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Published on November 14th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Jumping Jehosaphat – a Movie?!

Just when you thought it could never happen, the most amazing thing occurs!

Harry Potter David Yates has been formally attached to a Doctor Who movie project, working with former BBC One chief Jane Tranter who is now based in BBC Worldwide’s Los Angeles office.

We’ll just repeat that: a Doctor Who movie is in development!

Yates directed four of the Harry Potter movies and has told Variety that the project is in search of a writer.

“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.”

What is interesting to note is that David Yates is aiming for a complete cinematic reboot, something that could potentially put the TV show at risk.

“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.”

Previous attempts at Doctor Who movies eventually resulted in the 1996 BBC/Fox/Universal co-production starring Paul McGann, although fans will of course be aware of the Dalek movies which were adapted from 1960s TV serials, Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965) and Doctor Who: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.” (1966) which both starred Peter Cushing.

This is particularly amazing news. We’re stunned right now – but what do you think? Is the time right for a Doctor Who movie?

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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+.




37 Responses to Jumping Jehosaphat – a Movie?!

  1. Solonor says:

    “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

    God help us, no.

  2. The 13th Doctor says:

    Please God, if you exist, do not let this happen. Makes me cringe at the thought of this if its true

  3. Warren Howarth says:

    If this means a ‘re-imagining’ to coin a phrase, then the movie will be doomed from the outset. If they go down the route, say, in the way that Fox wanted to take the PM series, then theres gonna be some serious unrest.

    Now if they were using the film as a swansong for MS, and then an introduction for Doctor number 12, things could seem brighter. Even as a big screen story set between the seasons on terrestrial tv would work, a la ‘The X-Files’ but other than that they should leave well alone!

  4. Andrew says:

    “…but we have to put that aside and start from scratch.”

    Two words spring to mind, one that rhymes with duck and what you do to the lights when you leave a room.

    And anything that puts the TV series in jeopardy is not a good thing.

  5. Bryan Simcott says:

    Firstly its a NO! then i thought ti might be the BBC`s way of A) Saving money
    B) MAking Money
    C) softening the blow after the 5oth anniversary.*

    * Big event TV change the Dr from AMtt Smith to (anyone but F*****g Patterson Joseph who cant act) then make either TV movie or Cinema move for 2014 release to give the crew a breather before the next series (if there even is one)

    but Im still not sure and dont like the “re-imagining” nonsense.

    its Doctor Who and dosent need re-imagining or a prequel (hollywood loves a prequel, please no)

  6. Limespider says:

    If it’s not a Dr Who movie, calling it a Dr Who movie won’t change that. If Yates wants to make a movie about a time travelling alien he can go for it, but wanting to call it Dr Who so he can get BBC money and publicity he might not otherwise get is lame to say the least.


  7. Hmmm. It’s a toughie this one. My knee-jerk reaction is NOOOO! BUT… it never harmed Star Trek and I reckon the Whoniverse is big enough for several different takes on the idea…

    BUT only if it is detached from the TV series, non-Hollywood, and the series itself continues unaffected…

    I guess we’ll see.

  8. Anthony says:

    They took Picard, Riker & Data to the big screen…..why not Matt Smith, or whomever is to follow him? Why can it not simply be a continuation, not an interruption? This is the only path they should take in my opinion – all other approaches are pretty much guaranteed to fail.

  9. Maxtible Crust says:

    what a depressing reaction to this exciting and interesting bit of news…

    I think one of the key points from the interview is the promise of taking 2 to 3 years to get it right, I presume thats all writing and pre-production and thats a very wise move considering what a minefield it could be bringing the show to the big screen. Although we have seen countless 60′s, 70′s and 80′s TV shows ‘re-booted’ as feature films these past few years, this particular series has already been brought back and updated relatively recently and has been a huge success. I wouldn’t envy anyone tackling the job of bringing this to life as a movie franchise and getting it spot on like they have done with the TV series….but seriously – good luck to them I hope they find some amazingly talented people to do it!

