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Published on July 11th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

RTD: No American Doctor Who

Former Doctor Who boss and Torchwood creator Russell T Davies has recently put worried minds at rest concerning the oft-mooted possibility of an American-produced series.

Following the migration of Torchwood to a pan-Atlantic co-production, the more pessimistic and cynical fans among us have been bemoaning this move as a sign of things to come, a test bed for a future collaborative production of Doctor Who. While such a venture might finally extinguish the memories of what might have been back in 1996, the fallout from the TV Movie – a much loved but nevertheless disappointing failure – is still enough to discourage most fans.

Speaking to Radio Times, Russell T Davies confirms this isn’t something that we need to worry about any time soon.

“No one at BBC Worldwide is looking at an American version of Doctor Who.” “I know everyone thinks we have secret plans.”

“But we do have plans for new dramas, and non-science fiction drama. It’s about time I got back to that sort of material, ’cause I have a lot to say in that world. So our ambitions are endless – but not for that particular one!”

Readers with long memories will recall that an insane rumour concerning an American Doctor Who starring Johnny Depp was doing the rounds last year, so it is good to see an official word coming from someone who would likely be one of the main players in such a production…


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

5 Responses to RTD: No American Doctor Who

  1. avatar Aude_Brownies says:

    Steven Moffat told it to us at French Comic Con. Doctor Who can’t be used by others countries. It’s an English trademark (and a BBC one too) and nobody can steal it :). Fortunately ;)

  2. avatar krumstets says:

    Why this obsession with America?

    I would much rather see Dr Who spread it’s wings all over the world for inspiration.

    Yes, it all comes down to money…but and Anglo/American centric viewpoint is very limiting.

    • It certainly is limiting – wouldnt it be great to see the Doctor visiting some ancient cradles of civlization such as Asia and the Middle East?

  3. avatar BJAMES says:

    For me, the real point is this. When Doctor Who returned to television in 2005, it was made by the BBC. Whatever the particulars (BBC Worldwide, BBC Wales, etc.) a British Institution returned, made in the UK by British television. Now granted, Doctor Who has worldwide appeal; it did before when it was UK made and seen through syndication in other countries. It does now when it remains UK made and is seen through previously not existant outlets like BBC America, in the US, and the various other outlets it has found worldwide. When the BBC decided to let the world know that Doctor Who was here again (by promotion, advertising, and just general pure sales push), it caught on, and it is now more successful worldwide than it ever was before. Did it require American money? Did it require input from American producers or writers, or producers and writers from other countries abroad to make it “accessible” to non UK audiences? The answer is obviously no. Even the previous considerations of CGI and special effects budget were and are moot. The BBC brought it back through the creative genius of RTD, and spent its own money on it accordingly. The show can film in America (or, indeed, anywhere they want to film it), but its roots and character remain British. One of the reasons Doctor Who is brilliant is because it’s British! And this is being affirmed by myself, an American. I don’t need American Doctor Who anymore than I’d like to see British Star Trek, or British Buffy/Angel! The Torchwood scenario, and the Chibnail/US “Being Human” is all about certain people wanting to pocket American money and live in nice American weather, and launch nice American careers. Give me one, just one example of US input making either of these shows better. The BBC/Starz Torchwood seems to be promising, but did it really need to be a trans-Atlantic production for any justifiable creative reason? Maybe RTD and Julie Warner were fearful that in the current BBC budget climate, Torchwood would not be given an appropriate budget, or perhaps not even made. Just don’t try to sell us the crap line that US creative input was NECESSARY. The show could have even had all those American actors in it, if the BBC was willing to pay for it. This is a non-issue creatively. The British think of America when they think of and drool over previously unattainable paychecks and career opportunities leading to even bigger paychecks. The creative hearts and souls of these shows is just brought into danger when they are enslaved to these aspirations.

  4. avatar BJAMES says:

    Leave it to me to get Julie Gardners last name wrong while I rant. It’s Gardner and not Warner, and I’m silly like that when I’m passionate…………

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