Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Cave of Skulls 

The TARDIS takes its new passengers back to the dawn of history. There, the Doctor and his party are captured by a tribe who are trying to rediscover the secret of fire.


Waris Hussein, Douglas Camfield (uncredited)


Anthony Coburn, David Whitaker (story editor)

On Disc

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
Derek Newark Derek Newark ... Za
Alethea Charlton Alethea Charlton ... Hur
Eileen Way Eileen Way ... Old Mother
Jeremy Young ... Kal
Howard Lang ... Horg


The TARDIS takes its new passengers back to the dawn of history. There, the Doctor and his party are captured by a tribe who are trying to rediscover the secret of fire.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 November 1963 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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. See more »


The shadow of a boom microphone can be seen moving across Susan shortly after she leaves the TARDIS. See more »


Susan Foreman: We've left 1963.
The Doctor: Oh, yes, undoubtedly. I'll be able to tell you where presently. Zero? That's not right. I'm afraid this yearometer is not calculating properly. Hm! Well, anyway, the journey's finished.
[looking at Ian on the ground]
The Doctor: What are you doing down there?
Barbara Wright: What have you done?
Ian Chesterton: Barbara, you don't believe all this nonsense.
Susan Foreman: Well, look at the scanner screen.
The Doctor: Yes, look up there. They don't understand and I suspect they don't want to. Well, there you are. A new world for you.
Ian Chesterton: Sand and rock?
The Doctor: ...
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who: Origins (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

100,000 BC Episode 2: Good but I wish it had been aliens instead of cavemen.
26 June 2014 | by A_Kind_Of_CineMagicSee all my reviews

Review for episodes 2, 3 and 4.

Following on from the brilliant opening episode the remainder of the '100,000 BC' story is a slight disappointment.

It is not remotely bad as it has interesting elements and is of good quality in all respects but it is somewhat ill conceived to start the series with a story set in a prehistoric world with cavemen and their squabbles over the discovery of fire.

Any criticism that the story is not correct historically can be answered in that it is not specified that the setting is actually Earth. It could, therefore, be another planet at a time of caveman civilization. Also, criticisms of how cavemen could converse in English are explained because later on in Doctor Who we are told that the Doctor's time machine - the TARDIS - allows the travellers to converse with aliens or people speaking other languages via some sort of telepathic means. However, it is somewhat less interesting and somewhat more confusing for viewers of the day than if they had an opening serial featuring alien beings or a more suitable human era such as recent past or the future.

The discovery of fire story with tribal in fighting is not really typical of the series to follow and does not afford good guest characters or sufficiently intelligent plot to get really into it. There is some very annoying screeching and grunting at times and the cavemen or somewhat lacking in interest. There is, though, a lot more intelligent scripting and interest provided with the Doctor and his companions. Their characters begin to be fleshed out and their relationships begin to develop. That aspect of the story is very good.

Overall this is good but could have been better with aliens instead of cavemen.

My Ratings: Episode 2 - 7.5, Episode 3 - 7.5, Episode 4 - 7.

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