    (I just had a read through the comments to this news on den of geek as well, already an online petition to get it stopped….seriously?…has someone been THAT outraged by this or is it someone having a laugh taking the mick out of the agitated, hand wringing section of fandom that is out in force tonight)

  10. Maxtible Crust says:

    One other thing…

    from the article:-

    ‘What is interesting to note is that David Yates is aiming for a complete cinematic reboot, something that could potentially put the TV show at risk.’

    What evidence do you suggest there is that this could damage the TV series and how?


    • I don’t have any evidence, any more than the BBC did throughout the 1990s when they refused to run a series for fear of it damaging a film production. The same can easily be said in reverse.

      However what I do have is intuition. The TV series would have to take quite a bit of time off for a movie with all of its publicity to arrive on the scene ready to go – much like the build up to Rose. If you don’t think this is the case then you were clearly lucky enough not to have been beaten to within an inch of your sanity by the high voltage publicity Doctor Who had between 2005 and 2009.

      There is a definite risk of over-exposure for the brand, and if they’re putting money into a movie, the TV show will be held back as a result. Doesn’t take a genius to work that out.

      • Leo says:

        I’m inclined to agree Christian.

        My instinct is telling me it wont happen, or it will be radically transformed into something else.

        Alien prequel announced! Alien prequel will not be a prequel announced! Former Alien prequel set in Alien universe but different thread announced! Former Alien prequel will be an Alien prequel after all although with a twist announced! Still excited for that one though :)

        If it does happen, well I would like to think it would be like Star Trek in the 1990s co-existing on TV and the Big Screen but then again you can too much of a good thing and then everybody starts bailing out.

        • Leo says:

          Following on, amongst what appears to be a ‘universal nashing of teeth’, someone has just posted in one of the broadsheets, ‘look what they did to Hitch hiker’s and Thunderbirds…..’:(

  11. Rory says:

    Why can I hear the cloister bell chiming??

    Tim Burton ‘re-imagined’ Planet of the Apes to within an inch of its life and now I can’t bring myself to look even one ape/human hybrid in the face – and as someone who lives in Devon, this presents a daily challenge.

    A film franchise did wonders for Star Trek, but don’t forget that this series occurred after the first wave of the series – both formats did not initially exist simultaneously.

    I fear that we have become too greedy – the ‘new who’ has come back with a vengence, brimming with excellent writing and the kind of special effects that we secretly wished for during the classic series – but – we all sense that even the Moff feels its time to slow down, get back to basics. I think the pressure to go ‘bigger and better’ each series makes it increasingly difficult to slow down – or even change pace completely.

    I know all the arguments…’rating wars’, ‘viewing habits’, ‘The ITV Factor’ – but does anyone like me hancor just a slice of sedate rambling round the tardis interior? or to have the time to be ‘bombared by positivly charged ions’ during a spot of landscape sketching?

    In short – I think the pace and brovado of a blockbuster film may make it more difficult to ‘come back’ to TV – especially with our current viewing habits and our constant need for that ‘a-list’, high-res, quick aesthetic special fx fix…

    If a Movie represents the next ‘leap’, and It doesn’t work
    for ‘the masses’ – will it be too late to retreat?

  12. Ian O'Brien says:

    “This will not follow on from the tv series”..Then what will it be about?
    The BBC milking Dr Who for all its worth? Don’t let the US make it!

  13. Bob James says:

    Bad. Bad. Bad idea. Let’s hope this project goes off quietly into the night, as there is just NO point in it or to it whatsoever. And shame, shame, shame on the fucking greedy BBC for even considering this, if in fact they have.

  14. tommyscot says:

    Well, I say very interesting.
    Tranter delivered the reboot at BBC and Yates has a track record of quality- State of Play alone qualify shim in my eyes.
    If a British sensibility, and timey-wimey manoeuvres can see both visions coexisting then it might be the best thing for the sustainability of the whoniverse.
    However I suspect that the BBC would have to suspend the TV show while the film was in the spotlight.

