Variety are reporting that plans are afoot to make a Doctor Who feature-film, to be directed by David Yates (Harry Potter 5-7) and executive-produced by BBC Worldwide's Jane Tranter.
David Yates, director:
"We're looking at writers now. 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. 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."I have mixed feelings about this, but that's to be expected. It's very early days. However, it seems like this movie (and possibly a whole series of movies) won't compliment the TV show. It sounds like a nightmare to avoid the show's existing history, without simply offering fans a clear-cut reboot. So I'm wondering if Yates' proposed movies will be similar to JJ Abrams' rebooted Star Trek; a different take on the same idea, so fans can choose to follow the new adventures of The Doctor on the big-screen, stick with the rich 50-year history of the show on the small-screen, or enjoy both in their own way.
"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. 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."
I just wonder if fans will embrace this kind of split, if it happens. Back in 2005, Russell T. Davies could likewise have started the show from scratch, but he chose to honour Who's legacy and offer a continuation of the show that ended in 1989. That didn't seem to hurt the show, as newcomers weren't put off by the fact they were effectively coming to it decades late. And, to be fair, Doctor Who's greatest strength has been how its concept is so simple and easy to jump aboard with.
My guess is that it's just too much of a logistical nightmare to make movies that run alongside a TV show simultaneously. This is one reason why even the Star Trek movies never got started until the show's finished production. I don't imagine the BBC will cancel Doctor Who anytime soon, even to facilitate an evolution into movies, so the only other option is to have two separate iterations of the same idea.
We'll undoubtedly learn more over the next few months about David Yates' specific plans, but I'm a little worried we'll end up with a modern version of those Peter Cushing movies from the '60s—perfectly fun and enjoyable, but not "proper" Doctor Who in the eyes of its fans. Then again, maybe a Doctor Who movie will be far grander and more exciting than the BBC series could ever hope to be, with the right people involved?