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What's in a Name..?

By Jon Preddle

Several requests have come in for a listing of the episode titles for the William Hartnell stories An Unearthly Child (1963) through to The Gunfighters (1966). To simply list the titles would be rather boring, so to comply with the request - and make it interesting for everyone - I have analyzed each title and tried to ascertain its meaning within the context of the episode itself. Most are easy to define but there are some that are not so obvious (the Terry Nation ones!), and I have had to pass on them. [Note: * denotes that the novelisation uses the episode title as a chapter heading.]

100,000 BC (also known as An Unearthly Child)

  1. An Unearthly Child: Obviously Susan. Ian and Barbara's curiosity about her peculiar behaviour triggers events that will lead to a 26-year institution!
  2. The Cave of Skulls: * The travellers are sealed inside the cave towards the end of the episode. The cave is filled with human skulls that have been smashed open...
  3. The Forest of Fear: * The travellers escape from the cave and hide in the nearby forest where they are hunted by wild animals and the cave men.
  4. The Firemaker: * Ian shows the tribe how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together.

The Mutants (also known as The Daleks)

  1. The Dead Planet: * The planet is Skaro, with its petrified trees. There appears to be no life...
  2. The Survivors: There has been a neutronic war on Skaro. The only survivors are the Daleks and the Thals. The Thals don't appear until Episode 3, so this title refers to the Daleks only.
  3. The Escape: Once they discover how the Daleks are powered, the travellers plan to escape by 'borrowing' a Dalek casing. They don't actually break from their cell until the closing moments of the episode.
  4. The Ambush: The Daleks lure the Thals into the city under the false promise of providing them with food supplies. The Daleks attack them and the Thal leader, Temmosus, is killed.
  5. The Expedition: A plan is formulated to attack the Dalek city. One team will attack the front; the other from the rear. The latter group starts out on a long journey through the jungle and to the Lake of Mutations...
  6. The Ordeal: The expedition faces swamp monsters, dark tunnels, and bottomless abysses on their trek through the mountains.
  7. The Rescue: The Doctor and Susan have been captured. The expedition reaches the City and mounts a rescue operation.

Inside the Spaceship (also known as The Edge of Destruction)

  1. The Edge of Destruction: The TARDIS seems to have been taken over by an alien force, and all the signs point to the ship being on the verge of imminent destruction (although this fact is not actually revealed until the next episode). Either that, or the title refers to the fact that the cast are constantly bumping into the edge of the TARDIS console, and losing their ability to act!
  2. The Brink of Disaster: * This title on the whole is the same as the previous one. In part two, the Doctor realizes that the ship is about to plunge into a sun!

Marco Polo

  1. The Roof of the World: * The TARDIS crew meets Polo's caravan on the Plateau of Pamir, a region of the Himalayan mountains which is known as the Roof of the World because it is the highest (i.e. above sea level) land point on Earth.
  2. The Singing Sands: * The caravan is caught in a sand-storm in the Gobi Desert. The sound of the fierce wind is like singing.
  3. Five Hundred Eyes: * The cave of the Five Hundred Eyes is named after the 250 assassins who hid in the cave centuries earlier. The cave is decorated with painted faces of the assassins.
  4. The Wall of Lies: * The Wall is the Great Wall of China, which the caravan follows for several days. The 'Lies' portion of the title seems to relate to Tegana's denials of being in the Cave of 500 Eyes when Susan and Ping-Cho give Marco evidence that Tegana was there.
  5. Rider from Shang-tu: * Ling-Tau, a horse-bound messenger from the Khan meets the caravan and invites them to meet the Khan at his summer palace in the city of Shang-Tu.
  6. Mighty Kublai Khan: * Kublai Khan was the ruler of China from 1216 to 1294. The travellers meet him in this episode.
  7. Assassin at Peking: In the capital city of Peking, Tegana reveals his true colours and tries to kill the Khan.

