If you haven’t yet seen An Adventure in Space and Time, please take 90 minutes out of your life and give this your attention. For many a Doctor Who fan this was the true celebration of 50 years. Nothing has captured the heart and soul of the Time Lord’s origins better than this docudrama presented with loving care from Mark Gatiss (fan/actor/writer for the show). Very few stones were left unturned in researching this beauty. I think, even if you aren’t a fan of the classic series, or Who in general, this will give you more appreciation for it than anything else. You might even find yourself wanting to visit/revisit some of the classic Hartnell episodes after getting a firmer grasp of what the dynamics were behind the scenes. (Spoilers follow).
I really loved the portrayal of Verity Lambert, and thought her platonic relationship with Waris Hussein was incredibly well grasped. Also, Sydney Newman with his “piss and vinegar” lines and his “pow pow pow” were dead on (like I’d know). If I had any issue at all, it was that we didn’t get enough of Delia Derbyshire and the Radiophonic Workshop. I think that theme tune is an integral part of the show’s iconic nature. When you think of Doctor Who, you think of Delia Derbyshire’s tune. This will undoubtedly feature in the special features.
And then there’s David Bradley’s heartbreaking performance of the First Doctor William Hartnell, and his journey from typecast crotchety old actor, to beloved children’s star, to the eventual sick man who needed to leave the show before he was ready to let go of the reins. It was tragic, and that scene. Yes, THAT scene, with Matt Smith looking back at him with reverence, with that knowing say-all expression, not saying a word but invoking “thank you, you paved the way for us, you’re the reason we are here 50 years later,” is so tremendous. Especially right after David Bradley cries over his fireplace with David Tennant’s final line “I don’t want to go.” Man oh man. What a thing. Thank you to the people behind this, particularly Mark Gatiss. Fans like yourselves are the reason this show lives on.