Mark Gatiss: William Hartnell would be “amazed and delighted” with modern Doctor Who

Ahead of An Adventure In Space And Time's hopes of a BAFTA win, Mark Gatiss reflects on the impact of the show...

Doctor Who has changed a lot in 50 years. Even so, writer Mark Gatiss thinks that the very first Doctor William Hartnell would be “amazed and delighted” at the show’s modern incarnation. 


Gatiss was on the BAFTA red carpet tonight in the hope of winning Best Single Drama for his take on the origins of Doctor Who, An Adventure In Space And Time, which brought Hartnell to life through Broadchurch actor David Bradley.

Speaking to, he added that, “I’m sure the actual pace of the show would slightly baffle him now but when I interviewed William Russell (who plays Ian Chesterton) in preparation for writing this script he said to me ‘you know what Bill would like the most?’ he said, ‘I’m on a stamp!’ He would have been unbelievably overwhelmed… utterly delighted.”

Looking back on the filming of the drama, he said: “It was fantastic. The whole process of making it was genuinely delightful – it was one of the best experiences of my career, which is what I hoped it would be. But the reception has been something else and not just from Doctor Who fans. It’s been so moving really.”


“People seemed to really get it on a human level. What I particularly wanted to do was to make it an everyman sort of story – it’s about someone losing the thing they like most in the world, so it didn’t have to be about Doctor Who.”