WHO 50: 1963:
The Pilot Episode.

TV When the first mounting of An Unearthly Child emerged as part of The Lime Grove Story themed weekend on BBC Two in 1991, it seemed like a message from across time, especially since I’d never seen Doctor Who’s real first episode.

This was the first time I’d seen the character’s origins and despite the obvious production problems this was mysterious, shadowy, sinister and in places genuinely scary and looking again recently on beginning a project to watch the whole of Doctor Who from the beginning I could see that part of that reaction was because of the production problems.

The shaky camera work means that we’re not always with the characters at key moments leaving us to imagine what they’re seeing and more spectacularly the faulty placing of a light leads to Barbara creating shadows on Ian’s face that sometimes look as through the darkness of the night could engulf him at any moment, just as the time vortex will later.

Sydney Newman was right to request a remake, of course he was.

The Doctor is too mercurial in attitude to sustain a series and Susan’s proclamation that they're from the 49th century is too solid a piece of exposition, even if the two teachers are supposed to be the protagonists at this early stage.

But nevertheless, this is a rare example (along with Midnight and Scherzo) of Doctor Who at its wrongest, in a form that is indisputably worrying.

And they're off ...

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