Now, if I give you this photo above, fat chance you might not recognize it, especially when you are not a Whovian. Yes, this is a Doctor Who pilot episode entrance – black and white, and could be considered archaic by people my age. I’m not going to tell tales about my experience with DW here, because this post will be wholly dedicated to the pilot episode, An Unearthly Child.
Since this is the first episode, then of course it starred William Hartnell as the First Doctor. For a child like me, who came from a generation where colour TV is a default, black and white is anything to do with paper and printed words, it took quite some time to convince myself to watch such an episode. Compared to the pace of the movies or episodes nowadays, movies or television series nowadays are way too fast, overloaded with effects, layered with stories in stories which is in stories – because a single layer of everything simply could not stimulate the de-sensitized senses of our generation. Hence when I watch this first episode, I reminded myself and went into another self. I watched this episode, from a heart of a child of that time, when having to watch telly is a luxury, an entertainment, black and white with sound is the newest invention, science fiction is a new genre that yet to be explored and misused, when movies does not necessarily need too much plot in it. And there I went, indulging myself into a classic, one of the many episodes in Doctor Who Classics.
An Unearthly Child was the pilot and first episode of the first story under Story under the same name. In this episode, we were introduced to The Doctor and Susan Foreman. It started with two school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, who felt there was something different about their student, Susan Foreman, who later shown to call The Doctor grandfather. Obviously, they were introduced to the TARDIS, black and white at the moment. They do found out the ‘bigger on the inside’ box and the episode ends there, waiting for another adventure in the next episode.
It was quite odd to view this episode for a child from a decade so much different from the settings. Everything inside seemed slow and dull and the acting was rather rigid at times. But fear not, later episodes actually convinced me they are not as bad as I thought they were.