Worlds are colliding! Variety is reporting Harry Potter director David Yates is setting up a big screen adaptation of the long-running British sci-fi television show Doctor Who. I…have many feelings and thoughts about this.
“We’re looking at writers now,” Yates said. “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.”
Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, will be developing the Doctor Who with Jane Tranter, BBC Worldwide’s L.A.-based exec VP of programming and production. The series features a time travelling alien known only as The Doctor, on his adventures through time and space with several companions.
You may already be aware, this isn’t the first time the beloved TV series has been made into a movie. Doctor Who and the Daleks and Doctor Who: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., starring Peter Cushing (who isn’t counted as one of the 11 Doctors) were released in the 60s while a television movie starring the 8th Doctor, played by Paul McGann, aired in 1996. The American film with McGann hoped to draw in an audience from the U.S. but failed to do so. It wasn’t until Russell T. Davies’ reboot series began in 2005 that Americans really started taking notice of the show.
“Yates 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,” writes Variety. “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,” said Yates.
“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,” he said, adding that he and Tranter are open to non-British writers for the adaptation.
“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 said.
This could be a fantastic thing for the BBC series as a whole but it is quite possibly a horror for long-time fans. The fact that current canon and actors would not be used for the film is a scary thing but could help to introduce new fans to the 50-year-old series. Personally, I’m shaking in my boots.
Express YOUR feelings and thoughts, readers, we know you’ll have something to say about this.
EDIT: The official Doctor Who Magazine has since tweeted, “To those hearing Doctor Who movie rumours, it’s just the same rumours which have been going round for years. Nothing’s currently happening!” In addition, Senior Brand Executive for BBC Wales Edward Russell tweeted, “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!”
So what’s the deal exactly? Yates doesn’t seem the time to mouth off about a project as big as this without it being true and he didn’t say this was just a dream of his. Could it be happening through channels the Doctor Who folks themselves aren’t even aware of? It might make sense if they didn’t want the current showrunners getting upset. We will see…
EDIT #2: The BBC America twitter account has now added fuel to the fire by tweeting, “DW film remains in development w/ BBCWorldwide Prod. in LA. No script, cast or production crew in place.”