Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special “Adventures in Space and Time” Casting News

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Image courtesy BBC

Doctor Who fans know that 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the longest running science fiction franchise in television history.  What’s in store for fans still remains largely a mystery, but our expectations are high. I have little doubt those expectations will be met, and in some cases surpassed, by the wonderfully wacky series which promises to somehow bring us all eleven incarnations of the Doctor.

As part of this anniversary celebration the BBC have commissioned a drama special to tell the story of how this iconic show came to be.  Entitled An Adventure in Space and Time, the 90-minute drama was written by Mark Gatiss, frequent Who writer and one of the executive producers of the special.  The drama will show fans just how all the pieces came together to create what has become not only a global phenomenon, but a child’s favorite reason for hiding behind the sofa.  There is currently no set release date, only that it is sceduled to air later in 2013, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it aired on or near November 23 (the date in 1963 the series premiered).

Gatiss is a master storyteller, but to really sell a recreation of people and events so well known to the world he needs actors who can convincingly play the parts and look enough like the original actors to be believable.  If you’ve ever seen any of the earliest episodes you know the TARDIS was originally inhabited by the Doctor (William Hartnell), his granddaughter Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford), and two of Susan’s teachers, Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell).

Image courtesy BBCAccording to this story from the BBC the man cast to play William Hartnell, the actor who brought the first Doctor to life, is David Bradley.  Bradley is probably best known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films.  He also has strong connections to the Whoniverse having appeared in both The Sarah Jane Adventures and most recently in Doctor Who playing the character of Solomon in the episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.


Bradley was apparently very excited to be offered the role as you can tell from his comments quoted below:

“I’m absolutely thrilled.  I first heard about this role from Mark [Gatiss] while watching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla from the roof of the National Theatre.  When he asked if I would be interested, I almost bit his hand off!  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.”

Image courtesy BBCCarole Ann Ford will be played by newcomer Claudia Grant.  This news came from talent agency Jessica Carney Associates which is run by William Hartnell’s real-life granddaughter Jessica Carney.  There’s something kind of perfect about Hartnell’s real granddaughter casting the actor to play the actor who played his on-screen granddaughter.  (Yeah, that sentence made me a little dizzy, too.)

According to the site DoctorWhoTV, casting has also been confirmed for the parts of William Russell and Jacqueline Hill. Russell will be played by actor Jamie Glover while Hill will be played by Jemma Powell.  For a really good side-by-side view of each actor and their “originals” check out the images in the article at DoctorWhoTV.  The resemblences are pretty darned good.  The site also reports that William Russell, the original Ian Chesterton, will appear in the special as a character named “Harry.”

Filming of the special began on Sunday, February 3 and you can see five behind-the-scenes pictures posted by DoctorWhoTV included below and read the full article by clicking HERE.

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[via BBC and DoctorWhoTV]



Tom Gardiner