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An Unearthly Child

The first Doctor Who serial. The first episode is one of the finest television programmes ever made, but after that... well, it's just a huge pile of tedious boring old cack, isn't it? It takes a special kind of incompetence to come up with such a great idea for a series, fill it with great regular characters, and then manage to bore the audience half to death.

Not an original opinion perhaps, but nonetheless the CORRECT one.

About this entry


I hate to disagree with you, John, but, well - I disagree. While it's true none of the other episodes live up to the greatness of the first one, they still have a lot going for them. Not least that brilliant moment when the Doctor and Ian have an argument about whether to help the wounded tribesman, and the Doctor picks up a big rock and it really looks like he's considering bashing the tribesman's head in! I have to admit I've only ever seen it on a manky second generation VHS, so maybe watching it on the sparkly DVD version is a different experience. Maybe it loses that sense of claustrophobic tension when you can actually see how small the sets are.

Just as an aside, it's interesting in the early episodes how they play up the anti-hero angle for all it's worth - our entry point into the drama isn't the Doctor at all, it's Ian and Barbara. The Doctor's just this cantankerous old sod who keeps getting them into bother.

By Phil_A
August 21, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

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Disagree with me? You BASTARD.

All the stuff with The Doctor is brilliant. And agreed that the bit with the rock is great - very unpredictable and unsettling. Unfortunately though, most of the last three episodes are a load of fruity unconvincing cavemen with nothing of interest to say or do. Throw in some horrible expositional dialogue which surely sounded bad even in 1963, and for the first time ever with a Who story, I was actively willing it to end. And I have a great tolerance for vintage TV - I'll enjoy poor programmes from the 60s more readily than poor programmes from the 00s.

Which is a shame, as I'd read that a lot of people hated the last three episodes, and presumed that me being me, I'd probably like them!

By John Hoare
August 21, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

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Just wait til you get to The Daleks. It's fucking great.

By Ian Symes
August 22, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

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Yeah, I've heard The Daleks  is excellent. It's the only reason I kept persevering with An Unearthly Child - I didn't want to cheat and skip episodes.

By John Hoare
August 22, 2006 @ 7:21 pm

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After watching The Daleks, I have come to two conclusions:

a) That was brilliant, and
b) I want to empty my load over Carole Ann Ford.

By John Hoare
August 25, 2006 @ 12:05 am

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Um... Carole Ann Ford is currently 64 years old.

I bought a boxset containing the first three Doctor Who serials recently (100000 BC, The Daleks, The Edge of Destruction). Yep, The Daleks is easily the best - 100000 BC is crappy except for "An Unearthly Child" and The Edge of Destruction is just weird.

It also has on it the original version of An Earthly Child that the ended up refilming. I'm glad they did reshoot it - everyone seems a bit wooden, Susan and the Doctor's origin has a definite timeframe (she says "I was born in the 49th Century") and the Doctor seems so nasty he almost appears evil.

By antipodean
August 26, 2006 @ 7:08 am

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