Doctor Who’s First Incarnation

By | November 16, 2021

test article image
From the pilot episode. Source: (IMDb).

On Saturday, November 23, 1963, the first episode of Doctor Who aired on BBC One. It was designed as a family show, to be aired from 5 to 6 p.m., sandwiched between more adult shows and teenage-focused shows. The original episodes were serialized, meaning that groups of episodes were centered on a single storyline. Partially inspired by Sherlock Holmes, it was originally intended as an educational program; many of the first episodes were historical stories, and two of the early main characters were science and history teachers. Over time, tastes changed, and the histories were phased out near the end of the ‘60s since the alien settings were becoming more popular.

test article image
William Hartnell, the first Doctor. Source: (Den Of Geek).

Beginning In The Stone Age

The premiere of the first episode was delayed by 80 seconds, and the network then rebroadcast the episode the next week, right before the second episode because they believed the public had missed the start of this new show. The first serial of the show, An Unearthly Child, was comprised of four parts and ran until December 14. In the first episode of this serial, the two schoolteachers, Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell) discover the TARDIS in a junkyard in London. The episodes which followed it are set in the Stone Age, where factions who have lost the secret to making fire, are trapped in a power struggle.