Saturday, November 23, 2013

TV I Love: 'An Adventure in Space and Time'

So, as you may or may not know, I'm a pretty big Doctor Who fan. (And yes, I've been epically excited for today's 50th anniversary special and no, it did not disappoint!!) But because I am about 20 years younger than the show, and because I did not grow up in the U.K., I have to admit I didn't know much about the history of it or about the doctors before the 2005 incarnation of the show, when I started watching.

David Bradley stars as William Hartnell in 'An Adventure in Space
and Time.'' Photo by Hal Shinnie/BBC.
So I was definitely intrigued by the concept of An Adventure in Space and Time, which tells the story of the inception of the show back in 1963. The film stars David Bradley (a.k.a. Filch) as William Hartnell, the actor who played the first doctor, and it centers on the creative struggles to get a little sci-fi children's show off the ground. I learned that the show was the BBC's first to employ a female producer (Verity Lambert) and an Indian director (Waris Hussein).

Let me just tell you: I loved this movie. Not only because it involved fangirl/boy moments of watching the creative team come up with the theme song, the TARDIS sound effect and the concept of a Dalek, but also because it was about something much more enormous and universal: the power of art to endure.

When you see a producer passionately fighting about why a Dalek needs to be in an episode, or an actor getting deeply immersed in the switches on his character's time machine, it's funny and compelling. But it's also deeply moving, especially for someone who has a lifelong interest in telling stories. It reminds me that those arguments those people had, the passion they showed for their work, it all mattered. They started something that has lasted for 50 years, it has impacted culture and people's lives for generations, it has given something for people to look forward to, to be entertained by, and to learn from.

And, really, isn't that the point of all art? How extraordinary it is to create something that makes an impact in someone else's life, that elicits emotions and reactions, that is, ultimately, much bigger than its creator. It's breathtakingly magical and it exists here, in the real, (unfortunately) TARDIS-free world.

I'm so grateful to this wonderful movie for reminding me of that. And, of course, if you have a chance to see it, I obviously can't recommend it enough. (P.S. It was written by the brilliant Mark Gatiss, who not only wrote a bunch of Who episodes but plays Mycroft in Sherlock!)


  1. I agree whole-heartedly, Sarv. I loved Adventures in Space and Time. Not only were the 1960's wonderfully evoked with the clothes, make-up and over-the-top hairdos, but the movie showed the passion Verity Lambert had to create a decent children's science fiction show on a shoestring budget and in the face of the BBC's bias against women in executive positions. Bravo Mark Gatiss for a script that told a triumphant story without devolving into sentimentalism.