Reader reviews: what YOU thought of An Adventure in Space and Time

It seems everyone who tuned in loved Mark Gatiss' Doctor Who drama. Well, apart from that disgruntled Dalek...


From “heart-wrenching” and “heart-warming” to “moving” and “uplifting”, one thing’s for sure, you all loved last night’s Doctor Who drama. Most of you even admitted to shedding a tear or two. 


We’ve been inundated with your words of praise for An Adventure in Space and Time. The only criticism we’ve been sent is from a Dalek. Yep, you read that right. Scroll down to the bottom to read what he (it?) had to say… 

Christopher Hatton, 20, Skelmersdale, says…

An Adventure in Space and Time is a worthy celebration of the birth of the longest running television show in the world – made by fans for fans.

Wonderfully and colourfully capturing a short, historic and iconic moment in the history of television, the superb 90 minute drama combines all the eclectic elements of Doctor Who to make a true fan ooze with utter joy. From a smoking Cyberman to the mispronunciation of the newly-born “Daleks”, all the love and charm combine perfectly with a terrific sprinkle of wit and comedy to provide an all-round good hearted family show.

An Adventure in Space and Time is a genuinely moving, warm and uplifting piece of film documenting one of TV’s great untold stories. Quite rightly it serves as a classy tribute to a man who played a huge part in changing the face of television forever; William Hartnell.

Warren Howarth, 40, Burnley, says…  

From the opening titles and the shot of Barnes common (fans of the novel will have spotted their first Easter Egg and gone ‘ahhhhhhh!’) we were truly in for something special. An Adventure in Space and Time was not only beautifully shot but poignant, heartwarming and funny. Basically summing up what Doctor Who meant to all involved from its inception that continues to this day.

Everyone who knows the series is aware of snippets of its creation, but Mark Gatiss has crafted something here, helped in no small way by a magnificent cast, that ties it all together and gives us a snapshot of history worthy of a time/space visualiser! Truly wonderful! And anyone who didn’t get a lump in their throat at a certain cameo in the console room towards the end has no emotions.

Lauren Baker, 21, Reading, says…

There were some glorious moments in An Adventure in Space and Time but it was David Bradley who stole the show. As one of the younger viewers who was deprived of a Doctor Who filled childhood and who only saw its reboot back in 2005, a look back to the beginning was a wonderful way to commemorate the fifty year legacy. We saw the passion of the producers and most of all, how important the character and the show of Doctor Who was to the first incarnation, William Hartnell; didn’t your heart just break when he repeated the tenth Doctor’s famous regeneration lines: “I don’t want to go!”

The overriding feeling I took away from this TV film was awe at how far the show has come since the sixties, and the 11th Doctor cameo from Matt Smith also shows how far Doctor Who can still go.

Emily Jenkins, 13, Aylesbury, says…

As I sat down on the sofa with my dad I knew that this was something special. When it started, I got so excited, just by seeing a Police Box. Then we see a version of William Hartnell and, just glancing, all I see is the 1st Doctor, the original. Later, we are taken to the BBC, there’s Sydney and Verity discussing the ‘rules’ she’ll use; no bug-eyed monsters or robots – they’ll scare the kids. Looking back, those ‘bug eyed monsters’ turned out to be exactly what the public wanted – and still wants! I loved watching William’s granddaughter figuring out how his ‘special magic box’ worked.

My favourite part has to be Matt Smith’s short cameo near the end, where he doesn’t speak, just gives William Hartnell a knowing smile, telling him that Doctor Who has so much to come, and it will go on for so long!

Sara Freeman, over 50, Hatfield, says…

On Saturdays fifty years ago, as the music struck up, the butterflies fluttered….. How long until I would run behind the sofa?

An Adventure in Space and Time has most completely regenerated my interest in watching Dr Who.

Such a beautifully shot story of human interest, courage and endeavour. How Dr Who was delivered into the world against the odds and now poignant as he celebrates his fiftieth birthday and very survival. How Verity Lambert fought so gracefully for Dr Who’s life, how the only Indian director at the BBC supported her and the irascible sick and ageing Dr Who number one who came good in the end.