The Keys of Marinus

  1. The Sea of Death: * The island where the Conscience of Marinus is found is surrounded by sea of acid.
  2. The Velvet Web: * The city of Morpho appears to be a place of great beauty where any wish can be granted. But it is a deadly trap: the city is in ruins, and ruled by bodiless brains!
  3. The Screaming Jungle: * Darius' experiments have produced plants with an accelerated growth rate. The sound they make is like a hundred voices all talking at once.
  4. The Snows of Terror: * The travellers land in the snowy mountains and locate a key frozen within a block of ice, guarded by ice soldiers which come to life and attack them. Barbara is also attacked by the trapper called Vasor.
  5. Sentence of Death: In the city of Millenium Ian is accused of murdering a guard and is put on trial where he faces execution if found guilty.
  6. The Keys of Marinus: All six keys have been collected and returned to the island.

The Aztecs

  1. The Temple of Evil: The TARDIS lands inside an Aztec pyramid, on which Tlotoxl to performs human sacrifices!
  2. The Warriors of Death: Ian, who has been made an honorary warrior, is forced to fight Ixta, the leader of the Aztec army. The Doctor unknowingly helps Ixta defeat Ian!
  3. The Bride of Sacrifice: * Susan is selected to be the wife of the Perfect Victim - the next Aztec to be sacrificed, whose every wishes are to be granted.
  4. The Day of Darkness: * The Aztecs believe that the gods will eat the sun if there is not a sacrifice. It happens, but the event is nothing more than a solar eclipse.

The Sensorites

  1. Strangers in Space: * A difficult one to define: the TARDIS lands inside an Earth ship from the 28th century which is in orbit around an alien world. The crew are from Earth, and are being kept prisoner by the Sensorites.
  2. The Unwilling Warriors: * This most likely refers to the Sensorites themselves, who are revealed to be timid creatures that don't like loud noises or bright lights. The two Sensorites who visit the spaceship probably belong to the warrior caste.
  3. Hidden Danger: * The City Administrator fears that the Earthlings have come to destroy them, and he secretly plans to kill them all with the disintegrator gun.
  4. A Race Against Death: * Ian has been infected with the mysterious virus that has been killing the Sensorites. The Doctor races to find a cure to save his friend.
  5. Kidnap: At the end of the episode, Carol is snatched by an unidentified assailant...
  6. A Desperate Venture: * The Doctor and Ian have been captured by the insane Earthmen, so Barbara and John go into the sewers to find them.

The Reign of Terror

  1. A Land of Fear: The travellers arrive in France, 1794, in the midst of the terrifying French Revolution.
  2. Guests of Madame Guillotine: Susan, Ian and Barbara are taken to the Conciergerie prison to await execution by the guillotine.
  3. A Change of Identity: The Doctor arrives in Paris and assumes the guise of a Provincial Officer from Pantoise in order to gain access to the prison and free his friends.
  4. The Tyrant of France: * Robespierre, the man responsible for the revolution, makes his first appearance in the story during this episode.
  5. A Bargain of Necessity: The Doctor makes a deal with Lemaitre, the prison warden, to let the traitor called Susan escape, and they can then follow her to her fellow plotters.
  6. Prisoners of Conciergerie: Susan is still a prisoner, so the others plan to get her released.

Planet of Giants

  1. Planet of Giants: The TARDIS and crew have shrunk, making everything they encounter seem like giants. The planet is of course Earth.
  2. Dangerous Journey: The crew make their way into Forrester's laboratory, and the Doctor and Susan are trapped in the sink. (The original title was Death in the Afternoon but since Farrow's murder took place in part 1, it was deemed unsuitable and changed).
  3. Crisis: Barbara has touched some of the insecticide and could die. The travellers try to phone the police about the murder. (Planet of Giants was originally filmed as a 4-parter, but re-edited into 3 parts. Episode 3 was Crisis, and Episode 4 was called The Urge to Live which could relate to the travellers' instinct to save Barbara).

