The French are revolting! And so is the animation…
Describe The Reign of Terror in six words or less:
Evil working class interrupt Scarlet Pimpernel
This is… the one after the French Revolution.
Original broadcast: 8 August — 12 September, 1964
Why was this made?: Again, due to Doctor Who’s educational remit, a period of history studied in schools was turned into a Doctor Who adventure. Dennis Spooner met David Whitaker to discuss story ideas, having been recommend to Whitaker by Terry Nation. Spooner would shortly become Whitaker’s replacement.
Verity Lambert, the producer, was negotiating studio space with the BBC, as…
Describe The Sensorites in six words or less:
Maoists need to have plumbing checked.
This is… the one… Actually, here’s my hot take. This story is often thought of as slow and dull. And it kinda is. But when watched in weekly instalments it come across differently. I mean, it’s not any faster but it’s not just six episodes of the same thing. So…
For Episodes 1 and 2: This is the one where it’s Alien but they’re nice.
For Episode 3–6: This is the one were alternative facts gets people killed.
Original broadcast: 20 June — 1 August, 1964
Time-travelling requires you to make little sacrifices…
Describe The Aztecs in six words or less:
Time-travel and morality: Who has heart.
This is… the one where Barbara’s a goddess.
(I might need to be more specific because we all know that Barbara is a goddess. I mean, she’s mistaken for Yetaxa by the Aztecs)
Why was this made?: Due to Doctor Who’s educational remit, Verity Lambert (producer) and David Whitaker (story editor) were commissioning historical scripts. A lot of these ended up not being produced, such as Terry Nation’s The Red Fort about the Indian Mutiny, in favour for more…
The Doctor finally saves the world! By accident?!
Describe The Keys of Marinus in six words:
Doctor spends 90 minutes finding keys
This is… the one with the quest
Why was this made?: Following the success of the Daleks, Verity Lambert and David Whitaker wanted Terry Nation to write another serial. Nation did so, including a new monster — the Voords (or the Voord) — which was hoped by the production team to be just as popular as the Daleks (They weren’t).
Returning to design this story was Raymond Cusick who had previously designed The Daleks. …
Doctor Who in 1964 telling non-European stories (admittedly, not without a few missteps)
Describe Marco Polo in six words:
Assassin heads towards their Final Destination
This is… the one with Marco Polo
Why was this made?: John Lucarotti had previously written a radio series about Marco Polo’s adventures and was recommended by Head of Drama, Sydney Newman. Heather Hartnell (William Hartnell’s wife) would later claim it was her husband’s idea to do a story about Marco Polo. …
Doctor Who does a bottle-episode in an infinite bottle…
Describe The Edge of Destruction in six words:
Invisible attacker hides inside the passengers.
This is… the one where they go mental.
Why was this made: Producer Verity Lambert and her Story Editor, David Whitaker, had a problem. Doctor Who had been commissioned for 13-episodes. More episodes had been commissioned but none of the stories Lambert and Whitaker had organised could fill in a two-episode slot. Ideally, this story would only use the regulars and make use of the expensive TARDIS set. Whitaker ended up writing this story in two days…
The Daleks are space Nazis. But their enemies are a race of beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed people: the Aryan ideal. So you have what Nazis wanted to look like, doing battle with what Nazis wanted to do.
I don’t know how to interpret this.
This is… the first Dalek story.
Broadcast: (21 December 1963–1 February 1964)
Also known as: The Mutants, Beyond the Sun, The Dead Planet
Writer Terry Nation. Story Editor David Whitaker. Producer Verity Lambert. Director Christopher Barry (1–2, 4–5) and Richard Martin (3, 6–7)
Doctor Who fans rejoice as they can finally say the show isn’t as good as it used to be.
This is… the one with the cavemen.
100, 000 BC (a.k.a The Tribe of Gum, but commercially known as An Unearthly Child) (30th November — 14th December, 1963)
Writer Anthony Coburn. Story Editor David Whitaker. Producer Verity Lambert. Director Waris Hussein.
Exposition: Za’s tribe is unable to make fire. Za regularly tries to make fire while Kal — a newcomer — goes and hunts.
Rising Action: Kal sees the Doctor light a pipe and kidnaps him, believing the old man…
Begin pretending you’ve seen it all, starting with the beginning.
Welcome! There are, at the moment and depending on how you count, 862 episodes of Doctor Who. The series drifts in and out of mass appeal and it will be interesting if its diamond jubilee — celebrating 60 years — will turn it back into a massive talking point in offices and playgrounds.
If that happens: Don’t get caught out. The Bluffer’s Guide is going through each story in order charting observations. It’s not a review site: There’s enough of those around (not to say that the overall quality of…
Tomas lives on the proper side of the planet: Australia. He dabbles in education while building defences against spiders, snakes, and spider-snakes.