Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child (1963)

UK, 23 November -14 December 1963
4 episodes, 25m each
videotape, black and white, 4:3
mono, English
Next Serial: : The Daleks (1963)
Series: Doctor Who (1963-1989) – series 1, episode 1-4

A British science fiction television serial. The first Doctor Who serial, introducing William Hartnell as the in a four-part story known collectively as either An Unearthly Child, 100,000 BC or The Tribe of Gum. An Unearthly Child is this is the title assigned to the story by the BBC for video and DVD releases. However, when the story was being made, it was known by the production office as 100,000 BC and had been made under he working title The Tribe of Gum 1Doctor Who The Handbook: The First Doctor by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker. Some sources still refer to the story as 100,000 BC (which more accurately reflects the content of the story) and when they published the scripts in book form in 1988, Titan Books used the title The Tribe of Gum. Here, the story will be referred to under its video and DVD title.

Plot Summary

Schoolteachers Barbara and Ian are curious about their unusually bright pupil Susan. Following her home one night they find that she seems to live with her grandfather, , in a police box stored in a junkyard – a police box that's bigger on the inside than on the outside and which turns out to be a , a time machine that takes the and the alien Doctor and Susan back in time to an adventure in the stone age.


* = uncredited

Director: Waris Hussein
© [not given on screen]
Producer: Verity Lambert
Associate Producer: Mervyn Pinfield
Assistant Floor Manager: Catherine Childs *
Written by: Anthony Coburn
Story Editor: David Whitaker
Studio Lighting: Geoff Shaw *
Film Camera: Robert Sleigh *
Title Music by: Ron Grainer with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Title Music Arranged and Performed by: Delia Derbyshire *
Incidental Music by: Norman Kay
Studio Sound: Jack Clayton *
Special Sound: Dick Mills *
Costume Designer: Maureen Heneghan *
Make-up: Elizabeth Blattner *
Special Effects by: The Visual Effects Department of the BBC
Title Sequence: Bernard Lodge *
Designer: Peter Brachacki
Production Assistant: Douglas Camfield, Tony Lightley [both uncredited]

An Unearthly Child
William Hartnell (Dr. Who)
William Russell ()
Jacqueline Hill ()
Carole Ann Ford ()

The Cave of Skulls
William Hartnell (Dr. Who)
William Russell (Ian Chesterton)
Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright)
Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman)
Derek Newark (Za)
Alethea Charlton (Hur)
Eileen Way (old mother)
Jeremy Young (Kal)
Howard Lang (Horg)

The Forest of Fear
William Hartnell (Dr. Who)
William Russell (Ian Chesterton)
Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright)
Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman)
Eileen Way (old mother)
Alethea Charlton (Hur)
Derek Newark (Za)
Jeremy Young (Kal)
Howard Lang (Horg)

The Firemaker
William Hartnell (Dr. Who)
William Russell (Ian Chesterton)
Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright)
Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman)
Howard Lang (Horg)
Jeremy Young (Kal)
Alethea Charlton (Hur)
Derek Newark (Za)

Reg Cranfield [policeman (in An Unearthly Child)]
Francesco Bertorelli, Carole Clarke, Heather Lyons, Mavis Ransom, Cedric Schoeman, Brian Thomas, Richard Wilson [schoolchildren (in An Unearthly Child)]
Leslie Bates [shadow of Za (in An Unearthly Child)]


An Unearthly Child (23 November 1963)
The Cave of Skulls (30 November 1963)
The Forest of Fear (7 December 1963)
The Firemaker (14 December 1963)

Alternative Titles

100,000 BC
The Tribe of Gum

Remake of
Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child (pilot) (1991)

Extracts included in
Doctor Who Confidential: The Fright Stuff (2006)
The Lambert Tapes: The Doctor (2011)
The Lively Arts: Whose Dr. Who (1977)
The Martians and Us: From Apes to (2007)
Shades of Grey (2009)
Suddenly Susan (2012)
Vision On (2011)

See also
Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen (1985)
Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)
Doctor Who: The Name of The Doctor (2013)



  • Doctor Who Magazine no.58 – illustrated production notes
  • Doctor Who Monthly no.115 p.35 – note
  • Doctor Who Monthly no.132 – illustrated production notes
  • Doctor Who Monthly no.152 – illustrated interview with Barry Newberry
  • Doctor Who Monthly no.279 – review (Time Team)
  • Doctor Who Monthly no.295 – video review
  • Doctor Who Monthly Autumn Special 1987 p.40 – note
  • Doctor Who Monthly Summer Special 1994 – illustrated production notes
  • Doctor Who Weekly no.2 (24 October 1979) pp.17-20 – illustrated credits, synopsis (Doctor Who: Story One: An Unearthly Child by Jeremy Bentham)
  • Radio Times 21 November 1963 p.7 – credits, synopsis


  • The Daily Mail 25 November 1963 – review (Staggering – this insensitivity to sorrow)


  • The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell and Martin Day pp.6-8 – synopsis, review
  • Doctor Who: A Celebration: Two Decades Through Time and Space by Peter Haining p.170 – article
  • Doctor Who The Handbook: The First Doctor by David J. Howe and Mark Stammers pp.54-58 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Doctor Who Program Guide 25th Anniversary Edition by James C. Armstrong Jr, Michael L. Brown p.3 – credits, episode list
  • Doctor Who: The Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier pp.17-18 – credits, synopsis
  • Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker pp.6-7 – credits, review, synopsis
  • Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text by John Tulloch and Manuel Alvarado pp.13-35, 55, 70, 288 – articles, reviews
  • The Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction by Roger Fulton p.107 – credits, synopsis

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide January 2013 p.10 – illustrated listing