‘Doctor Who’ Docudrama ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ Will Explore Show’s Origins

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 31st, 2013 at 7:13 pm,

Doctor Who An Adventure in Space and Time Doctor Who Docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time Will Explore Shows Origins

In 2013, Doctor Who turns 50 – thus easily making it the longest-running science-fiction television show in history. This is a milestone made all the more impressive by the fact that the popular BBC series once looked like it might fade into obscurity during more than a decade of dormancy.

Amid rampant speculation about what current showrunner Stephen Moffat (Sherlock) is cooking up to celebrate Who‘s big birthday, we’ve learned that BBC and BBC America are creating a rather different sort of special to mark the occasion. Titled An Adventure in Space and Time, this 90-minute telemovie will feature a dramatic retelling of Doctor Who‘s beginnings in 1963.

TV Line reports that casting has begun for An Adventure in Space and Time. The man who embodied the first incarnation of the Doctor, William Hartnell, will in turn be played by David Bradley (of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones infamy). The inimitable Brian Cox (The Campaign) is set to portray BBC drama executive Sydney Newman, who helped spearhead the initial push to get Doctor Who off the ground. Jessica Raine (The Woman in Black) and Sacha Dhawan (After Earth) will play young producers Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein, who were responsible for shepherding the first Doctor Who episode, “The Unearthly Child,” into being.

An Adventure in Space and Time is being written by longtime Moffat collaborator and Sherlock scribe Mark Gatiss. Terry McDonough of Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels will direct.

Doctor Who The Unearthly Child Doctor Who Docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time Will Explore Shows Origins

An image from the first ‘Doctor Who’ episode, ‘The Unearthly Child.’

In aggregate, An Adventure in Space and Time is gathering quite the collection of talent for what might otherwise be considered a throwaway based-on-a-true-story drama. Of course, executive producer Stephen Moffat will want as lavish a treatment as possible for the origins of his pet show. The possibility for interesting dramatic tension is certainly inherent in the premise: in the early days, Doctor Who apparently encountered much network resistance because of plots deemed too frightening when it strayed from its initial format as quasi-educational children’s programming. Whether any of this is worth 90 minutes of screen time is another matter.

If anything, the production of An Adventure in Space and Time proves that Moffat and the BBC are gearing up for some rather robust festivities for Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary. If they’re devoting this much effort to a movie chronicling the inception of Doctor Who, what kind of surprises are in store for the series itself?

Doctor Who returns to BBC and BBC America March 30, 2013. An Adventure in Space and Time will air on the same networks later this year.

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Source: TV Line

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21 Comments

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  1. I would rather see a 90 minute doctor who tv film instead of this. but it still sounds interesting and ill probably check it out.

    • Don’t worry! I believe we are getting a proper special for the anniversary too! Whether it’ll be 60 minutes or 90 it’s hard to say, but for me 60 would be a bit of a letdown! Just under 10 months to find out!

  2. I only started watching DW in the late 70′s and early 80′s. I’ve been a fan ever since. Well, ever since I outgrew my fear of the spooky, psychedelic intro. That aside, I’m not all that interested in watching a docudrama about Who. I’d rather they put that time and energy into crafting a more balanced and fantastic second-half of the season. Thus far, this current season has felt a bit schizophrenic in both pacing and storyline.

    • 6 sixth season to me felt all over the place to. but i believe (hope) that with the new companion, comes a more solid second half to this season.

      • I’m with you on the sixth season and the new companion (I like how they introduced her, twice, and I’m looking forward to them unraveling how she can die twice and yet still live).

        Apart from the sixth season being all over the place, I also really didn’t like the evolving dynamic between the Doctor and his companions. There is a tried and true ratio between the Doctor and his companion. 1:1 works. Why they decided to give the companion a love interest – and a boring one at that – I’ll never know, and I certainly hope they don’t repeat this experiment again. I realize they tried to balance the equation by revealing the Doctor’s wife, but she wasn’t around often enough to keep things level.

