The Mutants/The Daleks: The Dead Planet
First Broadcast December 21st 1963 @ 5.15pm (6.9m viewers)
This opening episode sees the Ship take the Doctor, Barbara, Ian and Susan to a dead world. For the first time this fledgling BBC show has taken the viewers to an alien planet. It is an interesting environment, very well delivered in a studio, with an immediate mystery regarding the petrified jungle. What is clear however is that nothing could be alive in that harsh environment. The first alien seen by the characters is a peculiar creature made of metal, a hint of what was to come. Ian and Barbara also share a couple of scenes discussing their desire to return to Earth of 1963 which would be a continuing theme for the show. After some deviousness from The Doctor they are forced to venture towards the city, leading to one of the most memorable cliffhangers in Doctor Who’s history.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Curiously viewing figures actually went down for the next episode ‘The Survivors’. However after the Daleks were properly revealed during that episode the ratings leapt from 6.4 million to 8.9 million and rose even further culminating in 10.4 million for the final two instalments. Lessons were learnt and so the Daleks would not be implied in future but fully revealed for the first episode cliffhangers, particularly in Terry Nation stories. It is wildly known that Sydney Newman dismissed the Daleks as “bugged eyed monsters”. But without them, their story, the iconic design, the terrifying voice, all contributed to making Doctor Who a hit. Without it the show would not have survived. Like the Daleks managed to on their dead planet so did Doctor Who.