Another year nearly over and once more the talk of a big-screen Doctor Who movie crops up again. The show’s current boss has – again – been asked about the possible film version for the 21st century.
It was November last year when the idea seemed to really be taking off as Harry Potter director David Yates discussed the Doctor Who project at the BAFTA Los Angeles 2011 Britannia Awards.
“I can’t really talk about that because its such a long way away. We’re principally looking for a writer, and we’ll start with that. Everything has to start with a great script, so that’s more important than casting. I’ve lived with (fan) pressure for so long. What’s pressure? I don’t know anymore! It’s fine, it’s good. It’s such a wonderful character and such a wonderful world. It’s exciting. It’s a long journey and we’re going to take our time with it. Right now I’m looking forward to a vacation, frankly!”
However current Doctor Who boss Steven Moffat was quick to play down the suggestion a Hollywood blockbuster was on the cards, first taking to Twitter,
“…Any Doctor Who movie would be made by the BBC team, star the current TV Doctor and certainly NOT be a Hollywood reboot. David Yates, great director, was speaking off the cuff, on a red carpet. You’ve seen the rubbish I talk when I’m cornered.”
A few weeks later David Yates revealed to Variety magazine that along with BBC Worldwide the movie was certainly on,
“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,”, adding, “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”
He went on to note, “Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations… …we have to put that aside and start from scratch,”
Later in December 2011 the issue was raised again on BBC Five Live when Richard Bacon posed the ‘Who would be a Big Screen Who’ to Moffat.
“David was talking a little out of turn, there; a very, very brilliant director but no the film as described by him, of course we’re not going to do that – a film that contradicts the television series, it would be a heathen thing to do … I would be ‘beheaded’ to do such a thing!”
The writer added “It would be wonderful to do a Doctor Who film, but when and if we did – and hopefully we will be doing it – it will be very much an offshoot of the television series and we’ll be part of it, and it will star the television Doctor, of course – anything else would be heresy!”
The last rumblings from David Yates seems to have been in March this year when he told Bleeding Cool he was still working on the project but, crucially, he expects it to take five or six years to develop.
“I’m definitely doing a Doctor Who movie. But I think where everyone got confused was that we’re not making it for five years, or six years—it’s a very slow development. I’ve got projects backed up between now and about 2015, and it’s something I’m very passionate and excited about.”
Yates had praise for Doctor Who’s current show-runner Moffat who was slightly critical of the proposed movie at the time the press revealed its existence.
“Stephen’s a genius. I love his work, I think he’s incredibly clever. I love what he’s done with Doctor Who, love his Sherlock Holmes. He’s such a gifted man. But this is something that’s a very slow burn and I’m hoping to sit down with him at some point and have a chat. It’s just something that we’ve been talking about for a little while.”
And now we’re a year on from the original reports, however the mootings of a movie continue. Moffat currently has the last world on the project with a comment to Vulture,
“I think it could be incredibly exciting to see that Tardis fly on the big screen. It would just be how do we arrange it?”
He adds, seemingly to rule out any Yates or Hollywood style blockbuster, “…No offense, but you suddenly take American money and they expect to tell you what to do and all that. I wouldn’t be happy with that. But it will happen someday, I’m reasonably confident.”
A movie version of Doctor Who has long been proposed – right back to the cancellation of the original series in 1989. A movie of Doctor Who was planned to go in production in 1990 but ultimately stalled and eventually nothing happened until the 1996 television special, imaginatively titled, Doctor Who: The Movie which starred Paul McGann as ‘the Doctor’.
Doctor Who first went ‘big screen’ with two feature films in the sixties, which were based on previous BBC television aired storylines. Peter Cushing played the title role in both 1965 and 1966 movies, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.