back to article TV writer quells rumours of Doctor Who movie

TV writer Steven Moffat has dismissed rumours of a Doctor Who movie coming soon, despite comments from director David Yates, supposedly in the driving seat for the adaptation. MTV News quizzed Yates, director of four Harry Potter films, on the red carpet last night about Doctor Who's silver screen incarnation, which he had …

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TRT
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Well....

I am actually a massive UFO fan, and the best thing about that programme was that they didn't ever establish anything definite about the aliens. The ambiguity and intrigue was crucial to both the drama and the number of non-canon, contradictory things that happened. That was British, and I suspect something about the British psyche allows a level of ambiguity that American audiences won't tolerate. Except maybe now they've caught up and gone beyond the UK in that respect. I'm thinking of LOST here; I was. Hated that show after Season 1.

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Critical Point

"Doctor Who is a vitally important BBC brand"

There is a deep truth here that will talk louder than any other issue. The BBC makes more money off the Dr Who brand than any other income stream. This a big difference from a decade odd ago, when it was unloved by management, and prone to the idiotic whim of whoever was in charge. Damaging the brand would be what is known as a "career limiting move". The BBC already sells millions of DVDs, toys, and books, has had a number of spinoff shows, and has a continuing core TV series. One that sells for serious money all around the planet. This is the sort of success that makes a Hollywood exec cream themselves just imagining the prospect. Hollywood movies don't make the real money at the box office. It is this second stream where the gravy is. The BBC does not need Hollywood. There is nothing that Hollywood could teach it or provide to it that it does not already have. Not that that would stop various Hollywood executives pitching to the BBC to try to get the rights to do a film. But this should be recognised as the weaker party (Hollywood), bereft of any originality or actual creative talent, attempting to make money off the back of the BBC's brand.

There is no upside for the BBC is getting into bed with Hollywood. The best that can happen is a continuation of the current astounding strong brand, and the money that already rains from the sky from it. Everything else is downhill, with a damaged brand, reduced income, and no doubt any money that is made from the film being syphoned by the Hollywood moguls before the BBC sees a share.

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Nice analysis, do you perchance work in a coloured pencil office? Not a dig, just that I've rarely seen the word "brand" used in that way other than by those in the marketing trade.

Marketing sense aside (and it definitely is sense in this case) what's to stop some muppet with a different agenda and a better grasp of buzzwords selling it to the higher ups? Milking the cash cow on the assumption that it will sell better on the American market if it is produced by Americans? Dr Who light edition - half the content, twice the explosions and a metric shit ton more guns!

I agree that there is no sense for the BBC as an organisation to sell out to Hollywood but there would be one hell of a lot of benefit to the individuals that manage to sell the idea. Never underestimate the power of Murphy to screw everything up or the inherent greed in most management types.

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Anonymous Coward

Doctor Who Prequel

wasn't that already done- or at least sketched out- in Lungbarrow? Makes it even easier for them to do a Prequel! And the Tardis (well, "Sexy") has even given the Tardis's point of view on her abduction of the Doctor.

And a feature-length Doctor Who episode is hardly without precedent- they were commonly 4 episodes (about 2 hours) long in the "Pre-RTD" era.

The Death Zone on Gallifrey and the Time War could both provide an explosion-packed background for the American market. Though I hope they don't show something like Davros' command ship flying into the jaws of the Nightmare Child; it's much more fun trying to imagine what it could possibly have been!

The Daleks- ideally not the Fischer-Price ones- would be an obvious addition, maybe even with a second Dalek Civil War breaking out (no more Imperial Vs Renegade, now NSD vs Duplo).

If you want to Hollywood-ify it properly, you could even go for the 'Wacky CrossOver' type of movie and have Amy Pond with, say, David Tenant and Rose with the new boy. Or a 'bit for the fans' where the Doctor drops off convenient objects that earlier-him just happened to stumble across in previous series. And of course get RTD involved to make every single one of the characters gay, drumming up news coverage as the Yank Right shout about it.

