Doctor Who (Willam Hartnell) – The Sensorites


This week’s story is written by Peter R. Newman and was originally broadcast from 20 June to August 1, 1964.

It also sees Hartnell’s Doctor becoming a little more recognizable when compared with those who followed him. He also gets off a great line of dialogue that I had to write down as soon as he said it – “I do not make threats, but I do keep promises.”

The TARDIS materializes on a spaceship that has a crew that has been suffering from a telepathic attack, and as such brings us the first real story where we see a rather scary looking character, its appearance at the end of the first episode, Strangers In Space, looking in through the ship’s viewport is rather spooky, revealed to be not so terrible, but much like humans there are good and bad amongst them.

doctor who - sensorites

Susan (Carole Ann Ford) realizes she can communicate telepathically with the Sensorites. During the course of the second episode, The Unwilling Warriors, as the Doctor, Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian (William Russell) try to protect themselves from the encroaching Sensorites, Susan agrees to go with them if it will spare the rest of the travellers’ lives.

At the beginning of the third part, Hidden Danger, the Doctor recovers Susan before she can be taken away and realizes that the Sensorites have trouble with the dark… They also learn that the Sensorites are really villainous, they are simply a little xenophobic and are afraid the humans are planning to attack them to gain control over a rare metal, that could be worth serious coin back on Earth, revealing we are in the future.

Also as interesting notes, we hear Susan describe their home, Gallifrey is not mentioned by name, but its description recurs through the series right up to Matt Smith’s Doctor.

We also learn of The Doctor’s distaste for weapons, something that grows to become a very important character trait.

And Susan is beginning to want something more, as for the first time, she and her grandfather, The Doctor, have argued. She’s developing her own instincts and opinions, so I’m sure we’ll see more of that, and it’s nice to see the character has grown over the course of the season.


In parts four, A Race Against Death, the Doctor helps the Sensorites fight a plague that seems to be originating from a water source, and as the Doctor investigates he discovers that the Sensorites were correct. There are humans on the planet, hoping to exterminate them and claim the metal. But we also learn that despite the fact that a few of the Sensorites have welcomed our heroes, not all of them appreciate them there, and are working to get rid of them…

In parts five, Kidnap and six, A Desperate Venture, see the story racing to its conclusion, and more importantly continuing to see the Doctor becoming the Doctor we know. But he says he’s going to leave Ian at their next destination, when he makes a pointed remark that at least the crew of the spaceship are on their way home, and they have no idea where they are going.

I like that we see the Doctor getting angry, making stronger remarks, recalling previous journeys that we haven’t seen, and in general recognizable as the Time Lord we know him to be, though that hasn’t been mentioned yet either.

Still, as we approach the end of Season 1, just The Reign of Terror left to view, I am really enjoying my travels in the TARDIS.

Do you have a favorite First Doctor adventure?

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