Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert

Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert

Well, that was the 50th Anniversary Year, that was.

Now that the dust has settled (a bit) and we can see the whole year in context, one thing becomes clear. An Adventure in Space and Time, while being the Anniversary Special that fandom cared the least about beforehand, was hands down the best drama of the year. Not just the Best Doctor Who drama – The Best Anything drama.

The first part of that is somewhat unsurprising. In the lead-up to the 50th Anniversary episode the lion’s share of the attention and anticipation was focused on the special, with relatively little of the spotlight falling on Mark Gattiss’ little drama about the shows inception. After all, we all pretty much knew the story of how the show came to exist, if we cared at all to know it. The facts of the story were all neatly cataloged in decades’ worth of fan material, and were all agreed to be correct. Besides which, the 50th Anniversary Episode gave us so much more to talk about. Would the past Doctors show up? Maybe Christopher Eccleston is lying and will secretly turn out to be in it! Where does John Hurt fit into the Doctor’s timeline? Will we have to start calling David Tennant ‘Eleven’ now?

With all of that to argue and debate, who could spare a moment to anticipate some charming little history piece about things that happened 50 years ago?

The mistaken assumption of course was that An Adventure In Space and Time only existed to tell the story of how the program started. We were expecting a documentary, really. What we got was the best drama of the year.

Here’s why.

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This article was first posted on February 2, 2014