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January 30th, 2013 44 comments

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David Bradley to play William Hartnell

David Bradley to play William Hartnell in Celebration of Doctor Who

As part of the BBC’s blockbuster celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, David Bradley (Harry Potter) is set to play the first ever Doctor, the iconic William Hartnell in the BBC Two drama ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’.

‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ will tell the story of the genesis of Doctor Who – first aired on 23 November 1963 – and the many personalities involved. The BBC’s Head of Drama Sydney Newman, credited with the creation of the show, will be portrayed by Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Identity) and the producer, Verity Lambert, by ‘Call the Midwife’ star Jessica Raine. The director of the first ever episode, ‘An Unearthly Child’, Waris Hussein, will be played by Sacha Dhawan (History Boys, Last Tango In Halifax).

Commenting on his upcoming role, David Bradley, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled. I first heard about this role from Mark [Gatiss] while watching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla from the roof of the National Theatre. When he asked if I would be interested, I almost bit his hand off! Mark has written such a wonderful script not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television’s history. William Hartnell was one of the finest character actors of our time and as a fan I want to make sure that I do him justice. I’m so looking forward to getting started.”

The one-off 90-minute BBC Cymru Wales produced drama is written by Mark Gatiss who will also act as executive producer alongside Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner.

Mark Gatiss, executive producer and writer, said:

“What a cast! I’m utterly delighted that everyone’s favourite Time Lord will be in such brilliant and stellar company. We have a terrific team who can’t wait to tell the fascinating and surprising story of how the Doctor began his journey through Space and Time.”

Filming begins at the beginning of February at Television Centre before moving to Wimbledon Studios. It is produced by Matt Strevens (Misfits, Skins) and directed by Terry McDonough (Breaking Bad, The Street).



  • the astronaut of death

    February 7th, 2013 - 8:17pm

    Gi have just found out that matt smith is going to be in a Hollywood film called how to catch a monster at it starts filming in APRIL

    and Steven Moffatt said doctor the 50th anniversary is going to filming in APRIL


    February 7th, 2013 - 12:48am


  • doctor smith

    February 6th, 2013 - 6:22pm

    hmm i like him. i hope in the end credits they put his name in because i watched the five doctors and it said william hartnell

    • Some bloke

      February 6th, 2013 - 7:08pm

      yes but only really because he featured at the beginning of the story with the ‘One day, I shall come back…’ speech If they use small clips of the actual show, when they show the filming of it, then maybe 🙂


    February 6th, 2013 - 10:09am

    A newcomer to acting called Claudia Grant is said today to be playing Carol Ann Ford / Susan Foreman.

  • That Wi-Fi over there

    February 1st, 2013 - 8:58pm

    isnt it odd that this film is longer than the 50th anniversary special? shouldn’t they make the 50th anniversary special 90 mins & this film 60 mins?

    • Some bloke

      February 3rd, 2013 - 3:54pm

      i agree

    • Don’t diss the sonic!!!

      February 3rd, 2013 - 6:58pm

      it just doesn’t make any sense

    • drjakeyoung

      February 3rd, 2013 - 7:37pm

      totally agree with you

  • Hector Sandler

    January 31st, 2013 - 7:18am

    Well that great. Remember another actor had to play first doctor because William Hartnell pass away in 1976. I couldn’t remember that actor name. It will great. I wish same thing his 2 other successors.


      January 31st, 2013 - 10:23am

      William Hartnell actually died on the 23rd April 1975.

      Richard Hurndall played William’s Doctor in 1983’s 20th Anniversary story ‘The Five Doctors’.

    • Rooners

      January 31st, 2013 - 12:57pm

      It will be interesting to see if this drama will act as a segue into a 50th Anniversay multi doctor story featuring the 1st Doctor played by non other than….David Bradley….Hmmmm…I wonder 🙂


      January 31st, 2013 - 2:38pm

      No, David is not playing the 1st Doctor as part of an 11 Doctors story [which won’t ever be happening anyway so fan’s hoping for a multi-Doctor story of all the Doctors might as well just get over it, cos the first 3 are dead, they won’t look good if brought back CGI form, the Baker Doctors lets be honest with ourselves here are porky, and old Christopher Eccleston wan’t nothing to do with Doctor Who now what so ever since he quit], his playing William Hartnell as part of a story called ‘An Adventure in Space and Time]’ showing the making of Doctor Who in during 1963.

    • booboo

      January 31st, 2013 - 9:56pm

      i think most people know the 1st 3 are dead but to be honest it wont be much of an anniversary if the others aren’t included in some shape or form

    • Rooners

      January 31st, 2013 - 4:22pm

      I dont think you read my comment properly. I understand he is playing the role of the actor, William Hartnell in the drama…I am merely speculating on whether that could be a clever way of introducing him as the First Doctor in a multi-story episode. However, you clearly have inside knowledge, so this wont be happening…but it was an interesting idea

    • Mr Zarbi

      January 31st, 2013 - 6:54pm

      I think he’s better than Hurndall he has the Hartnell anger.

