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An Unearthly Child ~ The Tribe of Gum

Going back in time

To help rediscover fire

For the Tribe of Gum

An Unearthly Child

After the first episode which is entirely centred on the main characters, the next episode, “The Cave of Skulls” sees no sign of them for the first few minutes. Instead the focus is shifted onto a group of people possibly from around the ice age who are looking to rediscover fire.

It is an interesting point that it is the rediscovery of fire that is sought. This quite political tribe has a member, Kal (the figure who cast the shadow at the end of the first episode), who upon seeing the Doctor use matches, aims to use the Doctor’s knowledge of fire making to help him become the leader of the tribe. The Doctor is subsequently kidnapped by Kal who then  takes the Doctor back to the tribe. When Ian, Barbara and Susan discover that the Doctor is missing, Susan says something must have happened because he wouldn’t have left his notebook containing codes for the TARDIS and details of their travels.

20/20 hindsight Could this notebook be similar/the same to the one carried by River Song?

In a scene in the TARDIS, there is the first “joke” on the name of the program with Ian calling the Doctor “Doctor Foreman” to which he replies “Doctor Who?”

The Doctor was also willing to give the tribe his matches with which to make fire with no mention of the “web of time” or that history may be changed, the fact that he doesn’t have the matches with him is the reason he does not do so.

This story would be strange to look at if you had only seen new Who. Although it is part of the same “story” as an unearthly child, there is (literally) a world of difference. The first part could be a modern-day drama but here is something rather different. This is a power struggle to see who will be the new leader, following the (unseen) death of the previous leader. The former leader’s wife fears the fire and think it will bring death and destruction to the tribe. She is partly correct as she is killed in the power struggle between Kal and Za. The crew is also kept prisoners for the first (but not, by any means, the last) but this helps forge them together as a team. I also cannot recall another episode set in this type of era. There have been stories with developing civilisations but most have advanced beyond this stage. Let me know if I’m wrong…

Now I’m off to watch the beginning of a legend…

Episode Titles

  1. An Unearthly Child (click here for this episode)
  2. The Cave of Skulls
  3. The Forest of Fear
  4. The Firemaker
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One Response

  1. […] An Unearthly Child (and The Tribe Of Gum) […]

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