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Dr Who – the early Asian connection

Dr Who – the early Asian connection

Popular sci-fi series celebrates 50th anniversary with drama depicting a young British Asian director at the helm…

A BBC TV drama to screen on Thursday (November 21) will feature the Asian director who was responsible for making some of the earliest episodes of the iconic Dr Who series.

One of Waris Hussein’s (pictured) first jobs in television was directing the sci-fi classic and the new drama, ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ will recreate those early days when it broadcasts on BBC2 at 9pm.

Actor Sacha Dhawan plays the young Hussein, who was not that long out of Cambridge University and had been an actor for a short while before directing a successful West End play.

Hussein didn’t feel different or self conscious about his ethnicity in a way that we might expect now.

Hussein told “Sacha Dhawan plays me rather well I think. I didn’t have a very hard time. There wasn’t a lot of prejudice. As an Asian doing what I was, I was acutely conscious of having to get it right, because if I stumbled and fell – the whole perception was what do you expect.”

He said the pressure was all self-inflicted and that others were quite laid back about a relatively novice director in charge of new untried concept drama.

“That whole mentality was in me, not them. No one actually said anything to me – so I am not going to start talking about being insulted in public.

“I was conscious of who I was and how I had to do it better than anyone else and perhaps that’s what helped me to get on with it and make it work – that determination not to fail.”

Hussein directed the first four episodes of ‘Dr Who’ in 1963 with William Hartnell the first doctor and Hussain says Hartnell wasn’t too keen and had to be persuaded and the drama shows him growing into the role. Hussain also directed a third series. Writer of ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ Mike Gatiss spoke to Hussein to get the inside detail.

The 75-year-old went onto establish a successful career as a director, winning a BAFTA for his global hit TV series, Edward and Mrs Simpson.

* ‘An Adventures in Time and Space’, BBC2, November 21, 9pm

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture