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Doctor Who - The Beginning (An Unearthly Child [1963] / The Daleks [1963] / The Edge of Destruction [1964]) [DVD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell
  • Directors: Waris Hussein, Richard Martin, Christopher Barry, Frank Cox
  • Writers: Terry Nation, David Whitaker
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jan. 2006
  • Run Time: 325 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000C6EMTC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,082 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The first three adventures for the Doctor (William Hartnell) from the classic BBC television sci-fi series, including all 13 episodes. In the 'An Unearthly Child' episodes, the Doctor takes schoolteachers Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) back to the dawn of human history after they discover his TARDIS time machine. There, they become embroiled in a dangerous conflict between groups of cavemen who have lost the secret of making fire. In 'The Daleks' episodes, the team travel to the ravaged planet of Skaro, where the meet the pacifist race of Thals, and the evil mutant Daleks. When the Doctor interferes, the Daleks learn information vital to their survival and hatch a plan to wipe out the Thals. But, with the Doctor's help, the Thals start an attack that wipes out the Daleks completely. In the 'Edge of Destruction' episodes, the TARDIS is hit by a massive explosion and at first the Doctor suspects Ian and Barbara of sabotage. As it becomes clear that a mechanical fault has caused the problem and is sending the TARDIS hurtling towards destruction, the time machine itself is able to communicate with the crew and warn them of danger. The Doctor finally accepts Ian and Barbara as proper members of his crew. Episodes are: 'An Unearthly Child'; 'The Cave of Skulls'; 'The Forest of Fear'; 'The Firemaker'; 'The Dead Planet'; 'The Survivors'; 'The Escape'; 'The Ambush'; 'The Expedition'; 'The Ordeal'; 'The Rescue'; 'The Edge of Destruction'; and 'The Brink of Disaster'.

Synopsis

Doctor Who - The Beginning features four early episodes. Includes the previously unreleased pilot episode and the very first episode from the long-running sci-fi TV series. Set in London in 1963, "An Unearthly Child" is our very first brush with the Doctor. Teachers Ian and Barbara follow a mysterious pupil, Susan, home one evening and find that she lives in a junkyard. Suddenly her uncle, the Doctor, appears but they suspect Susan is being held in the police box. On entering this box their lives change forever... Also includes "The Daleks" and the two-part episode of "The Edge Of Destruction".

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 8 April 2006
Format: DVD
'Doctor Who - The Beginning Boxset' comprises of the first three William Hartnell adventures and contains some interesting special features, along the way.

There's something for everyone on this boxset, which up to now is probably the best Doctor Who release for fans of the original series.

I myself, didn't get the chance to watch these episodes on their original run (1963-64) but one of my friends, kindly lent me VHS copies of some Hartnell stories and I can tell you for sure that the Restoration Team (the people who improve the picture quality of these episodes) have clearly made a difference to the way we watch them, which makes them look as if they'd just been shown recently.

As for the features themselves, they have got to be among some of the best First Doctor outings ever.

'An Unearthly Child' (the first story) is a very entertaining T.V. gem to watch, even though its been over 40 years since it was aired on 23rd November 1963-14th December 1963. We are introduced to two schoolteachers, Ian Chesterton and Babara Wright who are suspicious about a strange pupil who they teach, Susan Foreman. A series of events follows, leading them to a mysterious stranger who calls himself the Doctor, and a police box standing in a junkyard, which is believed to travel through time and space. After an argument breaks out between the Doctor and the two teachers, the time-machine accidently transports them to the year one million B.C.

The second story (The Daleks), introduces us to Doctor Who's most popular villain, which Terry Nation created. Even though these episodes are must-sees, admittedly it does towards the end drag on, partly because 'The Daleks' runs one or two episodes too long.
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Format: DVD
I'd seen all these stories as they were released over the years on video, out of order, in visually and audially low-grade editions, so it was interesting to sit down and watch them in order, and with restored visuals and much improved sound. It's surprising how much having sharper images and clearer sound improves even the dullest story, and reminds one that 1963 wasn't so very long ago - whereas the original video releases were so low-grade they made one feel that Doctor Who was made around the same time as The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari.
The first story, An Unearthly Child, is pacey, atmospheric and compelling. The following three episode yarn, The Tribe Of Gum, has good moments but crawls along with about fifteen minutes of plot stretched out for an hour and a quarter. The Daleks is pretty much gripping throughout, with only a few flabby or clunky moments, and one can see why it was that story that really put the show on the map: the Daleks themselves really are a Sixties design classic. The Edge Of Destruction is a weird psychological two-parter that again (despite a limp denoument and generally wobbly science) held my attention pretty well for a show over 40 years old.
What most struck me most rewatching these stories, and for the first time in order, was how grim and serious the feel of them is: Ian and Barbara are all but abducted in An Unearthly Child; the cavemen and women in the Tribe Of Gum are starving and murderous; everyone almost dies of radiation poisoning in The Daleks and genocide is planned; stabbings and stranglings are threatened several times in The Edge Of Destruction.
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Format: DVD
This boxset contains the first thirteen episodes of the TV series from 1963-64, and includes the first story, An Unearthly Child, the first Dalek story, and the strange two-parter, The Edge of Destruction, set entirely in the Tardis and featuring only the main four characters.
These have always been amongst my favourite Doctor Who stories, and this set improves on the previous video release by means of improved sound and picture quality, and all the extras, which make this set probably the best Doctor Who release so far.
The first story, An Unearthly Child, begins when two school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, follow a particularly mysterious pupil to her home. This girl, Susan, appears to live in a junkyard with a bad-tempered old man, who may or may not be her grandfather. Bursting their way into the police box, the teachers find themselves in a huge, gleaming control room. Soon, they are whisked off to the dawn of mankind’s history, where they must fight for survival.
Next is The Daleks, the seven-part serial which changed the fortunes of the programme, ensuring its survival and making icons of the eponymous creations. Tricking his companions into visiting the mysterious metal city, the Doctor discovers the evil mutations, and has to help their ancient enemies the Thals to defeat them.
Finally, in The Edge of Destruction, the crew find themselves under attack inside the Tardis itself.
These three stories have been released before on video, but what makes this release such a triumph is the package of extras. We are given the original unedited pilot, 35 minutes, with a commentary from producer Verity Lambert and director Waris Hussain.
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