A look behind the scenes of the making of An Adventure in Space and Time, a special one-off drama that travels back to 1963 to see how Doctor Who was first brought to the screen. Actor William Hartnell felt trapped by a succession of hard-man roles. Wannabe producer Verity Lambert was frustrated by the TV industry’s glass ceiling. Both of them were to find unlikely hope and unexpected challenges in the form of a Saturday tea-time drama. Allied with a team of unusual but brilliant people, they went on to create the longest running science fiction series ever made.
Radio Times is chuffed that Mark Gatiss is calling his drama about Doctor Who’s birth An Adventure in Space and Time. This was the tagline RT printed on the billing for episode one in 1963 and indeed on all 253 editions in the 60s. For Gatiss, the 90-minute special (filming now and due to air in November on BBC2) is “quite simply a dream come true”. He describes it as “the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original”.
David Bradley (Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films) is playing William Hartnell, the actor who was initially reluctant to take on the role of the mysterious time traveller. He soon fell in love with the character and was sad to leave in 1966. He died in 1975. Bradley says when Gatiss offered him the part, “I almost bit his hand off.” Our first picture of Bradley in character shows him on the second day of shooting last week, with Lesley Manville as Hartnell’s devoted wife, Heather.
Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine has been cast as producer Verity Lambert (then just 27), while Brian Cox (the international film star, not the prof ) is playing the “father” of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman, a flamboyant Canadian who was BBC head of drama.
The only surviving member of the quartet who created the series is Indian-born director Waris Hussein. He’s helped Gatiss with his “meticulous research” and is delighted to be a key character in the drama. “I am to be portrayed by my doppelganger, Sacha Dhawan, a handsome actor. Vanity prevails!” he jokes. Recently seen in Last Tango in Halifax, Dhawan was one of the original History Boys (in the play and movie).
Filming began on 3 February at BBC Television Centre, on what is likely to be the last drama made on the site before it’s redeveloped. Executive producer Caroline Skinner tells RT: “As the BBC moves out of TV Centre, we are moving the cast and crew for An Adventure in Space and Time in! It’s a fantastic opportunity to film this momentous story in the actual location – a little bit of television history.”
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via Doctor Who: Exclusive set picture from An Adventure in Space and Time | Radio Times.