Mark Gatiss confirms Doctor Who creation drama

News Louisa Mellor 9 Aug 2012 - 10:15

Sherlock and Who-writer Mark Gatiss has confirmed he’s writing a drama about the creation of Doctor Who…

It’s the news we thought we saw coming a few weeks ago: writer and actor Mark Gatiss (The League Of Gentlemen, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Being Human...) confirmed this morning that he is indeed writing a drama about the inception of Doctor Who.

On Twitter today, after yesterday's short tease promising "Very exciting announcement coming soon…" Gatiss typed the following message:"'One day, I shall come back'. Thrilled to announce I’m writing a long-cherished drama about the creation of Doctor Who!"

The 90-minute drama forms part of the BBC's 2013 Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebration, and will follow in the footsteps of the Beeb's previous 'making-of' period dramas including 2008's The Curse Of Steptoe, 2010's excellent The Road To Coronation Street, and 2011 Morecambe and Wise biopic, Eric And Ernie.

Provisionally titled An Adventure In Space And Time, Gatiss is writing the script, which will be overseen by Steven Moffat and Who producer Caroline Skinner. In addition to his writing credits and appearances on post-2005 Doctor Who, Gatiss has also worked on Big Finish audio stories and the P.R.O.B.E spin-off VHS series.

"This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original" Gatiss told the Radio Times, "And how an actor - William Hartnell - stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children. I've wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen for Doctor Who's 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true."

There's plenty of scope in the real-life run-up to Doctor Who's 1963 debut, including budgetary problems, the now-familiar controversy over the show's scare-factor, the ground-breaking work of producer Verity Lambert, and more. 

We'll bring you casting news on who'll be playing Hartnell, Nation et al as soon as we have it, though we may have sniffed out a clue as to one possible cast-member. In what could be an unrelated exchange (but we're very much hoping isn't), Mark Gatiss told Sherlock actress Louise Brealey yesterday to "Wait. Wait" when she asked Twitter to cast her in a marvellous TV part. Could Gatiss already have his Verity Lambert in mind? 


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wasn't there one of these things about conan doyle as well? cant remember the name but i think it had david tennant in it

I wonder if it'll be straight-down-the-line-as-it-happened or if they'll do something more akin to that 'Holy Flying Circus' from last year, where the tone and narrative conceits of the show itself are brought in for a more 'fantastical' feel. Not expressing a preferance, just interested to see the direction they go in.

Don't remember that, but Mr.Tennant chooses his projects well, so must have been good!


Mark Gatiss is absolutely the man for the job.

Mark Gatiss is one of favourite persons working in British Telly. I can see him doing a good job on the this. I expect an enjoyable 90 minutes on BBC 4 soon

"One day, I shall come back" is what Dr Hartnell says when he runs away into space and time, marooning Susan, his granddaughter on Earth

She's obviously regenerated a few times while waiting for him, so we can have her played by anyone vaguely plausible. Perhaps Meryl Streep, perhaps Jo Brand,

But anyway, she's been mighty pissed all thee years. Not just the girl who waited, she's the girl who plotted awesome revenge.

Turns out the controlling intellect behind most of the Doctors' enemies these past 48 years has been Susan.

And now it is time for a grandfather to face his nemesis. Bring it on, Susan.

I hope it covers the whole original show, like who was responsible for Colin Bakers coat, and his Doctors abrasive personality.

The only thing I can think of is Murder Rooms which was CD working with a Doctor Joseph Bell who used the same type of detective type deductions as CD would then have Holmes use in the SH stories. Starred the incomparable Ian Richardson but not DT.

wonderful and a good basis for a story, young women producer in a mans world facing up to a star who could be difficult at times and the powerful character of Sydney Newman.

I wonder if it will include the line..."Any old twat with an equity card" ??

I'm pretty sure Mr. Gatiss was in a small short segment about the origins of Doctor Who once before. Its featured in the DVD box set THE BEGINNING. It's much more tongue in cheek and rather quite hilarious. Check it out.

Can't wait.
Please check out my Doctor Who story "The Aresian Saga" (Just Google the title)

I've been waiting on a Susan return for years. For a while I even thought River Song might be her. I think she would be great to have back, and Yes, she should be super pissed, she could out Master, The Master.

William Hartnell was hard?

It doesn't say William Hartnell was hard, it says he was stereotyped in hard-man roles. Watch his earlier films such as 'The Bells Go Down', 'The Way Ahead', 'Brighton Rock' and 'Odd Man Out' and you'll see a vastly different actor.

William Hartnell was stereotyped as tough guys in many of his earlier films: The Bells Go Down, The Way Ahead, Brighton Rock, Odd Man Out, etc. Previous to Doctor Who he was playing the tough sergeant in The Army Game a variation on the role he had been playing throughout the 40s and 50s.

I believe it was actually "any old c**t with an equity card".

Er, I'd check his IMDB out if you think that's the case, St.Trinians 2, Fright Night, The Decoy Bride, etc.

I doubt it very much, probably just the few months prior to November 1963 when the show was being created, planned and produced.

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