Today is the day. On November 22, 1963, we, of this small, insignifant blue world, were treated to the very first episode of what would become one of the best loved science fiction television programs of all time. An Unearthly Child aired on BBC One, in black and white. It starred William Hartnell as The Doctor and Carol Anne Ford as the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman, with Jacqueline Hill and William Russell as traveling companions Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterson.
You don’t have to imagine what it was like. Fortunately, we have a good record of this first episode.
The first airing had the great misfortune to broadcast on the same day as the funeral for the assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and the world’s eyes – and hearts – were bound elsewhere. The show’s producer Verity Lambert somehow managed to get the BBC to rebroadcast the show in an unprecedented move to compensate for the horrible luck. Fortunately they agreed, and Doctor Who had the chance to become the incredible engine of creativity and hope for the future that it has become.
Happy Doctor Who Day. Enjoy.
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