tek's rating:

An Adventure in Space and Time, on BBC Two (UK)
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This aired in November 2013, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Doctor Who, though I didn't get to see it until 2018. It's a dramatized account of events surrounding the creation of Doctor Who in 1963. The story focuses on William Hartnell, who played the Doctor, near the end of his career. It also focuses on Verity Lambert, the show's producer (and the first woman to be a producer of a BBC show). She formed a friendship with the show's first director, Waris Hussein, who was the first person of Indian descent to be a director at the BBC. So, Lambert and Hussein both had to deal with prejudice, but that's not a major plot point in the movie. Verity also forms a strong bond with Hartnell. Another important character is Sydney Newman, a Canadian producer who had been working in Britain for some time. (The movie, I'm pretty sure, said he had worked at ITV before coming to work at the BBC, but looking him up now on Wikipedia, it says he actually worked at the British network ABC before the BBC.) The basic idea for "Doctor Who" originated with Newman, who hired his former production assistant, Lambert, to produce the show. And we see a bit of Hartnell's wife, Heather, and their young granddaughter, Judith, as well as various actors on the show.

Well... the show faces a lot of difficulties in the beginning, not the least of which is that the first episode aired the day after JFK was assassinated, which of course meant a lot of people (even in Britain) would be watching the news, rather than some new science fiction show. But Lambert was passionate about making the show work, and of course, it soon becomes a major hit (in large part thanks to the introduction of the Daleks). The movie continues throughout Hartnell's time on the show, concluding in 1966. His health, by then, was failing, and he was having increasing difficulty with his lines. Which ultimately leads to Newman's idea of "regeneration," to explain casting a new actor as the Doctor.

Anyway, I thought the movie was very good. It has humor, and some nice interpersonal moments, and ultimately some very poignant drama. And of course I found it all rather fascinating, being a fan of the show (even if I'm not terribly familiar with Hartnell's seasons, which I definitely want to see, someday). Naturally, a lot of details are condensed, to fit into the space of a TV movie. But I definitely enjoyed it. (There was one thing near the end of the movie that I found somewhat off-putting, but after watching the movie, I read a little something about it that made me think it wasn't so bad, after all. But I won't spoil what it was.)

TV movies index
Whoniverse specials
Doctor Who: The Five Doctors * The Curse of the Fatal Death
K-9 & Company: A Girl's Best Friend
Doctor Who Mk II: Christmas specials * minisodes * The Infinite Quest * 2009 specials * Dreamland * The Day of the Doctor * 2022 specials
Doctor Who Mk III: 2023 specials
Sarah Jane Adventures: Invasion of the Bane * From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love
docudrama: An Adventure in Space and Time