So where better to start our Doctor Who section than at the beginning.  Early Doctor Who stories, in common with many other television shows of the time, did not have generic titles but each episode had it’s own title.  therefore this story has sometimes been referred to as 100,000 BC.

Doctor Who was the brainchild of Sidney Newman, a Canadian film and television producer, who was the BBC’s Head Of Drama at the time.  The story goes that when Controller of BBC Television Donald Baverstock alerted Newman of the need for a program to bridge the gap between the sports showcase Grandstand and pop music program Juke Box Jury on Saturday evenings, he decided that a science-fiction drama would be the perfect vehicle for filling the gap and gaining a family audience and so was born one of televisions biggest success stories – Doctor Who.

The 1960’s were very different times to now – socially and so Doctor Who became groundbreaking on other levels.  Producer Verity Lambert  became the youngest–and only female–drama producer at the BBC, racism was not the taboo subject it is today, so it was new ground when Indian born Waris Hussein directed the very first story.

Initially, the first episode was filmed in September 1963.  However the results were not what Newman and his producer had hoped for, determined to press on they made subtle revisions to the Doctor’s characterisation, several technical and performance adjustments were also made. A second filming was made in October 1963.

The launch of Doctor Who was overshadowed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy the previous day. The serial received favourable reviews, and the four episodes attracted an average of 6 million viewers. However, it would be overshadowed by the subsequent story, The Daleks.

Summary

Susan Foreman is a pupil at the local School in the fictional area of Coal Hill, she is exceptionally bright to the point her teachers are not sure whether or not to just hand the lesson over to her.

When her work begins to suffer her teachers offer her home tuition, which she declines as her Grandfather would never allow it.  Curiosity gets the better of them and they resolve to follow Susan home.

Arriving at a junkyard they soon meet a strange old man who they follow inside to a Police box.  Hearing Susan’s voice call out, a struggle ensues and they find themselves inside the TARDIS.

In order to protect his secrets the Doctor kidnaps the two teachers.  To prove that time moves in circles the Doctor blasts them back 100,000 years to the stone age, they find themselves caught up in a struggle for power within the tribe of gum, as they elect that the one who makes fire should be leader.

Clips

Cast

William Hartnell  – First Doctor
Carole Ann Ford –  Susan Foreman
Jacqueline Hill  – Barbara Wright
William Russell – Ian Chesterton
Derek Newark — Za
Alethea Charlton — Hur
Eileen Way — Old Mother
Jeremy Young — Kal
Howard Lang — Horg

Details

Channel: BBC1
Written By:
Anthony Coburn
C. E. Webber (episode 1, uncredited)
Produced By: Verity Lambert
Directed By: Waris Hussein

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