I have recently acquainted myself with William Hartnell's tenure as the Doctor after wanting to explore more about the Whoniverse following the 2005 television series revival starring Christopher Eccleston. I can honestly say that William Hartnell, is, for me, THE Doctor and I am fervently exploring his first recorded adventures with Ian, Barbara and his granddaughter Susan.
`The Sensorites' follows `The Aztecs', a historical entry into the show's first season and this television story is the intervening sci-fi element. The story has somewhat garnered a few bad reviews over the decades for some reasons and, according to the official DVD release, many people seem to shun the story and the concept altogether. For me, `The Sensorites' delivers a very entertaining trip into future elements of Lambert's developing Whoniverse, with entwining elements of science-fiction, foreign relations between different species (mirroring the 1960s racial movements) and corrupted politics within a class-based society.
I particularly appreciate the more active role of Susan given to Carole Anne Ford, which she more than welcomed according to extant interviews, due to her character's apparent tendency to act more younger than she actually was (though in fact Susan is meant to appear as a fifteen year-old schoolgirl). Susan becomes able to communicate with the sensorites telepathically and this leads to arguments and disagreements with her grandfather due to her apparent rebellious behaviour. The sensorites themselves are portrayed as a race quite young in their political and economic stabilisation and they are extremely distrusting towards other species and races from other worlds. In fact, Russell T Davies has stated that the sensorites from this serial were the inspiration for his creation of the Ood in the revived series, with the `Sense-Sphere' being in the same sector as the `Ood-Sphere'.
The serial itself fares pretty well on Audio CD format, even if it isn't a `lost' story. I have watched the serial many times; on VHS and on the newly released and re-mastered DVD. The atmosphere of uneasiness and suspicion is still evident throughout on the soundtrack and the linking narration by William Russell provides a handy visual guide as to what is occurring on-screen when no characters are heard. Even though it will always be best to watch `The Sensorites' in its entirety via the DVD release, the Audio CD is a nice little accompaniment to the audio series of `lost' episodes and provides a completely new way of exploring this classic serial.