Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Doctor Who @ 50: An Adventure In Space And Time

Dhawan, Gatiss & Hussein at the recent BFI screening of An Unearthly Child

Further details about the golden anniversary biopic, An Adventure in Space and Time were released today.
Commissioned last August by BBC Two, the ninety-minute docudrama penned by Sherlock co-creator and Nu Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss will commence production at Television Centre in early February, before moving to Wimbledon Studios.

The programme will tell the story of the genesis of Doctor Who, a story that began more than fifty years ago. Yorkshire-born actor, David Bradley has been cast as William Hartnell, the First Doctor. He was last seen as Solomon in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, and even voiced the alien Shansheeth for The Sarah Jane Adventures story, Death of the Doctor (2010), but he is more famous as Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film series. Bradley commented on his new role:
"I'm absolutely thrilled.. Mark has written such a wonderful script, not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television's history. 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."

The role of BBC Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, credited with creating Doctor Who, has gone to Scottish actor, Brian Cox (the voice of the Elder Ood in The End of Time). Founding producer Verity Lambert will be portrayed by Call the Midwife actress, Jessica Raine, who also stars as Emma Grayling in forthcoming episode, Phantoms of the Hex. Director of An Unearthly Child, Waris Hussein will be played by Manchunian, Sacha Dhawan (from Last Tango in Halifax).
Casting news for the other leads, Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright) and Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman) has not been announced yet, and it has been rumoured that Jamie Glover (son of Julian Glover) may have been cast as William Russell (Ian Chesterton).
Matt Strevens (Misfits, Skins) has been appointed producer, and Terry McDonough (The Street) will direct the serial.
Gatiss, also joining Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner as executive producers, said:
"What a cast! I'm utterly delighted that everyone's favourite Time Lord will be in such brilliant and stellar company. We have a terrific team who can't wait to tell the fascinating and surprising story of how the Doctor began his journey through Space and Time."

Friday, 4 January 2013

Empire Presents The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

It's almost five years since cinema magazine Empire published their own list of the best ever TV shows, so surely it's time to reappraise the findings.
As any dedicated Whovian will admit, it's difficult (nigh impossible) to remain objective when any similar new poll is unveiled, for Doctor Who is without doubt, THE greatest television programme in the world. This particular survey needs urgent revision, simply because our favourite show warrants not just a higher standing than sixteenth place, but also recognition for the 'classic' era - only the revived, 21st century incarnation is included here. Consequently, the periodical cites (the much deserved) Blink as the best example of the series, whilst neglecting all pre-2005 stories.

Not surprisingly, the list - predominantly sci-fi and fantasy related and topped by The Simpsons - is characterised by influential US programming (in fact accounting for 78% of the whole study). The only British entries (eight of which are BBC produced) are Cracker (#44), Only Fools and Horses (#42), Life On Mars (#40), Monty Python's Flying Circus (#39), Father Ted (#36), Fawlty Towers (#28), Red Dwarf (#26), The Office (#23), Blackadder (#20), Doctor Who, and Spaced in tenth position.
So, Empire commented thus: