The Edge of Destruction – Story #003


Jael’s Judgment:

The TARDIS makes it’s first real appearance as its own character!!!! Love it!

The creepiness in the beginning reminds me of my personal aversion to horrible loud noises. I once tore off headphones, just as Barbara throws her watch, because I though they (or some sort of demons) were attacking me.

Pretty intense episode for a stuck switch.  (<– Spoilers. Highlight to view.)

  • Story Grade: C+


Tony’s Take:

The last story of The Beginning box-set is a fun and short little adventure all encapsulated in the TARDIS. If you read about the history of the show you will find out why it was only a 2-parter and more info about this serial, so why explain it here (that’s why you have Radio Free Skaro, they share the production info).

If I were in charge of the show for all of its entire history, I would make EVERY Doctor have one story in which they are confined to only their TARDIS. When you trap a traveler such as The Doctor, you find out what his true colors are. You learn about their personality and you find out about about their devloping relationship with their unreliable, yet longest-running companion, the TARDIS.

In this story The Doctor is crabbier than ever and then, as if he were bi-polar, he becomes instantly cooperative… but this is only to be manipulative. William Hartnell is again in the perfect role, as it seems that he does not have to act, his age and personality mesh well and make it a believable performance.

I also liked the fact that Susan got more lines and delivered a very creepy performance. We could really do without the shrill screams, though.

The semi-psychological games that are played in this episode make this story intriguing, though it falls flat because of the age of the story.  Not many television episodes were playing mind games with people, the medium was new, and rather than upset viewers, TV episodes would often be easily digestible for the masses.  Further Doctor Who episodes and totally separate TV series would cover similar mind games with much more mystery and suspense, but good for the writers for trying.

Now how about those humanly habits often ignored in the future series of Doctor Who?  I am talking about eating/drinking and sleeping, functions that are basic in human nature, but make for lousy TV (And does The Doctor really need to do these things?  Do Time Lords get hungry or sleepy?). I find it quirky that the Doctor makes tea and mentions that people need their sleep while on the TARDIS.  then there is Ian, who fetches a BAG of water from the automatic food machine and pours it on a washcloth for Susan.  Nothing says alien and futuristic like a BAG OF WATER!  I cannot lie, I would love to walk around with bags of water, drinking them like flavorless Capri-Suns.  Plus, when under attack, I am sure that some monsters could be defeated via water balloon.

At one point in the show The Doctor talks about the birth of a solar system, this is very odd coming from an old man on a 1960s TV show.  If you were to apply this speech to a kid’s show today, it would be unthinkable.  What The Doctor describes would be far too educational for a kid’s show, unless we are talking flat-out Bill Nye type of kid’s shows.  For this speech alone, the episode is a bit ahead of its time, even if its teachings are rudimentary and not 100% correct.

When the viewer finally learns what is going on with the TARDIS towards the end of the story, it is surprising to see how little The Doctor knows about his stubborn friend, the TARDIS and it’s ever changing console.  Although it can be explained as either this Doctor’s personality (old age/memory loss) or that he is new to traveling (despite his old appearance), I think it’s apparent that the writers could not even start to comprehend how much life and depth the TARDIS would be given in the future.

When the story is all said and done, it’s easy to see that The Doctor is much like an old stubborn grandfather that most of us can relate to or imagine.  The Doctor never really apologizes for anything, but in his own way he recognizes the need for his ‘companions’.  He tells people that they are important in an old-school, patriarchal way; its semi-sweet given the times, but also semi-sour as it did nothing to show advancement.

I leave you with two fun quotes:

“One man’s law is another man’s crime.” – The Doctor

“A machine that can think for itself?!” – Ian Chesterton (regarding the TARDIS)

  • Story Grade: B-
  • This short little story was a fun mind-game, a necessary change of pace from the overly long story that came before (The Daleks).  Trapped in the TARDIS can be quite fun!


Thank you, TARDIS, for trapping the crew.  I enjoy either science heavy or psychological heavy stories, so it was nice to have one early on in Doctor Who’s run.  Kudos to Carole Ann Ford for a great performance!


One thought on “The Edge of Destruction – Story #003

  1. Tony, I
    I totally like the idea of each Doctor having an episode only in the TARDIS! Also I can see you carrying around a bag full of water. Wait don’t they make bag water “bottles?” I am pretty sure they do. Remember I suggested putting yogurt in one and freezing it.

    – J

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