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The Edge of Destruction is the third serial of the first season of Doctor Who. It was written by David Whitaker, directed by Richard Martin and Frank Cox and featured William Hartnell as the First Doctor, William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman.

Overview Edit

To be added

Synopsis Edit

Something has caused the TARDIS console to explode in mid-flight, plunging the ship into darkness and rendering the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan unconscious. As they slowly recover, they find themselves suffering from loss of memory and headaches. The TARDIS behaves oddly, as the doors open and close of their own accord. Has the ship been possessed in some way, or is something more dangerous happening to the time travellers?

Plot Edit

The Edge of Destruction (1) Edit

As the TARDIS is smoothly in flight, the Doctor, Ian and Susan take a moment relaxing. Then, without any sudden warning, the console erupts with energy and the whole room is consumed with darkness. The Doctor is thrust to the floor and his friends lay all unconscious all around the room.

Barbara enters the control room to find the other's unconscious while also unable to assuredly recall Ian's name. Susan is the first to awaken, also unsure of her surroundings, when she is alarmed to see the Doctor lying on the floor; Barbara tends to him while Susan goes and collects water. When going, however, she spots Ian lying in the chair, unable to remember him.

Barbara turns from the Doctor to see Ian standing, where he seems to think he's still in his school. As Susan grabs some bandages from a first-aid kit, Ian and Barbara watch over the Doctor, when he starts spouting delirious nonsense. Susan tries to collect water from the machine, but it says it's empty. However, Susan takes the water bag from within the machine and it's full.

Returning to the control room, Susan is stunned to see the interior doors open and fretfully claims that they simply cannot open of their own accord. Ian suspects the Doctor of opening them, and Barbara reasons they opened when they crashed, but Susan dismisses both of those. Which she and Barbara administer the bandages to the Doctor's head injury, Ian approaches the doors and they close, without Barbara or Susan having done anything. As he walks away from them, they open again and vice versa.

Susan tries to use the controls but they spontaneously faints. As the Doctor starts to regain consciousness, Ian takes Susan to bed. The Doctor claims on waking up that he was hit on the back of the neck, to Barbara's suspicion. After Ian lays Susan down, he tries the food machine for water, but it again comes up empty with a full supply. When he returns, Susan is conscious again, brandishing a pair of scissors and claiming not to know who Ian is. He tries to approach her, but she thrusts the scissors at him; she then suddenly experiences another head pain and violently stabs the bed with the scissors before collapsing again.

The Doctor tries to fathom out the situation, but Barbara accuses him of mere guesswork. While they and Ian wander, Barbara starts to believe that something may be inside the ship, having entered when the doors were open, but the Doctor debunks it. As he and Ian examine the Fault locator, Susan overhears Ian telling Barbara to watch her but not tell her about something possibly being in the TARDIS and goes and grabs the scissors again.

Barbara goes to check on Susan who wakes up immediately. Susan starts asking accusatory questions in rapid succession and Barbara realises she has the scissors again. Before Susan can do any harm, Barbara manages to get them off her. In a moment of tension, Barbara starts to wonder again where a creature from outside the ship could hide; Susan immediately suggests that it could be in one of them. Ian suddenly enters and informs the women that there was no fault found with the ship. He says that with that determined, the Doctor believes the fault to be outside the ship and is going to turn on the scanner. Susan panics and rushes to stop him.

She bursts into the control room where the Doctor is stood stationary away from the console. With warning of Susan's experience at trying to work the controls, the Doctor has her primed behind him as he attempts the scanner control. He manages to use the switch without any ill effects and the scanner works fine. The screen brings up an photograph of a countryside; the doors suddenly open and close behind them and the scanner shows a picture of the planet Quinnis. While the Doctor ponders, the scanners shows a progression of events culminating in an explosion of light.

The Doctor ponders whether or not Ian could explain it, to his confusion, when he suddenly starts to accuse both he and Barbara of being the cause of the predicament and knocking both himself and Susan unconscious. He argues that the two schoolteachers did it out of blackmail so the Doctor would return them home, when Barbara furiously calls the Doctor out on his accusations, reminding him of everything that the group had been through and what she and Ian had done for the Doctor, stating that he should be more grateful of them rather than blame them.

