Saturday, November 23, 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time

I've been a Doctor Who fan for a long time. Well, a relatively long time -- I came to the show kind of late, I didn't start watching it seriously until about 1978. In the past few years, I started collecting the DVDs from the beginning, and at this point have watched all the first and second Doctor episodes, and am into the third. I was very pleased that as part of the 50th anniversary of the show this weekend, the BBC produced this wonderful little movie that tells the story of William Hartnell, Verity Lambert, et al, creating Doctor Who. One thing that is singularly remarkable about the show is how much was defined in just the first few episodes. I was especially interested in the implication that the "surly doctor" from the pilot was Verity Lambert's mistake. Novices seem to so often create unlikeable protagonists, and then reverse that decision when it isn't working. Jason VandenBerghe once told me he thought that novices do this because it seems like such a fresh idea -- only later do they realize that no one does it because it doesn't work.

The best part about this for me was how much dignity it gives to William Hartnell. Nowadays, people often look back on Hartnell with disappointment. They accuse him of being egotistic and arrogant, mock his failing faculties and mannerisms, and shake their heads about the show being dull. What a refreshing relief to see Hartnell get his due, a respectful biopic that appreciates how difficult it was to create something that has lasted for fifty years, and will surely last for generations to come.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really glad they made this. Fans spoiled by the production values of the new series would have a much harder time getting what an amazing feat was pulled off creating this show by watching the old series itself.

    Great review.