Production Code: A
An Unearthly Child - 23/11/1963 17:15
The Cave of Skulls - 30/11/1963 17:15
The Forest of Fear - 07/12/1963 17:15
The Firemaker - 14/12/1963 17:15
Schoolteachers Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton become intrigued by one of their pupils, Susan Foreman, and visit her home address - a junkyard at 76 Totter's Lane - where they meet her grandfather, the Doctor. The Doctor and Susan are aliens who travel through time and space in their ship, the TARDIS, which looks like an ordinary police box but actually houses a huge gleaming control room. The TARDIS takes them all to a Palaeolithic landscape where they encounter a tribe that has lost the secret of fire.
The TARDIS arrives on a Palaeolithic landscape, over which falls the shadow of a man.
The four travellers are sealed in the tribe's Cave of Skulls with the bones of many previous prisoners, and the Doctor notices that the skulls have all been split open.
An escape attempt by the four travellers is foiled when they find the tribesmen lying in wait for them outside TARDIS.
The TARDIS's next point of arrival is a strange alien planet. Unseen by the occupants, its radiation detector registers 'Danger'.
Dixon of Dock Green.
Steptoe and Son.
Target Luna and its sequels.
H. G. Wells' The Time Machine.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (the Doctor's motivation for kidnapping people).
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
One Million B.C. (1940).
William Golding's The Inheritors.
Barbara Wright : "But you are one of us! You look like us, you sound like us..."
Susan Foreman : "I was born in another time, another world..."
The Doctor : "Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles...?"
Za : "My father made fire."
Old Mother : "They killed him for it. It is better that we live as we have always done."
Za : "Without meat we go hungry. Without fire we die!"
The Doctor : "Fear makes companions of all of us, Miss Wright."
The Doctor : "This doesn't roll along on wheels, you know."
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?"
The Doctor doesn't answer to the name Foreman. [An invention of Susan, who took it from the junkyard name. I. M. Foreman would still appear to own the junkyard in 1985 (Attack of the Cybermen), although he obviously does keep a close watch on the place as the TARDIS was never discovered.]
Susan can read very fast, is a brilliant scientist, and calculates in terms of five dimensions [all Time Lord characteristics]. She likes 20th-century England. The children of the Doctor's civilisation are advanced (he doesn't count Susan as a child). There is no suggestion that she isn't his granddaughter. She and the Doctor are cut off from their own planet, without friends. They've been in London for five months [probably mending the TARDIS: the Doctor speaks of replacing a faulty filament].
She was born in 'another time, another world', and says she invented the name TARDIS (in this and other early stories, TARDIS is said to stand for 'Time and Relative Dimension in Space'). [Susan was a precocious young Time Lady, and her name for travel capsules caught on.]
The TARDlS console can be electrified, and the ship has a malfunctioning 'yearometer' and a radiation counter. Ian and Barbara are knocked out on take-off [either the TARDlS telepathic circuits are also faulty, or they were thrown about by the TARDIS's movements and physically stunned]. The Doctor, aware of the need to dispose of the Hand of Omega secretly (see Remembrance of the Daleks), deliberately takes Ian and Barbara off with him. [Thereafter the TARDlS frequently returns to Earth to allow the Doctor to ensure that the Hand has not been discovered.]
Ian teaches science, shares Susan's knowledge of the pop group John Smith and the Common Men, and owns a car. Barbara teaches history, and lives in a flat.
The Doctor smokes a pipe. This is the first time that the [chameleon circuit] has failed. The Doctor claims that if he had established exactly when they had landed, he could have got them straight home [using the fast return switch: see The Edge of Destruction]. The Doctor keeps a notebook with key codes to all the ship's machines, and maps of the places he's visited.
The tribe have lost the secret of fire. [They await winter with trepidation, not the ice age, which took so long to happen they wouldn't be aware of the changes.]
A stretch of barren land [in Africa or the Asian steppes between the ice ages (non-glacial Europe would have been verdant), 500,000 BC-30,000 BC].
The Doctor and Susan have probably been in France at the time of the Revolution (1789-1799) and in England after the introduction of decimal coinage (1971). [However, Susan, interested in Earth, might have learnt these details while on Gallifrey.]
There is a dummy with a crushed head in the junkyard, perhaps foreshadowing the caved-in skulls that the time travellers later see in the Palaeolithic era.
The Doctor and Susan show surprise when the TARDIS remains stuck as a police box, and Susan explains that it is supposed to change its appearance to blend in with its surroundings (an idea seriously considered by the series' creators but ruled out on grounds of cost).
The Doctor is apparently put off smoking for life when he is attacked by Kal while about to light a large, ornate pipe.
'TARDIS' was originally intended to be the name of the Doctor's ship (in the same way as one might name a sailing boat) rather than purely a descriptive acronym.
The bones used in the Cave of Skulls scenes were obtained by designer Barry Newbery from an abattoir; the smell they gave off under the hot studio lights was extremely unpleasant.
100,000 BC: An Unearthly Child was transmitted ten minutes late owing to rescheduling as a result of the assassination of President Kennedy the previous day. (It was transmitted only eighty seconds later than the scheduled 5.15 p.m.)
BBC staff writer C E Webber co-scripted 100,000 BC: An Unearthly Child with Anthony Coburn. (Webber was responsible for a story, The Giants, that was originally intended to open the series but was eventually rejected. Coburn drew some inspiration for 100,000 BC: An Unearthly Child from the draft script for Webber's first episode.)
The Stone Age episodes are set on Earth. (This may be the case, but it is never explicitly stated here. It could be the Stone Age of some other planet.)
Doctor Who was originally transmitted 'live'. (It was always pre-recorded.)
Actress Jackie Lane, later to play the Doctor's companion Dodo, was offered the role of Susan before Carole Ann Ford. (Lane went to an interview for the role, but withdrew when she discovered that a one year contract was involved; she was never offered the job.)
The programme in which Waris Hussein spotted Carole Ann Ford when looking for someone to play Susan was the BBC Suspense play entitled The Man on a Bicycle. (The Man on a Bicycle was transmitted some months before Hussein became involved with Doctor Who; it must therefore have been in another programme that her performance impressed him.)
Jacqueline Hill once worked as a model in Paris. (She didn't.)
The original police box seen in Doctor Who was a prop left over from Dixon of Dock Green. (It was specially made for Doctor Who.)
Before Ian gets zapped by the console, somebody in the studio calls out a cue.
William Hartnell and William Russell interrupt each other whilst examining the TARDIS.
Ian says that the Doctor closed the door, when in fact it was Susan who did this.
At the end of the episode, the caveman's shadow extends too far across the landscape.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - William Hartnell
Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
Ian Chesterton - William Russell
Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford
Horg - Howard Lang
Hur - Alethea Charlton
Kal - Jeremy Young
Old Mother - Eileen Way
Za - Derek Newark