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An Adventure in Space and Time (2013)

A dramatisation of the early years of Doctor Who (1963), with the story revolving around BBC executive Sydney Newman, novice producer Verity Lambert and actor William Hartnell.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ross Gurney-Randall ...
Roger May ...
Douglas Camfield
Charlie Kemp ...
Harry - Security Guard
Mervyn Pinfield
Rex Tucker
Heather Hartnell
Cara Jenkins ...
Judith Carney
Toby Hadoke ...


In 1963 Sydney Newman, progressive head of BBC TV's drama department, wants to fill a Saturday tea-time slot with a show with youth appeal and hits on the idea of an august figure, like a doctor, leading a group of companions on time travel adventures. He engages inexperienced young producer Verity Lambert to expand the idea. Fighting sexist and racial bigotry Verity and young Indian director Waris Hussein persuade crusty character actor William Hartnell to play the doctor figure and, despite technical hiccups and competition with coverage of the Kennedy assassination, the first episode of 'Doctor Who' is born. As the show becomes a success Hartnell displays an obsession with his character but, after three years, ill health catches up with him and he starts to forget lines. Newman tells him that Doctor Who will 'regenerate' and he will be replaced by younger actor Patrick Troughton. Though attached to the part and reluctant to give it up Hartnell wishes every success to Troughton, the... Written by don @ minifie-1

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22 November 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Avantura u vremenu i prostoru  »

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Did You Know?


Anneke Wills (Uncredited Party Guest) was Polly Wright, a companion to both the First and Second Doctor and one of the companions who witnessed the First Doctor's regeneration. Wills was the Doctor's companion when Hartnell's Doctor faced the evil Celestial Toymaker played by Wills' husband, British movie star Michael Gough. See more »


Although the opening scene takes place in 1966, a "Yearometer" in the TARDIS winds back to 1963 to indicate that the majority of the film take place in the earlier year. However in the establishing scenes at BBC Television Centre, a Triumph Herald with a C suffix on the registration plate (denoting that it was first registered in 1965) is seen. See more »


Sydney Newman: [discussing the opening credits] Change it.
Verity Lambert: Over my dead body.
Sydney Newman: It can be arranged.
See more »


Featured in William Hartnell: The Original (2013) See more »


Walkin' Back to Happiness
By John Schroeder and Mike Hawker
Performed by Helen Shapiro
See more »

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Like All Good Stories, Bigger on the Inside
22 November 2013 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Doctor Who, the BBC has produced this movie about the origins and Bill Hartnell years of the TV show. Writer Mark Gatiss, a longtime Whovian, has dug through all the stories and legends and has produced a fine script.

The thesis of the movie is that Sydney Newman chose a novice producer, Verity Lambert, who proceeded to build an unlikely team: the first Indian director of the BBC; an actor frustrated at his lack of advancement; and the already worn out facilities at Lime Grove. Somehow she managed to hold this together long enough to create a series which has prospered for half a century, despite the best the suits at the BBC could do.

There's some fine casting in this one, especially David Bradley as William Hartnell. It's rather shocking to me to see him, clean-shaven and well dressed and he gives a fine performance as the William Hartnell of the standard story: old, collapsing under the impact of ill health, but unwilling to give up his claim to fame.

That's not precisely the reality of the matter. Doctor Who ran on a killing schedule during Hartnell's term: forty episodes a year, dialogue filled with scientific bafflegab. Almost anyone would have crumbled under it.

Still, the story as written is cogent and should please the series' fans. the production values are top notch and the actors are excellent and look like the ones who played the original roles. I'd like to give a shout out to the stand outs, but I'd have to name just about every member of the cast.

This movie probably won't appeal to people who are not rabid fans of the show, but for those who, like me, are, it's a great treat.

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