Mark Gatiss Writes New BBC Drama About The Origins Of ‘Doctor Who’

William Hartnell as the First Doctor

A special one-off drama for BBC Two has been commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who next year, and it will be a 90-minute dramatization of the behind-the-scenes events leading up to the broadcast of the first episode, An Unearthly Child.

An Adventure In Space And Time is being written by Mark Gatiss, and will explain how a funny idea about an old man in a telephone box went from concept to script to rehearsal room to living room, and then became a national obsession with the arrival of these strange new creatures called Daleks. And according to Mark himself, the casting of William Hartnell as the irascible First Doctor played a huge part in the show’s early success.

In a press release sent out by the BBC today, he said: “This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original. And how an actor – William Hartnell, stereotyped in hard-man roles – became a hero to millions of children. I’ve wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen for Doctor Who’s 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true.”

Steven Moffat added: “The story of Doctor Who is the story of television – so it’s fitting in the anniversary year that we make our most important journey back in time to see how the TARDIS was launched.”

Casting hasn’t been finalised yet, nor is there a broadcast date (although November 23rd, the actual anniversary, seems a good place to start).

Who would you like to see playing William Hartnell? Tell us here:

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
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