Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss has been announced as the head of a unique project designed for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a biopic (biographical film) of the science-fiction drama’s creation and production of the first season in 1963.
The BBC-commissioned TV ‘docudrama’, called An Adventure in Space and Time, is claimed to have been on Gatiss’ mind “for years”, and the 90-minute film, which will presumably be taking on a ‘show within a show’ format as a creative representation of how Doctor Who came to air, is scheduled for a release this November to co-incide with reaching the half-century mark.
Gatiss (who has also written for one part of the 8-episode run on the regular show which begins in March) summarised the opportunity he had been given, stating: “I’ve been trying to do this [project] for years – I tried to do it for the 40th anniversary! And before that, really – it’s taken about 12 years. It’s a real labour of love for me and I’m just really thrilled that everything’s come together for the 50th. It just seems exactly the right time, and a wonderful cast and it’s a very lovely story.”
Recently confirmed to take on the lead on-screen role of the project was David Bradley (Harry Potter), who will play William Hartnell playing the ‘first doctor’, a match which Gatiss claimed to have had in mind for his idea for almost as long as the project itself.
Bradley said of his role: “I’m absolutely thrilled. 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.”
Other cast members signed up to the film include Jessica Raine as Doctor Who‘s first-ever producer Verity Lambert, and Brian Cox as Canadian producer Sydney Newman (credited with helping conceive the idea of Doctor Who), and Sacha Dhawan portraying first-episode director Warris Hussein, as Gatiss previously noted: “What a cast! I’m utterly delighted that everyone’s favourite Time Lord will be in such brilliant and stellar company. We have a terrific team who can’t wait to tell the fascinating and surprising story of how the Doctor began his journey through Space and Time.”
The project will provide another unique supplement to the BBC show’s celebrations, and while it will most likely pale in ratings comparison to the potential blockbuster anniversary episode that producers have planned for later this year, will An Adventure in Space and Time provide an (even if slightly dramatized) insight into how the series first came to be?