An Unearthly Child 1
An Unearthly Child
Doctor: First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton
Enemy: Kal, Tribe of Gum
Setting: London, 1963, 100,000BC, Earth
Written by: Anthony Coburn (& C. E. Webber)
Directed by Waris Hussein
Produced by: Verity Lambert
Script Editor: David Whitaker
Average Viewership: 5.90 million
Production Code: A
Broadcast Date: 23 November - 14 December 1963
Format: 4x25minute episodes
Doctor's Timeline
Previous Story: TBA
Following Story: TBA
Television Stories
Previous Story: None
Following Story: The Daleks

An Unearthly Child was the first Doctor Who story ever to be broadcast. It was first shown on the 23 of November, 1963. It featured William Hartnell as the star role of the First Doctor, co-starring with Carole Ann Forde, Jacqueline Hill and William Russell. The story was directed by Waris Hussein who wasn't the original director and replaced one who backed out at the last minute. However, his work was highly acclaimed. The first episode was written by C. E. Webber, however, it was adapted by Anthony Coburn from one episode into four. The four epsiodes were produced by Verity Lambert who would continue to produce for the next two and a bit years.


School teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, become interested in an unordinary girl of fifteen, called Susan Foreman. When investigating further, they discover a mysterious junkyard, a quick-tempered, old man and a humming police box, which soon reveals itself to be a space and time ship.

Travelling to the past, they soon discover what time travel is really like and what dangers lie beyond the blue doors of the TARDIS...


An Unearthly Child

A policeman is walking around in front of junkyard doors, which contains a Police Box.

Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright discuss a student in their classes who seems different from the others. On the one hand, she is extremely intelligent, but on the other she seems to make a few simple mistakes. On confronting her, Susan Foreman, whether she would like to be driven to her home, she declines.

Finding this a bit mysterious, they both investigate where she lives and find a junkyard, 76 Totter's Lane. When entering they find the expected piles of junk, but also a humming Police Box. Touching it, Ian feels a hum emitting from within. The junkyard doors open and an old man steps inside. Ian and Barbara conceal themselves. They watch the old man try to enter the Police Box using a key.

An Unearthly Child 3

First look inside the TARDIS.

They walk out of their hiding place and show themselves. The man immediately closes the door on sight, blocking out a dull 'Grandfather'. He demands an explanation for their intrusion on apparent private property. Ian insists that he heard Susan inside. Pushing past the old man, they arrive inside a vast room, which is brighter than outside and Susan is standing next a bleeping control of buttons and nozzles.

The old man names himself the Doctor and introduces them to the TARDIS, a space ship that can travel in time and space. After Ian doesn't believe him, a frustrated Doctor controls the ship and they are sent flying through time.

The Cave of Skulls

The TARDIS arrives in a wasteland and a figure stands in front of the craft.

In a cavemen camp, an individual called Za is promising that he will be a perfect leader for their tribe. Some of the cave people agree that he should be leader, but others are against. Horg promises whoever becomes leader will get his daughter, Hur, as a wife.

An Unearthly Child 2

Stepping out of the TARDIS in 100,000BC.

The TARDIS crew awake from consciousness and find themselves inside the wasteland. The Doctor explains that they have travelled in time, but Ian still disagrees. After checking a scanner, the Doctor opens the doors and they exit. The four take a look around and Barbara is shocked by their new surroundings. The Doctor goes to investigate the earth and take some samples. When lighting his pipe, he is suddenly taken from sight by an unknown figure. Susan starts to panic, but is calmed by Barbara and Ian who try to control her hysterical manner.

Back at the camp, Kal arrives with the unconscious body of the Doctor and explains that he should be leader because he has brought someone who can make fire. Za disagrees and they start to argue. The Doctor wakes up and suddenly understands his predicament. He agrees to making fire, but realises that he has left them behind somewhere when he was taken.

An Unearthly Child 6

Inside the terrifying Cave of Skulls.

Ian, Barbara and Susan arrive to the Doctor's relief, but they are all captured, claiming to provide fire for the tribe. They are taken to the Cave of Skulls. Inside they are bound and surrounded by skulls.

The Forest of Fear

The Old Woman wasn't sure about keeping the newcomers inside the Cave of Skulls, because she hated fire. And so, she visited them and cut them free and told them to escape through the Forest of Fear, which opened out at the back of the cave. Za and Hur were suspicious of the Old Woman and found her inside the cave alone. Za pushed her to the ground and with Hur, raced after the Doctor and his companion.

Inside the Forest, the four TARDIS were running through the rough terrain. Along the way they could hear sounds of some sort of beast roaring.

Back at the camp, Kal awoke and found the Old Woman lying on the ground. He killed her and blamed Za for this. Kal soon gained the confidence of the rest of the tribe and temporarily became leader.

The Doctor and his companions are caught up by Za and Hur, but Za is attacked by a deadly creature. Ian and Barbara help him, to Hur's reluctance and the Doctor's. They fashion a stretcher and help him out of the forest.

However, as they see the TARDIS in sight, they were surrounded by the tribe wielding weapons.

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Za fighting Kal in vicious combat.

The Firemaker

When taken back to the camp, the Doctor deduced the fact that Za could not have killed the Old Woman. After taking Kal's knife, he showed to the tribe that it held blood on it, condemning Kal.

Placed back inside the Cave of Skulls, the Doctor and his companions were forced to create fire for Za. They do as they're told and the tribe was pleased with the fire that they were given, but believed it to be Za's doing.

Kal returned after time in the wilderness and killed the Caveman guard. Za and him fought each other, but Za won in the end. He announced Kal's death to the res of the tribe and they congratulated him.

An Unearthly Child 4

The Doctor escaping into the TARDIS.

Ian came up with a clever plan to escape the tribe's clutches. They fashioned the skulls to look as if they had been killed by the fire and escaped the same way through the Forest of Fear. The tribe were completely fooled. The TARDIS crew arrived back inside the TARDIS and dematerialised.

They arrived inside a deserted forest on an unknown planet. Checking the radiation levels, they were at normal, but they soon rose to critical.




Famous Quotes

The Doctor - "Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles...?"
The Doctor - "If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cry of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?"

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