5 favourite first doctor stories, I would appreciate it if you would check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ljMOq8L2Rc19 September 2015 at 08:44 #42898Dalek999 @dalek999
Brilliant episode, references to the scrap yard and coal hill school still seen in Doctor Who today…20 October 2015 at 23:15 #45226Delta @delta
Has anyone read the comic strip in DWM with Ian,Barbara and the tribe from
An Unearthly Child?28 November 2015 at 22:05 #48070Delta @delta
When you watch it, the Original Pilot is much more to our tastes, but was too modern in the 60s.
The Doctor in the Pilot reminds me of Capaldi.16 February 2016 at 15:53 #51003Anonymous @
I first saw the Pilot Episode when I was eleven. It was repeated on BBC2 as a part of a celebration of classic BBC programmes that were filmed at Lime Grove in Shepherd’s Bush, and for a viewer who had watched Doctor Who through the mid to late-1980s, a period when it was criticised for its quality, it made quite an impression on me. The spooky sense of mystery, conveyed through the direction and Hartnell’s performance – a sinister Doctor who was a truly ‘alien’ personality, unlike the subsequent heroic incarnations I’d grown up watching – was all something quite different and novel, and I was left wanting more.8 May 2016 at 19:59 #52213Pharell, Man! @pharellman
This episode is really good even if it was 60s. Why I underline it? I don’t know, I’ve seen couple of movies or TV series from other countries (esp. from USA) from this times, and they weren’t played so well like Doctor Who! Really! Amazingly played, everything was well as much as it was possible. Just magnificent. And montage was way better, I felt. 😀
Music from background (not opening or ending – background) was very typical for this times – even later Polish movies for example were using very simillar sounds for “the puzzle/mistery scenes” in old communism times movies, or classic TV Series. But music from opening was very specific for that times! 🙂 I wonder which instruments they used to do it.
Plot? Well… not bad, but very lovely in it’s simple way – all about to make a fire! And those theachers had very brutal way of giving them example of this, that The Doctor speaks truth by the way. 😛 Maybe not so comic like new DW era, or later Classic episodes, but very exciting were some moments! I just felt this climate – for me very good begnining of the series, way way way way way way better than “Rose”. 😉
PLUS: Do you feel this same thing, that we need historical episodes like this in new DW era? They were of course (Vincent Van Gogh one, or Madamme Pompadoure), but if I good remember without any monsters was no one in new era. We need something like this! One episode, where The Doctor is kidnapped and locked in, for example, ancient Egypt, or maybe even Ancinet Rome, and he need to find a way out. One episode like this in new season would be just… lovely. 😛 🙂8 May 2016 at 20:33 #52214TheDentistOfDavros @thedentistofdavros
You speak words of wisdom! I would love to see at least one pure historical episode per series! I loved the sixties historicals The Gunfighters is an especially good one in my opinion!
This episode may not be very comic but in my opinion you need episodes like this as I think Doctor Who works very well with a more serious tone, not to say I don’t enjoy the more funnier episodes! If you want a good mix of historical and comedy then I suggest The Romans as a great example of a light-hearted romp from the early days of the programme!
On a different note I think sixties who is probably my favourite era of the show10 June 2016 at 22:51 #52675danh19 @danh19
I watched it for the first time a couple of years ago I think the first part has something of a special feel to it but the rest I found quite dull even with the shocking moment the doctor nearly killed in cold blood playing a much darker role in the show while Ian is the heroic one but another thing that bugged me was that susan was to much of a damsel in disstress26 June 2016 at 22:07 #52932KBranagh @kbranagh
I saw yesterday the Doctor Who pilot for the first time.
I loved it. Very simple but very effective, a great mini mistery story that introduced the first Doctor in a very wonderful way with human point of view.
I heard something, but i don’t know quite well the character of Susan, i’m curious for the next.31 May 2017 at 20:06 #58323Abaath @abaath
I just finished the first series (or episodes) of An Unearthly Child. Part 1 was outstanding and the other 3 were, although not as good, quite enjoyable.
I mentioned in another thread how I liked these because they reminded me quite a bit of a sci-fi version of a spaghetti western. Quite raw, ok acting, but fun to watch and a good story line.
Having just started watching Doctor Who (finished Series 1 and and have started 2) I was caught off guard by how “in the back of the story” this first doctor was in the show. The two companions seemed to be the main focus of the story (so far). I look forward to starting the Daleks here soon.
Sooooo much to try and catch up on…the whole new series (all seasons), all the classic DW episodes and now Class.7 May 2020 at 04:24 #70610Davros @davros
There was a non-broadcast version of An Unearthly Child., sometimes called the Pilot episode but that’s a bit of a misnomer: it was just a first recording that was not sent out because the producers felt there were too many problems with the recording and performances.
One notable thing about it is that the interior of the Tardis is shown from the outside when Barbara first enters. It was quite a trick shot at the time but they didn’t end up using it in the broadcast version. Indeed there were no such shots used in any of the Classic Who series.
!!9 May 2020 at 17:23 #70620The Idiot From Gallifrey Base @dalekbuster523
At least there weren’t any dinosaurs!
Damn, now you’re making me wish there had been! I would have loved to have seen what cardboard dinosaurs would have looked like.
Really need to give Invasion of the Dinosaurs a watch sometime, because I’ve heard those dinosaurs are not very good. imagine how much worse they would have been in the 60s…9 May 2020 at 18:06 #70621The Idiot From Gallifrey Base @dalekbuster523
when they’re running away from the cave in Part 4, and Barbara falls flat on her face – the Doctor jumps right over her and keeps on running! the cad!)
I don’t think I even noticed this when I watched this serial for the first time back in 2010. The Doctor really was a completely different character right at the very beginning.
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