by Ralph Carr
DAVID BRADLEY as William Hartnell who played the original Doctor Who.
I was eight years old when Doctor Who aired first on TV, and was instantly hooked on the Bigger on the Inside Police Box, and yes, we really did have them dotted around in the society.
The Doctor, Played by William Hartnell, was everybody’s Grandfather. The War was still fresh in our race memory, and Mr. Hartnell, embodied that gruff indomitable British Spirit we all knew was the rough exterior of a heart of gold and the caring softer interior.
This documentary, took us all down memory lane, and revealed to me, how the incredibly talented actor, became The Doctor, setting the bar so incredibly high, and leaving a legacy that subsequent regenerations had to so work hard to sustain.
AAISAT, showed a Mr Hartnell in wonderful 3D, with a stunning performance by David Bradley, who showed the character of William Hartnell, warts and all, although there were not that many warts.
The insecurities right through to the overconfidence, and the final days of the First Doctor on the set, his love of the part, his unwillingness to accept second best, his love of the children fans, and his dedication, despite failing health, were all addressed, with care and sensitivity.
David Bradbury, although, the star, was supported by an equally glittering cast, who made each individual part come back to life, and how wonderful to see them all again after all these years. The humour was there too, in a Dalek, wanting to go for a wee, the cyberman having a cigarette, and the adoring fans wanting autographs, the producers fighting for the show’s integrity, and the remarks made offstage, that with our hindsight, were so poigniant.
The sets of the sets were magnificent, the creatures fantastic, and for the time and budget, the amazing special effects.
The one remark, from the BBC execs, that stood out, was to the producer, ‘… Kill Doctor Who…’ as if that would ever be an option. Fifty years later and still, no one has managed.
I have been deliberately vague on detail, as I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment, but rather encourage your curiosity.
Very rarely has a program, a documentary at that, reached through my Vulcan training, to make me weep openly, and to make me glad that I am a Whovian, but by the end of this one, I was bawling like a baby.
I wholeheartedly commend this to anyone who has any, even remotely vague interest in Doctor Who, just keep a box of tissues to hand.
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