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Two hours? Air time of each episode was about 24 or 25 minutes. Once you had taken away the titles and the recap at the start of three episodes (and occasionally even the first where a story arc was concerned) you were usually down to not much more than 20 minutes of actual content. IOW they were generally under an hour and a half.

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Childcatcher

Richard E. Grant please.

"If, and when, the movie happens it will need to star television's Doctor Who – and there's only ever one of those at a time"

Surely there is all of them all of the time?

However, I vote for Richard E. Grant - the best Doctor not on TV.

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I also like the idea of REG as the doctor, however why do people make the assumption that just because they want an actor in a role the actor will want to do it, or indeed be available? REG himself missed out on at least one peachy role because he was not available. It's very, very common.

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(Written by Reg staff)

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Hmmm... drifting into the arena of the unwellioids.

Doctor Withnail? No thanks.

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Tony were you not aware that REG has already played the Doctor? Check out the content on the BBC website (and no I don't mean that stupid comic relief thing).

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(Written by Reg staff)

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Yes, but only in that Shalka thing.

Still...

'Exterminate! Exterminate!'

'What fucker said that?'

***

'You shall die, Doctor!'

'I have a (twin) heart condition... if you attack me, it's murder'

***

'It's bigger on the inside....'

'Free to those who can afford it. Very expensive to those that can't'.

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That Shalka thing was part of an internal push to resurrect the show and apparently REG was the BBC's preferred choice for the ninth doctor at the time. I don't know whether he was ever approached to play the part a couple of years later. Maybe he wasn't available or maybe the fact that the contract was only available for a single season ruled him out.

Anyhow why does everybody always assume that REG can only play Withnail. Yes it was a blinding performance in a terrific film, but he has done an awful lot of other work you know. I don't recall his performance as Hugo Guiler being particularly like Withnail.

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T J
Mushroom

Oh god NO

Oh god NO, DONT LET THEM DO IT. Its always a complete disaster.

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Go

Once they get it done, it'll be just like H2G2 all over again:

shit film -> outrage from fans -> moment of quiet reflection whilst fans remember that the source material is pretty ropey anyway -> we all move on.

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Anonymous Coward

H2G2 - pretty ropey!

It doesn't lend itself to a film (as most of the humour is in the writing not plot) but even so - 'pretty ropey' is a bit harsh. If the source material was so bad how come they managed to make a decent TV series from it? (10 x better than the movie).

Go was your mouth out.:-)

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Sorry all but H2G2 was basically a script treatment that Adams did before he died. It wasn't some Hollywood studio screwing it up, it was Adams. Much a I respect Adams and his work I have to say that he did manage to screw up H2G2 on more than one occasion. Mostly Harmless, for example, seemed to be written more out of a resentment of H2G2's success than anyting else.

Adams, it seems, wanted to write something new and successful and felt H2G2 was something of a millstone. One of the reasons the film took so long to materialise is allegedly that he didn't simply want to simply do yet another treatment of the original radio scripts. It had already been done as a book and a TV show and Adams, perhaps understandably, didn't want to go through the same process again. IOW it was Adams that wanted to do a complete reboot, not the studio.

I'll never understand artists of any genre who resent their own success. Sure he's done other work, but H2G2 was hugely successful and was also the first major standalone work he had done. Imagine a rock band who'd first album was a huge financial and critical success, but who's subsequent work didn't scale those giddy heights. Now imagine them refusing to perform any of the tracks from that album when they went out on tour. How popular do you think that would make them with their fanbase? Adams was the literary equivalent of that band.

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The TV series was good I'll grant, but not that good. In places it sucked and probably blew too. A lot of that was down to the fact that for some reason the BBC decided to hand it over to the LE department rather than the drama bods who did such a good job on the likes of Who and Blakes 7.

A good example of where this failed was that they wasted a huge chunk of the series' budget on the effects for episode one and were left therefore with a fraction of the projected budget for the remaining episodes. If the team responsible for the likes of Who had made the show they wouldn't have needed to spend so much because they knew what they were doing in that area, the LE people had no experience in that area at all.

