Early on, the central concept of a crew adventuring through time and space in a fantastic machine was settled on. While Wilson and Webber did the nuts and bolts writing and came up with the core of the central characters and concepts, it was Newman who suggested the idea that the time machine would be larger on the inside than it appeared from the outside, and that the central figure of the show would be a mysterious old man known as "the Doctor". Newman even provided a title for the series; Doctor Who.
In the role of producer, Newman had originally selected Rex Tucker, but other commitments forced Tucker to drop out before the pilot was even filmed. To replace him, Newman went with an unusual and groundbreaking choice; Verity Lambert. Being a woman and only 28 years old, Lambert was definitely an outsider. However, Newman had worked with her at ABC Television, and he believed in her. Assigning veteran staff director Mervyn Pinfield to be a mentor to the inexperienced Lambert eased some of Newman and others' concerns, and novelist and screenwriter David Whitaker was chosen to serve as Script Editor.
Like many programmes on the BBC, Doctor Who would be a serial. Each episode would be part of a larger adventure, broken into multiple parts, each leading into another. The series would largely be shot on video and inside a studio in a process similar to live television. An episode would be rehearsed and prepared by the director and actors for a number of days, often in a rented church hall as the BBC had no assigned rehearsal space. Then, at the end of the week, usually Friday, the team would move into the studio. There would be a camera rehearsal, mostly to prepare the visual effects and establish lighting, and then the entire 23 minute episode would be filmed in a few hours in the evening, with recording scheduled to end at 10:00 pm.
Lambert would turn to veteran film and character actor William Hartnell to portray the title role of the Doctor. Hartnell was famous for playing tough army figures, but it was his sensitive performance in the film This Sporting Life that made Lambert choose him for the role. Carole Ann Ford would play the Doctor's mysterious granddaughter Susan, and Jacqueline Hill would take on the role of Barbara, one of the 20th century schoolteachers shanghaied by the Doctor. The other teacher, Ian Chesterton, would be played by William Russell, recent star of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot for ITV.
|From left to right: Carole Ann Ford, Jacqueline Hill, Verity Lambert,|
William Russell and William Hartnell
For now, the series was still in its infancy, and it was about to take viewers on an adventure throughout all of time and space.