‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ is One of the Best TV Experiences of 2013

Published 1 year ago by

doctor who adventure space time 570x294 An Adventure in Space and Time is One of the Best TV Experiences of 2013

Tonight kicks off the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary weekend on BBC America, and with it the comes premiere of An Adventure in Space a Time, a movie which retells the complicated beginnings of one of television’s most beloved franchise. Most importantly, however, it provides a fascinating look into one of the most important – and perhaps most misunderstood – people of the entire series, William Hartnell (played by David Bradley), the actor who played the mysterious first Doctor. It airs tonight at 9pm on BBC America, with an encore presentation at 11pm.

Make no mistake about it: For fans, An Adventure in Space a Time is an exceptionally well-made celebration of Doctor Who which is of such high quality that it can easily stand next to theatrical releases; however, for those who couldn’t care less about Time Lords or Sonic “Thingamajigs”, there’s also an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look into the world of television production that you’ve likely never seen before.

Wrapped in this beautifully shot, exceptionally acted tale about the creation of about Doctor Who, William Hartnell’s story slowly begins to reveal itself – and it’s through him which the most important look behind-the-scenes take place. Hartnell, whose best described as the “grumpy” Doctor (and for good reason), is often only mentioned in passing or as an answer to a trivia question – so without many interviews with the illusive man, “grumpy” is what most know him for.

doctor who adventure space time 2 570x294 An Adventure in Space and Time is One of the Best TV Experiences of 2013

However, in An Adventure in Space and Time, Hartnell’s story is told to its fullest, revealing that he wasn’t so much “grumpy” as he was aging and ailing – and doing everything he could think of to stay on the show he helped create which, as it turns out, is something he loved as much, if not more, than its many fans.

When it first announced that BBC and BBC America would be combining their powers for a TV movie about Doctor Who, written by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, nobody could really tell what the cross-continental “Beebs” would come up with – and news that it was being broadcast on BBC Two – not BBC One, as with the series – didn’t do much to instill hope that a “TV movie” would ever be more than the label that defines it. That is, until you watch it.

Without revealing more, it’s safe to say that An Adventure in Space and Time is a MUST WATCH for anyone remotely interested in Doctor Who, or even television and what all goes in it, as everyone involved goes above and beyond to deliver a true cinematic-worthy telling of the creation of legend. If you’re looking for more films like this – few as they may be – check out: The Late Shift, about the battle for the Tonight Show; Exporting Raymond, about developing Everybody Loves Raymond for Russian audiences; or Network, an Oscar-winning film about a TV network with poor ratings.


An Adventure in Space and Time premieres tonight @ 9pm on BBC America

Replays: Friday, November 22 @11pm & Sunday, November 24 @11pm

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. I want to watch this real bad…… But I’ve got a gig tonight.

    Hopefully it will be available on iTunes at some point.

    • Get your self a vpn with a british IP and watch it on Iplayer

      • or ABC iView in Australia,

  2. I just recently got into Doctor Who, I know next to nothing pre-Christopher Eccleston but I’m really interested in this. And super excited for the 50th Anniversary Special tomorrow.

    • Dude, you are in for such a ride. The only problem with the early shows was the budget. I insist they spend more on the intro these days then the entire Thom Baker series. The production wasn’t the greatest, but the stories and the pure fun is as satisfying as a bag of jelly babies.

  3. I’m pretty excited for this. With all this extra stuff in between seasons I’m kind of wondering how it will be packaged in the future. Will we get a 50th anniversary celebration set with this and the anniversary special and the couple of shorts, or sold individually, or will it all be thrown in with season 8 as well when it comes out?

    • My guess is packaged on its own or with series seven.

  4. I’m gonna have to watch on BBC’s iPlayer because it aired last night (Thursday) at 9pm but a house full of people talking meant I couldn’t sit in peace watching as I like to do to take in what’s happening on screen and I couldn’t record it because you can’t record two things at once and also watch a third show (Dracula records at 10pm and this show lasts 90 minutes so boo to that).

  5. I really enjoyed it, the ending was sad. This actually got me interested in checking out the 1st doctor. Ive only seen everything from 9 onward. Today i checked out the first 4 episodes or the 1st serial or 10,000 bc or whatever you want to call it. They did it weird back then. Having one story spread out over several 25 minute episodes.

    • That’s how almost every story was before Paul McGann. Doctor Who was a half-hour serial show. Stories would play out over 4/5 episodes. Some seasons were just one story (though usually not, being many stories in a season). The number of episodes per season varied widely also

      • I wouldn’t say that some series (seasons) were one story as much as overall thematically linked separate serials present within them with The Key to Time and Trial of a Time Lord. The only one officially recognized as a single serial was Trial, and it still consisted of four distinctly separate stories though interspersed with the actual trial elements throughout.

        @Draagyn: Pre-8th Doctor, serials ran anywhere from 4 to 10 per season at anywhere from 2 episodes each (near the end of the classic era) to as many as 8 (with the 2nd Doctors final story clocking in at 10).

        That being said, when the show frequently aired on PBS stations in America during the 80′s, they had versions where each serial had been edited into one continuous episode, which made for some relatively unpredictable air times on a late sunday night.

