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As fans of the very-long-running series likely already know, Doctor Who turns fifty this year, and the occasion is not going uncelebrated on either side of the pond. Today comes word that the role of actor William Hartnell has been cast in the upcoming Doctor Who biopic, An Adventure in Space and Time, being co-produced by BBC Cymru Wales and BBC America. And it just so happens that this actor has actually appeared on Doctor Who recently.
An Adventure in Space and Time is written by Mark Gatiss, who's executive producing the drama alongside Doctor Who's Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. The biopic will tell the story of the genesis of Doctor Who, which began airing in November of 1963. David Bradley has been cast in the role of William Hartnell, who played the first ever Doctor in the British sci-fi series. In addition to serving as some great comic relief in the Harry Potter films in the role of the grumpy squib caretaker Argus Filch, Bradley's recent credits include the role of Solomon in the "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" episode of Doctor Who, which aired last year.
To say that Bradley is enthusiastic about the role might be an understatement…
Commenting on his upcoming role, David Bradley said, “I’m absolutely thrilled. I first heard about this role from Mark while watching the Diamond Jubilee flotilla from the roof of the National Theatre. When he asked if I would be interested, I almost bit his hand off! Mark has written such a wonderful script not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television’s history. William Hartnell was one of the finest character actors of our time and as a fan I want to make sure that I do him justice. I’m so looking forward to getting started.”
Fans of the earlier seasons of the series are sure to appreciate Bradley's eagerness to take on the role of Hartnell and his evident appreciation for the actor's work.
Also joining the cast are Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine (playing Verity Lambert, the producer, Verity Lambert) and The Bourne Supremacy's Brian Cox (playing BBC's Head of Drama Sydney Newman, who's credited with the creation of the show). Meanwhile, Sacha Dhawan has been cast to play the director of the first episode ("An Unearthly Child"), Waris Hussein.
Filming is set to start next month (February) in London at the BBC Television Centre and will eventually move to Wimbledon Studios. No premiere date for the film was mentioned but BBC America says we can expect it sometime later this year.