Which One : The big bang.
Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Susan : Carol Ann Ford
Ian : William Russell
Barbara : Jacqueline Hill
Written By : David Whittaker
Produced By : Verity Lamb
First UK Broadcast : 8 – 15 February 1964.
Length : 2 x 25 minute parts.
1) “The Edge Of Destruction”
2) “The Brink Of Disaster”
Plot : An explosion in the Tardis, renders the crew unconcious. Upon coming around, the quartet begin to sense and play out and observe strange hallucinations, as if an evil presence has gotten aboard.
Whats good : Short character piece with an interesting mysterious backstory. The characters and the Tardis are explored in a bit more detail. Character elements from the first 2 episodes are resolved here. Twisty.
Whats bad : The ending is rushed.
Review With Spoilers : Edge Of Destruction is the 3rd episode of season 1 and is a short 2 part filler episode, which importantly serves to resolve a number of character plot-lines from the first 2 episodes.
Following the events of An Unearthly Child and Daleks, Ian and Barbara are both angry at the Doctor for kidnapping them and for forcing them to goto the Dalek city under false pretences.
The Doctor is still wary and mis-trusting of his kidnapped human companions so conflict ensues when the quartet begin to undergo strange events and hallucinations and begin to turn on each other. Fearing, that a malevolent alien presence may have gotten aboard.
Susan chillingly attempts to attack Ian and Barbara, with a pair of scissors. The Doctor attempts to drug them both, in fear they have tampered with the Tardis controls. He then threatens to cast them out into space.
“How dare you! Do you realise….you stupid old man, that you’d have died in the Cave of Skulls if Ian hadn’t made fire for you?” Barbara
The conflict between the main characters and the threat of an evil alien presence on board, is pretty riveting from the off. Coupled with Susan’s attempted scissor attack on her human colleagues, and the Doc’s threat to cast them into space. The stark alien-ness of the Doctor and Susan versus the two humans is pretty evident here also.
There is a very real air of tension and foreboding here and considering this was shot in the Tardis only, with no other characters; makes Edge Of Destruction an exercise in effective minimalism.
The twist of the events being caused by the Tardis itself and not an alien presence, is a satisfying twist to proceedings. However, this does lead to a rather rushed resolution.
We also learn some interesting tit-bits in Edge Of Destruction , including; the Doctor and Susan travelled extensively before An Unearthly Child they nearly lost the Tardis on one trip, the Tardis is “alive” and the Doctor appears to have only 1 working heart, after Ian checks him over when he faints.
Edge Of Destruction can best be summed up as the original template – for a fully ‘Tardis-bound’ episode, which proves that a “monster of the week” is not always required.