For anyone who had their head stuck in a hole, it was Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary last week. Millions of fans tuned in for the hotly anticipated 799th episode ‘The Day of the Doctor’. Withnail and I’s Paul McGann featured in a mini episode ‘The Night of the Doctor’. Even Google paid tribute to the series with an impressive Doodle. If you were like me and knew nothing about the BBC show, a lot of this probably went over your head. Fifty years worth of episodes, spin offs and regenerations can be pretty confusing. Luckily, An Adventure in Space and Time is a pretty good place to get acquainted with the long running drama.
The movie centers on how Dr. Who started its run back in 1963. Producer Verity Lambert struggles with difficult actors, cramped sets and a limited budget. Circumstances beyond their control like the assassination of John F. Kennedy result in fluctuating ratings. The first half of the film feels like a tense battle between David and Goliath, with disaster being narrowly avoided at every turn. The stellar cast, lead by David Bradley, brings the story of the show’s first shaky steps to life. All in all, it’s a very intriguing insight into how the series grew into the phenomenon it is today.
With so much going on for the anniversary, An Adventure in Space and Time could easily be pushed aside by fans in favour of other Dr. Who outings. Similarly, people who aren’t big on sci-fi might find their eyes glazing over at the prospect of giving it try. But this is a great movie. The best thing about this film is that both fans of the series and total newcomers can enjoy it. Die-hard veterans will love the subtle references and in-jokes while people who aren’t familiar with the show will appreciate the story and setting.
Highlights: The impressive level of detail put into recreating the swinging 60s. It holds its own even when compared to big budget, era centric shows like Mad Men.