Mark Gatiss’ Dr. Who 50th Anniversary bio-pic production begins and David Bradley cast as the First Doctor; goodbye to Bernard Horsfall

David Bradley at last year's Laurence Olivier Awards

David Bradley at last year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, now cast as William Hartnell in the upcoming Doctor Who bio-pic.

Bernard Horsfall, passed on at age 82.  Horsfall had been scheduled to appear at this year's 'Gallifrey One' Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, California.

Bernard Horsfall, passed on at age 82. Horsfall had been scheduled to appear at this year’s ‘Gallifrey One’ Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, California.

The 90-minute BBC2 special tells the story of the genesis of Doctor Who since its first broadcast on 23 November 1963. Yesterday Gatiss tweeted:

The day has dawned! Read-through today of ‘An Adventure in Space & Time’. Bill always said that one day he’d come back…

The “Bill” he’s referring to is William Hartnell, the first actor to play the Doctor.  We were all on pins and needles waiting to find out who would play the Hartnell role, and now we know.

It’s David Bradley.

You probably know him best as Argus Filch, the nonmagical caretaker born of a magical family who we see as the caretaker of Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter movies. He also recently appeared in the series 7 installment of Doctor Who opposite Matt Smith in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship as the heavy who had mass murdered the occupants of a Silurian generation ship.  We think he’s perfect for the role.  This is one of those obvious drop-in casting decisions, and we think Doctor Who fandom is going to embrace Bradley as the new First Doctor.

But with a new hello, sometimes there’s a goodbye, and this time it’s actor Bernard Horsfall, who has died at the age of 82.

Horsfall appeared in a string of classic TV series through the 1960’s and 1970’s, including The Avengers, The Saint, The Persuaders!, Within These Walls, and Crown Court.  He also played along side three of the now eleven actors to play Doctor who – he was Gulliver in The Mind Robber (1968), First Time Lord in The War Games (1969), a Thal called Taron in Planet of the Daleks (1973) and Chancellor Goth in The Deadly Assassin (1976).

Horsfall also played an ally of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – and also appeared in Gandhi and Braveheart, among other films.   The public probably best remembers him as doctor Philip Martel in the Channel Islands wartime drama Enemy at the Door, which ran for 26 episodes between 1978 and 1980.

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