Friday, November 22, 2013

My Review of An Adventure In Space And Time

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Terry McDonough

Verity Lambert: "It's like C.S. Lewis meets H.G. Wells meets Father Christmas. That's the Doctor."
William Hartnell: "Doctor who?"

Now that's the question that has still be gripping us for five decades now. Mark Gatiss's biopic was always going to be one of the biggest jewels in the crown for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary and with such high expectations for it, it's amazing that not only did this 83 minute delight rise to the occasion, it also managed to surpass it brilliantly.

At the heart of it, this was a three hander of a story. On one side you had William Hartnell, played to absolutely perfection by David Bradley, who had grown tired of being typecast as hardmen and wanted a challenge and on the other hand, there was also a nice girl named Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine) and her Indian born director, Waris Hussein (Sacha Dhawan) who wanted to make a successful programme in spite of the odds that were stacked against them.

While this biopic did a good job of exploring the fact that Doctor Who was in danger of being scrapped before it had barely begun as well as the show's quick impact on cast, crew and audience alike, the heart of the story is always Hartnell, Lambert and Hussein but mainly the first two. The bond between Hartnell and Lambert is beautifully explored throughout the film and was made all the more poignant when Lambert herself stepped down from the programme and Hartnell was unable to contain his dismay at losing the woman who had encouraged him for the role of a lifetime.

However, it's the last few minutes of the movie that are the most exceptional. You have to made of stone not to have shed a tear when Hartnell was forced to hand over the reins to his successor, Patrick Troughton (Reece Shearsmith) and the use of a certain cameo towards the end only enforced just how much of a legacy this show has truly left on the world in general.

- There was a lot of clever use of catchphrases and dialogue from the series in the episode. Especially with the uses of 'I don't want to go' and 'Braveheart'.
- Did anyone spot some of the companion cameos in this? I at least saw Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Jean Marsh and Anneke Wills.
- One of the deleted scenes in this was Mark Gatiss playing Jon Pertwee.
- BBC2 aired a short documentary called, William Hartnell: The Original after this had aired. A lovely little companion piece to this biopic.
- I did like seeing the recreation of various stories from Hartnell's era throughout this story as well.
- I think a good 80% of the cast for this alone was comprised of people who have been in Doctor Who or will be in the near future.

This was simply stunning. An Adventure In Space And Time was a gorgeous, faithful, stirring, heartfelt and enchanting look at the making of the best show ever to have surfaced on television. It was an amazing piece of drama with so many exceptional performances (David Bradley and Jessica Raine especially) and it made me cry as well. Mark Gatiss should be extremely proud of himself and William Hartnell would be delighted that his show continues to live on and capture so many people to this day. Sheer perfection.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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