For many fans of Doctor Who, one of the most exciting elements of the 50th Anniversary celebrations has been An Adventure in Space
Written by Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who,
I was all ready to write a piece discussing the accuracy with which Gatiss’ script depicted the show’s creation, but to do so would rather miss the point. In his own words, Gatiss ditched the anorak to write this, skimming over the details of writing the scripts, coming up with the TARDIS or designing the Daleks. Instead, we’re shown the human side of the story, the lives that were transformed by the show. This point was further hammered home by the BBC broadcast, which was followed by a 5-minute documentary on William Hartnell, including interviews with many of the people we had just seen portrayed.
The details that the biopic did offer were both charming and nostalgic. Due to his age and ill health, Hartnell had notorious difficulty remembering his lines, and early episodes are littered with his mistakes and flubbed dialogue, much of which was lovingly recreated here — along with the problems they had keeping the TARDIS doors shut while filming and making Daleks move in a straight line.
An Adventure in Space and
There’s a hope here too though. For all of the pain that Doctor Who‘s constant change brings with it, it has also been the key to the show’s longevity, a point reinforced by a wordless cameo from Matt Smith as he appears to Hartnell as a vision of the show’s future — proof of Hartnell’s faith in the show, and of the real power of change to the show, no matter the heartbreak.
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