An Unearthly Child

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Story Code: A / Season 1 UK Airdate: 23 Nov to 14 Dec 1963 Doctor: William Hartnell
First airings by location UK Repeats / Foreign Cable and Satellite / Next Story

(aka "100,000 BC") (We have identified this serial by the name we have, in preference to 100,000 BC, the title by which the BBC actively marketed the serial in 1964, because words work better in tables than numerals, and also to reflect that some countries screened the first episode only.)

This story aired in the following countries. They are listed in chronological order according to known airdate. If no month is noted, the actual airdate is not confirmed, and is a close approximate. (Refer also to Selling Doctor Who for expanded airdates.)

First-ever newspaper billing for Doctor Who outside the UK - 18 September 1964, Christchurch Press, New Zealand. Not exactly awe-inspiring, is it...
An Unearthly Child, Auckland debut, 30 October 1964 (NZ Listener)
New Zealand Sep 64 b/w
Australia Jan 65 b/w
Canada Jan 65 b/w
Singapore Apr 65 b/w
Gibraltar Apr 65 b/w
Malta May 65 b/w
Aden Jul 65 b/w
Nigeria Aug 65 b/w
Rhodesia / Zimbabwe Sep 65 b/w
Zambia Oct 65 b/w
Trinidad & Tobago Oct 65 b/w
Bermuda Dec 65 b/w
Uganda Jan 66 b/w
Jamaica Mar 66 b/w
Cyprus Mar 66 b/w
Ghana Mar? 66 b/w
Barbados Apr 66 b/w
Hong Kong Apr 66 b/w
Kenya Jun 66 b/w
Thailand Aug 66 b/w
Mauritius Oct 66 b/w
Venezuela Feb 67 b/w
Sierra Leone Apr 67 b/w
Tunisia Apr 67 b/w (ep1 only?)
Mexico May 68? b/w
Morocco 68? b/w (ep1 only)
Saudi Arabia 68? b/w (ep1 only)
Iran Jan 69? b/w (ep1 only)
Chile Jan 69 b/w
Jordan 69? b/w (ep1 only)
Libya Dec 69? b/w (ep1 only)
Ethiopia Oct 70 b/w
Costa Rica Jun 71 b/w
Algeria Dec 73 b/w (ep1 only)
  • Although the serial was fully dubbed into Arabic, only episode one of this serial screened in Arabic countries. (One possible reason for this is, a story set at the time of the cavemen, might have conflicted with religious beliefs in countries where Islam is practised.)
  • New Zealand sent its prints to Denmark in 1968 as Audition Prints, but the serial did not play there.
  • It has been reported that Cyprus sent its prints to Uganda - and yet, Uganda screened the serial two months before Cyprus! Did Uganda send the unwanted prints to Ghana? Or was Uganda merely an intermediary in the bicycling process, receiving and sending on the films without screening them?
  • The series was to have debuted in Rhodesia on 5 September 1965, but the premiere was delayed until 26 September; Rhodesia then sent its films to Zambia, whose intended 19 September 1965 debut, was as a result, postponed until 17 October. (Rhodesia's prints may have been supplied by Nigeria...)
  • For the 5 November 1973 edition of Blue Peter, a section of the Arabic version of episode 4 was used in a clips montage. This clip may have come from a print that had been returned from one of the north African or Middle Eastern countries. (The BBC held an Arabic print of all four episodes by late 1976.)
  • The 31 March 1977 edition of Pebble Mill (aka Pebble Mill at One) previewed Whose Doctor Who (which aired 3 April 1977); a (very badly-scratched!) clip extract from episode one (the Doctor in the TARDIS) was shown. (This edition of Pebble Mill features on The Talons of Weng-Chiang DVD.)
  • The video tape copy of part one made for and used by BBC Birmingham for Pebble Mill was given to members of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society in April 1977. The tape of the episode was played at the Society's Panopticon convention, held on 12-13 August 1978.
  • A clip from the same episode also appeared on a Pebble Mill feature about the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, which aired on 11 April 1979.
  • The full 4-part serial was shown (episodically throughout the day, projected from 16mm film prints ) at the DWAS' Panopticon convention on 18 August 1979. (Earlier that day Dez Skinn announced to the attendees that a magazine called Doctor Who Weekly would be published in October...)
  • A print of part 1 was found in a private collection in the early 1980s, and prints of all four episodes were later found in the mid-1980s. The origin of these is not known; were they original broadcast prints or dupes from the BBC's master copies?
  • See Hartnell Junkings


An Unearthly Child.JPG
  • The serial was reissued by the BBC in late 1985, and sold to:
United States from Sep 85 b/w
  • The serial was dubbed into Italian and released as part of a DVD box-set in 2007.
  • The story was also dubbed into German and released on DVD.
  • The story later aired in Denmark in 2014.

US TV Guide descriptions (1960s Hartnells on CBC)

More Information
Title: An Unearthly Child

  • Episode 1: In this science fiction series, William Hartnell plays Dr. Who, an exile from another world who travels through space and time in his ship, the Tardis. He is currently based in England where his granddaughter Susan is attending school. Today "An Unearthly Child." Two of Susan's teachers annoy the doctor with their skepticism so he plunges them back 100,000 years in time.
  • Episode 2: Dr. Who transports Ian, Barbara, Susan and himself back to 1000 B.C.
  • Episode 3: Captured by a tribe that has lost the secret of fire, Dr. Who and his friends become involved in a struggle for tribal leadership.
  • Episode 4: Dr. Who and his friends are blamed for the loss of the "life-giving fire."

US TV Guide descriptions

More Information
Title: An Unearthly Child

  • Episode 1: In the series' introductory adventure, Ian and Barbara meet the Doctor, who is depicted as a cantankerous old codger.
  • Episode 2: (no plot description)
  • Episode 3: (no plot description)
  • Episode 4: (no plot description)
  • Compilation: When two teachers board the Tardis, they are accidentally transported back to the year 100,000 B.C. and captured by members of a prehistoric tribe.