See Doctor Who’s original Radio Times feature and TV billing and watch a clip

Here's how RT introduced the "mysterious exile from another world" on 23 November 1963

In case you’ve been living under a rock on the surface of the planet Ogron, it was 50 years ago today that the first ever episode of Doctor Who was broadcast.


An Unearthly Child, starring William Hartnell as the Time Lord, went out on BBC1 at 5:15pm on Saturday 23 November 1963. Want to see some proof? Here’s the original billing for the show, as carried by Radio Times magazine (click on the image, left, to see a full-sized version) in what was to be the beginning of a relationship that would span five decades and beyond.

There’s also this feature (right), in which we introduced readers to the “mysterious exile from another world and a distant future” and his “adventures in space and time”. Click on the image to find out what else we had to say about the exciting new science-fiction series “Dr. Who”.

This evening at 7:50pm GMT, an estimated 100 million Doctor Who fans around the world will be tuning in to watch 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor, in which Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor will join forces with David Tennant’s tenth, and John Hurt’s recently revealed dark and mysterious incarnation, to battle Daleks, Zygons and more. What better time to look back at first Doctor William Hartnell’s debut in the first ever episode, which aired 50 years ago today.

Here, concerned school teachers Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) trace their pupil Susan to a junk yard, where they encounter an eccentric and uncooperative white-haired gentleman. But what’s that blue (well, dark grey box) in the corner – and where is Susan…?

Read our guide to the first ever Doctor Who adventure An Unearthly Child