Season 1 (Doctor Who 1963)

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Season 1 of Doctor Who ran from 23 November 1963 to 12 September 1964. It starred William Hartnell as the First Doctor, Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter, and William Russell and Jacqueline Hill as companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. The season opened with An Unearthly Child and concluded with The Reign of Terror.


The season consisted of eight serials comprised of forty-two episodes, as well as a pilot episode which was never aired on television until 1991. More accurately, the production team made several versions of the pilot episode. The inaugural season established many of the concepts that continue to the present day and also introduced the hugely popular Daleks. Two of the three historical stories of this season are presently considered lost, in total (as is the case of Marco Polo) or partially (The Reign of Terror), although audio recordings of all episodes remain.

Television stories[[edit]]

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 An Unearthly Child Anthony Coburn 4 First appearances of the First Doctor, Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright and the TARDIS.
2 The Daleks Terry Nation 7 First appearance of the Daleks, first story to be written by Terry Nation and the first story to have episodes directed by Christopher Barry and Richard Martin.
3 The Edge of Destruction David Whitaker 2 First story set entirely within the TARDIS, with no other cast apart from the regular actors, and the only one in the classic series.
4 Marco Polo John Lucarotti 7 First storyline based around a historical figure and the first story to be written by John Lucarotti. First story to have missing episodes.
5 The Keys of Marinus Terry Nation 6 Only story by Terry Nation not to feature the Daleks until The Android Invasion in 1975. First, and only, televised appearance of the Voord.
6 The Aztecs John Lucarotti 4 First story to tackle the concept of changing history.
7 The Sensorites Peter R. Newman 6 First story clearly stated to be set in the future. First, and only, televised appearance of the Sensorites.
8 The Reign of Terror Dennis Spooner 6 First story to feature location filming and the first story to be written by future script editor Dennis Spooner.


  • Unseen by the public, an early version of the episode "An Unearthly Child" was produced, but was not broadcast until 26 August 1991 (Bank Holiday Monday) when it was shown on BBC2 as part of The Lime Grove Story, a special day of programming to mark the closure of Lime Grove Studios.
  • Stories consisted of between two and seven episodes, with each episode having a distinct title. Some stories have been given different titles over the years; see individual articles for details.






The series was borne out of a need to fill a gap in the Saturday teatime schedule between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury. A meeting between Donald Wilson, Sydney Newman and Donald Baverstock was held to discuss potential shows to fill this gap. Newman, having had recent experience producing a successful sci-fi show at ABC, suggested that a sci-fi show would be of great potential. From there, the show was formed through various meetings and developing proposals. The show, as we know it, was essentially the creation of a committee, with the following amongst the many who created the various parts that went into the series: Donald Wilson (time travel), Sydney Newman (the First Doctor and Susan), C. E. Webber (Ian and Barbara and the scenario for the first episode), Anthony Coburn (Susan's name, the TARDIS looking like a police box and the idea that the Doctor's ship would have an abbreviated/acronymic name) and David Whitaker (Susan being the Doctor's granddaughter).

Production overview[[edit]]

Verity Lambert was chosen by Sydney Newman as producer of the series (although Don Taylor was first approached), due to his experience working with her on projects for several years, and Mervyn Pinfield was assigned as associate producer, picking up mainly on the technical side of the series such as dealing with the in-camera SFX.

Initially, the series was only ordered for the first four episodes that made up An Unearthly Child and came close to going no further. This was extended to thirteen episodes, but the production team had either eleven (An Unearthly Child and The Daleks) or eighteen (An Unearthly Child, The Daleks and Marco Polo). To solve this problem, David Whitaker wrote the two episode The Edge of Destruction, something that normally would not have happened due to an existing rule that prohibited script editors writing for the series they were editing. This was so that they could not simply commission themselves and deprive other script writers of work.

The first to third season story titles have been a contentious issue. For more information, see disputed story titles.

Stories considered during this season, but ultimately unmade, included:

Stories set before this season[[edit]]

The following stories are the known adventures set prior to An Unearthly Child:


Short stories[[edit]]



Stories set during this season[[edit]]


Short stories[[edit]]



  • The First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan's involvement in The Forgotten


  • Average: 8.1 million
  • Highest: 10.4 million (five-way tie)
  • Lowest: 4.9 million (An Unearthly Child episode 1, due to a widespread power cut)

Adaptations and merchandising[[edit]]

Home media[[edit]]

VHS releases[[edit]]

  • An Unearthly Child (1990/2000)
  • The Daleks (2-part version) (1989)
  • The Daleks [Remastered] (2001)
  • The Edge of Destruction and Dr. Who: The Pilot Episode (2000)
  • The Keys of Marinus (1999)
  • The Aztecs (1992)
  • The Sensorites (2002)
  • The Reign of Terror (2003) (with linking narration of missing episodes, also includes The Faceless Ones episodes 1 and 3 & The Web of Fear episode 1)
  • The Hartnell Years (1991) (Pilot Episode)

See episode articles for full details.

Loose Cannon VHS releases[[edit]]

  • Marco Polo (2002)
  • The Reign of Terror (2000) (episodes 4 and 5 only)

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
The Beginning:
An Unearthly Child (4 episodes)
The Daleks (7 episodes)
The Edge of Destruction (2 episodes)
Marco Polo (reconstruction)
13 × 25 min.
1 × 30 min.
30 January 2006 2 March 2006 28 March 2006
The Keys of Marinus 6 × 25 min. 21 September 2009 7 January 2010 5 January 2010
The Aztecs 4 × 25 min. 21 October 2002 2 December 2002 4 March 2003
The Aztecs - Special Edition 4 x 25 min. 11 March 2013 20 March 2013 12 March 2013
The Sensorites 6 × 25 min. 23 January 2012 2 February 2012 14 February 2012
The Reign of Terror (episodes 1-3 & 6 of 6, animated reconstructions of episodes 4 & 5) 6 × 25 min. 28 January 2013 6 February 2013 12 February 2013

Download/streaming availability[[edit]]

Serial name Amazon Video BritBox Google Play iTunes
An Unearthly Child
(4 episodes)
The Daleks
(7 episodes)
The Edge of Destruction
(2 episodes)
Marco Polo
The Keys of Marinus
(6 episodes)
The Aztecs
(4 episodes)
The Sensorites
(6 episodes)
The Reign of Terror

BritBox is available only in the US and UK. iTunes stores carry Doctor Who serials in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US.



Theatrical film[[edit]]

External links[[edit]]