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

  1. World's End: A clever title, with two meanings; the travellers are aware that Earth has been invaded, but not by whom. World's End is also the slang name given to the region of the Thames near Battersea Power Station where the TARDIS lands.
  2. The Daleks: Speaks for itself!
  3. Day of Reckoning: Title meaning unknown.
  4. The End of Tomorrow: Another meaningless title.
  5. The Waking Ally: This is a tricky one. It possibly refers to the travellers trying to get the slaves at the mines to fight against the Robomen.
  6. Flashpoint: The Daleks plan to drop their bomb into the mineshaft. Ian blocks it. It explodes and creates a new volcano.

The Rescue

  1. The Powerful Enemy: The alien Koquillion has a powerful weapon with which he causes an avalanche that traps Ian and the Doctor in the caves.
  2. Desperate Measures: In this episode, Bennett explains that when he killed a crew-member on the ship, he had to resort to desperate measures to cover it up - by killing the rest of the ship's compliment and the people of Dido.

The Romans

  1. The Slave Traders: Ian and Barbara are abducted from the villa by Sevcheria and Didius and sold as slaves; Ian to a galley, and Barbara to Nero's court.
  2. All Roads Lead to Rome: All roads lead to Rome was a statement of the day referring to the Romans belief that Rome was at the centre of the known Universe. Although they have all been separated during the course of the adventure so far, the four travellers all manage to end up in the great city of Rome.
  3. Conspiracy: Poppea conspires with the court poisoner, Locusta, to kill Barbara who has taken Nero's fancy.
  4. Inferno: The Doctor accidentally sets fire to Nero's blueprints for a new City to replace Rome, and this inspires the insane Emperor to burn Rome.

The Web Planet

  1. The Web Planet: * The TARDIS is pulled to a planet, which is covered in a strange web-like substance.
  2. The Zarbi: * The TARDIS has been dragged to the Karzenome by the ant-like Zarbi, the slaves of the powerful Animus.
  3. Escape to Danger: * Ian escapes from the Karzenome and meets the Menoptera Vestrin. At the end of the episode, they hide from a Zarbi patrol, and fall into a dangerous abyss...
  4. Crater of Needles: * Barbara has been sent to the Crater of Needles where Menoptera prisoners feed needle-like shards of rock into bubbling craters to fuel the growing Karzenome.
  5. Invasion: * The Menoptra invasion forces land on the Sayo Plateau.
  6. The Centre: The travellers are taken to the centre of the Karzenome where the Animus sits like a giant spider in its web...

The Crusade

  1. The Lion: Richard I, the King of England from 1189 to 1199 was also known as the Lionheart, or the Lion. The travellers meet him in a forest.
  2. The Knight of Jaffa: * Ian is knighted by Richard in Jaffa, the city in which Richard has his base.
  3. The Wheel of Fortune: * The Wheel Of Fortune is a medieval symbol for the fall and rise of kings. It is also the Tarot card that symbolises fate or destiny. In the context of the episode it might refer to the conflict between Richard and Joanna.
  4. The Warlords: The warlords are probably Richard and El Akir.

The Space Museum

  1. The Space Museum: The Moroks have set up a museum on the planet Xeros, which houses exhibits of the Morok Empire's conquests.
  2. The Dimensions of Time: The travellers are in a parallel time stream - just one of the many 'dimensions' that time has, and in this stream they have been killed, and become displays in the museum.
  3. The Search: The Doctor has vanished (he has been taken away to be 'prepared'), so Ian sets out to find him.
  4. The Final Phase: * Vicki has incited the Xerosians to rebel, hoping that this is the final solution needed to prevent the travellers becoming exhibits.

