Doctor Who first episode

23 November 1963

Image: The TARDIS as it appeared in the first serial An Unearthly Child episode 4 'The Firemaker'. 

The first episode of Doctor Who was aired on 23 November 1963. The cover of the Radio Times that week announced "a new Saturday-afternoon television series of adventures in time and space". Viewers heard the ominous theme tune - written by Ron Grainer in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and arranged by Delia Derbyshire - and saw the title sequence designed by Bernard Lodge.

In 'An Unearthly Child', Jacqueline Hill and William Russell play teachers who are intrigued by their pupil Susan Foreman, played by Carole Anne Ford. They follow her home to an old junk yard and - in a revelation that took the audience into the realm of science fiction - are surprised to discover that the police box in which she lives has a bright futuristic interior, much bigger inside than out.

Scenes from 'An Unearthly Child', episode 1.

Susan's grandfather is the Doctor, played by William Hartnell. Alarmed that the teachers will reveal the secret that he and Susan are time travellers, the Doctor kidnaps them. The final shot shows the TARDIS in a barren landscape as a human shadow falls across it, setting the scene for future adventures.

Doctor Who ran until 1989, with a television film in 1996. However its lasting popularity ensured its return in 2005, and that it played a large part in the revitalisation of Saturday evening family viewing.