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Doctor Who - An Unearthly Child

episode 1

UK 1963
produced by
Verity Lambert for BBC
directed by Waris Hussein
starring William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Derek Newark, Jeremy Young, Alethea Charlton, Eileen Way, Howard Lang
written by Anthony Coburn, script editor: David Whitaker, music by Norman Kay

Doctor Who, Doctor Who (William Hartnell), Doctor Who (classic series)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Two teachers, Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) grow way too curious about one of their students, the somewhat weird Susan (Carol Ann Ford) to not investigate ... and find out she lives on a scrapyard with her rather grumpy and egotistical grandpa (William Hartnell), who calls himself the Doctor and claims to have superior knowledge. Furthermore he claims that a police phone box on his scrapyard is really a machine travelling through time and space called the TARDIS (for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), and since the two teachers won't believe him, he invites him into the box (which is bigger on the inside, way bigger), and the next time they open the door, the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara all are in the stone age.

Before long, they get drawn into a conflict between cavemen Za (David Newman) and Kal (Jeremy Young) over the leadership of their tribe ... and leader should always be the one who can make fire - but since none of the cavemen can, but everybody knows the Doctor and company can, soon our quartet is incarcerated in the Cave of Skulls. They manage to get away, but when on their escape pursuing Za is attacked by a beast, they decide to turn Samaritan and not only save his life but help Za to learn how to make fire, get control over his tribe and expell Cal.

Does Za thank them though ? Nope, he throws them back into the cave of skulls. Only when putting up a spookshow for the tribe do our heroes manage to escape - but not to present day London, but to the far future ... but that is another story ...


The very first story of Doctor Who, a series that would eventually run for 26 consecutive seasons (until 1989) and make a triumphant return in a new series in 2005.

That said, however, was An Unearthly Child all that good, and would it herald things to come ? The answer, quite simply, is no, the story is not too well developed and not too engaging, the direction is incredibly stagey, the sets are obviously too cheap, and William Harntell's Doctor comes across as quite an arsehole in this one. That said, the episode is not all bad, it ahs a certain cheap charm to it, and some elements are unintentionally funny (like the cavemen speaking perfect English), but on this episode alone, noone would probably have expected the show to run more than its originally intended 13 chapters (and this episode alone runs for four chapters). The next episode though, The Daleks (7 chapters), would show a quite different, and far more interesting aspect of the series.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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