Doctor Who: Season 1, Episode 1

An Unearthly Child (23 Nov. 1963)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 741 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 7 critic

Two schoolteachers investigate the personal life of one of their brilliant students and her mysterious grandfather.


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Episode complete credited cast:
William Russell ...
Jacqueline Hill ...


Two schoolteachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, become concerned by the unusual behavior of their fifteen-year-old student, Susan Foreman. When they follow her home, they meet her mysterious grandfather, the Doctor, and find themselves unwilling passengers on his time ship, the TARDIS... Written by Sarah Hadley

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Release Date:

23 November 1963 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The main character's name is not actually Doctor Who. In fact, his real name is never revealed. Other characters who know him only address him as Doctor, and he only ever introduces himself by saying "I'm the Doctor." The title comes from the idea that, after being told someone is a doctor, you would naturally ask, "Doctor Who?" See more »


The Doctor: I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it.
See more »


Featured in Seriesly: Dr. No (2015) See more »


Three Guitars Mood 2
Performed by the Arthur Nelson Group
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User Reviews

Groundbreaking TV drama
5 May 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Review of the Complete Story:

AN UNEARTHLY CHILD is the first-ever episode of the long-running DR WHO TV series. First shown on TV the day after JFK's assassination, this is understandably dated, looking cheap and feeling slow by modern standards. And yet the seeds are here sowed for what would become most of the most popular science fiction TV shows of all time.

Certainly the first episode of AN UNEARTHLY CHILD is great fun, as the identity of the Doctor and his Tardis are slowly revealed via a mystery build-up focusing around a pair of teachers investigating the Doctor's granddaughter, Sarah. William Hartnell is at the top of his game in this one, and everything about the episode feels fresh and new; it must have been an exciting time to watch.

The three subsequent episodes are disappointing considering that opening. The stuff involving the Doctor and his new-found companions is good, but there's too much time spent with Neanderthal characters whose portrayal is just silly. A dearth of action and some backwards-and-forwards type danger scenes don't help. Still, AN UNEARTHLY CHILD will be unmissable to Whovians who want to see how it all started out.

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