  6. Now that they’ve gotten people to replicate all the companions of the First Doctor, then they can revisit all those people in the new run Doctor Who, and even have the First Doctor on the show in “new” flashbacks or interactions.

    They could even spin-off a Mistress Who series with Susan Foreman being the time lord…

  7. Better than I thought it was going to be. On the downside, began with fairly broad dramatic brushstrokes, Brian Cox’s questionable accent, and a score so obtrusive I thought it had to be by Murray Gold. Improved as it went along, though: lovingly recreated rickety sets and smoke-filled ’60s interiors, a moving, utterly convincing performance by David Bradley as Hartnell, and Jessica Raine also excellent as Verity Lambert. Nice to see composer Delia Derbyshire getting a nod as well. I’ll certainly be watching this again.

  8. I’m looking forward to being able to watch this.

    On a side note: please spell-check your articles better, ScreenRant.

  9. Isn’t Brian Cox’s character supposed to be Canadian?

    • Yes. Sydney Newman…… The creator/inventor of Doctor Who was Canadian. Brian Cox did a great job, but I didn’t detect a Canadian accent.

  10. This was much better than I was expecting for an anniversary special tie-in. Between this and the other minisodes/previews it appears that they care enough about the anniversary to give it a proper set of bonus material, rather than just the central episode and a bunch of fluff tie-ins. Good stuff.

    And David Bradley was excellent. I mean, I was never particularly interested in Classic Who but I may just give it a go now. The production values, the acting, the writing – probably one of the best TV movies I’ve seen in a while.

    • Give it a whirl, Nick. If for no other reason than every era gives an entertaining insight into the period in which the show was made. Shaky production values aside, there are gems from every incarnation. One I’d strongly recommend (and my personal all-time favourite) is the Tom Baker story Genesis Of The Daleks. Plus the original versions of the main theme used until 1980 still sound like nothing on Earth to this day.

      • hey, Big Dentist,
        Genesis of the DAleks is one of my favorite as well. It seems like it’s not only longer than most eps (is it?) but also just gives so much information. I think it is one of the better ones.
        I also like Zygons, Pyramdis of mars (scuese tuypos, cuyomputer acting funny) and deadly assassin.
        My favorite companion is the Brigadier. he’s such a gent.

        I like Tennant also. he’s a good doctor. I mean, all are good., I’m just giving my favorites.

        how about you?

        • Pyramids Of Mars is a great one. Robots Of Death and The Ark In Space are up there too, and I liked the Sontarans when they were evil swine and not just comic relief midgets. Companion: definitely Sarah Jane for me. I know what you mean about the Genesis episodes seeming longer; there’s so much packed in there, and tightly paced. Some of the six-parters could occasionally start to flag a little, particularly around the midway point – not an ounce of filler in that story.

          There are quite a few episodes from the Hartnell and Troughton years that I haven’t seen, but The Dalek Invasion Of Earth is one that stands out. Coming up to date, I bought Matt Smith as an older presence in a younger body far more than I ever did with Tennant, although I think he’s been poorly served with over-complicated, over-plotted storylines with too much emphasis on the companions.

      • Well having watch the anniversary special… yeah, think I will. I also like that they’re not in 40-minute blocks, makes it easier to take the episodes piece by piece :)

  11. I’ve been thinking about watching Dr. Who for a good while now but the simple fact is that I just don’t know where to start?
    Couple the fact that there seems to be endless info to take in with my sometimes compulsive need to know every detail and it seems like to much of a daunting task to take on.
    Maybe someday…

    • Kevin,
      Even though I am not taking my own advice, I recommend starting from the beginning, with William Hartnell (even though I didn’t). Why? so the regenerations would be felt deeper and with more ease. I started with Tom Baker (because of my age). I heard that the 1st Doctor people watch is the favorite. but I also say that if you start from the beginning, you might get a fuller experience. I can recommend websites for free or websites that offer the whole series at an EXTREMELY affordable price.
      If you are interested, let me know. if you are not, really, no hard feelings. I’m just tryin’ to help out.

    • Start with the 2005 reboot and go from there. Once you’ve caught up, you can randomly watch stories from the classic series.

  12. I want the next doctor to be a woman! I have just started watching and I really like the woman companions, so to me it makes sense to let there be a woman doctor…lets think of women’s rights now! hahahaha

  13. This was a love letter to the origins of the series. I adored the actor, and the likeness were just uncanny!! Interesting history and characters (real people, I mean) behind the cameras. I mean, even right down to the attitudes of the British cameramen was gold, and the replication of the sets and props was icing on the cake.

    I agree with Whither Whither; we’ve got the actors who are dead-ringers for the characters, lets do some Dr. Who episodes with them in it…

  14. I’ve never watched Dr. Who before, but I really did enjoy this movie.

  15. It was really emotional. I choked up a bit toward the end when he looks out and see Matt Smith that was just really nice.

  16. Aye, the colonial Beebs did a good job :P

  17. 5 out of 5 stars. They need to make this a theatrical movie. I would be awesome on the big screen.

    • Sorry, it would be.