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Doctor Who: The William Hartnell Era  by viniyo

William Hartnell was the original Doctor Who, playing the Doctor from 1963 to 1966. In a school in London two teachers became worried about schoolgirl Susan Foreman, while being above average intelligence she is also failing with her coursework, so teachers Ian and Barbara decide to follow her home to meet her illusive Grandfather.

Arriving at Totters Lane they are concerned when Susan walks into a junk yard, but even more concerned when she seems to have disappeared completely. Of great interest however is the Blue Police box sat dead centre of the yard. Police Box's were designed for police to call back up, and maybe ever take a break, or detain criminals. They are distracted however when they hear the voice of Susan calling out from inside "Is that you Grandfather?" shouts Susan. Seconds later an old man steps into the junk yard and into the police box, shortly followed by Ian and Barbara. What they discover is beyond their expectations, inside the police box is a massive room at least 20 times the size of the police box.

They soon discover that the old man is the Doctor, or as they refer to him Doctor Foreman. But introductions are short and before they know it the central panel of the police box (now known to Ian and Barbara as the Tardis) starts flashing and pulsating, the central column moving up and down. After a strange feeling of disorientation and eventual fainting Ian and Barbara awake to join the Doctor and Susan as they venture outside the Tardis. To the horror of the teachers they find they are not in the same location as they were, but more disturbing still they discover they are back at the beginning of time in the days of cavemen.

Having been effectively kidnapped, the initial upset about joining the Doctor and Susan is soon met with Joy, as the Doctor takes them through time and space on a number of adventures. From the Earth at different time points to other planets and galaxies the quartet travel together harmoniously meeting legendary figures such as Marco Polo, and the ancient Aztecs. What they never expected to find however was an evil alien race known as The Daleks, armoured creatures that resembled pepper pots. The Daleks who first appeared in the second ever story remain the most frequently returning Doctor Who enemy of the series and an enemy that returns to this very day.

Series 1 stories:- An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, The Edge Of Destruction, Marco Polo, The Keys Of Marinus, The Aztecs, The Sensorites, The Reign Of Terror.

Of the first series my favourite story was The Keys Of Marinus, an epic story in which our travellers over the course of several weeks needed to acquire a series of keys in order to solve a puzzle and escape from Marinus.

Returning for a second series our travellers continued on their adventures travelling to a world where they were smaller than everyone else, fought with The Romans, were involved in the legendary crusade, and encountered a character known as The Meddling Monk (played by Carry On Star Peter Butterworth) a man who like the Doctor had his own space craft known as a Tardis.

The travellers encountered The Daleks twice, in the first story The Daleks Invasion Of Earth the Doctor was forced to make a terrible decision when he realised that Susan was attracted to a man, he made the choice to leave her behind leaving just three in the Tardis. The second Tardis story saw two new characters join the Tardis crew in the form of Steven and Vicki, while Ian and Barbara returned to their own place in time.

Series 2 stories:- Planet Of The Giants, The Dalek Invasion Of Earth, The Rescue, The Romans, The Web Planet, The Crusade, The Space Museum, The Chase, The Time Medler.

The Time Medler the story that featured the Meddling Monk I think was my favourite episode, though the departure of Susan in Dalek Invasion Of Earth came a very close second.

Series 3's second story Mission To The Unknown was a strange affair, basically because neither the Doctor or his companions appeared, however The Daleks did and the movie served as a precursor for a future story.

Katarina joined the Tardis crew in the Myth Makers, but her time was short lived in The Daleks Masterplan a legendary 12 part Doctor Who story, Katarina gave up her life to save her fellow travellers. But it was not long before Sarah Kingdom climbed aboard the Tardis, she too was dead before the story ended, these were tragic events in Doctor Who history because for the first time the Doctor's companions needed to look at their own mortality, the fact that companions could die meant that realism was added to the show. This being said a companion did not die again for nearly 20 years. Worth a mention was the return of The Meddling Monk during the Dalek Masterplan, who seemingly joined forces with the Daleks.

During the Vicki and Steven both left, while Dodo joined and left a few episodes later, and by the story The War Machines the Tardis crew consisted of Ben, Polly, and The Doctor.

During the third series William Hartnell's heath grew continuously worse, often not turning up for filming. Just prior to filming the final episodes the actor gave notice that he could no longer play the Doctor, although he did return for the first two stories of series 4.

Series 3's Stories:- Galaxy 4, Mission To The Unknown, The Myth Makers, The Dalek's Masterplan, The Massacre, The Ark, The Celestial Toymaker, The Gunfighters, The Savages, The War Machines.

Series 3 was the longest in the shows history running from September 1965 to the end of June 1966.

I likes several of the stories through the series and much enjoyed the darkness of some of the episodes.

Series 4's second story The Tenth Planet saw the introduction of The Cybermen , evil half man half robot creatures who used their home planet of Mondas as a space vehicle. Appearing half metal, half cloth, the Cybermen were truly terrifying. The Tenth Planet also saw William Hartnell exit, having defeated the Cybermen Polly, Ben, and The Doctor return to the Tardis where the Doctor collapses, thinking the worst that he will die and they will be stranded forever the familiar sound of the Tardis is heard as before their very eyes the Doctor changes his face, becoming physically younger; this process later became known as regeneration an event that allowed actors playing the Doctor to bow out to make way for a different actor. William Hartnell was replaced by Patrick Troughton.

The two stories that William Hartnell appeared in during series 4 were The Smugglers and The Tenth Planet.

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  'Doctor Who: The William Hartnell Era' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: June 24, 2008
Date published: June 24, 2008
Comments: 1
Word Count: 1332
Times Read: 582
Story Length: 1