  15. Alex says:

    NO to a reimagining. Hey, Mr. Yates – how do you think fans would have reacted if NBC had done a mini-series adapting the Harry Potter films before the movies were done? Well that’s what’s going to happen here. Yes, by all means do a movie, but don’t confuse the mainstream by doing a different continuity. They have a hard enough time assimilating the two Peter Cushing films from 45 years ago. And I’d also fearful of what Tommyscot says above, the last thing we want is this movie to supplant (or God forbid, replace) the TV series. Now if they manage to do some sort of trick like the 2009 Star Trek movie did to allow both continuities to exist at the same time, then fine (and in Doctor Who that’s actually easier to pull off), but if we’re going back to the world where the Doctor and the Master were quarreling brothers of the Time Lord Ulysses (as I recall the plot of one of the 1990s TV movies), then no thanks, even with Yates at the helm.

  16. Paul says:

    I never posted on here related to a story, but I feel I have to today. Doctor Who is small screen; they’re making the movie to appeal to Americans, or an international audience. It won’t be the same beast that we all love; also, it will kill the T.V. series. Maybe that is why the B.B.C. want to make it soon. I would bet my house that they won’t cast Matt Smith – he’s already said it will be a re-imagining. Doctor Who works best as T.V. – period!

  17. Simon says:

    I suppose it depends on what they mean by “a radical transformation”…

    Let’s not forget that many of the old episodes were lost due to the BBC’s ignorance of whether our generation would want to see the earlier Doctors’ stories, but I’m sure the scripts of those are still around somewhere. There were even some stories made but never shown for whatever reason. If they’re simply emphasising that today’s technology and actors fulfilling the role of the original incarnations will be used to breathe new life into these, creating more enigmatic adventures than what were broadcast before, so be it. However, I don’t think full rewrites of old episodes should happen; they should merely be extensions to the lore that couldn’t be done because of technical constraints.

    But before any of this happens, there is one untouched area of the fiction not shown on TV – the Dark Times – and that may be just as important as The Doctor himself.

  18. Gruff says:

    A young Time Lord comes back to his home to find his aunt and uncle murdered and is taken away by an old family friend to learn the ways of a Time Lord…

    He is joined by a robot dog, a timid Cyberman and a leathery lothario to go on to save the universe from being controlled by an evil man wearing black he could be related to…

    It might even turn out that Leela was his sister…

    Oh sorry, what do you mean that the worst that could happen has been made already. I thought my plot entry was rather original.

    I’ll get my coat, scarf and jelly babies

  19. Gruff says:

    On a more serious note am nervous and excited.

    I have a feeling Rusty and Moff could pull something off together if they had a long run into it, but I would fear for the future of the series on TV. I’d prefer to stick with 10 or 11 hours worth of television Who most years over 90 mins on a big screen every 2-3 years.

    Think there should be plenty of testing the waters before the take the plunge on this.

  20. Michael says:

    It think it extremely unlikely that film and tv series could exist at the same time. It would be like having a Harry Potter or James Bond TV series running at the same time as the film franchise. It just wouldn’t happen.

    However, whilst the fans wouldn’t want a Doctor who wasn’t the ‘real’ Doctor (who had experienced all the TV stories) I’m sure the general public wouldn’t care. Hardcore fans who read sites like this are a tiny percentage of the target audience for a TV or film series.

  21. Spaceman says:

    As someone once said “Beware Big Screen versions of a television series, 9 times out of 10 they leave a nasty taste.”

  22. Krumstets says:

    There are many presumptions going on here. We need to take a collective chill pill before we get any more excited. Maybe the movie will deal with the ‘Early Years’? In which case a young Time Lord battling it out with a staid Gallifreyan society would make an ideal script for a movie that wouldn’t impact negatively on the TV series.

  23. jh1470 says:

    as a life time fan and devotee i am not sure if this is a good thing. RTD & Moffatt have revived in spectacular form and this may destroy all they have achieved.Apart from a decent script it all hinges on casting as there is no point to it if the lead is unconvincing and there purely for star attraction value. Perhaps or with any luck this project will fill in the blank that is the time war and the transition from doctor 8 to 9 which i am sure all fans would agree would not take from the tv revival in anyway. Fingers crossed!!!

