In 1963 Sydney Newman, progressive head of BBC TV's drama department, wants to fill a Saturday tea-time slot with a show with youth appeal and hits on the idea of an august figure, like a doctor, leading a group of companions on time travel adventures. He engages inexperienced young producer Verity Lambert to expand the idea. Fighting sexist and racial bigotry Verity and young Indian director Waris Hussein persuade crusty character actor William Hartnell to play the doctor figure and, despite technical hiccups and competition with coverage of the Kennedy assassination, the first episode of 'Doctor Who' is born. As the show becomes a success Hartnell displays an obsession with his character but, after three years, ill health catches up with him and he starts to forget lines. Newman tells him that Doctor Who will 'regenerate' and he will be replaced by younger actor Patrick Troughton. Though attached to the part and reluctant to give it up Hartnell wishes every success to Troughton, the...Written by
don @ minifie-1
Anneke Wills, William Russell, and Carole Ann Ford share the odd distinction of being both actors and characters in the same production. All three cameo in various roles, but their younger selves are played by other actors. See more »
During the recording of the pilot it's shown that the lights go out and the sprinklers turn on due to the heat, neither of these incidents occurred during the recording, and although Warris Hussein did recall that if Studio D at Lime-grove got too hot the sprinklers would turn on, this never occurred when Doctor who was filming. See more »
[a cameraman catches his first sight of a Dalek]
What the hell's that? A sink plunger and an egg-whisk? Oh well, if they can't take over the universe they might at least be able to whip up a decent omelette.
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Mark Gatiss always wanted to tell the story about the origins of Doctor Who and although this is a well worn tale for die hard fans. For the casual viewer this is based in a time when the television industry was a lot different.
A Canadian Head of Drama with pizzazz has an idea. A Jewish female producer being the first female producer at BBC drama and an Indian Muslim is tasked with directing the first episode.
Maybe this was a series designed to fail rather than last half a century!
David Bradley well known for playing the curmudgeonly Filch in the Harry Potter films plays the curmudgeonly William Hartnell. An actor well known for playing army types and small time hoods before he got the keys for the TARDIS and enchanted children of all ages.
We have recreations in colour of some of the well known scenes from early Doctor Who, some of these episodes now lost in time.
The drama had to be distilled in 90 minutes so a lot of the story had to be left out. Hartnell could be difficult to work with and had abrasive relationships with some of his producers.
Gatiss managed to get cameos from past actors from the early series and used scenes and lines from previous Doctor Who episodes. An example is David Tennant's final line before he regenerated 'I don't want to go' which was reused here when Hartnell discovers he is to be replaced by another actor.
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