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November 4th, 2013 73 comments

An Adventure In Space And Time Thurs 21st 9.00PM

An Adventure In Space And Time

Thursday 21st November 9.00PM BBC2

This special one-off drama travels back in time to 1963 to see how the beloved 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, time travel and monsters!

Allied with a team of brilliant people, they went on to create the longest-running science fiction series ever, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Written by Mark Gatiss

Executive produced by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner

Directed by Terry McDonough

Starring David Bradley (William Hartnell); Jessica Raine (Verity Lambert); Sacha Dhawan (Waris Hussein); Lesley Manville (Heather Hartnell) and Brian Cox (Sydney Newman).

David Bradley plays William Hartnell

Acclaimed actor David Bradley talks here about taking on the portrayal of an actor he greatly admired and transforming himself into the Doctor.

A popular screen star, well regarded by his peers, William Hartnell was born in St Pancras, London in 1908. He appeared in numerous plays, films and TV shows, often playing the ‘tough guy’ role as typified by his character in the comedy ‘The Army Game’, which ran from 1957 to 1961, just prior to Doctor Who.

When he was first approached, Hartnell was widely reported to have been unconvinced by the role of Doctor.

“It has to be said”, explains David, “after some initial reluctance to do something for children’s TV, I think he was quickly convinced that it was the right thing for him to do. He felt quite insecure about it as it was new territory for him, but once he started he embraced the whole idea of the part.”

An Adventure In Space And Time tells the story behind the beginnings of Doctor Who and the team of personalities behind it. Known as a perfectionist, Hartnell was widely regarded as cantankerous by colleagues. But as David explains the script for ‘Space And Time’ reveals a full picture of Bill, including the good and the bad.

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