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I've been vastly entertained by documentary dramas for as long as I can remember. I loved the concept of going back to real life events and making a drama out of it. Telling a true story from that point in time but without narration, cutaway interviews or any other things that come in between. A docudrama always leaves space for more detail to be explored through re-enacted scenes and thus, draws the viewer in just as much if not more.
          When it was announced Mark Gatiss was preparing a docudrama that explored the origins of Doctor Who, I couldn't believe it. My favourite show and one of my favourite style of storytelling merged together for the show's 50th year. As time past, more information was released and the more I got excited. So excited, I actually began to anticipate An Adventure in Space & Time more than the actual 50th special. Then, the day was upon us. November 21st had arrived and time could not pass quick enough.

The opening sequence was lovely; beginning the special with a 1960s BBC TV narrated introduction. Following this, and a nice quote from the narrator, the special began with an extended version of the original title sequence used during William Hartnell's era of Doctor Who. We're then confronted by police box standing dormant on a patch of grass late at night. The entire scene felt quite eerie and creepy, a nice effect captured by the use of fog and mist around the police box and it's surroundings. A policeman exits the police box, reassuring us that this isn't the TARDIS but an actual police box commonly found throughout that era. All the while, a quiet and out-of-it William Hartnell (David Bradley) watches from his car. The police officer walks over and politely asks Bill to "move along" as he's blocking the road. Cut to a dressing room where a producer is requesting Bill's arrival on set. We see the back of bill standing in his dressing room smoking a cigarette while shouting back demandingly that he's not ready.

David Bradley plays the role of William Hartnell extraordinarily brilliant. The mannerisms and attitude he presents matches exactly that of Hartnell on and off set. He perfectly balances all of the emotions that are needed to represent the circumstances of a scene, making for some truly brilliant sequences where you honestly feel for Bill and understand why he's acting in such a way be it anger, sadness, happiness or what. Not to mention Bradley's very closely matched likeness to Hartnell. The script is written wonderfully, grounding each character as it should rather than stereotyping them or making them feel unnecessary to the special. The relationship between Bill and Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine) make for some lovely and touching moments. We see how much the two value each other and how their relationship progresses; Verity certifying her commitment to helping Bill and being sure he's always comfortable with what he's doing while he confides in her and puts his utmost trust into her.

Jessica Raine portrays producer Verity Lambert perfectly. Matching the strong and committed personality that Verity herself had. We see a lot of progression in her through the process of the special, seeing her progress from the nervous and overlooked woman she was to the take-no-crap woman that made sure Who stayed on long enough to secure it's 50 year run.

Overall, each actor played their respective parts really well. The mannerisms and interpretations were down to a T, something that actress Claudia Grant conveyed amazingly well for Carole Ann Ford's Susan. The high-pitched squeals and attitude was so accurate to that of Ford's portrayal of Susan was actually creepy. Although there wasn't as much scenes featuring Jemma Powell as Jacqueline Hill and Jamie Glover as William Russell, what we did see of them helped fill the gaps within the narrative and mainly acted as characters who helped the main cast... do something. Progress. However, they were played very well with, again, a good match to their respective characters' mannerisms and attitude. Sydney Newman was played fantastically by the wonderful Brian Cox.

The special was also no short of treats and surprises. Featuring guest appearances from the stars themselves. Namely William Russell and Carole Ann Ford. And the ending is indeed a belter! But that would be ruining the surprise for those who haven't seen it yet. All I'll say is, it's so powerful that it perfectly grasps how far the show has come over the last 50 years and it's done in a magical way that just makes the episode.

The special certainly deserves a 10/10. Extraordinary acting from such a brilliant cast and written beautifully by Mark Gatiss who was, without a doubt, on top form.