My Quest to Watch ALL Available Doctor Who Episodes: Serial 3 – The Edge of Destruction

This post may contain spoilers about classic and current episodes of Doctor Who.

Spoiler Alert:  This series of posts will contain spoilers about classic and possibly current episodes of Doctor Who.

The Edge of Destruction is the third Doctor Who storyline. It consisted of two episodes, airing weekly, starting on December 21st 1963.

WOW! That Dalek Story Was Expensive! Let’s Cut Costs!

This story takes place entirely within the TARDIS, which meant it could be done very cheaply and much faster than normal.

An explosion on the TARDIS renders everyone unconscious. When they wake up Ian and Barbara have amnesia. The Doctor and Susan are acting very weird and suspect the others somehow sabotaged the ship. Accusations fly and everyone is acting out of character. Barbara (quite correctly) chews out the Doctor. Susan flips out and attacks a sofa with a pair of scissors, perhaps her most interesting character moment.

Clues emerge that the TARDIS is trying to warn everyone of some major danger. The Doctor makes an impassioned, well delivered, speech about the birth of the universe or the solar system; it’s hard to be certain which since substantial portions of what he says is gibberish.

It is discovered that a faulty spring has sent the TARDIS hurtling back to the beginning of time where it will be destroyed.

Yes, that’s what I said, a faulty spring is responsible for everything. No, I’m not making that up, I swear that is what happens in the serial. Why did a bad spring cause amnesia in Barbara and Ian? How did it turn the Doctor and Susan into paranoid, homicidal nuts? Never explained. Everybody just ‘gets better.’

The spring is fixed and disaster averted. The Doctor apologizes for his behavior.

What’s Important

Honestly, not much.

It is revealed the TARDIS is incredibly self-aware, though they don’t go so far as to imply it is somewhat alive as they do in present series.

The Doctor’s apology does mark a watershed moment between him and both Ian and Barbara. From this point forward his relationship to them is less prickly, more warm and collegial.

 DVD Extra’s

The DVD has a number of special features.

In particular, there is Doctor Who: Origins, a serious and detailed look at precisely how Doctor Who came to be made int he first place. This is fast paced and very interesting.

The feature Over the Edge discusses The Edge of Destruction, how it came to be made and the basic elements of the quickly patched together story. Worth watching if you are interested in the practical problems of creating a television show on an extremely limited budget and a very tight schedule.

Inside the Spaceship discusses the creation of the TARDIS set. Nothing too interesting.

Masters of Sound is about the creation of the stunning Doctor Who theme music and iconic sound effects in the Radiophonic Workshop. The special would be better if the people who made it hadn’t felt the urge to splice in unneeded scenes from the show. I guess they found these excerpts cute, I find them annoying.

Next Time

The next storyline is the lost 4th serial, Marco Polo. I shall therefore be skipping forward to 5th serial, The Keys of Marinus.