Walking away, Barbara and Susan are heavily alarmed by the nearby clock face, which have completely melted, as have Ian and Barbara's watches. To calm everyone, the Doctor brings beverages for the four of them and Barbara goes to bed, distraught, followed by Susan. Ian talks in confidence with the Doctor, agreeing with Susan that he should apologise to Barbara, but he seems to pay little attention; he leaves Ian to ponder on his words. Susan tries to apologise to Barbara for the Doctor's harsh words, but she is still too upset to pay heed to them.

Later, after ensuring the others were asleep, the Doctor quietly scuttles to the control room, hands primed at the console, when an unseen assailant comes up behind him and grabs him by the collar.

The Brink of Death (2) Edit

The assailant, Ian, loosens his grip on the Doctor and collapses. Just as Barbara comes in, the Doctor becomes certain of their duplicity, unwilling to accept that anything is happening to him. While Barbara tries to plead their innocence, Susan comes in suddenly taking the Doctor's side. Assured of their supposed intent, the Doctor decides to put them off the ship. Barbara tries to wake Ian; when he does raise, he shouts a warning to the Doctor not to touch the control. This convinces Susan of their innocence but the Doctor is not easily swayed. He insists on his ways to put them both off the ship, when the Fault locator's danger signal goes off. Checking the warning, the entire device lights up, concerning both the Doctor and Susan.

The Doctor tries to approach Ian and Barbara but his threats have made them weary of him. He explains that if a piece of the TARDIS apparatus fails, the Fault locator informs him of the problem; the fact that the whole thing lit up indicates that the ship is on the point of disintegrating. With Ian finally speaking coherently, he gets to say that he was warning the Doctor off the control or he'd electrocute himself; this puts the Doctor's ill-will of them both to rest.

Finally acknowledging the dangers they're in, the Doctor has everybody pool their resources to discern the problem. The column in the console then suddenly springs up; the Doctor explains the TARDIS' heart is underneath the column and when it rises, it's height shows the extent of power thrust used by the ship and if the column were to come out, the power could escape and kill them all instantly. Determining they have 10 minutes for death, the Doctor is at a loss for a course of action, when Barbara and Ian start putting together all of the hints that the TARDIS has been giving them.

With little other option, the Doctor has Barbara and Susan stand by the doors to see what's outside, but confides in Ian that this is a lie and doesn't know how to resolve the issue. When the doors open, Susan is distresses when they see nothing outside. Finding the connection between the scanner and the doors opening, the Doctor watches the sequence of images from before and realises the ship has been travelling on a journey backwards through time, right at the very beginning of a solar system, causing a gravitational force powerful enough to attract the TARDIS' energy.

Recalling the destination he programmed when the TARDIS left Skaro, the Doctor tells Ian he used the Fast return switch, but when the pair of them examine it, they find it stuck in place, which resulted in the TARDIS perpetually taking them back through time. Upon repairing the switch, the TARDIS returns to life and the danger subsides. After explaining the situation Susan, she says that he should probably apologise to Ian and Barbara for all the horrible things he said and threatening to put them off the ship. Ian brushes it off right away, but Barbara is still upset by his words, in spite of his attempt to apologise and leaves.

Later on, the TARDIS has landed at it's next destination. Barbara sits quietly alone when the Doctor approaches her again. He talk with her and again apologises for his threats, conceding that seeing as he put a threat to take her off the ship, she was determined to disprove him, and thus lead her to the solution they needed to fix things. Susan comes in and asks Barbara if she's coming, which she courteously accepts and leaves after her with the Doctor. Barbara goes outside with Susan while the Doctor confers with Ian in the control room. Before they can step outside, however, Susan and Barbara call out to them directing them to a giant footprint in the snow...

