Monday, March 28, 2011

"The Dalek Invasion of Earth"

Aired Nov 21 - Dec 26, 1964

Episode 1 – World's End
Episode 2 – The Daleks
Episode 3 – Day of Reckoning
Episode 4 – The End of Tomorrow
Episode 5 – The Waking Ally
Episode 6 - Flashpoint

Story 10

Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Richard Martin


The TARDIS materializes in London, on the banks of the Thames. While Ian and Barbara are initially thrilled to return home, it soon becomes apparent that the city appears deserted, and there are foreboding signs that some sort of calamity has occurred. 

They discover it is sometime after the year 2164 and Dalek invaders are now ruling the Earth with the aid of humans converted into zombie-like Robomen, but they are opposed by a group of resistance fighters led by the wheelchair-bound Dortmun, and aided by Tyler and David Campbell.

Through numerous perilious turns, the travelers become separated and have to avoid death from Daleks, Robomen and human collaborators while striving to find a way to defate the Daleks and uncover their plans for Earth.

The travelers discover that the Daleks have established a huge mine in Bedfordshire. Making their way there, they discover the aim of the Daleks is to remove the Earth's core using a huge bomb and replace it with a powerful drive system so that they can pilot the planet around the galaxy. Ian manages to create a barrier in the shaft in order to intercept the bomb. The resulting explosion destroys the Daleks and their mine and creates a huge volcanic eruption. 

Susan has fallen in love with resistance fighter David Campbell, and the Doctor decides to leave her on Earth with Campbell to start a new life.

In the end, the Doctor locks the TARDIS doors and sadly tells her:

Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David and not with a silly old buffer like me. One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye, my dear.

The TARDIS departs, leaving Susan to start a new life with David.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Planet of Giants"

Aired Oct 31 - Nov 14, 1964

Episode 1 – Planet of Giants
Episode 2 – Dangerous Journey
Episode 3 – Crisis

Story 9

Written by Louis Marks
Directed by Mervyn Pinfield 
(Episodes 1 & 2) 

& Douglas Camfield (Episode 3)


While landing, the TARDIS experiences a serious malfunction that causes the outer doors to open during materialization. When the travellers exit the ship, they find themselves in a bizarre and alien landscape whereupon they encounter a giant earthworm and giant ant, both of which are dead. They soon come to the realization that they have landed on Earth in 1963, but have been shrunk to just millimetres in size.

They learn of a plot by an unethical businessman, Forester, to launch a massively powerful insecticide call DN6. Though it is effective, it's so lethal that it would kill not only pests, but also insects and creatures vital to a healthy environment. Forester, willing to stop at nothing to ensure the success of his business, even commits murder to further his scheme.

After Barbara falls ill due to exposure to DN6, the Doctor and his friends race to expose Forester's plot and return to normal size. Too small to make themselves heard, the Doctor has them tamper with the telephone in the laboratory, arousing the suspicions of phone operator Hilda Rowse, who sends her husband Bert, the local police constable, to investigate.

The travellers manage to return to the TARDIS and to normal size, whereupon the tiny amount of DN6 in Barbara's system dissipates harmlessly.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Season 1 Overview

A Scene from An Unearthly Child
At the end of The Reign of Terror, the scene fades from the TARDIS crew around the console to a shot of a star field, as the Doctor talks about the crew finding their destiny amongst the stars. The inaugural season was comprised of eight serials, which were made up of 42 episodes. When the first episode debuted, it garnered only 4.4 million viewers. But the unexpected and massive success of the Daleks made the series a phenomenon. The final episode of The Daleks, the second serial, saw 10.4 million people tune in. From there, the future of the series was assured.

The sheer amount of episodes produced during the first season is staggering. Today in Britain, 13 episodes is really the norm for a season. Even in the US, most major network series produce around 26 episodes. To successfully produce over 40 episodes of television in one year is a feat in and of itself. To capture the public imagination, and hold onto it, is an amazing achievement. The show wasn't quite an institution yet, but it was fast on its way to becoming one. It would take another season to truly confirm the series' status as a cultural touchstone.

"The Reign of Terror"

Aired Aug 8 - Sept 12, 1964

Episode 1 – A Land of Fear
Episode 2 – Guests of Madame Guillotine
Episode 3 – A Change of Identity
Episode 4 – The Tyrant of France
Episode 5 – A Bargain of Necessity
Episode 6 – Prisoners of Conciergerie

Story 8

Written by Dennis Spooner
Directed by Henric Hirsch


The TARDIS arrives in 1794 in the French countryside not far from Paris. Though the era is supposedly the Doctor's favorite in Earth's history, it's also one of the bloodiest periods following the French Revolution. Separated from the Doctor, the others get captured by soldiers and taken to Paris to be guillotined.

While the Doctor makes his way to rescue them, the others become entangled with a plot to overthrow the tyrant Robespierre masterminded by British spy James Stirling, who has been operating undercover as Lemaitre, governor of the Conciergerie Prison.

The Doctor poses as a provincial official, and has to match wits with Robespierre while Ian and Barbara are witness to a fateful meeting with Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the end, Robespierre is overthrown in part due to the efforts of Stirling. The tyrant is shot in the jaw and imprisoned while the Doctor and his companions slip quietly away. As the TARDIS departs, the Doctor tells his comrades:

Our destiny is in the stars, so let's go and search for it.


The final story of the first season is an historical story, and once again it supports the popular fan theory that there wasn't a dud among the historicals. It doesn't match the wonderful atmosphere of Marco Polo, nor the complexity of The Aztecs, but it is well-done and full of great moments.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"The Sensorites"

Aired June 20 - Aug 1, 1964

Episode 1 – Strangers in Space
Episode 2 – The Unwilling Warriors
Episode 3 – Hidden Danger
Episode 4 – A Race Against Death
Episode 5 – Kidnap
Episode 6 – A Desperate Venture

Story 7

Written by Peter R. Newman
Directed by Mervyn Pinfield (Episodes 1-4) & Frank Cox (Episodes 5 & 6)


Landing aboard a 28th Century Earth spaceship, the travellers step out of the TARDIS to explore and are shocked to discover three seemingly dead people who then inexplicably revive. The captain, Maitland, tells them that he and his crew a forced into a state of catatonia for long periods by a race of aliens called the Sensorites. The humans have no idea why the Sensorites are doing this, or what their aim may be.

Susan, who is an unusually gifted telepath, manages to make a connection with two Sensorites who board the vessel. Togethe,r they manage to work out an arrangement by which Barbara and Maitland will remain aboard the ship while the Doctor, Susan, Ian and the rest of the crew head to the creatures' planet, known as the Sense-Sphere, to enter into negotiations.

There, they meet the First and Second Elders, leaders of the Sensorite society. The elders tell them they have discovered valuable molybdenum deposits and are afraid that Earth will come to exploit them. The Sensorites are paranoid of humanity after and earlier Earth expedition visited, and after departing, the Sensorites were stricken by a deadly and mysterious disease. The Doctor volunteers to look into this epidemic, and the Elders agree, however another Sensorite leader, the City Administrator, begins plotting to sabotage the peace efforts.

After experimenting, the Doctor isolates the cause of the palgue, which not a disease at all but rather the result of deadly nightshade poison in one of the city's water tanks. Ian and the Doctor head into the aqueducts of the city and discover survivors from the previous Earth expedition are behind the plot to poison the Sense-Sphere. The three men have become unbalanced after experimenting with the telepathy of the Sensorites. The City Administrator's machinations are also discovered and he is exiled while the Elders forge a new era of understanding with the people of Earth.