Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bracknell, Berks
    Posts
    29,116

    Default The Pilot episode

    We're very lucky to have a glimpse of the origins of Doctor Who as the pilot episode still exists. Notable for its deviations from the broadcast first episode it features a far more odd Susan, a more alien, offhand Doctor and more than a few technical fluffs...

    What are your thoughts on the pilot episode?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    4,971

    Default

    When so much Doctor Who from the 60s has been destroyed, we are lucky to have this little oddity - something that was never broadcast until the 1990s (after the junkings had stopped!)

    But it's a wonderful part of our favourite show's history - a glimpse of what could have been. We could have had, as Si said, a far more alien Susan, an even more aloof Doctor, who claims to be from the 49th Century...

    At the end of the day, I think that this is a wonderful piece of history. But it's no more than that. I'm glad that they made the changes that they did made, and that An Unearthly Child went out as it eventually did, with the changes and all.

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Exeter, UK
    Posts
    1,318

    Default

    My favourite ever snippet of Doctor Who trivia is from this version of the episode (or rather, the differences between this and the episode as broadcast). But as I've repeated it so often, I'm sure it's something you can all live without hearing again...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    4,971

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Southall View Post
    My favourite ever snippet of Doctor Who trivia is from this version of the episode (or rather, the differences between this and the episode as broadcast). But as I've repeated it so often, I'm sure it's something you can all live without hearing again...
    I'd like to hear it again!

    But that's mostly because I have a memory of a goldfish, and can't remember what it was for the life of me...

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Exeter, UK
    Posts
    1,318

    Default

    Hehe, I'm pretty sure I've never mentioned it here anyway ... I was just playing with you!

    It's about the actor cast as the policeman: the very first man ever to go before the cameras in the studio on Doctor Who, and the very first man ever to appear on the screen in Doctor Who ... are two different men.

    The part was recast between recording the pilot and re-recording the broadcast version.

    (For what it's worth, the original actor was Fred Rawlings and his replacement was Reg Cranfield. And this little bit of trivia has also often been described as an urban myth, but don't be fooled, it is two different men, as a quick check of the DVD will confirm!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Liverpool
    Posts
    5,616

    Default

    But do we know WHY he was re-cast? Was he considered not "policeman-y" enough, or did Fred have other acting engagements that prevented him from starring in the re-take?

    Come to think of it, I wonder what the regular cast and crew thought of doing the episode again?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Exeter, UK
    Posts
    1,318

    Default

    Judging by his imdb entry, he wasn't that busy...

    Actually, imdb fuels the 'urban myth' part of the story, by listing both actors as having a walk-on in The Reign of Terror as "Parisian Man" (if memory serves). So either somebody has incorrectly listed one of them as the other on imdb, or else the two of them (probably completely unknowingly) shared a scene together a few months after AUC. Curiouser and curiouser...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    17,646

    Default

    I'm really in the mood to watch this again at some point... although it may lead to watching the whole of Doctor Who, so I better be careful!

    In some ways, the Pilot is a lot 'harder' than the transmitted first episode, in that the characters are rougher and less sympathetic, but in a good way I think. Doctor Who is that little bit more mysterious. And how different the show would have been if he had said that he was from the 41st Century (or whatever it is).

    I remember watching this in 1990, while I was on holiday somewhere during the BBC's Lime Grove day. Shamefully I had very little interest in the other sections, but naturally I loved watching the Doctor Who bit. These days I'd find it all interesting.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    4,971

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    I'm really in the mood to watch this again at some point... although it may lead to watching the whole of Doctor Who, so I better be careful!
    Yah - look what happened with me and Whitney! (currently in Season 4, two episodes into The Faceless Ones)

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bracknell, Berks
    Posts
    29,116

    Default

    We've done it all before... just not forwards!
    Last edited by SiHart; 2nd Nov 2011 at 10:21 PM.

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Downstairs by the PC
    Posts
    13,072

    Default

    There's one bit in the pilot, during the TARDIS scene (I haven't watched it in a while, so can't say exactly when) where the camera really seems to swoop around before closing in on the Doctor (hopefully you know what I mean). It is quite a technical flourish for the time (and isn't used in the actual episode as transmitted) and for some reason made a big impression on me when I first saw this - I guess it's the fact that it shows how much effort was put into this show from the start, ambitious camera moves being just part of it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sunny Ayrshire
    Posts
    5,354

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    In some ways, the Pilot is a lot 'harder' than the transmitted first episode, in that the characters are rougher and less sympathetic, but in a good way I think. Doctor Who is that little bit more mysterious. And how different the show would have been if he had said that he was from the 41st Century (or whatever it is).
    It could possibly have taken the series in a totally different direction, couldn't it? However given the series penchant at ignoring some things which have been said on screen at times (half-human, for example) might they not simply have totally ignored this short line and still give us the Time Lords as we know them today? Or maybe the Time Lords would have been humans from the far future, and future Earth would have replaced Gallifrey.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Downstairs by the PC
    Posts
    13,072

    Default

    Wasn't one of the original 'background' ideas that the Doctor and Susan had fled their home because it was invaded, or at war? (Maybe some kind of, I don't know, "Time War" or something...)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bracknell, Berks
    Posts
    29,116

    Default

    There are no new ideas are there?

    What I find most intriguing about this episode is the fact that it exists at all. When there is so much Who from later on that we don't have, it's amazing that the unaired pilot should have been kept safe all that time.

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    17,646

    Default

    I'll have to check your 'Wiped!' book - because it was on film like everything else from the era, therefore that suggests that they were going to export it for sales overseas! I'd understand better if the original videotape still existed.

