An Adventure in Space and Time: Meet the cast and characters of Mark Gatiss’s Doctor Who drama

From David Bradley as William Hartnell, the first Doctor, to Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford, aka Susan - here's a who's who of Who


It may be about the birth of a geek favourite, but Mark Gatiss’ Doctor Who drama An Adventure in Space and Time is a wonderfully accessible piece of work. Nevertheless, if you’re new to classic Who, it would be easy to lose your way among all the actors playing actors in this show within a show… 


So here to help is our primer on who’s Who – and who’s not… 


David Bradley is…

Perhaps best known as Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter movies, Bradley has made a speciality of playing cantankerous older men in cult franchises (which, along with the striking resemblance, should make him the perfect fit to play First Doctor William Hartnell). He was Walder Frey in fantasy drama Game of Thrones and, more recently, ruthless merchant Solomon in Doctor Who episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.


William Hartnell as The Doctor

Before Doctor Who, Hartnell became known (even in comedies) for playing humourless roles, such as policemen, soldiers and even out-and-out thugs. Most notably, he was the sergeant in Carry On Sergeant and another in The Army Game. As such, it was inevitable he would become intergrated in the era of the “Angry Young Man” British New Wave generation, notably with his role in This Sporting Life; the film that Verity Lambert would first see him in. With a reputation of jumbling up lines in the show, Hartnell left Doctor Who in 1966 due to deteriorating health and died in 1975, aged 67. Despite being notably hard to work with, he was fondly missed by Doctor Who fans. 


Jamie Glover is…

With a varied career in both theatre, film and every British TV drama you’ve ever watched, Jamie Glover’s most famous role is as deputy head Andrey Treneman in Waterloo Road. With a background in teacher acting, this should make him a dab-hand in playing the well-meaning teacher-turned-companion Ian Chesterton.



William Russell as Ian Chesterton

William Russell played original Tardis crew member, science teacher and all-round action man and falling over expert Ian Chesterton. Despite initially following his student Susan into the Tardis, him and fellow teacher Barbara would end-up outliving Susan as one of the Doctor’s first assistants, until their return home in 1960s episode The Chase. Russell has maintained his association with Doctor Who down the years, lending his voice to audio book releases of lost 1960s episodes as well as more recent original adventures.


Jemma Powell is…

A graduate of the Oxford School of Drama, Jemma Powell has ensued many of her own adventures in her own acting career, including Brit cult-horror The Hole, and a further bout underground in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Having come up for air, she will tonight play Jacqueline Hill, one of the first Who assistants there ever was.



Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright

As teacher and original Tardis crew member Barbara Wright, Jacqueline Hill has the honour of having uttered the first ever lines in Doctor Who (“Wait in here, please, Susan, I won’t be long,” since you ask). Hill left the show at the end of series two along with William Russell and soon afterwards put her career on hold to raise a family. Two years after returning to acting she appeared in1980 Doctor Who story Meglos, as the priestess Lexa.

Claudia Grant is…

As much a newcomer to the scene as Carol Ann Ford was playing the rabbit-in-the-headlights companion Susan, Claudia Grant began her career at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and as is every British actor’s default move, an obligatory appearance in the Bill. Maybe playing the iconic role of Carol Ann Ford will spell a career as effervescent as the lady who played Susan in the first place.



Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman

From her theatre work and B-movie beginnings in The Day of the Triffids, Carol Ann Ford was more than ready to take on the Daleks when she was booked to be the Doctor’s first ever assistant, not to mention his ominous granddaughter. With a role consisting of mostly screaming and running away a lot, Ann Ford certainly loved the Whoniverse more than she let on, starring in several adaptations and radio plays (including meeting a much more foppish version of her old gramps, Paul McGann) down the line, suffusing her name in the show’s culture forever. As the perfect compliment, she also turns up in Adventure in Space and Time alongside Claudia Grant playing her past self.

And the crew… 

It’s not only the cast who made Doctor Who, of course. Here’s a guide to those behind the scenes that brought it all come to life. 

Brian Cox is


To play an eccentric producer with an even more eccentric moustache and a penchant for onamatopeias, Adventure in Space and Time would need a presence just as vibrant and colourful. Step forward Brian Cox, revered Scottish actor, with a filmography of classics such as Braveheart to Rob Roy, Cox does comical as well as he does serious, having been nominated for an Emmy for a role in Frasier, as well as sprouting up in many Wes Anderson movies. His dedication to his art earnt him a booking as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2002.


…Sydney Newman 

From one powerhouse to another, Sydney Newman also had quite the flamboyant hand when it came to TV & film. Originally a producer in Canada, Newman made his mark in the UK with two major players in British 60s TV – one being the Avengers, the other? Have a guess.  Originally recruited by the BBC in the 60s to add some colour into the kitchen sink black and white dramas, it was Newman’s love of sci-fi that brought Who to life, despite a slight grievance against “bug-eyed monsters”. Alongside his confidant Verity Lambert, the pair are instilled in Doctor Who’s history as the godfather and mother – even being referenced in the episode Human Nature.

Jessica Raine is…

Smart, level-headed, and with ‘piss and vinegar’ in her blood, Jessica Raine is still very much a newcomer in the dramatic arts, much like her counterpart Verity Lambert was. The pair’s mutual unbreakable backbone when it comes to their careers however, is unmistakable. Working as a waitress part time to hold tight her role in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Raine has since moved to TV & film, even playing a part in a recent episode of Doctor Who, before getting the booking as the show’s first ever producer.


…Verity Lambert

“The moment this brilliant young producer called Verity Lambert started telling me about Doctor Who, I was hooked,” said William Hartnell, referring to the godmother of the program and the show’s first ever producer, and the BBC’s first ever female drama producer. When Newman recruited her to work on the story of “a crotchety old man travelling through space and time”, Lambert never stood down her guard, often fighting with Sydney Newman on creative choices. Thanks to Lambert’s firey insistence, we would never have had the Daleks without her.

Sacha Dhawan is… 

With a career rich in all walks of sci-fi, Sacha Dhawan is perfect casting as the director of the first episode of Doctor Who. Also starting in a career in theatre, Greater Manchester-born Dhawan intergrated himself in the world of Alan Bennett, starring in both the movie and stage versions of The History Boys. After that, Dhawan submerged into the weird and wonderful, with prominent roles in indie sci-fi epic After Earth and Being Human. For the role, Sacha spent a lot of time with Hussein himself, to play the character as “truthfully as possible”, noting the experience as rather odd. 

“We were a bit kind of weird with each other; we were both studying, looking at one another. He was looking at me thinking ‘You’re watching everything I’m doing aren’t you?’


…Waris Hussein

After growing up in Bombay, Waris went on his own travels to come to England and graduate Cambridge university. After falling in love with the theatre, Hussein came to direct many acclaimed figureheads of the industry, including future Doctor Who cast members Ian Mckellen and Derek Jacobi. With initial reservations about moving from Shakespeare to low- budget sci fi Hussein eventually went on to direct the first ever episode of Who, An Earthly Child. The move spelled a rich and vibrant career for Hussein, who hit numerous other dramatic barriers in his work, from projects highlighting AIDS to racial prejudice, to working with fabled acting figureheads such as Bette Davis and Laurence Olivier. Not bad from directing a couple of “cavemen in skins” as he once said.