David Bradley Really Looks Like William Hartnell: Images from ‘Doctor Who’ Drama ‘An Adventure In Space in Time’ Released

Doctor Who fans can look forward many goodies to this November as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the adventures of an amazing alien and his time travelling blue police box. From a special installment of the series itself that brings back several fan favorite characters, to Doctor Who-themed documentaries and cultural programs, to the continuation of BBC America’s ongoing retrospective series on each of the Doctor’s incarnations. 

But one of the most exciting things we’re going to get to see as part of the sci-fi series’ anniversary celebrations has to be An Adventure in Space in Time the new special that will dramatize how Doctor Who first got started back in 1963 and tell the stories of those involved in getting the show off the ground. The feature-length biopic is written by Sherlock co-creator and frequent Who scribe Mark Gatiss, and stars David Bradley as First Doctor William Hartnell.

Now first photos from the upcoming film have been released and everyone can see for themselves how true to life this dramatization actually looks. 


Hartnell played the First Doctor until 1966, when his deteriorating health and occasionally fractious relationship with the Doctor Who production team lead to his exit from the show. (His departure from the show served as the catalyst for the idea that the Doctor could regenerate, and Hartnell become Patrick Troughton in the fourth episode of serial The Tenth Planet.)

Hartnell is joined by an all star cast, including Call the Midwife’s Jessica Raine as original Who producer Verity Lambert and Sacha Dhawan  as An Unearthly Child director Warris Hussein.


Brian Cox plays Sydney Newman, the flamboyant former BBC Head of Drama who is credited as a co-creator of the show.       


Seriously the level of detail in these photos is kind of incredible. It speaks very well of how good this film is doubtless going to look.

In further news from the wow, the casting folks earned their money department, take a gander at this image of Jemma Powell and Jamie Glover. The two of them are playing Jacqueline Hill  and William Russell, the duo who played the Doctor’s first human companions Barbara and Ian. (If you’ve ever watched any of the very early classic Who episodes, you’re probably also doing a double take at Powell’s appearance in particular. Another uncanny resemblance!) 


The other thing that’s awesome about these photos is how they all look like they’ve been run through an Instagram filter. It definitely adds a “classic” feel.

Claudia Grant plays Carole Ann Ford, who played the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman in The Unearthly Child.  That’s a recreation of the First Doctor’s TARDIS set below, which incidentally is now on display at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales, so you have to wonder if maybe they managed to use parts of the original somehow. 


I happened to see the trailer for An Adventure in Space and Time at Comic Con back in July, and while that clip hasn’t been publically released yet, I can tell you that it was incredible. Bradley’s Hartnell is unreal. There are moments where the resemblance is just plain spooky. Plus: the film looks awesome. Hopefully the trailer makes its way sooner rather than later, so everyone can get excited about it. 


No airdate has been set for An Adventure in Space and Time on either side of the pond yet, other than the fact that we know it will screen at some point in November, obviously before the official anniversary date of November 23.

Are you looking forward to taking a trip back in time to see how Doctor Who began?  

(All photos: Courtesy of BBC America, Credit: HAL SHINNIE, © BBC 2013)

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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