Doctor Who (1963–1989)
18 user 11 critic

An Unearthly Child 

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


Waris Hussein, Douglas Camfield (uncredited)


Anthony Coburn, David Whitaker (story editor)




Episode complete credited cast:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The only actor required at Ealing for this episode was Leslie Bates, who cast the caveman "shadow" seen at the end of the episode. See more »


After entering the TARDIS the top of the set is visible above and behind Ian as he says "you can't keep us here." See more »


[On Susan's intelligence]
Barbara Wright: I'm lending her a book on the French Revolution.
Ian Chesterton: What's she going to do? Re-write it?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Four versions of this episode exist. Besides the final broadcast version there was also a trial pilot run-through that was not broadcast initially due to technical problems. The 2006 DVD release "Doctor Who: The Beginning" contains an unedited version of this pilot, with several different takes of the TARDIS sequence. A specially made re-edited version of the pilot is included for the first time in this set, using the best takes and digitally manipulating others to remove errors. Previously, an alternate edit of the pilot -- which included dialogue and prop errors -- was broadcast on the BBC and released on VHS. See more »


Referenced in Master When: Public Domain Doctor Who (2015) See more »


Three Guitars Mood 2
Composed by Derek Nelson and Arthur Raymond
Performed by The Arthur Nelson Group
(playing on Susan's radio)
See more »

User Reviews

100,000 BC (episodes 1 through 4)
28 April 2007 | by movieman_kevSee all my reviews

Two schoolteachers, Ian and Barbara take interest in Sarah, one of their students, and her rather peculiar grandfather, Dr. Who (William Hartnell). They all take a trip in the TARDIS, back to 100,000 BC, where they're captured by cavemen wanting to know the secret of fire. And thus begins the most mature, fondly remembered, and long running 'children's programme' in the history of television. Known for it's series arcs and cliffhangers, this first tale is told across episodes 1 through 4 and is a fine start to what would soon become a stellar series. the series had tight, well-acted plots from the start. I enjoyed this first storyline immensely. Even if the good Doctor's personality is at odds with the rest of Hartnell's stint.

My Grade: A

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 18 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

7 September 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed