David Bradley on playing an icon in AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME, plus new posters

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It’s a good time to be a Doctor Who fan. While we’re all busy counting down the days until we see Matt Smith and David Tennant (swoon) return to our screens in The Day of The Doctor, there’s another Doctor Who themed drama that will be shown on BBC as part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Directed by Mark Gatiss, An Adventure in Space and Time will be chronicling the history of Doctor Who, where it all began and the people involved.

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Arguably one of the most important roles in this is that of William Hartnell, the actor who brought the first Doctor to life. British actor David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) will be bringing William Hartnell back to our screens, in what he calls “an experience I’ll always remember”. In an interview with BBC, Bradley spoke about portraying Hartnell, showing both the good and the bad.

I know he had a reputation at times for being cantankerous and rather difficult and one has to play that. It was clear from research and hearing his colleagues talk about him that he was a perfectionist. He demanded a lot of himself and he expected everyone around him to show the same level of commitment.

Although Hartnell’s health took its toll and ultimately led him to retire from the role, Bradley explains that the relationship he had with Doctor Who’s production team had its influence as well:

I think maybe when people joined the show later, different directors and different actors, if they showed a lack of commitment then it would upset him and he would let people know that’s how he felt. There are moments of sadness in ‘Space and Time’ where he becomes aware that he hasn’t got the strength to do it anymore.

Having acted opposite Matt Smith in the Season 7 episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, Bradley had this to say about Smith:

I really admire him as a Doctor, he’s got that curiosity and that slight eccentricity that the part requires, not in the same way as Bill Hartnell, but I think some of those characteristics have gone all the way through everyone that’s played the Doctor.

Harntell obviously set the bar fairly high, portraying one of TV’s most iconic roles. How did Bradley find the experience of tackling this character?

It’s been one of those great jobs and an experience I’ll always remember. We’re honouring something that’s been part of television history for 50 years and I hope I’ve done justice to an actor that I admire greatly.

The BBC has also released two new posters for An Adventure in Space and Time, capturing the retro feel of the show’s 1963 origins. And, as we saw last week, David Bradley has certainly gotten the look spot-on.

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To be honest, I’m a relative new-comer to Doctor Who, having only watched the show since the 2005 reboot. But, as the dedicated Whovian that I am, I’ve read up as much as I could on the show as it aired in my parents’ days. An Adventure in Space and Time looks to be a behind-the-scenes education for the young-un’s like me; and a nostalgia trip for the fans of the classic Doctor Who.

Last Updated: October 30, 2013

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