  • DalekTheSupreme

    January 31st, 2013 - 2:58am

    This guy looks so much like William Hartnell when I first saw the picture I thought “So THAT’S what Hartnell looks like without his wig!” Just a testament to how stupid I am 😀

  • pathdw98

    January 31st, 2013 - 2:24am

    does anyone know when we will find out who will play william russell(ian), jacquline hill(barbara) and carole ann ford(susan)? because that looks a fantastic cast so far.


      January 31st, 2013 - 10:25am

      Not yet, but over the coming months before the BIG day on Saturday 23rd November 2013, we will know eventually know who are going to be playing them.

  • Mr Evil Fez

    January 30th, 2013 - 8:13pm

    David looks exactly like William Hartnell!

  • crazy guy

    January 30th, 2013 - 6:04pm

    hey at first i just thought this was a documentary but now is it some sort of film like the morecambe and wise film telling how they became comedians


      January 30th, 2013 - 6:32pm

      Yeah, the same thing happened with Coronation Street about 2 or 3 years back.

    • booboo

      January 30th, 2013 - 8:23pm

      that’s it exactly, it should be brilliant viewing

    • crazyguy

      January 31st, 2013 - 8:12am

      oh cool as i loved the morecambe and wise one all though they are the best comedians ever but i really looking forward to this anyway gtg i am going on holiday to Florida in an hour bye


    January 30th, 2013 - 2:57pm

    not a bad choice

  • pathdw98

    January 30th, 2013 - 2:45pm

    Now that david bradley is playing william hartnell in this special,I wonder if he’ll play the first doctor in the actual anniversary episode? what do others think?


      January 30th, 2013 - 3:15pm

      I think we will see him both as William Hartnell and as William Hartnell in character as the Doctor filming ‘An Unearthly Child’.

  • Some bloke

    January 30th, 2013 - 1:06pm

    I reckon once in make up and costume, he’ll look just like hartnell, (assuming they will at least recreate behind the scenes filming from unearthly child)

    • Anonymous

      January 30th, 2013 - 1:14pm

      I hope the daleks feture in this

    • booboo

      January 30th, 2013 - 1:16pm

      depends on how far they go, i would like to see the story behind their design and eventual appearance included in this

    • Some bloke

      January 30th, 2013 - 3:04pm

      i agree with booboo, i’m really excited to see it, should be a great piece of tele-visual history

  • drjakeyoung

    January 30th, 2013 - 12:40pm


  • Doctor who what when where why

    January 30th, 2013 - 12:22pm

    Both of the brian cox have been on doctor who brian cox -elder ood in the end of time and the other one playing himself in the power of three


    January 30th, 2013 - 8:53am

    Oh no, not Brian Cox, me and my dad find that guy so utterly irritating when he talks about the Universe while he appears to be grinning like a lunatic, and he don’t even look anything like Sydney Newman.

    Jessica Raine I’m not familiar with, but I recognized her when I looked up pictures of her on Google. She don’t look like Verity Lambert in my opinion, infact as soon as pictures from Google started to turn up I thought she look a bit like David Tennant’s wife Georgia Tenant [Georgia Moffat].

    Don’t know who Sacha Dhawan is either, but looking up pictures of him on Google also, I think he does look a little like Waris Hussain.

    • McGann is the Doctor

      January 30th, 2013 - 9:26am

      I think they are referring to Brian Cox the actor who was in X-men 2 as William Stryker, and Red Eye as the girl’s dad who pops a cap in Cillian Murphy.

      Plus I once hired a cab-driver who looks like him.

    • booboo

      January 30th, 2013 - 9:28am

      its not that Brain Cox


      January 30th, 2013 - 10:02am

      Oh it’s not ? . . . . . THANK GOD FOR THAT 😀


      January 31st, 2013 - 12:27am

      Sorry Booboo it is that Brian Cox.

  • Anonymous

    January 30th, 2013 - 8:25am

    I knew that one day he’ll come back yes he would come back. This is great he evan looks like bill. I can not wait. Sadly the real aniversery story is only 60 minutes

    • booboo

      January 30th, 2013 - 8:28am

      I’m almost looking forward to this more than the special,especially if they recreate the Tardis etc

  • John Smith

    January 30th, 2013 - 8:25am

    I’m surprised that I didn’t realize that he looks like William Hartnell! But that is a very good choice. Looking forward to it!

  • dan

    January 30th, 2013 - 8:15am

    Great news. 90mins long too yet the actual special for the 50th is only 60mins long. Shame. Good to see Gatiss in producer role, ready to take over from Steven Moffet me thinks?


    January 30th, 2013 - 8:15am

    Ohhhhhh, the crazy old man from Simon ‘The Editor from Doctor Who – Series 1’ Pegg’s fantastic movie ‘Hot Fuzz’ . . . . NICE ONE !!!! 😀

  • Jamie Bate

    January 30th, 2013 - 7:34am

    This is fantastic news, I should imagine he can carry the role off very well, not to mention he bearing quite a resemblance to Hartnell.


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