While audiences are gearing up for The Day Of The Doctor, Doctor Who fans can also expect another great special coming from the BBC called An Adventure In Space And Time – telling the story of how Doctor Who came to be in real life, 50 years ago on November 23 – an valuable depiction of the beginning of what would become a cultural phenomenon and the longest-running sci-fi series in history.
Mark Gatiss, of Doctor Who and Sherlock fame, writes and produces the special, which features David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) as William Hartnell – the first Doctor – in a piece of casting that sees Bradley look just like Hartnell. The similarities are eerie.
An Adventure In Space And Time tells of how the television show came into being, the importance of first showrunner Verity Lambert (played by Jessica Raine), and the world-shattering approach in the impossible task of trying to tell stories on poor budgeting and how much of a phenomenon the series quickly became.
Following its launch on November 23, 1963, the special proceeds to depict the time of William Hartnell as the First Doctor, leading up to the first regeneration into Second Doctor Patrick Troughton (played by Reece Shearsmith).
A co-production between BBC Cymru Wales and BBC America, the official synopsis published by the BBC also reads:
“An Adventure in Space and Time is principally a human interest story you can enjoy even if you know nothing about Doctor Who,” says writer and executive producer, Mark Gatiss. “You’ll see the story of some amazing people who come together under extraordinary circumstances to create this wonderful thing that is still with us today.”
An unlikely trio of misfits set out to create a genre series that all ages would love. A 55-year-old actor conceivably at the end of a frustrating career, a former production assistant fighting to make her mark in television, and a foreign born, novice director were tasked with bringing a vision for an exciting new science fiction story to life. William ‘Bill’ Hartnell, displeased with his career, was presented with a chance to break out of the hard-man roles he’d become known for. And with the instincts of first time producer, Verity Lambert and first time director, Waris Hussein, The Doctor was born.
As the success of the show grew, William went from unhappy curmudgeon to beloved television star who relished his career resurgence and found a new lease on life. But all good things come to an end. How will Bill face leaving behind the part that has made him a hero to millions of children? And can the show survive without him? Journey back fifty years through space and time to witness the exciting beginning and untimely end of the First Doctor in this touching drama.
An Adventure In Space And Time is part of the ongoing celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. It will air on BBC America on Friday, November 22 at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific. Furthermore, The Day Of The Doctor airs the following day; and the IDW comic series Prisoners Of Time races towards its conclusion in celebration of the anniversary.
An Adventure In Time And Space High Res Poster
Waris Hussein and Verity Lambert
An Adventure In Time And Space – Doctor Who – BBC
Daleks in a screenshot from The Dalek Invasion of Earth