An Adventure in Space and Time
|An Adventure in Space and Time|
|Directed by||Terry McDonough|
|Produced by||Matt Strevens|
|Written by||Mark Gatiss|
|Music by||Edmund Butt|
|Editing by||Philip Kloss|
|Original channel||BBC Two
BBC Two HD
|Release date||21 November 2013|
|Running time||83 minutes|
An Adventure in Space and Time is a British television docudrama commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the science fiction series Doctor Who, which tells the story of its creation. It is written by the Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss. Details of the film were announced by the BBC on 9 August 2012, with the programme airing on BBC Two in the United Kingdom on 21 November 2013, on BBC America in the United States and Space in Canada on 22 November 2013, on UKTV in New Zealand on 22 November 2013 and on ABC1 in Australia on 24 November 2013. The TV programme was shown in a pre-screening at the British Film Institute in Southbank on 12 November 2013.
In 1966, William Hartnell (David Bradley) is in his dressing room at the BBC. He insults a stagehand who calls him to the set, where the delay caused by his absence is noticed. Hartnell enters in costume, ready to film his last moments as the Doctor and stands in front of the TARDIS console. First gazing at the ceiling, he lowers his head and closes his eyes.
Three years earlier, BBC executive Sydney Newman (Brian Cox) is asked to create a show that will fill the gap between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury. He has an idea for a science-fiction series with the central character being a "doctor", although he does not know of what. When he tells his colleague Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine) she is hesitant to join the project. She changes her mind when Newman asks her to be the producer, not his assistant. Lambert and the show's director, Waris Hussein (Sacha Dhawan), meet William Hartnell to offer him the lead role in what will eventually be titled Doctor Who and, despite some trepidation, he accepts.
During a rehearsal, Hartnell is dissatisfied that the TARDIS lacks an interior set. Newman then compliments Hartnell's acting ability to save his producer from a troublesome conversation. However, Newman has misgivings about Lambert's handling of her job. This inspires Lambert to become more assertive and she forces the set designer to finally create the TARDIS interior. He does so effortlessly, impressing Lambert. The recording of the pilot episode is beset with difficulties; Newman dislikes the result and orders a re-shoot. Following this, he is finally contented and schedules a transmission date.
After the broadcast of the first episode, Lambert and Hussein are nervous, as it occurs the day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and its potential audience is diminished. Newman summons Lambert and tells her of Controller of BBC1 Donald Baverstock's (Mark Eden) request to cancel the show, but Lambert emphasises her belief in it and asks him to repeat the first episode before the second is screened. For the next serial, Newman expresses his concern about the Daleks, referring to them as "bug-eyed monsters", which he refused to allow on the show since its creation. However, Lambert eventually convinces him. Following the transmission of the first Dalek story, Lambert realises its popularity when she spots children impersonating the creatures' catchphrase, "Exterminate". Newman is pleased to tell her that the programme achieved a viewership of 10 million and continued production is now assured.
As most of the original cast and crew (including Hussein and Lambert) gradually move on to other projects, Hartnell's health declines, which leads to him forget lines and require scenes to be re-shot — something the BBC can ill-afford. Hartnell meets with Newman and asks for a reduced workload, but the decision has already been taken to replace him. Hartnell has grown to embrace playing the Doctor and struggles with his emotional attachment to the character. However, he reluctantly accepts the situation. As he later informs his wife, Heather (Lesley Manville), of the news he breaks into tears and says, "I don't want to go."
Before his final scene, Hartnell shares a brief exchange with his successor, Patrick Troughton (Reece Shearsmith). As the cameras are about to record, Hartnell looks across the main console. He sees Matt Smith, who will play the same role nearly 50 years later, and who silently acknowledges Hartnell's legacy.
The drama is produced by Matt Strevens, and directed by Terry McDonough. Filming began in February 2013. The production was based at the Wimbledon Studios in London, with shooting also taking place at BBC Television Centre.
On Sunday 17 February 2013, location filming for the drama took place early in the morning on Westminster Bridge in London. This involved replicas of 1960s Dalek props crossing the bridge, in a recreation of a famous scene from the 1964 Doctor Who serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Interior scenes replicating early Doctor Who production at Lime Grove Studios were also filmed, showing 1963-era cameras and studio equipment.
