Being a big Dr Who fan I was delighted to read that after years of speculation David Yates, the director of the last four Harry Potter films and TV drama State of Play, has started work on a feature film adaptation of the sci-fi drama series.
Yates also said that the film would be “quite a radical transformation” from the latest BBC1 series in order to take it into the bigger arena. He will spend two to three years making sure it is right and cautioned that the project still remains in the early stages of development, with no script or cast.
He also suggested that the film would not be written by either Russell T Davies, responsible for successfully bringing Doctor Who back to TV in 2005, or Steven Moffat, who replaced him as showrunner and lead writer in 2009, stating that both “Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,”. He also stated that he wanted a British sensibility.
However The project is unlikely to reach cinemas for several years and as yet there is no script, cast or production crew in place. David Yates is working on the film with Jane Tranter, the Los Angeles-based head of the BBC’s Worldwide Productions. who oversaw the show’s return to BBC1 in 2005 as the corporation’s drama controller.
It is almost 50 years since the last big-screen adaptation of the long running TV drama. Doctor Who and the Daleks made its debut in 1965, with the sequel, Doctor Who: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD airing a year later. Both 1960s movies starred Peter Cushing as the Doctor.
The original Doctor Who series was dropped by the BBC after 26 years in 1989, The final episode being “Survival” with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as his companion Ace. It returned for a one-off TV movie in 1996, starring Paul McGann and Eric Roberts.
The TV series returned to BBC1 in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston cast as the Time Lord, before David Tennant took over for the next three series and 2009’s specials. Smith has been in the lead role for the past two series.
Taking Doctor Who to the big screen should have been met with balloons and streamers- giving the show a massive budget and an international reach sounds like a great idea, However not everyone is happy about the idea, and in some quarters David Yates’s planned big screen adaptation has set alarm bells ringing with people worried that a film reboot would undermine the TV series? Personally I don’t think it needs a reboot, The genius of Russell T Davies’s 2005 revival was that it wasn’t a reboot at all, but the continuation of one long story that started in 1963.
I think the story should Respect the source material too and maybe go back to the junkyard in London’s Totter’s Lane in 1963, or possibly visit the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey full of fellow Timelords in those wonderfully theatical costumes? Having a bigger budget may also mean that they can finally do justice to the Doctor Who monsters and villians, there are plenty to choose from.
There has also been wild speculation on Twitter that the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who in 2013 will spell the end. Which seems ridiculous, Although having said that Doctor Who can only regenerate so many times before he dies. Maybe they could ask an actor who has already played the Doctor to reprise his role, Such as Tom Baker or Peter Davison and go into an old story in more detail, with a bigger budget and make the monster look more realistic. Although most recent big budget Film spin-offs or prequels have not been anywhere near as good as the original TV series on which they are based, such as The A-Team, Dukes of Hazzard or Starsky and Hutch movies, which were all rubbish. I reckon if they give the films a real gothic, creepy atmosphere like the Tom Baker/Philip Hinchcliffe/Weeping Angels episodes that could be fun, or I could just see Richard E. Grant being Doctor Who going up to a Dalek and demanding to have some booze or sticking a Camberwell Carrot in a Sontaren’s probic vent and getting him completely trollied 😀