So, did you want a Doctor Who movie starring some bloke from a vampire flick, a chick from American Idol and an invisible TARDIS which looks like Buckingham Palace inside?
Don’t worry – despite the bullish nature of David Yates’ recent statement, it seems unlikely that anything will actually come of the project, certainly not within the 3 years that he is apparently aiming at. The truth is that movie projects are announced every day, only to be caught in development hell for years. The 1996 TV Movie starring Paul McGann was the end product of 11 years of development, during which time the TV show was shelved and the project ended up on the box itself, rather than the silver screen.
However this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take note. Back in early 2010 Billie Piper was asked about a movie while being interviewed on Radio 1, and revealed that as far as she was aware, “they’re doing it”. This indicates a long-term interest in taking the Time Lord to the big screen, regardless of having any personnel attached to the project.
This changed this week when David Yates – director of the last four Harry Potter movies – announced that he was working with Jane Tranter on a movie. Tranter, of course, is the woman who kickstarted the show’s return back in 2003, so her intentions in this field have precedent. Yates is the first person to have been connected with any Doctor Who movie project since then, which is why the announcement is significant.
To those hearing Doctor Who movie rumours, it’s just the same rumours which have been going round for years. Nothing’s currently happening!
While some might feel that Doctor Who Magazine’s own feelings on this (via the Tweet above) might be a case of sour grapes for not being able to report the news themselves, we reckon that this attitude is unfair. Rumours have been circling for years now of a new time travelling movie adventure, and while DWM might have overlooked the significance of a name being attached for the first time, there is every likelihood that they were simply taken aback by anyone actually stating involvement at this early stage.
Indeed, Yates’ announcement might have been an attempt to revive BBC interest in a project that might be flagging due to economic concerns, for instance.
Off Twitter for a few hours and the Doctor Who world explodes. There’s always talk of a movie. Perhaps? Maybe one day. But not right now!
As you may know, Edward Russell is the Doctor Who brand manager, so he’s likely to be aware of any greenlit projects to take the TARDIS to Hollywood.
As for the Grand Moff – well, he responded in his own inimitable style.
Announcing my personal moonshot, starting from scratch. No money, no plan, no help from NASA. But I know where the moon is – I’ve seen it.
One can imagine that the team in Cardiff spend a few minutes checking with everyone potentially involved (possibly with some concern) only to be told that there was nothing doing. Nothing else can account for one of the funniest lines on Twitter in the past few days.
However, let’s just throw it back to David Yates. After all, he started all of this.
“We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right. It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”
I don’t know about you, but having seen Voyage of the Damned and various Doctor Who two parters over the years (Human Nature to name but one) there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this award-winning director hasn’t got the faintest notion of what he is talking about. Discarding the current cast or ignoring a previous lead actor is one thing, but ignoring the fact that the TV show reboots itself with each regeneration/change of producer is missing one of the core elements of the source material.
Doctor Who does not need a radical transformation to take it to the big screen. A quick look at the TV Movie as an example of what goes wrong when you try to play to a different audience proves this. All that is needed is a good story, a strong lead, and the rest will take care of itself.
After all, this is how Doctor Who has lasted 50 years. Let’s keep the show on TV and make sure it lasts another 50.