Though David Bradley was on stage at the Television Critics Assn. press tour Thursday to promote his upcoming project, “An Adventure in Space and Time,” about the making of the original “Doctor Who,” his pivotal role in the infamous Red Wedding on “Game of Thrones” loomed large over the proceedings.
Richard DeCroce, vice president of programming for BBC America, brought up the subject in his introductions, saying the actor was “fresh from being the world’s worst wedding host.” It was a knowing reference to Bradley’s performance as Walder Frey, who presided over the bloody nuptials in the now-infamous episode “The Rains of Castamere.”
While the Red Wedding left many “Game of Thrones” fans disconsolate, Bradley had quite the opposite experience filming it.
“Doing the scene, I enjoyed every moment of it,” he said. “I enjoyed it rather too much, actually.”
The same goes for his sinister character: “I love playing him, because he's just irredeemable."
And yes, Bradley has watched the YouTube videos of viewers reacting in shock, horror and dismay to the gory ambush. “It’s amazing that you’re part of something that can generate those emotions.”
Between his roles on “Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter,” and now “An Adventure in Space and Time,” in which he stars as the first “Doctor Who,” William Hartnell, the Yorkshire-born actor has become something of a fixture in geek culture.
At last weekend’s Comic-Con, he was happy to chat with his many fans. “When you actually meet them you really appreciate them. I enjoy meeting them whether they’re Potter fans, ‘Game of Thrones’ fans. It’s nice to know it’s got the level of excitement about it. It’s a pleasure, I’m honored.”
“An Adventure in Space and Time” tells the origin story of the enduringly popular sci-fi series and its shape-shifting protagonist, described by one character in the film as “C.S. Lewis meets H.G. Wells meets Father Christmas.”
As Bradley explained on stage, Hartnell was a complicated figure, “one of the great unsung character actors of his time” who struggled to overcome the shame of his illegitimate birth.
It premieres on BBC Two in November, timed to coincide with the 50thanniversary of the show’s premiere.
Though filming the project in just 20 days on a slight budget was a challenge, the production was assisted by the London police who, as director Terry McDonough speculated, must have been fans of the Doctor: They allowed producers to shut down Westminster Bridge on three separate occasions to shoot a pivotal scene involving Daleks, exactingly reconstructed from originals provided by the BBC.
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