david bradley william hartnell

With the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who fast approaching, it was only a matter of time before we finally received a glimpse of what celebratory offerings are coming our way later this year.

The BBC have announced the first of these programmes to be “An Adventure in Space and Time”, a drama written by Mark Gatiss and co-financed by BBC America, looking at the origins of the world’s longest running Sci-Fi series.

David Bradley, who has previously starred in Doctor Who as Solomon in the 2012 episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, will take the lead role in the drama, playing the First Doctor, William Hartnell.

Bradley, better known to a generation as Filch in the Harry Potter films, said, “Mark has written such a wonderful script not only about the birth of a cultural phenomenon, but a moment in television’s history. William Hartnell was one of the finest character actors of our time and as a fan I want to make sure that I do him justice. I’m so looking forward to getting started.”

In addition to Bradley, the all-star cast includes Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife) as original show producer Verity Lambert, and movie star Brian Cox as Sydney Newman, the BBC Head of Drama who has always been credited with bringing the show to screens.

As you would expect, Steven Moffat is also involved in the show, acting as producer as he does on pretty much anything with the Who name attached these days.

The BBC statement confirmed that the special will be aired “later in the year” with the smart money being on a date around the 23rd November to coincide with the show’s first air date in 1963.

Many fans are now waiting with baited breath to discover what else is in store for the anniversary, with many still pinning their hopes on a reunion episode bringing together the actors who have previously played the Time Lord, including Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy and David Tennant, but as yet all they have to go on is the promise from writer Moffat that is it going to be special.

The current seventh series of Doctor Who returns to screens on March 30th.

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This article was first posted on January 30, 2013