Doctor Who reboot - is this trip really necessary? Photograph:BBC
Director of ‘Harry ‘Potter’ Claims Working With BBC on Doctor Who Movie; BBC Affirms/Denies
Krypton Radio Newswire
“Harry Potter” director David Yates says he’s teaming up with the BBC to work up a motion picture version of their explosively popular science fiction series “Doctor Who”. For those of you who have spent the last 50 years under a rock, Doctor Who is a time-travelling humanoid alien, the last survivor of a race known as the Time Lords. He explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through both time and space, whose exterior appears as a blue London police box. Usually accompanied by one or more human traveling companions, he fights injustice, rights wrongs, and saves civilizations from extinction. “Doctor Who,” starring Matt Smith as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor, is now one of the BBC’s most lucrative global TV franchises, and certainly one of the hottest science fantasy properties in the world – and Smith has attained what can only be described as “rock star” status in Britain.
Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, told Daily Variety that he is about to start work on developing a “Doctor Who” movie with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Productions, but here’s the catch: the BBC has both confirmed ”and” denied that such a production is in the works. The latest word extracted from representatives of the BBC by IO9 is that no such project exists. Fan reaction to that one has been ecstatic, but there are enough statements appearing to come from the BBC that we’re not ready to breath a sigh of relief yet ourselves.
David Yates, director of the most recent four Harry Potter films
“The notion of the time-travelling Time Lord is such a strong one, because you can express story and drama in any dimension or time,” Yates said.
What has fan’s reactions ranging from scratching their heads to backing away in open mouthed terror is Yates’ clearly stated intent to discard the TV series entirely. He’s made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.
“Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,” he said.
Yates and Tranter are looking for writers on both sides of the Atlantic, despite the fact that the BBC has publicly disowned the project. (We wish them luck with that. )
“We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,” he explained.
The series ran from 1963 to 1989, and then was successfully rebooted in 2005 by writer Russell T. Davies and subsequently by Steven Moffat (“The Adventures of Tintin”). Tranter was head of dramatic production at the BBC for the revival. There are two previous films, based on the TV series: “Doctor Who and the Daleks” (1965) and “Doctor Who: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.” (1966), both starring Peter Cushing- but the combination of Yates and Tranter bring more muscle to a Doctor Who film project than has ever been applied to the idea before. However, the on-again-off-again support the project has been shown by the BBC offers some hope that the project will never get off the ground, let alone into space.
As reported by the Doctor Who and the Tardis Community page on Facebook, Steven Moffat had this response to talk of the Yates Doctor Who Movie :
‘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.’
“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” Yates was quoted as saying. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.” Yates’ plan is to keep the name and the general concept, and discard everything else – kind of like jacking up the radiator cap off a car that’s been running fine all along, junking the car and building a new one underneath the cap.
In other words Yates and this Tranter woman are the only two people on this project, and while the BBC doesn’t come right out and say they’re not doing a film, there’s a fair amount of possible disinformation about it floating around. A recent comment from BBC executive Edward Russell via Twitter:
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!
The BBC’s official Dr. Who Magazine tweeted this:
To those hearing Doctor Who movie rumours, it’s just the same rumours which have been going round for years. Nothing’s currently happening!
The nearest thing to an official published statement we can find came from BBC America, who said this via Twitter:
A Doctor Who feature film remains in development w/ BBC Worldwide Productions in LA. As of yet no script, cast or production crew in place.
So – it’s “in development”. But there’s no script, cast, or production crew in place. Or presumably, production company. All we have is Yates and Tranter’s statement that they’re working on it. In the language of the entertainment industry that means “we get together and knock ideas around once a month over expensive lunches and dinners so we can call them tax deductions.”
Frankly, we hope that’s all it means.
What do you think? Is the movie announcement the real deal, or just a press release for the sake of having something to say? Would Yates pull this off? Or would it be the biggest disaster since that crack in Amelia Pond’s bedroom wall? Don’t get us wrong, Yates is a fine director and did a pretty terrific job on the Harry Potter movies, which everybody loved. But this?
We invite your comments.