Cast Edit

  • Dr. Who - William Hartnell
  • Ian Chesterton - William Russell
  • Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
  • Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford

 Crew Edit

  • Writer - David Whitaker
  • Designer - Raymond Cusick
  • Associate Producer - Mervyn Pinfield
  • Title Music - Ron Grainer, BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  • Director - Richard Martin ("The Edge of Destruction"), Frank Cox ("The Brink of Disaster")
  • Producer - Verity Lambert

References Edit

To be added

Story notes Edit

To be added

Broadcast & Ratings Edit

No. Overall # Title Runtime First Airdate Viewers (in millions)
#12 1 The Edge of Destruction 25:04 08 February 1964 10.4
#13 2 The Brink of Death 22:11 15 February 1964 9.9

Continuity Edit

To be added

Home video and audio releases Edit

To be added

External Links Edit

Doctor Who Television Stories
First Doctor - William Hartnell
Season 1) An Unearthly Child - The Daleks - The Edge of Destruction - Marco Polo - The Keys of Marinus - The Aztecs - The Sensorites - The Reign of Terror

Season 2) Planet of Giants - The Dalek Invasion of Earth - The Rescue - The Romans - The Web Planet - The Crusade - The Space Museum - The Chase - The Time Meddler

Season 3) Galaxy 4 - Mission to the Unknown - The Myth Makers - The Daleks' Master Plan - The Massacre - The Ark - The Celestial Toymaker - The Gunfighters - The Savages - The War Machines

Season 4) The Smugglers - The Tenth Planet

Second Doctor - Patrick Troughton
Season 4) The Power of the Daleks - The Highlanders - The Underwater Menace - The Moonbase - The Macra Terror - The Faceless Ones - The Evil of the Daleks

Season 5) The Tomb of the Cybermen - The Abominable Snowmen - The Ice Warriors - The Enemy of the World - The Web of Fear - Fury from the Deep - The Wheel in Space

Season 6) The Dominators - The Mind Robber - The Invasion - The Krotons - The Seeds of Death - The Space Pirates - The War Games

Third Doctor - Jon Pertwee
Season 7) Spearhead from Space - Doctor Who and the Silurians - The Ambassadors of Death - Inferno

Season 8) Terror of the Autons - The Mind of Evil - The Claws of Axos - Colony in Space - The Dæmons

Season 9) Day of the Daleks - The Curse of Peladon - The Sea Devils - The Mutants - The Time Monster

Season 10) The Three Doctors - Carnival of Monsters - Frontier in Space - Planet of the Daleks - The Green Death

Season 11) The Time Warrior - Invasion of the Dinosaurs - Death to the Daleks - The Monster of Peladon - Planet of the Spiders

Fourth Doctor - Tom Baker
Season 12) Robot - The Ark of Space - The Sontaran Experiment - Genesis of the Daleks - Revenge of the Cybermen

Season 13) Terror of the Zygons - Planet of Evil - Pyramids of Mars - The Android Invasion - The Brain of Morbius - The Seeds of Doom

Season 14) The Masque of Mandragora - The Hand of Fear - The Deadly Assassin - The Face of Evil - The Robots of Death - The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Season 15) Horror of Fang Rock - The Invisible Enemy - Image of the Fendahl - The Sun Makers - Underworld - The Invasion of Time

Season 16) The Ribos Operation - The Pirate Planet - The Stones of Blood - The Androids of Tara - The Power of Kroll - The Armageddon Factor

Season 17) Destiny of the Daleks - City of Death - The Creature from the Pit - Nightmare of Eden - The Horns of Nimon - Shada (Unfinished)

Season 18) The Leisure Hive - Meglos - Full Circle - State of Decay - Warriors' Gate - The Keeper of Traken - Logopolis

Fifth Doctor - Peter Davison
Season 19) Castrovalva - Four to Doomsday - Kinda - The Visitation - Black Orchid - Earthshock - Time-Flight

Season 20) Arc of Infinity - Snakedance - Mawdryn Undead - Terminus - Enlightenment - The King's Demons

25th Anniversary Special) The Five Doctors

Season 21) Warriors of the Deep - The Awakening - Frontios - Resurrection of the Daleks - Planet of Fire - The Caves of Androzani

Sixth Doctor - Colin Baker
Season 21) The Twin Dilemma

Season 22) Attack of the Cybermen - Vengeance on Varos - The Two Doctors - The Mark of the Rani - Timelash - Revelation of the Daleks

Season 23) The Mysterious Planet - Mindwarp - Terror of the Vervoids - The Ultimate Foe

Seventh Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
Season 24) Time and the Rani - Paradise Towers - Delta and the Bannermen - Dragonfire