        • Multiple companions can work, and it certainly has in the past; I just was never crazy about the Ponds. Rory was incredible uninteresting and was just being dragged around by the ear by Amy.

          I hope they go back to having simple stories instead of continuing to make convoluted season long story arcs. After the whole “Who is Clara” thing of course.

          • Rory was an insufferable boorish buffoon. I have nothing against the actor – he played the part well. I simply did not like the weird dynamic that was set up with the inclusion of a second companion. It got kinda weird watching the Doctor flirt with Amy while Rory was right there, and to have Amy constantly question her ties with Rory because of the affection she had for the Doctor. All that aside, I was happy that Amy and Rory were given a proper send-off, and I loved the extra scene (that was never filmed) showing Rory’s father…ahem…spoilers!

    • If they wanted to tell the story of the show itself just do an actual documentary I say.

      • They have. Many, many, many times over the years. Why NOT do it in a fresh, new way this time? Personally, I can’t wait to see this!

      • It’s an excuse to use lots of shaky cam, over acting and excessive drama.
        That’s why they wont do just a documentary. Everything has to be dramatic.

        • And what’s wrong with doing it as a drama? The story has already been covered in countless documentaries in the past. And I’m sure it will be covered in plenty MORE over the course of this year. Really don’t get the negativity towards the way modern dramas are typically done, nor the resistance towards this project from some fans. Do we not WANT to see something different, a familiar story told in a fresh, interesting way?

          If you don’t like “excessive drama and overacting” in a drama, where those qualities have been hallmarks of the genre since the dawn of film, then don’t watch drama since you’ll get all that and a bag of crisps in spades. And there’s nothing wrong with “shaky cam” if it adds to the visual style of a piece. This has been common since the technique was pioneered in the early 90′s, and the use of Steadicams to replace cumbersome dolly tracks for even longer.

  3. Verity Lambert didn’t create the theme song. It was composed by Ron Grainer and realized by Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

    • Thank you for the catch; the Fun Fact has been redacted. One can only hope that the composition of the theme song gets some screen time, since it really is quite a remarkable piece for its time.

  4. I like convoluted story lines. The more complicated the better it is for me. I think the latest Doctor Who episodes are amazing, and I’m looking forward to the rest of season 7.

  5. BBC4 a go, go… Thats great news, its something thats been a long time coming I think.

  6. So, this is it, eh? This is the manner in which you would leave the adventures of One such as which, all slope, sans the affections n’ directions an’ misdirection and such, and so forthwith, I dost propose all subsequent actions to be predisposed toward a manner of inclusion, that is, a general acceptance of fortitude in this particular occasion…

  7. LOVE Doctor Who! Glad to see any thing Doctor. Who’s your favorite Who? Mine is David Tennant, but Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith are close seconds.

  8. Wait I’m a little confused here, so are we getting a remake of the first episode or a documentary about the Doctor Who crew making the first episode? Because the former sounds good, the latter sounds kind of boring.

    • It is neither a remake nor a documentary. It is a film dramatization of the original creation of the series. The behind the scenes story told as a movie. It sounds like the Doctor Who equivalent of RKO 281, an HBO movie which told the story of how Citizen Kane came about. Can’t wait to see it!

  9. The two actresses I would most like to see being considered for the role of Carole Ann Ford are Daisy Keeping(‘Holby City’) and Carly Bawden(Eliza in the recent production of My Fair Lady). There still has been no announcement by the BBC about who has actually been cast as the actress who played Susan in the very first series, and I am hoping that they will make one tomorrow regarding who is going to play her

  10. I think if your a Doctor Who Fan you should support anything about Doctor Who…… I grew up watching Jon Pertwee, then Tom Baker, on and on, I didn’t get to see William Hartnell till a few years ago and I think he is my Favorite doctor, I thank them for doing a docudrama on the show and him. isn’t that what doctor who is about history, time, space, past, prescient, and future. I think its boring to only like the latest doctor, why not like the others too. I like them all, but I do favor the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 9th Doctors. the old story’s had such poor budget but I think the actors shine through all that, Imagine if they had the technology and budgets they have now back then.

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