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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You can't have Doctor Who without Doctor Who, can you?"
Ever since the first pictures began to leak out earlier in the year there has been a buzz that Mark Gatiss' An Adventure In Space and Time would be something special - and it didn't disappoint.

It had a lot of ground to cover - from the launch of the show in 1963 to the departure of William Hartnell in 1966. In the main, it succeeded beautifully, although...
Published 7 months ago by Mr. D. K. Smith

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The First Doctor Who
This DVD was a must for me, as I have been an avid Doctor Who fan since the first episode in 1963. The play is about the creation of the first Doctor Who series and the casting of William Hartnell as the first Doctor. The play covers the story well but finds it hard to hold ones interest. Not sure if the DVD is worth the high asking price. Five pounds would be more...
Published 3 months ago by Timothy John Trevor Leney


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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You can't have Doctor Who without Doctor Who, can you?", 22 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. D. K. Smith (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
Ever since the first pictures began to leak out earlier in the year there has been a buzz that Mark Gatiss' An Adventure In Space and Time would be something special - and it didn't disappoint.

It had a lot of ground to cover - from the launch of the show in 1963 to the departure of William Hartnell in 1966. In the main, it succeeded beautifully, although there's one caveat which I'll come too in a minute.

Essentially, AAISAT was the story of four people - William Hartnell (The Doctor), Verity Lambert (Producer), Waris Hussein (Director) and Sydney Newman (BBC Head of Drama and the "father" of the series). With only 85 minutes running time it did mean that many other people's important contributions went unrecorded, such as the first story editor David Whitaker and the designers Raymond Cusick and Barry Newbery. But this was inevitable, and the decision to focus on four key people did make dramatic sense.

Cast-wise it would have been difficult to get any better than this. David Bradley was outstanding as Hartnell, capturing both his abrasive side and his more considerate nature. Brian Cox (despite a moustache that looked painted on) was good fun as the brash Canadian, Newman. And Sacha Dhwan and Jessica Raine gave lovely performances as Hussein and Lambert - two outsiders (one an asian, one a woman) who dared to breach the conservative BBC.

The re-creations - Totters Lane, the Dalek city, the breathtaking TARDIS console room - were a massive treat, as were the numerous cameos from some of the great and good of the series' past.

But with a timeframe of three years there were times when things seemed a little condensed, and my only real criticism of Mark Gatiss' script is that whilst Hartnell's difficulty with lines was well illustrated, we maybe could have done with a scene that made it clear that Hartnell was a very good actor who gave many fine performances during the three years he was in the show, right up until the end when he was far from well.

There's no doubting the love Gatiss has for both the show and Hartnell, but a short scene with Lambert and Newman discussing Hartnell's line-fluffs with Lambert championing Hartnell's performance was sadly missing. Hartnell was technically a very good actor and his years of experience in films meant that he instinctively understood the camera. An off-told story (and something else that it would have been nice to see in the show) related to Hartnell's knowledge of when the camera was focused on him in close up - so his movements were restricted - and when the camera was further away - then he could be more expansive in his gestures. This is the sort of small detail that would have illustrated how good Hartnell was - otherwise you could come away from this programme thinking that Hartnell was just an old duffer who couldn't remember his lines.

But that apart, there was so much to enjoy here and by the end, with an ailing Hartnell forced to leave the part he loved, it was truly heartbreaking.

The surprise cameo at the end was a nice touch and an acknowledgement that today Doctor Who owes everything to one person - not Sydney Newman, not Verity Lambert, not even Dalek creator Terry Nation - but William Hartnell. If he hadn't made the Doctor such a compelling character then the series would never have endured. On the eve of the programme's 50th anniversary AAISAT is a fitting tribute to an old-fashioned actor who started something which still entertains today, and, I'm sure, for many more years to come.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The origin of Doctor Who, 24 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. R. W. Graham (Lincoln, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
It's 1963 and the head of the BBC's drama department Sydney Newman has an idea for a children's scifi series something that will educate children and will be fun and different and absolutely no ridiculous bug eyed monsters or alien death rays or mutated monsters or all that other juvinile scifi rubbish! He hires young producer Verity Lambert at the time the BBC's first and youngest female producer who hires respected actor William Hartnell who at first is reluctanct to do tv but is fed up of being typecast as army characters of tough guys but is drawn in as the character of The Doctor and the show itself is different and a tv legend is born. An absolutely superb tv drama about the creation of Doctor Who and the struggles to bring the show to the screen with superb performances from David Bradley as William Hartnell, Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert and Brian Cox as Sydney Newman. Watch out for cameos from William Russell one of the first companions and Matt Smith. This is an absolutely perfect 50th anniversary present and a must see for Doctor Who fans and even if you have no interest in Doctor Who or scifi this can still be seen as an excellent heartbreaking quality drama.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful celebration! An utter masterpiece!, 21 Nov 2013
This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
Almost 50 years after the show started, Mark Gatiss sends us back to where it began!

