There’s a rumour that Mark Gatiss is producing/writing a TV special docudrama about the original creation of Doctor Who, back in 1963. The more I think about it, the better this idea sounds – as Waris Hussain, first ever director of the show, pointed out recently on panels at Gallifrey One and in an interview with Radio Free Skaro, you couldn’t make this story up!
The youngest ever producer, and only female producer in drama at the BBC, 27 year old Verity Lambert. 20-something West Indian director, Waris Hussain, who got the job because he was the most junior director at the BBC, and the only one who couldn’t say no. Brash Canadian with the big ideas, Sydney Newman. No budget. The crappiest, oldest studio available. And, oh, the first episode they made was so bad that they almost all got sacked – and had to make it from scratch, all over again (there was no such thing as a “pilot” at the BBC at that time). Together, they made magic, a show that is still being made nearly 50 years later. THIS IS A STORY THAT MAKES NO SENSE.
Verity Lambert fascinates me – I’m a sucker for stories about real life women who had amazing careers against the odds, and she is particularly intriguing. Despite an immensely privileged education at Roedean and the Sorbonne, she started out as a shorthand typist, and worked her way up through the admin ranks before making it as a production assistant, where she famously argued and fought for her opinions with her bosses, and somehow still managed to get promoted to producer! (though as she admits in the YouTube interview I posted below, she wanted to be a director, and simply couldn’t get into it because of her gender)