As part of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who, The BBC commissioned a biopic of sorts of William Hartnell the first Doctor. Written by Mark Gatiss, this made-for-TV movie purports to tell the first days of the seminal BBC children's show. (well, it started out as a children show.)
In 1963 the BBC had brought over Sydney Newman from Canada. He wanted to bring serious science-fiction to British children's television. He came up with the basic idea of a grandfatherly man with a Time Machine you could visit all time and space. To actually create and produce the show, he brought in Verity Lambert. This was unheard of at the time, because no woman at that time had ever produced mainline BBC television.
Bringing Dr. who did TV was an uphill battle. Lambert fought with casting, the scenery designer, and even Sydney Newman himself. But her stubbornness paid off-soon Doctor Who would be the number one British children's television program.
“An Adventure in Time and Space” tells the story of Verity Lambert, Waris Hussein and William Hartnell’s interactions and struggles to bring Doctor Who to life.
Okay, now that I've got all that out-of-the-way, was it a good movie? I mean, really, that's all we really want to know isn't it?
Simply, yes it is.
The performances are stellar, The casting is incredible, and the direction makes you feel like it has a budget much larger than it was. David Bradley does a masterful job portraying William Hartnell, the first Doctor. He looks like him. He sounds like him. I would be very surprised if we do not see him as the first Doctor in something very soon. Jessica Raine plays Verity Lambert as driven and resourceful, but she never falls into the trap of making Ms. Newman into a modern feminist. Ms. Raine takes the script and makes the politics of BBC TV into something that is easily understandable by US audiences.
Although strictly speaking, not science-fiction, it is a welcome addition to the celebration of Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. And a lot of fun to boot.
This review was written using new dictation software. Hopefully it will enable me to contribute a bit more over the next few months.