Television

An Adventure in Space and Time reaction post!

It’s a GOOD weekend to be a Doctor Who fan. Not only did we get Day of the Doctor today, we also got An Adventure in Space and Time, which aired on BBC America last night in the States. For those of you unfamiliar with this, this is the new docudrama about how Doctor Who got started.

Overall reactions behind the fold. Not so much concern for spoilers here since this is a docudrama, but nonetheless!


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First, let me say right out that David Bradley was absolutely masterful as William Hartnell. I adored the portrayal Jessica Raine did as Verity Lambert, too. Jemma Powell playing Jacqueline Hill and Claudia Grant playing Carole Ann Ford–the original Barbara and Susan–were both eerily on target.

I got chills the first time we see Bradley as Hartnell, in costume, walking onto the set. And I adored the stories of Lambert eventually getting her footing and making the BBC personnel stop blowing her off; the scene where she finally got the annoyed guy in set design to give her a set was great.

Of course we all knew that the story would end well, but it was still quite compelling to see the uncertainty of everyone involved. And uplifting to see how they finally get the show on the air, and get their ten million viewers. I loved the bit with Lambert on the bus brightening when she sees the children playing at being Daleks.

And oh wow, the reactions of children all over the story. Especially the bit in the park where the boy asks Hartnell for his autograph, and then the schoolchildren find him and they’re all OMG OMG OMG. I loved, loved, LOVED him leading them all “off to the TARDIS” and then mischievously yelling “EXTERMINATE!” at them to get them to scatter and flee, squealing.

And oh, my heart just cracked as we saw Hartnell’s health decline, and how he started to forget his lines and become crankier and more difficult to work with–especially once Lambert steps down as producer of the show. And the scene at the end, where Hartnell’s told he needs to stand down–GOD. The look on Bradley’s face was wrenching. My respect for that man as an actor shot up a hundredfold in that moment alone.

I also adored the handoff to Troughton scene, too. Oh, that was beautiful. Where Hartnell was all stiff-upper-lippy and “I said there was only one man in England who could do this” and Reece Shearsmith, as Troughton, immediately replied, “What, you couldn’t get him?” Beautiful. Ladies and gentlemen, our new Second Doctor. <3

Dara’s saying she’s been seeing a lot of buzz going around the Net about how it’d be lovely to see this cast actually doing new First Doctor. Me, I agree with her. Hell, I would get behind an effort to have these people reconstruct lost actual First Doctor episodes. 😀 Because goddamn, it was amazing seeing them acting out their parts. Some of the shots of them working on set were really effective, especially where one tech turns to the other and says re: the Daleks, “These guys are kind of creepy!” Because even when you can see right there on the screen that the Daleks are on a set, and you even get to hear some of the operators inside them, it still works.

Dara also said, and I didn’t catch this, that the actor who played the original Ian Chesterson, William Russell, was the security guard at the beginning. And two other early-era Companions, Anneke Wills and Jean Marsh, had cameos as well that I hadn’t known about while watching! So lovely that they got worked in there. 😀

The young actress Cara Jenkins was beautiful as Hartnell’s granddaughter, too. I adored how she was over the moon about her “sampa” being Doctor Who.

And of course we get a bit of Matt Smith at the end, where the story takes dramatic license and lets Hartnell have a glimpse of what’s to come. Sniff. Dara says when that happened, she was so caught up in the story that for a moment, she was all “WAIT WAIT WAIT HOW DID THEY CGI INSERT MATT SMITH INTO THIS oh wait right this was actually filmed only this year oops”. 😀

Loved this. Loved every minute. See it if you can!