Season 25) Remembrance of the Daleks - The Happiness Patrol - Silver Nemesis - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

Season 26) Battlefield - Ghost Light - The Curse of Fenric - Survival

Eighth Doctor - Paul McGann
Doctor Who
Ninth Doctor - Christopher Eccleston
Series 1) Rose - The End of the World - The Unquiet Dead - Aliens of London - World War Three - Dalek - The Long Game - Father's Day - The Empty Child - The Doctor Dances - Boom Town - Bad Wolf - The Parting of the Ways
Tenth Doctor - David Tennant
Series 2) The Christmas Invasion - New Earth - Tooth and Claw - School Reunion - The Girl in the Fireplace - Rise of the Cybermen - The Age of Steel - The Idiot's Lantern - The Impossible Planet - The Satan Pit - Love and Monsters - Fear Her - Army of Ghosts - Doomsday

Series 3) The Runaway Bride - Smith and Jones - The Shakespeare Code - Gridlock - Daleks in Manhattan - Evolution of the Daleks - The Lazarus Experiment - 42 - Human Nature - The Family of Blood - Blink - Utopia - The Sound of Drums - Last of the Time Lords

Series 4) Voyage of the Damned - Partners in Crime - The Fires of Pompeii - Planet of the Ood - The Sontaran Stratagem - The Poison Sky - The Doctor's Daughter - The Unicorn and the Wasp - Silence in the Library - Forest of the Dead - Midnight - Turn Left - The Stolen Earth - Journey's End

Series 4 Specials) The Next Doctor - Planet of the Dead - The Waters of Mars - The End of Time: Part One - The End of Time: Part Two

Eleventh Doctor - Matt Smith
Series 5) The Eleventh Hour - The Beast Below - Victory of the Daleks - The Time of Angels - Flesh and Stone - The Vampires of Venice - Amy's Choice - The Hungry Earth - Cold Blood - Vincent and the Doctor - The Lodger - The Pandorica Opens - The Big Bang

Series 6) A Christmas Carol - The Impossible Astronaut - Day of the Moon - The Curse of the Black Spot - The Doctor's Wife - The Rebel Flesh - The Almost People - A Good Man Goes to War - Let's Kill Hitler - Night Terrors - The Girl Who Waited - The God Complex - Closing Time - The Wedding of River Song

Series 7) The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe - Asylum of the Daleks - Dinosaurs on a Spaceship - A Town Called Mercy - The Power of Three - The Angels Take Manhattan - The Snowmen - The Bells of Saint John - The Rings of Akhaten - Cold War - Hide - Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS - The Crimson Horror - Nightmare in Silver - The Name of the Doctor

2013 Specials) The Night of the Doctor - The Day of the Doctor - The Time of the Doctor

Twelfth Doctor - Peter Capaldi
Series 8) Deep Breath - Into the Dalek - Robot of Sherwood - Listen - Time Heist - The Caretaker - Kill the Moon - Mummy on the Orient Express - Flatline - In the Forest of the Night - Dark Water - Death in Heaven

Series 9) Last Christmas - The Magician's Apprentice - The Witch's Familiar - Under the Lake - Before the Flood - The Girl Who Died - The Woman Who Lived - The Zygon Invasion - The Zygon Inversion - Sleep No More - Face the Raven - Heaven Sent - Hell Bent - The Husbands of River Song

Series 10) The Return of Doctor Mysterio - The Pilot - Smile - Thin Ice - Knock Knock - Oxygen - Extremis - The Pyramid at the End of the World - The Lie of the Land - Empress of Mars - The Eaters of Light - World Enough and Time - The Doctor Falls - Twice Upon a Time

Thirteenth Doctor - Jodie Whittaker
Series 11) The Woman Who Fell to Earth - The Ghost Monument - Rosa - Arachnids in the UK - The Tsuranga Conundrum - Demons of the Punjab - Kerblam! - The Witchfinders - It Takes You Away - The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos - Resolution

Series 12) Episode One - Episode Two - Episode Three - Episode Four - Episode Five - Episode Six - Episode Seven - Episode Eight - Episode Nine - Episode Ten - TBA - TBA - TBA