Sue MacGregor reunites five people who created and starred in the first series of a television landmark, Doctor Who.
No she doesn't. See below.
Fifty years later, those who crammed nervously into the BBC's Lime Grove Studios in 1963 recount the triumphs and disasters that ushered in the longest running science-fiction series in the world.
That's fine. Though crammed? Was it that small?
When American TV executive Sidney Newman was drafted in to revitalise the BBC Drama department in the early 1960's, his idea for an ageing time-traveller who would illuminate both human history and Alien civilisations struggled to be successfully realised.
It's Sydney Newman. He was Canadian and more specifically a Canadian TV Executive having spent most of his career up until the 60s at the CBC. Plus it wasn't particular his idea for an ageing time-traveller, it's a bit more diffuse and messy than that. If anything, C. E. Webber was more directly involved in that. Plus capital A, on "alien". Really?
After a number of other directors refused to work on the project, a 24 year-old Waris Hussein took the job.
Or was assigned.
The only Indian-born director within the BBC at that time, he felt the stern gaze of the 'old order' upon his work.
That's fine too.
The first episode was recorded on the day President Kennedy was assassinated and transmitted the next day, despite concerns that the show might be postponed.
The first episode was recorded in September. Then it was recorded again on 18th October 1963 (I think), broadcast on the 23rd November the day President Kennedy was assassinated, then repeated the following week before episode two. Given that they didn't know Kennedy was going to be shot, why would they it would need to be postponed? To be fair it was postponed, by one minute, twenty seconds above the 5.15 scheduled time due to Granstand overrunning, but I'm not sure that's what this sentence is implying.
Doctor Who was played by the British actor William Hartnell. His sharp, sometimes grumpy demeanour came out of his increasing difficulty in learning the scripts, but the audience immediately took him to their hearts and the series had nearly six million viewers by Christmas.
His sharp, sometimes grumpy demeanour initially came out of his acting and the character would actually lighten in tone and become more heroic even after his increased difficulty in learning the scripts. Unless you're talking about the actor, but that doesn't quite fit the situation either. The audience immediately took the Daleks to their hearts. The ratings were closer to near 7 million by Christmas, the first episode of The Daleks/The Mutants/whatever going out on 21 December. They were ten million odd by the end of that story.
Joining Sue MacGregor is Waris Hussein, the director of the episode, Carole Ann Ford who played the Doctor's granddaughter and companion Susan, William Russell who played the Doctor's right hand man Ian Charleson, actor Jeremy Young who was the first Doctor Who enemy Caveman Kal, and television presenter Peter Purves who travelled with William Hartnell in the mid 60's as companion Steven Taylor.
Charleson -- surely a homage to The First Doctor always getting Chesterton's name wrong. Peter Purves wasn't in the first series as suggested at the top, so this BFI event could in fact this could more accurately be described as a "reunion":
Which is all very pedantic of me I know and none of which is to say I won't be tuning in to hear the usual stories. It's an amazing programme.
Updated 04/04/2013 It's been corrected or rather bits of it have been corrected. Ian Chesterton's name is spelt correctly now and Sydney Newman's Canadian again. But the recording/transmission is still the same (ie, surreal) as are the rest of my nitpicks. Oh well.