First Doctor (1963-1966)

THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION
For the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who, popular author Simon Guerrier looks at its third story, The Edge of Destruction (1964). What does this early ‘bottle episode’ tell us of the mysterious Doctor’s spaceship, the TARDIS, and its workings?
MARCO POLO
Doctor Who’s first historical story, Marco Polo (1964), is rooted in the BBC’s Reithian mandate to ‘inform, educate and entertain’. Dene October investigates how these priorities inform its distinctive storytelling style, and how the absence of broadcast footage affects our view of the text.
THE AZTECS (coming in 2024)
The story of a time-traveller who hopes to save a civilisation, The Aztecs (1964) is Doctor Who’s second historical story, and John Lucarotti’s second script for the series. A pulp tradition of colonial adventurers finding lost worlds collides head-on with the series’ educational remit – so, asks Doris V Sutherland, which will win?
THE DALEK INVASION OF EARTH
A compendium of Doctor Who firsts – the first alien invasion, the first returning monster, the first departing companion – The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) had a complex genesis and an active afterlife. Jonathan Morris traces its history from story treatment to screen, and beyond to its film and novel adaptations.
THE ROMANS
Jacob Edwards examines The Romans (1965) – an experiment in Doctor Who as comedy which also reinvents the characters’, and the series’, relationship with history. He finds a sophisticated, multi-layered story full of innovation, wit and dubious identity politics.
THE MYTH MAKERS
1965’s The Myth Makers placed the Doctor in the Trojan War; popular Doctor Who writer Ian Potter places its creators in the tradition of Homer, Virgil and Shakespeare, as well as those of 1960s British television and the early development of the series.
THE MASSACRE
The Massacre (1966) is a story of disputed authorship produced during a turbulent period, of which no known video copies are known to survive. James Cooray Smith elucidates the ways it draws on its many sources to examine the religious and civil strife which struck Paris in 1572.