The Chase

  1. The Executioners: * The Daleks despatch a time-machine to hunt down the TARDIS and kill the Doctor.
  2. The Death of Time: A meaningless title. The only 'death' that occurs is a that of a couple of Aridians!
  3. Flight Through Eternity: * While eluding the Daleks, the fleeing TARDIS makes random stops on the Mary Celeste, and the Empire State Building.
  4. Journey into Terror: * The ship lands in a place the Doctor believes is inside the nightmare world of dreams. They encounter such foes as Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and screaming ghosts. It is really a mechanical funfair at the Festival of Ghana.
  5. The Death of Doctor Who: The Daleks build a robot in the Doctor's image. The two 'Doctors' fight and the robot is destroyed.
  6. The Planet of Decision: The planet is Mechanus. The title probably refers to Ian and Barbara's decision to leave the TARDIS and take the Dalek ship back to Earth.

The Time Meddler

  1. The Watcher: * The TARDIS is observed landing on the beach by a mysterious fellow wearing a monk's habit.
  2. The Meddling Monk: The watcher is the Monk, although at this point in the story his plans to change history haven't been revealed, so the use of the word 'meddling' is meaningless to this episode! It is however a clue to his intent.
  3. A Battle of Wits: The Doctor realizes what it is the Monk is up to and sets about stopping him by using his wits.
  4. Checkmate: The Monk's plans to change history have been just like a game to him. 'Checkmate' is a Chess term, meaning the winning move.

Galaxy 4

  1. Four Hundred Dawns: * The Drahvins have calculated that the planet will explode in 400 days.
  2. Trap of Steel: * Steven has been forced to remain a hostage within the Drahvin spaceship. Justification of the word 'steel' in the title could be the Doctor's noting that the steel hull of the Drahvin ship is no match for the Chumblies.
  3. Air Lock: * At the end of the episode, Steven tries to escape from the Drahvins, and is trapped in the air lock - and the air is being pumped out..!
  4. The Exploding Planet: * Self explanatory - the planet explodes at the end of the episode!

Mission to the Unknown

  1. Mission to the Unknown: Marc Cory of the SSS is sent to Kembel (a planet that has been avoided by space-travellers and is therefore uncharted) on a mission to investigate several reports of Dalek activity there.

The Myth Makers

  1. Temple of Secrets: The Temple of the title is the TARDIS! The Doctor has been hailed as Zeus, and the TARDIS as his temple. The Trojans have difficulty in opening it so its 'secrets' within are hidden from them.
  2. Small Prophet, Quick Return: * 'Small profit, quick return' is an accounting term. Writer Donald Cotton has, by changing the spelling of the second word, created a clever reference to little Vicki who is hailed as a prophetess by the Trojans.
  3. Death of a Spy: The original title was Is There A Doctor In the Horse? but this was deemed too 'silly' and a new title was selected. However there wasn't a 'spy' in Cotton's script, so Cyclops (Odysseus's deaf/mute servant) was added to the script and killed off in order to justify the title!
  4. Horse of Destruction: The famous wooden horse is brought into Troy, and from its belly emerges the Greek army...