No, not a junkyard on Totter's Lane, even further back than that, to the world of the smoky BBC offices of Sydney Newman. To the casual fan, this may seem like a slight bore, a documentary, or nothing exciting. However, those who took the time to see the broadcast will see that Mark Gatiss has orchestrated a masterpiece.

Pulling in bucket loads of elements surrounding the creation of Sci-Fi legend Doctor Who, Gatiss expertly combines Billy Hartnell's lack of self belief in inspiring generations, Sydney Newman's belief in Verity Lambert's production, helping her overcome the glass ceiling blocking her, Waris Hussein's pressure in successfully directing the first episodes, and later on, Billy's reluctance to leave and eventual realisation that this show will continue without him, becoming more of a legend than just a mere TV program.

Despite the historical and social plot strings, the acting is spectacular. David Bradley throws himself into Hartnell's shoes, and his heartbreaking moment of realisation of leaving the show is utterly spellbinding. Reece Shearsmith, even though he only appears for mere minutes, manages to capture the vivacity of Pat Troughton perfectly. The costumes and recreations of historical scenes are amazing and accurate, an old style Cyberman sat having a cigarette next to the TARDIS, a Dalek operator complaining about the cramped interior, and, in the opening scenes, Bradley walking into the TARDIS' perfectly recreated interior, and gazes up solemnly at the set one more time.

The DVD release, although a while off, does include the perfectly-recreated scenes such as the first encounter with the Doctor, The Doctor's final speech to his granddaughter, and a 'festive greeting' perhaps from the fabled lost Christmas broadcast 'The Feast of Steven?'

An utter masterpiece celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who, the people who started it all, and of course, the wonderful William Hartnell, played with style, gravitas and an air of humbleness.

I would easily give such a beautiful piece of drama more stars if I could. Definitely a must buy.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional & Brilliant Tribute To Doctor Who, 22 Nov 2013
By 
Timelord007 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
Positive.
1)David Bradley as William Hartnell a Bafta beckons surely.
2)The in jokes & cameos, How many did you spot?
3)Emotional in parts especially it's final ten minutes.

Negative.
It wasn't on long enough.

Trivia.
I spotted the following Cameos in this film, William Russell, Carol Anne Ford, Mark Eden, Nicholas Briggs voicing the Daleks, Toby Hadoke, Anneke Wills, Jean Marsh & Matt Smith, How many did you spot?

Dvd.
Running time 90 minutes, Region 2.

Review.
As i write this i have tears streaming down my face...Why?

Because the last ten minutes of this exellent produced & directed film that is superbly written by Mark Gatsis is just wonderful as this film details the origins of Doctor Who featuring Brian Cox as Sidney Newman & Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert.

This film documents a script to screen approach of the trials & tribulations in getting this to the tv screen were near impossible odds, From the small studio of Lime Grove that when it gets hot in the studio set's off the sprinklers to a failed pilot being re-recorded & to a repeat viewing the following Saturday of episode 1 due to The assassination of President Kennedy.

But the real star performer here is David Bradley as William Hartnell showcasing him as a cantankerous old man & yet gives the performance this twinkle in his eye as he goes from being dismissive of the role of the Doctor to loving the part of a children's hero.

The scenes were David plays William Hartnells failing health is touching & emotional as he slowly loses his grip on the role becoming irritating & forgetful that forced Sidney Newman to eventually re-cast the part using what was to become regeneration to replace the lead actor with Patrick Troughton.

The final scenes were William Hartnell is let go by the BBC & breaks down by the fire at home had this reviewer in tears as Hartnell echoes a line quoted by another Doctor Who actor.

But the final shot were William Hartnell prepares for his regeneration scene is the real tearjerker as William Hartnell sees the image of Matt Smith as the Doctor standing along side him in the Tardis acknowledging to him that the show will continue for many many year's to the present 50th Anniversary & beyond.

