Doctor Who: The Sensorites (Story #7)

doctor who the sensorites story #7 dvd cover william hartnell
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

An entertaining old Doctor Who serial

Doesn't feel entirely consistent with other Doctor Who stories


Quit telling me about the Key Master..I don’t care if you are the Gate Keeper

The Doctor (William Hartnell), Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), and Ian (William Russell) find the TARDIS has arrived on a ship with the crew disabled by an alien group called the Sensorites.  The Sensorites fear humans and worry that they threaten to invade their planet the Sense-Sphere.  When Ian gets sick, the Doctor realizes that something is poisoning the water supply and tries to prove that he can help…but members of the Sensorites question if the Doctor is lying.

Doctor Who:  The Sensorites aired in the first season of the long running BBC.  The serial aired in six parts from June 20, 1964 to August 1, 1964 (Chapter 1:  Strangers in Space; Chapter 2:  The Unwilling Warriors; Chapter 3:  Hidden Danger; Chapter 4:  A Race Against Death; Chapter 5:  Kidnap; Chapter 6:  A Desperate Venture).  Following Doctor Who:  The Aztecs, Doctor Who:  The Sensorites was collected as part of The William Hartnell Years as Story #7.


Seriously Susan…quit pretending you have psychic powers!

Doctor Who’s oldest episodes are always a bit strange.  You can see the writers starting to try to form something here and raise the show above the simple kids’ show that it started as.  The Sensorites has some good moments and does have some connections to the current Doctor Who storylines.

The characters continue to develop here.  In this entry, you learn that Susan has slight psychic abilities that surface due to how the Sense-Sphere augments psychic abilities.  The power feels really thrown in to advance the story, but it also dissipates when the characters leave so it serves its purpose (and plants the idea that different Time Lords have different powers).  The other aspect that hasn’t been brought up is the Doctor’s multiple hearts.  At a point in the story, the Sensorites intends to assassinate the characters and don’t know where a human heart is located (they assume the Doctor is human).  It is a little thing and it doesn’t really fall out of continuity, but in later episodes it would be an issue.


Wait…are you the Sensorite I was talking to earlier?

The Sensorites themselves are kind of interesting.  The characters look alike which becomes a plot point when one Sensorite impersonates another to trick the Doctor and his allies, but it also hurts the story.  Without being able to really distinguish the multiple Sensorites by the actors’ masks, it sometimes is hard to realize which Sensorite is which.  It been revealed (and slightly referenced) that the Oods are from a planet near the Sense-Sphere and have a similar background with the characters.

Doctor Who at this point looks relatively cheap…because it is.  The sets, costumes, and everything is low budget, but that is what you expect when you check out an old Doctor Who.  The beginning of the serial is a bit odd in that it almost feels like it is going to be a flashback episode with the Doctor and his companions reflecting on their adventures…only to launch into a new one.  That is the best part about Doctor Who.  If you don’t like a serial, you get another chance with the next one.  Doctor Who:  The Sensorites was followed by Doctor Who:  The Reign of Terror.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Aztecs (Story #6)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Reign of Terror (Story #8)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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