William Hartnell

  1. Michael Anderson, In Which We Serve, 1942.       The time: 9.15am,  February 5, 1942. All is ready for first shot for co-directors Noel Coward and ex-editor David Lean. Three actors in a Christmas party scene, only two showed up.  Hartnell (a flinty type who became the first Dr. Who in 1963) was dragged to the set half-dressed, wrong boots, half made-up. Coward, after calling for silence, “tongue-lashed him in a way I’d never thought possible”  (recalled third assistant director Norman Spencer) and fired him on the spot. Lean gave the role (and a fake moustache) to his unit manager Michael Anderson – future director of Around The World In 80 Days, Logan’s Run, The Martian Chronicles, etc.
  2. Bernard Lee, High Flight, 1956.   This is how Lee became 007’s boss: M…The two Americans running Warwick Films in London – Cubby Broccoli and Irving Allen – wanted Hartnell for his usual clichéd Sergeant role. He did not agree. Lee was also in their Fire Down Below that year. And like most of the Warwick team – director Terence Young, writer Richard Maibaum, cameraman Ted Moore, stunt ace Bob Simmons, etc – moved to Bond with Cubby. But not Billy Hartnell. As he was billed in the 40s.
  3. Bernard Lee, High Flight, 1956.      Hartnell (who used to be billed as Billy) was up for his ninth sergeant role. However, the future Doctor Who was replaced and it was the future M having to deal with the recklessy arrogant cadet flyerplayed by Kenneth Haig… as if his hit stage role, Look Back In Anger’s Jimmy Porter, had joined the RAF!
  4. Peter Cushing, Dr Who and the Daleks, 1964.      Doc1 – the revered original, after all! – was seriously pissed when he was passed over for the first cinema version of his series – because Cushing was far better known to US audiences. So much so he headed the second movie, as well, the lumpenly titled Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD.


 Birth year: 1908Death year: 1975Other name: Casting Calls:  3