The little touches throughout, a quote from King Lear, the moon over television centre, children imitating daleks on the bus contributed hugely to whipping up a towering delight, a confection to savour and a triumph of a production.

Deanna Gow, 19, Harrow, says…

An Adventure In Space And Time made me feel intense nostalgia for something that I wasn’t even around for when it first began. To say that I didn’t tear up several times would be a lie. 

The small gems contained in Gatiss’ writing were the most beautiful, from the TARDIS console model thrown together from bits and bobs to the parents shouting, “That show you wanted to watch is on!” to their kids (and 50 years on, parents are still saying that!). The writing combined with the stellar acting created something that had heart and I felt very proud of the people who brought Doctor Who to life.

It was wonderful to see the humble, wobbly birth of Doctor Who in the knowledge that it has, despite its ups and downs, lasted so long and gained a worldwide following. Here’s to 50 years of adventures in space and time!

Ady Collier, 50 years young, Newark-on-Trent, says…

Doctor Who is a fantasy. It works at its best when it allows the viewer to become part of the fantastical. An Adventure in Space and Time did just that. For one brief bitter-sweet moment it allowed us all to follow the white rabbit down a time tunnel into another world; and how much more alien 1963 seemed than most of the worlds the Doctor has visited over the last 50 years.

But the final grace, the ultimate twist of meta-narrative that ultimately took us through the looking glass was the appearance of Matt Smith. This was TV at its most affecting and very best. Heart-warming and heart-wrenching by turns, distant and close at one and the same time.

‘A tear Sarah-Jane?’ you bet!

Angela Cainen, 31, Stockport, says…

Whether you were a Doctor Who fan or not there was plenty to amuse and touch you in An Adventure in Space and Time. It did indeed stretch across space, well BBC Television Centre in all its 1960’s glory, and time, as it neatly starts and ends with William Hartnell’s farewell to Doctor Who. A well told story that had both humour and, by the end, tear inducing poignancy. 

Of the wonderful cast the stand out was David Bradley who seemed to fully inhabit the role of William (Bill once you got to know him) Hartnell. It was so touching to see a man given a new lease of life before his health and circumstance took it away. Jessica Raine’s Verity Lambert was also brilliant.
This was a very fitting tribute to those pioneers of Doctor Who, a show which, thanks to them, is an adventure that’s lasted fifty years.

Daniel Cattanach, 37, Paulton, says…

My only complaint about “An Adventure in Space and Time” was that the cuppa I made at the start was cold by the time I’d dragged myself away from the screen!

The film whisked us away to the golden era of BBC Television Centre – including lovely touches like the TARDIS set being designed with a cotton spool and some scraps of card. It also gave an insight into how Doctor Who embraced the future; with groundbreaking roles for producer Verity Lambert and director Waris Hussein.

The characterisation was wonderful – in the script and performances – from the tender portrayal of William Hartnell to the humour of the wayward Dalek almost falling off the kerb on Tower Bridge!

Hartnell’s haunting words “I don’t want to go” were a chilling echo/vision of David Tennant’s regeneration, while the cameo by Matt Smith was the perfect 50th birthday present! Now, time for that cuppa…

Dalek Spam (sent in by human Matt Harris), unknown, Skaro, says…

When the Daleks watched An Adventure in Space and Time we on Skaro could not believe our eyestalks. It seems you humans believe the Doctor is nothing more than a fiction. This is a lie.

The program used dramatic performances to blind you humans from the truth. No doubt it stirred a great emotional response from your weak, compassionate hearts. However, accepting that the Doctor does not really exist is a trick, one he has tried on us, but we are superior. We do not share your weaknesses. Well-crafted propaganda such as this will not work on us.

Daleks are not bin-like constructions with humans inside. We are mutated, armour-plated decedents of the Kaleds. The only truth it told was that without Daleks Doctor Who would have been exterminated. This weekend we will be planning our next victory, while you humans will probably just celebrate! Celebrate! CELEBRATE!

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor is on Saturday at 7:50pm on BBC1. 

Thank you to everyone who sent in a review – we really enjoyed reading them! If you’ve got a taste for sharing your opinion, or these clever Radio Times readers have inspired you to put pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard) keep your eyes peeled for the next Radio Times Reader Review….