Published on November 23rd, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds2
An Adventure in Space and Time Reaction
Lovingly crafted and beautifully executed An Adventure in Space and Time – the 50th anniversary docudrama about the group of unlikely outsiders who through ingenuity, hard work and no small amount of serendipity broke boundaries and created Doctor Who – was a triumph.
Unsurprisingly then, when it came to life-long fan Mark Gatiss telling the story of the Doctor’s inception both in terms of science fiction and historical context – the heart ruled the head.
That decision lead to the show receiving an audience of 2.2 million viewers (a 9.7% share of the audience), according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.
Billing the special as ‘the ultimate Hartnell historical’ SFX gets to core of what made Mark Gatiss’ script so special; letting a very human tale of spirited defiance come to the fore:
And central to that drama was the pitch perfect roster of outstanding performances given by the able cast – The Telegraph managed to distil what makes those behind the scenes characters so compelling, while praising each performance for capturing that essence:
Lambert called their double act (look away now, PC police) “the posh wog and the pushy Jewish bird”. All four were misfits in different ways, yet found unlikely salvation in a Saturday teatime sci-fi romp, dreamed up to plug the gap in the schedules between Grandstand and Jukebox Jury.
Ultimately, this was the tale of one man’s journey from crotchety, typecast actor to an embraced cultural icon, and as Digital Spy note, the one bone of contention with the adaptation may just be the portrayal of the Doctor himself – William Hartnell:
But the darker elements of Hartnell’s personality are somewhat glossed over and the closest we come to one of his famed on-set altercations is a brief scene in which he brusquely tells co-star Carole Ann Ford (Claudia Grant) that she shouldn’t spend her cash so quickly.
Did Hartnell really go on quite such an obvious emotional journey – from snapping at his granddaughter to larking about with kiddies in a park? Was his bad behaviour really just the result of an unquenchable feeling of loneliness, amplified by Doctor Who’s endless stream of cast and crew changes?
You could easily pick at the veracity of the script, but to do so would be rather missing the point of what Mark Gatiss was setting out to achieve. An Adventure in Space and Time isn’t meant to be taken as a historical document.
And it’s the final image – a spiritual link between where we have been and what lies ahead that may be the specials biggest concession to fans, and its most touching moment – as The Independent observes:
Want more? Don’t miss Kasterborous’ own review of An Adventure in Space and Time!