"If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?" - The Doctor
"Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? Have you? To be exiles ... ?" - The Doctor
(If you'd like to just read my full Tweet Review, then you can do just that. I've collected all of my tweets in one single paragraph, for ease of reading. Although, as my tweets were all composed individually, it will read as something that's somewhat disjointed! Wibbly-wobbly and all that. If you'd prefer to just glance at my original tweets, then they're included below the paragraph, so you can do that too. Either way, I hope you enjoy my twitterings ... )
The First Doctor (William Hartnell)
Season One (1963-1964)
'A junkyard. A blue Police Public Call Box. A white haired old man. And an unearthly child. Two school teachers are about to make a discovery, one that is beyond their comprehension ...'
"Fear makes companions of all of us, Miss Wright." - The Doctor
An Unearthly Child - Atmosphere. A foggy street, a junkyard, creaking doors, a Police Box that hums & a peculiar child. Stunning stumble into the TARDIS control room. The first takeoff is all amazing visuals & sounds. The Doctor is so alien here. Unearthly. Mysterious. Arrogant. Sinister. Frightening. Those eyes ... Love the first cliffhanger. Simple & effective. A man's shadow stands, towers over sand & TARDIS. The Cave of Skulls - That theme tune. An iconic opening to adventure. A flight across eternity. Forever & beyond. Great speech - "If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds, and watch them wheel in another sky - would that satisfy you?" You hear those cries! Doctor Foreman. "That's not his name. Who is he? Doctor who?" A mystery. The oldest question. I like the caveman episodes. It's a power struggle, an arms race, around the discovery of fire. The Doctor softens. Shows compassion for Ian. Shows remorse for their predicament, his fault. The final scene in the cave is very visually effective. The chilling imagery of skulls split open. The Forest of Fear - After the titles fade, an ominous shot of a skull, just sitting there, a gaping hole in it's top. It's amazing how unlikeable the Doctor is. He's pessimistic. Selfish. Argumentative. Aggressive. Yet, he tries to help. Talks of hope & fear. "Fear makes companions of all of us, Miss Wright.". We have Doctor Who's first forest, yay! Eerie sound effects. Strange animals & birds. Impressive. Barbara's compassion is a key facet of Doctor Who. They are savages, but they are still human. The Doctor picks up a rock, and he is so willing to kill Za. A shocking moment. Is this our hero? I've loved all of the cliffhangers. They make it back to the TARDIS - it's surrounded by cavemen. The Firemaker - "This knife shows what it has done. There is blood on it." A sign of a strong & good leader? Morality? Kal killed the old woman for spite. Za killed to survive. A good leader knows when it's wrong to kill. "They are a new tribe. Not like us. Not like Kal." Even in adversity - 'Friend'. Our 4 time travellers. Firemaker's least important, everyone can make fire. Strength is 'all' together, with a strong leader. Kal & Za's fight has stunning direction. Cuts away. Close-ups. Always moving. Outcome brutal, shocking. I like that Susan finds the solution. Haunting imagery of a skull with fire burning inside it. Ghostly. "Well, I got you away from that other time, didn't I?" Flight to the TARDIS. Escape. To home? To where? Our first shot of an alien jungle! Danger? I'm full of excitement & anticipation! 'The Dead Planet' ...
My Story Revelation - This isn't the Doctor that we know. He is at his most alien. He's unearthly, mysterious, arrogant, sinister, and frightening. Just look at his eyes. But Doctor Foreman isn't his name. Just who is he, Doctor who? A mystery, and the oldest question in the universe. I was amazed by just how unlikeable the Doctor is here, I've never really taken that on board before. He's pessimistic, selfish, argumentative, aggressive, and he is more than willing to kill, if he believes that it's right to do so. Is the Doctor almost on the brink of being barbaric? Maybe. Maybe not. He definitely softens over the course of the story, showing compassion, and showing remorse, taking responsibility for their predicament, which he says is his fault. He tries to help and make amends, and he talks about hope and fear. I think it is the Doctor's own fears that he is facing up to in 'An Unearthly Child'. In the first episode, he is literally running away from fear. His fear. He is running away again, because that is what he has always done. He runs. In the beginning, he ran away from his own people and he is an exile now. What did he fear? What does he fear? And why did he run?
This is all a testament to William Hartnell. It is his character creation (as much as the writer, the director and the producer, none of whom should be forgotten). He creates the Doctor, through his immense skill and ability as an actor. And what an actor he is here. Watch him. It's all the 'little' things that make the difference. Those little gestures with his hands. Very slight movements of his head. His delicately thought facial expressions. And such precise movements of his eyes. This man can act! (not something that I've ever doubted).
There is a very good quote in 'The Forest of Fear' (Doctor Who is full of great quotes!) - "Fear makes companions of all of us, Miss Wright." It is fear (and concern, on the parts of Ian and Barbara) that has thrown these four people together under such unlikely, and such fantastic, circumstances. Thrown together, for life's ultimate adventure. A flight through eternity, through the eyes of forever and beyond. Beyond the Sun, beyond even space and time itself.
| || |
And that leads me to my next observation - "I'm really enjoying watching Doctor Who with no preconceptions! Well, as few of them as possible anyway. Vworp! Here we go again ..." Which really is true. I am trying to come to each episode as fresh as I possibly can. Trying to push any of those annoying preconceptions to the back of my mind. It is helping me to come to a number of startling revelations about the show. As far as I am concerned, I really am back in 1963. I am putting myself in the place of a first time viewer. It is bonkers, and it is brilliant, and it is fun!