    And I'll have to look out for the Curnow Flourish as well.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Walsall, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    4,631

    Default

    Of course director Waris Hussein isn't very happy that this version found its way into the public domain. He must've felt pretty strongly at the time about the technical mistakes and stuff to insist it was re-shot.
    I'll bet any money he'll say as much at the next convention I'm doing in January.
    I will actually rewatch this soon as my Dad and I have been talking about watching from the start for ages as there's a lot of early stuff neither of us has ever seen (I believe he was in studying in Sweden in '63) although obviously we have seen some bits on video.
    Last edited by Richard Brinck-Johnsen; 3rd Nov 2011 at 8:58 AM. Reason: grammar!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bracknell, Berks
    Posts
    29,116

    Default

    I think a telerecording was made of the pilot so that they coudl show Sydney Newman, or am I mistaken? I'm going to have get the book out and find out now!

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sittingbourne, Kent, UK
    Posts
    2,403

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Brinck-Johnsen View Post
    Of course director Waris Hussein isn't very happy that this version found its way into the public domain. He must've felt pretty strongly at the time about the technical mistakes and stuff to insist it was re-shot.
    As far as I know he didn't. Sydney Newman did. The technical quality of the episode is very poor, with noises-off, fluffed lines, cameras running into things, TARDIS doors refusing to close, visible stage-hands and so on.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sittingbourne, Kent, UK
    Posts
    2,403

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    I'll have to check your 'Wiped!' book - because it was on film like everything else from the era, therefore that suggests that they were going to export it for sales overseas!
    I'm not sure that it does. The telerecording contains all the recorded material (from which the various edits of episodes that have been broadcast and released have been assembled), not a finished episode. That suggests a more technical reason for telerecording.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    17,646

    Default

    Pretty much every single other episode of Doctor Who from that period was telerecorded* for the sake of overseas sales.

    *if they were telerecorded, I think 'The Feast of Steven' was wiped as it was broadcast, with the tape being shown and literally being fed into a fire a second later.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sittingbourne, Kent, UK
    Posts
    2,403

    Default

    Yes, I know that, but this is an exceptional case. In (almost) every other case the episodes were edited on videotape to make the complete episode (which was then to be broadcast from that tape), and then telerecorded further down the line. No such complete version of the pilot episode exists on videotape. All the studio material was telerecorded prior to making a complete episode. Every complete version broadcast or released has had to be assembled from those bits of telerecorded film. It doesn't fit the pattern of telerecording full episodes for overseas sales.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Sawbridgeworth
    Posts
    25,126

    Default

    Was this on BBC2 before the video release of the first story proper? I certainly grew to love this episode before I'd even seen the "proper" first episode, so that official opener always feels to me somehow more "polished" and a little lacking in the charm of the pilot, clanking doors and all. I really miss Hartnell's "You see, the first faint glimmerings!" which is missed from the transmitted version, and it all seems a little less emotive. Even Susan's "two to Fifteen... fifteen to two!" I took to be somehow a deliberate fluff as perhaps a hint towards her time travel background (!). And the shot of Barbara bursting into the TARDIS, oh so important, somehow has more impact in the pilot - you get a lovely pan of the console room and the screeching of the interior sounds louder. "I was born in the 49th Century" sounds so much more exotic than the simplified "I was born in another time".

    In a strange way I also love Susan's weird ink drawing, simply because no-one's ever, ever explained what it's supposed to be. This to me makes it all the more mysterious, as if there's something we don't know.

    Si.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sittingbourne, Kent, UK
    Posts
    2,403

    Default

    The story proper was released on VHS in 1990, and the pilot episode was broadcast and released on VHS (as part of The Hartnell Years tape) in 1991, so there wasn't much in it, but the 'proper' story got there first.

    There are certain elements of the pilot that are really good, and to be honest I don't think the series would have lost anything had it simply been re-shot as is without all the technical flaws. The technical flaws are pretty terrible, however, even for the time.

    I do prefer Hartnell's Doctor in the pilot. It would have made his personal development over those first 13 episodes even more significant, IMO.

    As far as Susan's ink drawing goes, I always thought it was the TARDIS console, with the ink blot reminding her of the central column, hence her drawing the six-sided console outline around it.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bracknell, Berks
    Posts
    29,116

    Default

    Oh I like the Hartnell we got better. I agree witgh Sydeney newman he was too server to begin with and quite unlikeable. I like the version that's a bit more loveable and a ltitle less horrible.

    The thunderclap in the titles could have stayed though. I loved that.

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    17,646

    Default

    In a strange way I also love Susan's weird ink drawing, simply because no-one's ever, ever explained what it's supposed to be. This to me makes it all the more mysterious, as if there's something we don't know.
    Doesn't she get cross about it too and sort of stab at it? Weird child! Perhaps it reminded her of her father. Whoever the hell he is!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

Similar Threads

  1. The 1000th Episode
    By MacNimon in forum Adventures In Time and Space
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 1st Dec 2012, 4:59 PM
  2. Next Universal- Episode 2 Available Now!
    By SiHart in forum PlanetSkaro Audios
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 26th Oct 2012, 5:52 PM
  3. Next Universal- Episode 1 available NOW!
    By SiHart in forum PlanetSkaro Audios
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 22nd Aug 2012, 9:17 PM
  4. Best/Worst First Episode?
    By Jamie McCrimmon in forum Adventures In Time and Space
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 2nd Feb 2010, 8:47 AM
  5. Episode 6: Countrycide
    By Anthony Williams in forum Spin-offs
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 24th Jun 2007, 12:32 AM