Renowned actor David Bradley will be taking up the mantle of the First Doctor in a special 50th anniversary story exploring the origins of the program back in 1963 written by League of Gentlemen and Sherlock author Mark Gatiss.
It is interesting that an entirely new audience has been exposed to the classic Doctor Who through the celebratory airing of key episodes spotlighting the previous establishment of the program that preceded the BBC Wales series. I have to wonder what a modern viewer will make of these slower paced stories that were produced on an admittedly slimmer budget but with far more inspiration and ingenuity than we are witness to in the Moffat/Smith era.
More importantly, what will it be like to see David Bradley paying homage to the great William Hartnell?
The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who will be marked by BBC2 next year with a drama chronicling the beginnings of the show, scripted by Sherlock co-writer Mark Gatiss.
An Adventure in Time and Space – the original subtitle to the show which began on 23 November 1963 starring William Hartnell – will be executive produced by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, who works with Gatiss on Sherlock, and BBC Wales’ Caroline Skinner.
Gatiss said: “This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original.
“And how an actor – William Hartnell – stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children.
“I’ve wanted to tell this story this for more years than I can remember. To make it happen for Doctor Who’s 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true.”
It is not the first time the BBC has used the beginnings of a long-running drama for inspiration, BBC4 winning plaudits for its Bafta-winning The Road to Coronation Street, starring Jessie Wallace and Jane Horrocks and produced by ITV.
The BBC said the Doctor Who drama would explore all aspects of the longest running science fiction series to date, looking at the many personalities involved in bringing the series to life.