Doctor Who News An Adventure in Space and Time original TARDIS set

Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

David Bradley on Researching Hartnell [VIDEO]

David Bradley has chatted recently about his upcoming role as William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time.

David Bradley as William Hartnell

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.

Dinosaurs 6

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.


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

6 Responses to David Bradley on Researching Hartnell [VIDEO]

  1. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    It would be quite nice if Bradley could play the First Doctor in the series – even if only in some sort of flashback scenes – as he certainly seems much more of a fit for the role than Richard Hurndall did in 83.

  2. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I think it more likely that we see the rebuilt original console room used for the 50th. THAT…..would be epic.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      That would be cool too.

  3. avatar Al says:

    Princess Leela … someone at Big Finish is probably crafting a wild tale now as we speak!

  4. avatar vortexter says:

    I think we will see Bradley and Reece Shearsmith in the 50th alongside the original console room as the 1st and 2nd Doctors.

  5. avatar Geoff says:

    I would love to see him as the first Doctor in the actual show. He’s an excellent actor and a thoroughly pleasant man as well. To my mind its the perfect opportunity to reinvent the first Doctor with some dignity but I bet you anything they haven’t done it. They’ll spout some grown up stuff about blurring the lines between the two dramas when they could have just got on and do e it and thrilled everyone (see also Paul McGann I fear!).
    I know I getting ahead of myself and would be very happy to be corrected but it does pee me off that we had Mr Bradley on hand yet decided to fall back on a dodgy Richard Hurndall lookalike in TNoTD.

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