An Adventure in Time and Space

There really is no genre better than the biopic to me. After I watch a good one, I go into a frenzy and quickly research the real facts of what transpired. Artistic license is used to dramatize events since usually a life is lived dully unless you embellish it. This film came in the 50th anniversary Doctor Who boxset I picked up. I thought it would be a cheap looking mediocre affair made on a dime to cash in on the anniversary. Nope. It was a gem of a biopic.


An Adventure in Time and Space is a title that references the nature of Doctor Who. The Doctor every episode will take a trip through time: backward or forwards. This film captures the way Doctor Who came to be from the modest budgets to the famous regenerations. It does tend to gloss over a lot of these things quickly whereas I would love to see entire scenes devoted to these. However, it keeps a good pacing, and the real meaty part of this story is the man who plays the first doctor, William Hartnell. William is an old actor, who from the sounds of the film was typecasted and never really took off due to his relative stubbornness. All this changes when he becomes The Doctor. At first, the show is struggling to get afoot as the pilot episode doesn’t work and is reshot. Poor ratings on the eventual airing of the pilot are due to unfortunate timing as JFK is assassinated. After a few bad starts and almost cancelation Doctor Who takes off. William finally sees people clamoring for him, they want to see him, and the bitterness disperses like Scrooge on Christmas. The rest of the film tackles William’s failing health as he feels like the production and future of the franchise relies on his involvement.


William Hartnell is played superbly by David Bradley, Argus Filch of Harry Potter fame. I never knew Bradley had this acting in him. The other star of this film rides on the producer, Verity Lambert, the first woman in the role of producer at the BBC. She was tasked with the purpose of getting Doctor Who together. It was her career riding on this. Doctor Who was initially a show for children to educate them about the past, yet this fulfillment of the show appears to have gone to the wayside in favor of spectacular science fiction. Verity succeeded in getting children to watch, but it was more to do with the horror they were experiencing as the terrifying Daleks take to the screen in the second episode. Verity’s character talks to the women of the sixties too. She was believed to have become a producer from sleeping with the senior boss. Therefore, we cheer when she triumphs, and everyone can see she progresses because of talent.


This is a special movie for people that watch Doctor Who. It’s also a unique little biopic in its own right. An old typecasted actor and a newly appointed producer take on all odds to create a show that succeeds for generations, more than fifty years now. I recommend this one.

Robert Ring


The Doctor Who Plunge

For the longest time, I considered Doctor Who to be the epitome of geekdom. It was this show that carried on for generations. It’s so old my grandfather was tuning in as a young man, and under the same cannon, it continues to this day. My grandfather is the reason I began watching it. After he passed away a couple of months ago, I’ve been thinking about him regularly. He had a quiet and quaint presence all his life, and spiritually he must be the same in the next life because I haven’t felt his presence. The days grow longer when I think about the end of his journey, so I strive to find a way to make these moments bittersweet instead.


This past week I’ve started watching Doctor Who, and I’m enjoying it. Before I saw only a campiness, similar to an Ed Wood picture, whereas now I see what I believe my grandfather saw, which were the possibilities. The Doctor can travel anywhere in time with his Tardis, and this makes for some incredibly creative journeys. When the Doctor travels to the past, we get a creative albeit Twilight Zone spin on a historical time. However, when the Doctor travels to the future, we’re given thought-provoking instances that humanity may find itself in if given the time. It’s the episodes in the future that I find myself afterward wishing I could get lost in a conversation with my grandfather in. I could have known him for a hundred years and never quite work out how his mind interprets philosophy, time and space. This is the trait I think he shares with the Doctor. If my grandfather had been educated at a university level, he might have become a great engineer or a mad scientist. I’ll never know.


I do know I’m going to continue watching Doctor Who, and share in something my grandfather adored, only if to feel closer to him for a moment. I’ve almost finished the first season of the 2005 series, and a further fifty odd years worth of content should I feel inclined. I’m sure I’ll make additional Doctor Who posts in the future regarding the series overall.

Robert Ring