Doctor Who Movie Talk Shot Down

The other week “Harry Potter” film director David Yates sent the online blogosphere into a tailspin with comments to the trade paper Variety that a movie is in development based on the classic and still highly popular British sci-fi TV series “Doctor Who”.

What was surprising was word that he and BBC Worldwide Productions head Jane Tranter are apparently developing the project entirely independent of the TV show, and in fact said film will essentially be a reboot with a whole new star that completely ditches almost fifty years of backstory. The pair were looking at writers now and apparently are “going to spend two to three years to get it right.”

Now the story has taken on a whole new wrinkle. Steven Moffat, the head writer and show runner of the current Matt Smith-led incarnation of the hit series, spoke about the news on Twitter and essentially dismissed Yates’ comments as a load of twaddle.

“To clarify: any Doctor Who movie would be made by the BBC team, star the current TV Doctor and certainly NOT be a Hollywood reboot… David Yates, great director, was speaking off the cuff, on a red carpet. You’ve seen the rubbish I talk when I’m cornered.”

Moffat has also released an official statement (via The Radio Times) in which he said that “[Doctor Who] is a vitally important BBC brand with a huge international audience [that] not even Hollywood can start from scratch”.

Most concrete of all, he says “there simply are no developed plans for a Doctor Who movie at the moment, [cut] 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… Whatever happens, the BBC and BBC Worldwide will work together to ensure that we don’t just get a movie, we get the movie that everyone wants.”

The question now becomes what’s truly going on behind-the-scenes here. Private Eye (via Bleeding Cool) hints that some senior people at the BBC “openly describe Moffat as ‘a problem’ this may have been the idea”, making this talk all seem rather tactless on the Beeb’s part.

With Moffat doing double duties on both ‘Who’ and “Sherlock” and the BBC making cutbacks all over, the inevitable result has been a haphazard scheduling of ‘Who’ with the next season reportedly not going to air until next Fall. Despite Moffat’s assurances, there’s the distinct feeling the BBC is forging ahead (without his input) on plans for where to take the franchise once he departs the show.