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TCA: ‘They Wanted to Kill Doctor Who’

At "An Adventure in Space and Time" panel, David Bradley talks about the chilly reception "Doctor Who" originally received 

"Doctor Who" might be an iconic television series with an adoring fanbase now, but the series had a rough time getting the BBC behind it.

"They wanted to kill Doctor Who," David Bradley, who plays "Doctor Who" actor William Hartnell in the upcoming "Doctor Who" origin movie "An Adventure in Space and Time," marveled at the BBC America presentation at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday.

"If they had a different head of drama they might have said, 'Drop it.'"

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Bradley — who was joined on the panel by "An Adventure in Space and Time" director Terry McDonough — also talked about the challenge of playing Hartnell, who was born out of wedlock and never learned the identity of his father.

"He kind of never talked about it, but one feels it left him with a deep insecurity, which could come out [and] explode when he was on set," Bradley said. While those who worked with Hartnell described him as "absolutely delightful," Bradley said, "He had his funny days."

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Hartnell's conflict, however, provided rich dramatic fodder for Bradley.

"It's always great for an actor to play someone who has a secret and has a lot of dark and light in his nature," Bradley offered during the panel. "I think we've been pretty faithful to his life story."