50 years ago the BBC decided to commission a science fiction series, something to fill the Saturday Night slot, something that would appeal to children. They wanted it to be fun, exciting, scary, interesting and teach the viewers something about history. I’m talking of course, about Doctor Who.
50 years on and Doctor Who is still going strong. It’s had its ups and downs of course. Who can forget Colin Baker’s era or that pathetic TV Movie that so many of us have had to sit through, however it has remained intact, constantly in the public’s mind. And now 50 years on and the modern audience are given a chance to go back and watch Doctor Who’s humble beginnings unfold in the shape of a new TV Drama by Doctor Who enthusiast Mark Gatiss.
The new drama ‘An Adventure in Time and Space’ tells the story of Doctor Who’s original producer Verity Lambert, who, after becoming spellbound with the concept of Doctor Who, fought very hard to get the show off the ground. It also focuses on actor William Hartnell, who took on the role of the first Doctor after being typecast in many ‘hard man’ roles.
The show starts at the end of William Hartnell’s tenure as Doctor and, through a variety of flashback we see Doctor Who’s very beginnings. The show was written superbly and is a perfect tribute to the 50th anniversary which is coming up today. Mark Gatiss really must be praised. The writing and very essence of the drama was beautiful and in my eyes he can be finally be forgiven for turning the Daleks into large, robot Jelly babies.
David Bradley’s performance brought tears to my eyes as we see Hartnell’s medical condition overpower him until he had to eventually leave the show. We also see the irritable and abrupt side to Hartnell that has been unearthed in interviews, something I’m glad the writers didn’t skate around.
My only criticism would be some of the likenesses. Maureen O’Brien’s double was laughable whilst I was particularly amused at whoever they had dragged of the street to play the part is Patrick Troughton. But it’s fine isn’t it. Who cares?
A stunning piece of work and a great tribute to Doctor Who’s early days. Well done Gatiss and happy birthday Doctor Who!