To me, The First Doctor Who (William Hartnall) came across as a grumpy yet eccentric old man who could be quite pig headed and did not like been told what to do. Although he might not be my favourite incarnation of the Time Lord, he is the one who started it all.

The original theme music for the show was created by Australian composer Ron Grainer at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and was one of the first pieces of signature titles made electronically for television, and five decades on, is still instantly recognisable.

The First Doctor Who – William Hartnell

The-First-Doctor-Who-William-HartnellDoctor Who began its journey on Earth back in 1963 with a much seemingly older Doctor (portrayed by William Hartnell) and his Granddaughter Susan in the episode An Unearthly Child.

Doctor Who premiered on BBC 1 on November 23, 1963, the day after President Kennedy was shot.  The most recent season finale aired on BBC 1 on June 26th, 2010.  If you’re good at math, that means the show has been around almost 47 years without any signs of stopping.

DID YOU KNOW? The show was originally intended to be a family educational programme with two of the original main characters (Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright) were science and history teachers. A lot of the early stories were purely historical with no aliens. These historical stories were phased out at the end of the 60’s as the more alien settings increased in popularity.

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During this incarnation of the Doctor, he made many friends as well as foes, including the earliest form of the Daleks on their home planet of Skaro. Some famous historical faces and races include Marco Polo, The Aztecs, and many many more.

William Hartnell’s Greatest Dr Who Quotes

What are you doing here? – From An Unearthly Child

The First Doctor - William Hartnell Quotes

The least important things, sometimes my dear boy, lead to the greatest discoveries – From the episode The Space Museum

We’re always in trouble! Isn’t this extraordinary – it follows us everywhere! – From the episode Marco Polo

Ah yes, thank you! Its good. keep warm. – From the episode The Tenth Planet

 

In total there have been 212 stories comprised of 769 individual episodes.
That’s just a gargantuan amount of televised material and for anyone interested in getting into the show might be deterred by the sheer volume, but fear not Whovians, hope is here.  I’ve spent the better part of last year plowing through every episode I could and putting together a list of the essential Doctor Who stories.

Their essentialness is based on being either important to the mythology of the series, integral to the understanding of later things, or just worth watching.
Many of the master tapes for 1966-1968 stories were wiped by the BBC and no longer exist in visual form.

They can be heard via audio recordings with linking narration added, and there’s also quite a few episodes not yet released, but in the interest of brevity, we’re going to stick to stuff already out on DVD.  It’s still pretty extensive, but it should lighten the burden a little bit.  We’re going to go Doctor by Doctor. FIRST DOCTOR The First Doctor is played by William Hartnell who had the role from 1963-1966.

The First Doctor’s Companions

The character’s origins were at that time unknown and his race unnamed.  He also started as a bit of a tricky anti-hero, an opportunist who leaves it to his human companions to be the morality of the show.  He was gruff, irascible, and stern with everyone around him.

Ian and BarabaraThe opening scene of the misty street accompanied by a wondering policemen and a junk yard containing a living Police Telephone Box was beautiful and really established what viewers were in store for. What I liked about ‘An Unearthly Child’ was the establishment of the central characters. Susan Foreman served as a beacon who provoked both concern and curiosity within Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, leading them to investigate further and ultimately plundering themselves into a world of adventure.

With the recent release of the 50th Anniversary of this epic show, the BBC released a one off drama An Adventure In Space And Time, which looks back at when the Doctor made his debut back in 1963.

 

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