Doctor Who film gains director and radical transformation
Yes, that's the truth. Pinch yourself, this is not April the first, and the Doctor is going to return to the big screen, and what's more there's the perfect British director to do just that, David Yates.
It all looks like exciting news, especially as this will come at a time when the return of the Doctor is at a peak and Matt Smith is fast becoming one of the most popular Doctors of all time, however there are a few little concerns that hit me about the story almost immediately.
There are two men who are most responsible for the resurgence of Doctor Who more than anyone, and yes you could say David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith, but for me it's Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat.
So it's with surprise that I read the article in Variety through Empire which tells us about the Doctor Who film and that David Yates is teaming up with the BBC team to make the next Doctor Who film, that I read they're looking for writers.
Hold up. Davies wrote thirty-one episodes from 2005 to 2010 while Moffat, who is now overseeing the series, wrote from 2005 to 2011 and delivered twenty episodes, surely they are the men who know Who most? Surely they are the writers to deliver a film version of the character?
What's that? No film experience? Well Davies is a television writer that's true, but Moffat has The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn to his credit, and they both carry a fair list of successful and very good television series to their names. Yes I will again mention the superb Jekyll television series which you have to watch.
David Yates has said of the film:
"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...
...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."
What? Why do you? Did you do that with Harry Potter? Why do you have to do that with Doctor Who?
Oh I know you can, after all the character can transform into anyone, but are they going to do that independently of the television series? Transform him to someone else and forget the running of the series? I don't believe they can do that and get away with it. No, it will have to be the same Doctor as the series is running with.
He also says the following:
"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."
Okay, in two or three years time it is fair to say that Matt Smith will no longer be the Doctor, and there's a good guess that the series could be on a break, but then again it might still be running, after all the series isn't flagging just now and is selling well in America, which leads me to that next point.
I don't quite understand why Doctor Who needs a "radical transformation" in order to take it to a "bigger arena", it's doing well in America as it is, and a film version of what we have would surely go down a treat across America and Europe. It's already rather cinematic in terms of writing, with an effects budget comparable to a film release surely we would end up with exactly what we need for a big screen version?
Now that's where I've just caught myself out. I hear some people saying that a bigger budget for effects could suddenly take some of the charm away from the show. Well that was definitely true of the old Doctors where the charm of cheaper suits was a major factor, that's been pushed forward with the new Doctors though, one after the other until now the cheap suits are almost all gone.
It still comes back to a bigger issue for me, the fact that this film will be a departure from the series as we know it.
"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."
Now an American writer isn't a bad thing, but not the current writers who have revived the Doctor Who series is.
Let's concentrate on some positives though, David Yates is directing and he's done well with Harry Potter, and Jane Tranter who worked as Producer on the revival of Doctor Who (as well as numerous other shows including Jekyll) is also working on the development of the film version.
Those are indeed positives, however the desire to depart from the successful series revival and to put the series through a "radical transformation" is rather worrying for fans like myself.