BBC AMERICA to Premiere ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ for ‘Doctor Who’ 50th

BBC AMERICA has announced casting for ‘An Adventure of Space and Time,’ a film dramatization of the creation of ‘Doctor Who,’ which premiered November 23, 1963. David Bradley will play actor William Hartnell, Jessica Raine will play producer Verity Lambert, and Brian Cox has been cast as BBC Head of Drama Sydney Newman. (Photos: AP)

BBC AMERICA is set to premiere An Adventure in Space and Time, a film drama about the creation of Doctor Who, as part of the channel’s celebration of the long-running sci-fi series’ 50th anniversary. Frequent Who scriptwriter Mark Gatiss has already been announced as writer, and he’s also serving as executive producer alongside current Doctor Who execs Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. The film is a co-production between BBC AMERICA and BBC Cymru Wales and will air later in 2013.

Doctor Who first hit the BBC airwaves on November 23, 1963, and an impressive cast has been assembled to play the personalities behind the show’s earliest days. David Bradley, best known as Argus Filch in the Harry Potter movies, has taken on the role as actor William Hartnell, who played the series’ very first Doctor. Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine, already cast in the Season 7, Part 2 premiere of Doctor Who, is set to play producer Verity Lambert, and the great Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy, Adaptation.) is on board as Sydney Newman, BBC’s then-Head of Drama.

The real-life William Hartnell and Verity Lambert (Hartnell photo: BBC; Lambert photo: Press Association via AP Images)

Meanwhile, The History BoysSacha Dhawan will play Waris Hussein, director of Doctor Who‘s premiere episode, “An Unearthly Child.”

Bradley says he’s “absolutely thrilled” about playing William Hartnell, and adds, “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.”

Filming begins in London next month at BBC’s Television Centre before transferring to Wimbledon Studios. Matt Strevens (Misfits, Skins) is producing, with Terry McDonough (Breaking Bad, The Street) directing.

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Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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