This film has it all from great references to Doctor Who, A great script by Mark Gatsis, Cameos from past cast members & exellent all round performances lead to this being a must buy purchase for fan's of Doctor Who.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving..., 21 Nov 2013
By 
G. M. Twitchett "gazzymodo" (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
I remember clearly the impact Dr Who had on me as a six year old child in 1963. I was full of wonder for this unique atmospheric new drama, with the most Incredible Theme Music i had ever heard. William Hartnell was captivating and charismatic as the Doctor. His companions likable and memorable. One would have to be my age (or older ) to have experienced the first ever entrance of the Daleks which was mesmerising and so totally
original . It was the year of the Beatles and
James Bond. A time of real excitement in Britain. 50 years on, the Beatles, James Bond & Dr Who are more popular than ever !
Mark Gattiss has done a Brilliant job with this drama. William Hartnell's final scene in the Tardis had an unexpected feature which i personally found very moving and emotional.
I think the drama will appeal more to the First wave of fans (although i may be wrong) those who followed William Hartnell's Doctor.
I enjoyed it immensely, and will buy the DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for your collection, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
Very moving, not sure I could watch it too many times but the likeness of the actors and attention to detail is amazing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true adventure that must be seen, 21 Nov 2013
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This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
If you, like me, are a long standing Doc Who fan who owns all the available DVD's from the Hartnell era and just loves the show - you are going to love this. Mark Gattis has given us one of the best bits of dramatic t.v. in years. Revealing, moving and sad the story of William Hartnell's time in the Tardis deserved to be told and boy has it been told well. The acting, staging and music are all fantastic and the whole production really brings the 60's Doc to life. The fact that the dvd has various extras is a real bonus. BUY THIS - BRILLIANT, I didn't want it to go - to paraphrase a famous Time Lord.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible!!, 21 Nov 2013
This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
What a fantastic story of the First Doctor, William Hartnell.
Extremely well written and Acted by all involved,
And very moving ending, I had a tear or two,
I will be ordering this, and would recommend all Doctor who fans to purchase this also,
A highly deserved 5 stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely way to acknowledge those who started it all 50 years ago, 30 Dec 2013
By 
Jersey Customer (Jersey, Channel Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
We are huge Doctor Who fans (I started watching in 1973 when I was 6) and this was a perfect addition to the anniversary celebrations. Whilst some aspects (especially the final few scenes) have divided fans, for myself I found it strangely moving and I don't mind admitting I cried during those last few minutes of the programme. David Bradley is a good fit for Hartnell - he's not quite as good a fit facially as Richard Hurndall was in 'The Five Doctors', but the effort put into the characterisation more than makes up for it. Verity Lambert is ably played by Jessica Raine (and looks very like her) and Sacha Dhawan inhabits the character of Waris Hussein in a very believable way. To see Hartnell's gradual decline played out on screen (which has been well-documented over the years) is sad - and there's no doubt he was a grouchy old devil in real life, rather snobbish about how he viewed himself as an 'character actor' rather than simply a 'variety actor', but he was passionate about Doctor Who and didn't patronise the children who watched the show - that is clearly shown in key scenes such as the one where he says to some producer who doesn't care about the detail, that as The Doctor he has to make sure he always uses the same knobs and dials on the console for the same thing each week, because if he didn't the children would notice.

Mark Gatiss is one of the semi-regular writers for Doctor Who in its current incarnation and is clearly a deeply passionate fan in his own right - that shines through in this tribute drama, which is one of the best things he's ever written for the world of Doctor Who. Whether or not you agree with his decision to cross-over into something that brings the current Who into what had been, until that point, all original Who, (trying not to spell it out in case anyone hasn't seen it - I'm probably not making much sense!) it shouldn't be enough to put you off if you want to watch a very well-made, affectionate-in-its-way tibute to the people who started it all - and who had to fight to keep it going, and then found their saviour in the Daleks!

And the rest, as they say, is history. The DVD comes with some extras, although not as many as there might have been, but if you've enjoyed the 50th anniversary year and Doctor Who as a whole then this DVD should be part of your collection.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a time and space legend!, 23 Nov 2013
By 
This review is from: An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] (DVD)
dr who,an adventure in time and space was excellent! a superb production of how, in the beginning, an eccentric,crabby old man with long white hair and who travelled in time and space in a police box, suddenly appeared on bbctv screens, on a dark november evening in november 1963, known only as dr who, and who is still time travelling 50 years later! this fantastic dr who special showed how it all began, and it was all captivating stuff! with the first female producer verity lamberts fight to keep the show on the air, when the bbc wanted to axe it after only a few weeks, thank god they didnt! and how the arrival of the daleks, who were to become as familiar as bread, finally saved the day! and of william hartnells decision to take on the lead role and of how, towards the end, struggled with his health, to carry on playing a role that he loved. the programme really captured that sixties feel and the actors resembled the originals so perfectly, that it gave me goosebumps! these actors could quite easily remake the first ever episode! finally, a tribute to william hartnell,who breathed life into the first dr who. he was magnificent,charming,funny,an old moaney bugger at times but,above all,he was pure class! bill hartnell will always be dr who, the original,the best! thank you bill for starting it all and for giving us a time and space legend, dr who, we will all,always,love you! x
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An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD] by Terry McDonough (DVD - 2013)
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