The Daleks' Master Plan

  1. The Nightmare Begins: * The allies in the Daleks' invasion of the solar system have all massed on Kembel. They must wait for the final member to arrive, and then the attack can begin. The final member, Mavic Chen, arrives at the episode's end...
  2. Day of Armageddon: * 'Armageddon' is a biblical term for supreme conflict, usually heralding the end of the world. In this episode the Alliance holds its first conference and the final preparations are made. It is decided that the 'day' of the invasion of the solar system will be in a month's time.
  3. Devil's Planet: * In this episode, the travellers land on Desperus, a prison planet, where the prisoners live like savages in order to survive.
  4. The Traitors: * The travellers and Bret Vyon are hailed as traitors by Chen and a 'shoot to kill' order put on their heads.
  5. Counter Plot: * In this episode, Chen plots with Karlton to double-cross the Daleks. By massing an attack on the Daleks as they move in on Earth, Chen will be able to seize control of the alliance forces for himself.
  6. Coronas of the Sun: A definition of this title is somewhat difficult. The corona is the bright glowing halo of light that you can see around the sun when you look at it. In the episode the Doctor makes a fake copy of the taranium core, but it doesn't have the fierce 'glow' that real taranium has. Steven uses the Spar's gravity energy field to simulate this effect.
  7. The Feast of Steven: * The Feast of Steven is a term given to Christmas Day. This episode was broadcast on Christmas day in 1965, and the title also has a clever double meaning because the Doctor's male companion at the time was Steven!
  8. Volcano: * The TARDIS makes a temporary stop on the volcanic planet of Tigus.
  9. Golden Death: * (Original title: Land of the Pharaohs *) A difficult one to pinpoint; several Egyptians - who are guarding the Pharaoh's golden treasures - are killed by Daleks. That is the best I can ascertain.
  10. Escape Switch: * To escape from Egypt and get back to Kembel, the Doctor steals the Monk's directional unit. At the end of the episode he installs it in his own ship and presses the button - and it explodes...
  11. The Abandoned Planet: * The travellers return to Kembel and find the Dalek base deserted.
  12. Destruction of Time: * The Daleks activate the awesome Time Destructor weapon and it pushes Time forwards, and then backwards. (Working titles The Mutation of Time, A Switch in Time).

The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve

  1. War of God: In France 1572, there is intense hatred between Catholics and the Huguenots (the French Protestants) because of their religious beliefs. It is a 'war' of hate.
  2. The Sea Beggar: The Sea Beggar is a title bestowed upon Admiral de Coligny because of his 'begging' to the Dutch navy to help in the French war with Spain.
  3. Priest of Death: The Abbot of Amboise (the Doctor's double) had come to Paris to arrange the murder of de Coligny who was the leader of the Huguenots.
  4. Bell of Doom: When the curfew bell rings on the morning of 24 August, it is a signal for the King's soldiers to begin the massacre of the Protestants...

The Ark

  1. The Steel Sky: * The Doctor notices that the 'sky' of the new world they have landed on is made of metal. It is in fact the hull of a huge spherical space ship.
  2. The Plague: * Dodo's cold has infected the humans, Monoids and Steven. The Doctor races against time to find a cure.
  3. The Return: * Within seconds of leaving, the TARDIS lands back on the Ark - but 700 years later, only to find that things have changed...
  4. The Bomb: The Monoids have hidden a bomb inside the statue, and once they have established themselves on Refusis II, they will detonate it, killing all the humans.

The Celestial Toymaker

  1. The Celestial Toyroom: The TARDIS lands inside the domain of the Celestial Toymaker; a world that looks like a Victorian child's nursery. The domain is 'nowhere', so the use of the word celestial is not entirely accurate.
  2. The Hall of Dolls: * Steven and Dodo use some life-sized wooden dolls as playing pieces in a deadly game of musical chairs against the Hearts, played in a large hall. Later, the dolls come to life.
  3. The Dancing Floor: Steven and Dodo's next game involves having to manoeuvre their way across a floor of deadly dancing dolls.
  4. The Final Test: * Dodo and Steven's last challenge is to play against Cyril, and be the first to cross an electrified game board, while the Doctor reaches the winning move of the Trilogic Game...

The Gunfighters

  1. A Holiday for the Doctor: A clever pun, in which the Clantons mistake the Doctor for Doc Holliday.
  2. Don't Shoot the Pianist: At the end of the previous episode, and at the beginning of this one, the Clanton brothers force Dodo and Steven at gun-point to perform the Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon. A sign saying 'Don't Shoot The Pianist' was a common sight in saloons in cowboy movies.
  3. Johnny Ringo: Ringo comes to Tombstone seeking revenge against Doc Holliday. Johnny Ringo did exist in the true historical accounts of what happened in 1881, although he wasn't a famous gunslinger as in the TV story.
  4. The OK Corral: The OK Corral was a stables situated at one end of Tombstone. Dawn on 26 October 1881 is the recorded time and place of the famous shootout, which occurs at the end of the episode.

This item appeared in TSV 29 (July 1992).