  24. Castellan Spandrel says:

    A young Time Lord battling it out against a Gallifreyan society would impact negatively on the TV series, as it would be appalling!

    Dr Who shouldn’t be about that and normally isn’t about that; only the occasional story within the framework of the continuing TV series can get away with ‘Gallifrey-based’ or ‘TARDIS/Dr-centred’ storylines, i.e. Deadly Assassin.

    But when a one-off comes along, i.e. the 1996 TVM, and centres around the series’ mythology in that way, it doesn’t work. That’s why the TVM is judged by many as a failure – it’s too much about the TARDIS, regeneration, Time Lords…. rather than being what Dr Who is really about – a mysterious man who travels through time and space in the police box, having adventures.

    It’s not Hogwarts or Starfleet; but by putting the Dr – albeit young – into such a setting and loading him with such baggage, it’d kill any chance of a decent story that truly represents Who.

  25. Castellan Spandrel says:

    ..What I meant was, “Who shouldn’t be like Hogwarts or Starfleet.” We don’t need to see the Dr growing up or being trained or whatever – such ‘rites of passage’ stuff feels like another story for another character entirely.

    We need to see him as the mysterious traveller – that’s him at his most interesting, dangerous and exciting.

    But should/could a film version take it as a given that the audience knows all about the Dr? Or would it have to ‘introduce him’ for film audiences that have never seen the TV show?

  26. Elton Townend Jones says:

    Cinematic Who could only lead to the erosion of the TV Who. If a movie was all it needed to be in production and publicity terms, then its global reach would swallow the Who we have followed since 1963. Market forces would surely determine that all the high profile TV Who spin-off merchandise we currently have (mags, comics, lunchboxes, novels), would surely be replaced by cinema Who items and branding. This would be unavoidable and also very sad. Since this story ‘emerged’ we are now being told that it’s only currently a series of ‘conversations’. But ‘conversations’ and development mean someone is already spending money and will presumably be requiring some return on that outlay, and so things will so snowball (if jobs are being done properly). This does perhaps mean that Doctor Who as we know it might be heading for a rest very, very soon. That said, we don’t know enough yet. I know I’ve never been interested or thrilled by the idea of Doctor Who as a movie (it’s a TV serial, and that’s enough for me), but I’m happy to hope for the best.

  27. Drew Fleming says:

    So, they’re not really wanting to make a Doctor Who movie. They want to make a movie called Doctor Who. Sounds like a waste of time to me. I’ll pass.

  28. Bob Furnell says:

    We’ve been down this road so many times before. There’s a DW movie, there’s not a DW movie, blah blah blah. For some reason I can’t get excited by the idea, but I’d be careful what you wish for. Just think Thunderbirds, The Saint, The Avengers, and dozens of other tv shows that have been adapted as movies – can you spell “B-O-M-B-!” Sorry to be so negative but this is a real dumb idea.

  29. Rick Lundeen says:

    The sky is falling! the sky is falling! Again.

    Now, for some facts.

    FACT: There is no way that a movie, no matter how good or bad, can put the TV show at risk. If it’s great, then there’ll be more interest in all things DW. If it sucks, then the TV show will simply carry on as it has been and we’ll be glad to have it. *Because the TV show will always be a huge moneymaker for the Beeb*.

    FACT: Right now, at best, only 1% of Americans are Doctor Who fans. Really nowhere to go but up and this is where the money is so they’re going try and add to the mix. *Should* they do this? Probably not but we should have the courage of our convictions that no matter what they do, it won’t harm our love for the show.

    FACT: It takes FOREVER to get ANYTHING done in Hollywood, even when they say they’re working on something. The mere fact that they’re admitting that they want to take two to three years to “do it right” could mean another ten years before they accomplish anything.