To make the drama understandable to a general audience not knowledgeable about the history of Doctor Who, not all of those involved in its creation are represented in the script. For example, the programme's original story editor David Whitaker does not appear, and his role is merged with that of associate producer Mervyn Pinfield. Also absent were Doctor Who co-creators Donald Wilson, who was head of BBC serials between 1962-65 and C.E. Webber, who was a BBC staff writer during the 1960s.
Part of the production involved the recreation of scenes from the classic series, some of which are from missing episodes such as Marco Polo. Mark Gatiss had stated that his ambitions included filming the death of Sara Kingdom from the missing episode 12 of The Daleks' Master Plan, using actress Jean Marsh (who originally played the character in 1965) to play the increasingly aging Sara, and using Super 8 footage of the Radio Times publicity photo-shoot for The Three Doctors, but the budget could not accommodate them.
A number of the cast have appeared in Doctor Who at one time or another, most notably William Russell and Carole Ann Ford. David Bradley appeared in the Series 7 episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", while Jessica Raine was in the Series 7 episode "Hide", both alongside Matt Smith as the Doctor; Jeff Rawle was in the Season 21 serial Frontios with Peter Davison; Mark Eden appeared as the title character in the Season 1 serial Marco Polo with William Hartnell; Nicholas Briggs has played the voice of the Daleks since the series was revived in 2005 and Brian Cox voiced the Elder Ood in The End of Time. Jean Marsh and Anneke Wills, who both played companions to Hartnell's First Doctor also appeared during Verity Lambert's leaving party scene.
Doctor Who actors
- David Bradley as William Hartnell, who portrayed the First Doctor
- Jamie Glover as William Russell, who portrayed Ian Chesterton
- Jemma Powell as Jacqueline Hill, who portrayed Barbara Wright
- Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford, who portrayed Susan Foreman
- Anna-Lisa Drew as Maureen O'Brien, who portrayed Vicki
- Reece Shearsmith as Patrick Troughton, who portrayed the Second Doctor
- Sophie Holt as Jackie Lane, who portrayed Dodo Chaplet
- Nicholas Briggs as Peter Hawkins, original voice of the Daleks and Cybermen
- Toby Hadoke as the Cyril the caveman
- Brian Cox as Sydney Newman, co-creator
- Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert, original producer
- Sacha Dhawan as Waris Hussein, original director
- Sarah Winter as Delia Derbyshire, creator of composer Ron Grainer's theme tune recording
- Jeff Rawle as Mervyn Pinfield, associate producer
- Andrew Woodall as Rex Tucker, director
- Ian Hallard as Richard Martin, director
- David Annen as Peter Brachacki, original production designer
- Sam Hoare as Douglas Camfield, director
- Mark Eden as Donald Baverstock, controller of BBC1
- Lesley Manville as Heather Hartnell, wife of William Hartnell
- Cara Jenkins as Judith "Jessica" Carney, granddaughter of William Hartnell
- William Russell as Harry
- Carole Ann Ford as Joyce
- Ross Gurney-Randall as Reg
- Reece Pockney as Alan
- Charlie Kemp as Arthur
- Roger May as Len
- Kit Connor as Charlie
- Matt Smith as himself
- Jean Marsh (uncredited cameo)
- Anneke Wills (uncredited cameo)
- Donald Tosh (uncredited cameo)
Gatiss first pitched the idea of such a drama to the BBC for the programme's fortieth anniversary in 2003, submitting a proposal to BBC Four. However, the proposal was rejected by the BBC, and Gatiss was told there was no available slot or budget for such a programme. Ten years prior to Gatiss's pitch, at the time of Doctor Who's thirtieth anniversary in 1993, film-maker Kevin Davies had proposed a similar project called The Legend Begins to the BBC. The Legend Begins would have mixed documentary interviews with those responsible for the creation of Doctor Who with a dramatised strand showing the programme's beginnings. Eventually, the dramatisation idea was abandoned in favour of a standard documentary format looking at the entire history of Doctor Who, which was eventually broadcast on BBC1 as Doctor Who: Thirty Years in the TARDIS in November 1993. When interviewed in 2003, Mark Gatiss said that he was unaware of Davies's earlier The Legend Begins proposal when he first came up with the idea for his programme.
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