BBC America can usually depend on Doctor Who to reel in the ratings, and in keeping with that programming strategy, the network will air An Adventure in Space and Time, a TV movie depicting the creation of Doctor Who. The film is part of the network’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the long-running sci-fi series. Veteran Doctor Who scriptwriter Mark Gatiss will script the project, while also acting as executive producer alongside current Doctor Who EPs Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. Filming will begin in London next month at BBC’s Television Centre before transferring to Wimbledon Studios. Matt Strevens (Misfits, Skins) is producing, while Terry McDonough (Breaking Bad, The Street) will direct.
An impressive assortment of talent has been assembled for the project. David Bradley has taken on the role of William Hartnell, the actor who played the series’ beloved, curmudgeonly First Doctor. Bradley is perhaps best known to audiences as Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films, though Doctor Who fans will recognize him as Solomon, the villain of Season 7 episode “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. He’s joined by actress Jessica Raine, of hit BBC drama Call the Midwife, who will portray producer Verity Lambert. This will also mark the actress’s second Doctor Who project, as she’s already been cast in the Season 7, Part 2 premiere. In addition, the renowned Brian Cox (Adaptation, The Bourne Supremacy) will play BBC’s then-Head of Drama, Sydney Newman. Lastly, Sacha Dhawan (The History Boys) will play Waris Hussein, director of Doctor Who‘s premiere episode, “An Unearthly Child”, which first hit airwaves on November 23, 1963.
Bradley says he’s “absolutely thrilled” to be portraying the legendary Hartnell, adding, “I first heard about this role from Mark [Gatiss] while watching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla from the roof of the National Theatre. When he asked if I would be interested, I almost bit his hand off! Mark has written such a wonderful script not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television’s history. William Hartnell was one of the finest character actors of our time and as a fan I want to make sure that I do him justice. I’m so looking forward to getting started.”
The dramatization is a co-production between BBC AMERICA and BBC Cymru Wales, and is set to air later in 2013.
Full story: BBC America