The weirdest thing they did was the sunrise scene. The could have just gone out and filmed a sunrise, hell they could probably have found the necessary footage in the BBC archives. The natural history people have probably done it many times. The producers of the show decided to have a landscape model made at considerable expense and then mock up the sunrise with a lightbulb.

But then what do you expect if you put the director of the bloody awful Last of the Summer Wine in charge of it?

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FAIL

Could it possibly be any worse than 'Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 ad'?

There answer is probably 'yes it could'

Still if Hollywood did do a big budget version they almost certainly wouldn't Michael Bay to direct.

Bugger

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Go

First Doctor Origins

Patrick Stewart could fulfill the William Hartnell role admirbaly. Just saying...

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TRT
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YES!!!

I was wondering who could do that role with the voice and all.

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Joke

Patrick Stewart?

Presumably he'd boldly go where no Doctor had gone before...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Patrick Stewart?

Yeah, but hairs are your aerials to the cosmos, man. That is why bald-headed men are so uptight.

Camberwell carrots, anyone?

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Thank god Moffat's in charge!

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Stop

I disagree

No movie AT ALL would be better than a Hollywood trainwreck.

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Hollywood works best and worst when there is a single strong mind in charge of a movie. Most of the great Hollywood movies have been run by one or two people, as well as some of it's biggest turkeys. If you don't believe me about the turkeys just watch Hudson Hawk.

What usually happens is that everything gets run through several committees several times and ends up being the usual bland, homogeneous dross. Unfortunately many brits see this as being the American way. It isn't it's the way of big business. We're just lucky that most Brit movies are made on a small budget.

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Childcatcher

People seem to have forgotten

the US made a Dr Who for the Millenium, BECAUSE the Beeb had already canned the series.

Bad as it might have been to us Brits, it prompted the ol Baked Bean Company to rethink and give us David "Hamish Macbeth" Tennant as the new Dr.

I'm sure plenty of people have good / bad plot idea's, lets not judge what may happen until it does.

Go back to the 70's, and every sitcom and action prog spawned a cinema version, some, like Steptoe and Son had more than one cinema length version (sweeney, Are you being served etc) which was a seperate story, idea and backdrop to the TV ones.

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You seem to have forgotten much yourself.

Firstly "the US" didn't make the Doctor Who TV movie and they certainly didn't make it "for the Millenium". I wasn't aware the US made films other than government propaganda, but the TV movie was a joint production between the BBC, BBC Worldwide, Fox and Universal. So not a solely american production then. It was made in 1996, so hardly "for the Millenium".

And the film certainly didn't inspire the BBC to give us Tennant as the new doctor for several reasons. Firstly the TV movie was always intended as something to test the water for the return of the series, perhaps as a joint BBC/Fox production. Since it was so poorly received in the US Fox never followed up on the option. Although the first showing had good viewing figures fans generally did not receive it well and the BBC also decided not to make a new TV series. Secondly you may have noticed it was nine whole years until the TV series resurfaced, IOW there was a longer gap between the TV movie and the start of the reboot than between the airing of the last McCoy episode and the TV movie. If the TV movie had really inspired the reboot of Who it would have come along a lot sooner than 2005. Finally, and the biggest error in you recollection, the BBC did not restart Who with Tennant in the lead role, it was Chris Ecclestone.

Oh and WTF has Hamish Macbeth got to do with anything? AFAIR Tennant never appeared in that particular bit of sunday teatime televisual fluff. If he did it must have been a very small part.

And as for the seventies movie spinoffs, IIRC they argue against you pretty convincingly. They were almost all shadows of the TV series, few of them were commercially successful and, lets be honest, they were generally crap.

You seem to approach this from the viewpoint that this should happen unless people can argue strongly enough against it. I approach it from a more simple viewpoint, which is to ask the question "Why?". Doctor Who is a TV series and a succesful one at that, why is there a need for a film (Hollywood or otherwise)? Nobody has yet come up with a convincing answer to that question. Certainly to say that it's what used to happen in the seventies is not a convincing argument. As parents like to say to their kids; If everybody else jumped off a cliff would you do it too?

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