041 – An Unearthly Child

Our First Classic Who episode! After much waiting we are covering the episode An Unearthly Child. It’s a great episode and is the first ever one.
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Welcome to Episode 41 covering Series 1 Episodes 1-4, An Unearthly Child

Super-short Recap

This is the one where the Doctor doesn’t show up until halfway through the first episode. Ian, & Barbara are school teachers and discuss the odd nature of Susan Foreman, one of their brightest students. She knows more science than either of them, but doesn’t understand basics like money. They discover that she seems to live in a junkyard. They decide to stalk her, er, make sure she’s safe at home. In doing so, they bump into a strange man and a police box. This guy is obviously holding Susan hostage, so they break into the police box and…. It’s bigger on the inside!

It turns out the creeper is actually Susan’s grandfather, and he’s as nuts as she is. Or is he? Susan and her grandfather decide to show them that they are in fact from another world. They use their spacecraft, called Time And Relative Dimension In Space, or TARDIS, to travel into the ancient past on earth. They fall into the middle of a tribal dispute among cavemen in need of fire. They get captured, then escape, then get captured, then teach the cavemen to make fire, then escape again. Finally, they get back into the TARDIS, but their unnecessarily hasty escape results in them not landing where they intended. They could be anywhere, and the radiation gauge is blinking.

The end… of the beginning.

Production notes

  • Story # 1!
  • Originally aired and 23 November – 14 December 1963 to 4.4 million viewers then 6.0 million
  • Written by: Anthony Coburn
  • Directed by: Waris Hussein
  • Awards:

Cast

  • The Doctor – William Hartnell
    • Hartnell was primarily a comic actor, having been in various movies and shows prior to 1963.
    • He was reluctant to take on the role, but was convinced by Charity Lambert and Waris Hussein to do it. He grew to love the role.
    • At 55, he was the oldest actor to portray the Doctor until John Hurt in 2013 portrayed the War Doctor at age 73.
    • One of three actors to portray the First Doctor, including Richard Hurndall in The Five Doctors (1983) and David Bradley in The Doctor Falls and Twice Upon a Time. Bradley also played Hartnell in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.
    • Died 23 April 1975
  • Susan Foreman – Carole Ann Ford
    • Aged 23 when the show began, Susan Foreman was only 15
    • Returned to the role in 1983’s The Five Doctors and 1993’s charity special Dimensions in Time
    • Still alive, still doing audio dramas in the Whoniverse
  • Barbara – Jacqueline Hill
    • First regular character to appear in Doctor Who
    • Left after 2 years, never reprised the role
    • Died 18 February 1993
  • Ian – William Russell
    • Was supposed to reprise in a 1983 episode, but scheduling conflicts prevented him
    • Played a member of the Kryptonian council in Superman (1978)
    • Still alive

Special effects

  • Costumes and make-up
    • How about that caveman makeup, huh?
  • CGI
    • Actually this didn’t exist yet

Checklist

  • Baddie of the week
    • Cavemen
  • Jiggery Pokery
    • TARDIS –
      1. Ian said it was vibrating, like it was alive
      2. Susan made up the name
        • Time And Relative Dimensions In Space
      3. Different dimensions inside than outside
      4. Doctor is surprised that it still looks like a police box
        • Susan says it’s been an Ionic column and a sedan chair
  • Who is Susan?
    • Susan is a fast reader too! (Like Nine flipping through a book)
  • Companions
    • Doctor says, “Fear, it makes companions of us all.”

Who is The Doctor?

  • He plays dumb when he first meets Ian and Barbara
  • He’s a bit rude and stand-offish
  • Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? To be exiles?
    • They’re cut off from their world and people, but one day they’ll get back.
  • Reminds Corbin of Yoda, silly, but serious, and kind of a jerk.
  • Says Ian’s “arrogance is as great as his ignorance.”
  • Ian calls him Doctor Foreman. The Doctor says “Hm? Doctor Who? What’s he talking about?”
    • Later, Ian recognizes this and says “Doctor Who, who is he?”

Closing

Noobs and the Whovian is a production of Master Closet Studios, where it’s always smaller on the inside. Your Senior Producer is Austin Reason. Our Audio Engineer is Tripp Reason. Corbin Reason is our Production Editor. Special thanks to tardis.wikia.com for the trivia and Jared for the Classic Who segment.

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Use our affiliate link for a seven day free trial to BritBox were you can watch all of Classic Who and we get some of the money for no extra charge to you!

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