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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child (1963) starring William Hartnell, Carol Ann Ford, William Russel, Jaqueline Hill
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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child (1963) starring William Hartnell, Carol Ann Ford, William Russel, Jaqueline Hill

An Unearthly Child is the very first Doctor Who episode. It introduces the First Doctor (William Hartnell), his granddaughter Susan, and her teachers Ian and Barbara. At first, the teachers are concerned about their strange student, Susan. She’s advanced well beyond her teachers in some areas, and woefully ignorant in others. They follow her to her home … a junkyard, where she disappears. Then they meet an old man, who’s very unhelpful. Soon it becomes clear that he’s her grandfather, and is hiding her from them. And then they force their way into the TARDIS …

Part 1 – An Unearthly Child

School teachers Ian and Barbara follow their strange student, Susan Foreman, back to her home. Which is in an old junkyard. There they meet an old man, and suspect him of abducting Susan. But then they hear Susan’s voice inside an old police box. And the inside is larger than the outside! Susan explains it’s a vehicle – the TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. And soon, the foursome is off on an adventure!

Part 2 – The Cave of Skulls

With 1963 London left behind, the teachers are amazed to find themselves on prehistoric Earth! They are taken captive by a tribe of cavemen who are searching for the secret of fire. When one of them sees The Doctor lighting his pipe

Part 3 – The Forest of Fear

The time travelers manage to escape the tribe. But their path to the TARDIS is through the forest which has dangers of its own. Meanwhile, Kal attempts to take advantage of events.

Part 4 – The Firemaker

Kal has been banished from the tribe. Ian is making fire for Za in the hope that he will be grateful and allow them to return to the TARDIS.


  • William Hartnell (Doctor Who: The Romans) … The Doctor. The elderly, eccentric old man. Susan’s grandfather, who’s more than a little grumpy. He’s protective of Susan, and distrustful of others.
  • William Russell (Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus)… Ian Chesterton. Susan’s science teacher. Along with Barbara, he’s interested in their unusual student, Susan. He drives them out to the junkyard, where she supposedly lives.
  • Jacqueline HillBarbara Wright. Susan’s history teacher, who’s also concerned about Susan. In fact, she convinces Ian to follow her home.
  • Carole Ann Ford (The Day of the Triffids) … Susan Foreman. The Doctor’s granddaughter, the unearthly child of the title. She’s brilliant compared to her fellow students, but ignorant of basic things. She’s intelligent, kindly, and very attached to her grandfather.

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