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Doctor Who story number 1

Back when the series started the episodes were given individual titles, rather than being brought under the title head of the whole story. This name was adopted by the fans as the name of the first four part story, though the official name for it is in fact 100,000 BC. The BBC do use the title preferred by fans on video releases, taking the view that the best title is the one everyone recognises.

Changes from scipting and the original concept include toning down Ian and Barbara's relationship, making the Doctor older, making the Doctor the focus of the show, and adding in a younger character (Susan) to provide a hook for adventures. From the looks of things the show was originally to rip-off Quatermass, having only three adult characters (the young male hero, the woman, the quirky professor) who function as a science fiction version of The Avengers. Sydney Newman liked the "mature man" character in the original concept more, and so the Doctor was born by adding a few decades to the character and making him the focus of the show. After scripting the first episode the granddaughter slant was added after it was realised just how shady it looked to have a teenage girl travelling around with an old man.

As for the story, the first episode was recorded twice. The first recording was filled with mistakes (Jaqueline Hill gets her shoe stuck under a desk at one point) and was reshot - and when they did it William Hartnell toned down the Doctor, as the BBC people thought he was too scary. Apparently he's pretty insidious, but without seeing it who knows how it measures up to todays standards?

Writer
Anthony Coburn
(With material by C.E.Webber)

Episodes
This story has four episodes with individual titles:

  • An Unearthly Child
  • The Cave of Skulls
  • The Forest of Fear
  • The Firemaker

Plot Overview
Two school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, are curious about one of their students, who seems to know far more about their respective subjects (science and history) than is conceivably possible in a 15 year old girl; she even mentions decimal currency, despite it being eight years early....

Curious about her family background, which seems to consist of a grandfather and no other relatives, they follow her home one evening, and see her entering a junkyard. They follow her, and see her being locked inside a police box by her grandfather.

While confronting The Doctor they gain entrance to the police box, and find that it is in fact a spacecraft. The ship is activated and sends them to the year 100,000 BC, where they are captured by a tribe of cavemen who have lost the secret of fire. The remaining three episodes of the story involve them making fire and escaping back to the TARDIS.

Main Cast


Cast
  • Derek Newark - Za
  • Althea Charlton - Hur
  • Jeremy Young - Kal
  • Howard Lang - Horg
  • Eileen Way - Old Mother
  • Notes

    • Susan's last name is taken from the name on the fence of the junkyard where the TARDIS has landed (I.M. Foreman). We never find out what her real name is.
    • The Doctor has a notebook with all the details of the TARDIS as well as information about places he's visited, however he loses it in the course of the story, making returning to London, 1963 impossible.

    I know that free movement in time and space is a scientific dream I don't expect to find solved in a junkyard! - Ian

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