Doctor Who Reactions: "An Unearthly Child" (SPOILERS)

1)Went back and re-watched the first story last night.  The thing for me was, I was already fairly steeped in the show's mythology by the time I saw this, so I find it harder to imagine what it was like to see it when the viewers had no idea what to expect.  Still, I expect it must've been a real trip watching it back in the day - it must've raised so many questions:  What the hell is a police box doing in a junkyard? Why is it humming? What's up with this kid?  Who is this crazy old geezer? Why is he dressed like an  Edwardian solicitor? That first "Interior TARDIS"scene would've been a real mind-blower. And what a theme tune - to my mind, they've never topped that original Derbyshire version of the music. It's one of my all-time favorite TV theme tunes, ever.  It's true, the caveman stuff is something of a drop-off from the first episode, but I still find it enjoyable.


2)It's interesting watching the interactions of Team TARDIS here - the Doctor obviously thinks Ian is a moron, and Ian obviously thinks the Doctor is a stubborn old goat, and from their own perspectives, each is right. Barbara and Susan each take turns getting hysterical about stuff. The Doctor does seen ready to bash Za's head in at one point.


3)The first TARDIS take-off was very violent. One does get a sense that this Doctor really doesn't know what he's doing.  I hadn't realized that the chameleon circuit was supposed to have just broken, but both the Doctor and Susan seem surprised that it hasn't worked.


4)I see the Doctor smokes a pipe in this story - there's a character trait they dropped quickly.


5)Not much to say about the caveman story except that politics doesn't seem to have changed much in 100,000 years.



"An Unearthly Child": A shadow approaches the TARDIS!  Resolution:  Turns out it's a guy with a beard.

"The Cave of Skulls": Ian notes that all of the skulls in the cave have been split!  Resolution:  Eventually they leave the cave without getting their skulls split.

"The Forest of Fear": The tribe is waiting for them outside the TARDIS!  Resolution: They get captured, but eventually they get away again.

"The Firemaker": Unseen by our heroes, the radiation meter reads "DANGER".   Resolution:  They check it once more before they go out, realize it's far too dangerous, and go somewhere else.  They go to wash up, and then...


7)Some fun quotes:

  • "Wait here, please, Susan, I won't be long."  And the first words spoken in Doctor Who go to Miss Barbara Wright of London, England.
  • "Of course, the decimal system hasn't started yet."  But I'm not an alien!
  • "What are you doing here?"  First words spoken by the Doctor.
  • "Well, I made up the name from the initials - Time And Relative Dimension In Space."
  • "A thing that looks like a police box, standing in a junkyard - it can move anywhere in time and space?"
  • "Eh?Doctor who? What's he talking about?"  Well, they made it to the second episode before making that joke.
  • "I'm not  a doctor of medicine."


8)If the truth be known, I couldn't make fire myself if my life depended on it.


Overall: Well, the first episode is as mysterious and atmospheric as anything I've ever seen on television. The rest of it is kind of lightweight, but not as bad as it reputation has it.  A far cry from what the show would become, but quite a good start.  Little did they know what they were starting...

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