David Bradley has chatted recently about his upcoming role as William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time.
The prolific actor, who recently appeared in a heart-breaking role in Broadchurch, told SFX he studied Hartnell in order to do him justice in the Mark Gatiss-penned biopic, including 1960s Doctor Who:
“I did watch a lot of episodes and a lot of his earlier films as well to acquaint myself with him, but, as you say, it’s the essence and the spirit of the man more than an accurate… impersonation. I respected him as an actor as well as Doctor Who.
When Doctor Who came along, I think he was initially reluctant, as you see in Mark’s beautifully-written script; he was reluctant to be involved with something that was children’s television. He was initially horrified at the thought that he was a British character actor, who had done all these movies and had great reviews for them. He was reluctant to actually do it, but once he started, he realised the potential for him to have some fun, and to expand the character with all the eccentricity and humour that’s there.”
Bradley recalls watching the debut serials of everyone’s favourite show:
“It kind of all started when I was living up in York, my home town, and I remember seeing the early episodes and being captivated by the Daleks, like everyone else was!”
An Adventure in Space and Time tells the story of Doctor Who’s early days, and sees Hide’s Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert, Frontios’ Jeff Rawle as associate producer, Mervyn Pinfield, and Nicholas Briggs as Peter Hawkins, voice of the Daleks and Cybermen. Bradley is a Who alumni too, having played Solomon in last year’s Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, as well as voicing the Shansheeth in The Sarah Jane Adventures story, Death of the Doctor.
Bradley says he’s always watched Who, though not as religiously as us hardcore Whovians:
“I watched it quite a bit when Patrick Troughton played it, then I got to work with him on another series called A Family at War for Granada and then my oldest mate from drama school was living with Louise Jameson, who played Princess Leela later – the Fourth Doctor I think it was - so we watched her and Tom [Baker] quite a lot because of my friendship with Louise. So I’ve kind of kept in touch with it.”
Troughton appears in An Adventure in Space and Time, played by Reece Shearsmith, who wrote and starred in The League of Gentlemen with Gatiss.
The interview (below) is well worth a watch – and even reveals that Bradley’s favourite Doctor is Matt Smith! An Adventure in Space and Time is set to hit TV screens nationwide in November.