Mark Gatiss on Doctor Who 50th drama – I’ve wanted David Bradley to play William Hartnell for years

The writer of An Adventure in Space and Time says he's been trying to make the drama for over a decade


No wonder Mark Gatiss was excited when he revealed the casting for An Adventure in Space and Time at the Radio Times covers party this week – he’d been waiting over a decade to do it.


Gatiss has cast Harry Potter actor David Bradley, who bears a striking resemblance to William Hartnell, as the First Doctor in the fact-based drama about the birth of Doctor Who, and told Radio Times he’d always had him in mind for the part.

“I’ve had David in my head for years,” said Gatiss. “I’ve been trying to do this [project] for years – I tried to do it for the 40th anniversary! And before that, really – it’s taken about 12 years.”

Gatiss is convinced it was worth the wait and that airing the drama in Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary year is perfect timing.

“It’s a real labour of love for me and I’m just really thrilled that everything’s come together for the 50th,” said Gatiss. “It just seems exactly the right time, and a wonderful cast and it’s a very lovely story.”

An Adventure in Space and Time will not be Bradley’s first association with Doctor Who – he played ruthless merchant Solomon in series seven episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.


Bradley will be joined in the drama by Brian Cox as Doctor Who producer Sydney Newman, Sacha Dhawan as director Waris Hussein and Jessica Raine as producer Verity Lambert.