    FACT: There’s nothing we should worry about–I mean anything, the show, the movie, anything DW, until after the 50th anniversary.

  30. Mugen Pharoah says:

    Well, the Peter Cushing films didn’t affect the TV show did they? And they ran at the same time…

    Though I would prefer the new film to part of the mainstream continuity, i don’t think they will be or involve a current or previous doctor but be part of a new film continuity like the 60s films.

    Or perhaps they could follow on from the sixties films? Yes, and get Cribbins back as Tom the policeman, and a regenerated Cushing doctor – no one would be expecting that…

    Also you’ve got to remember that films and Tv series of things happen at the same time or near each other many many times, just look at classic novel adaptations or Sherlock Holmes. The Robert Downey Jr films quite happily run alongside Moffat’s Sherlock, so everyone needs to put down the Big Stick of Hate and just relax….it may never happen…or it could be that anniversary multi doctor story that I dream of..or it could be a big lump of poo. Whatever happens there will be 50 glorious years of TV Who, and a central idea just too powerful to die.

    and the Abrams Star Trek sort of does carry on from the original TV series as it has Nimoy Spock in it travelling through time, and his ship was designed by TNG’s Geordi La Forge so maybe they’ll find a way to slot this new film into main continuity like that. strange times.

  31. Rick Lundeen says:

    I was thinking about this—they’re probably trying to set this up in terms of a looooong range franchise film series. Think about it. They did 8 Potter films, 4 Indy films, over 20 Bond films, a dozen Trek films. Each of those franchises had the same weakness in that the leads get old and eventually have to be replaced. But with Doctor Who, not only is it not a problem but what a wonderful way to craft what could be a 50 film franchise? The same things that made DW the greatest TV show in history can now power a film franchise. We’d only see one film every two or three years but we’d still have our TV show each year as well.

    The only thing is, they’d have to do it WELL and get some input from the right people. If they start it from the very beginning and have him stealing the TARDIS from Gallifrey, excellent. Just do it right. It’s not impossible.

  32. Alex says:

    @Mugen – The Cushing films didn’t affect the TV show because they were made for the American market where the TV show was never broadcast until 1972. That’s why they didn’t even need to come up with new storylines, just remake two Terry Nation Dalek scripts.

    @Maxtible – you’ve missed the point. The fact is instead of doing a movie connected to the TV series they’re wanting to do something completely unconnected. And as such they’re going to override anything done for TV. Let’s be real here. If Paterson Joseph is cast as the 12th Doctor in 2013 (feel free to pick any other UK actor of choice if you prefer) which is looking likely to be when the regeneration happens, and Yates’ movie comes out in 2013 or early 2014 and they cast Robert Pattinson as the Doctor (hey, he’s about the same age as Matt Smith and he’s British and Twilight will be over – could happen). Poor old Paterson or whomever will get tromped. And also, do the math – literally – if cash-strapped BBC finds it can make $500 million off a $100 million investment, compared to the somewhat smaller pickings of the TV series, guess what will get dropped in favor of the movies? Now if the movies were a continuation of the TV series – featuring Robert Pattinson as the clearly defined 12th Doctor (even without a regeneration) I’d actually be fine with that because the story would continue. But this could potentially end a story some of us have been following for 50 years.

    Two other things to keep in mind: When Starz agreed to co-produce Torchwood, something that was killed as a direct consequence was Torchwood Magazine (I’m not making that up – the magazine itself said so). When the BBC announced a new series in 2004, it killed the Richard Grant Ninth Doctor spinoff AND ordered BBC Books to discontinue publication of further new novels based upon the first 8 Doctors (something they’re only now reversing gradually). Who is to say that the BBC promotion and merchandising division won’t decide to make the Yates movie the primary driver, and close the book on Big Finish, Doctor Who Adventures, BBC Books’ New Series Adventures, etc etc? I’d be overreacting if it hadn’t happened before.

    I agree with one part of Rick Lundeen’s comment – it is certainly too early to lose sleep over this because the odds remain against this film even being made. Or if it is made it could become an instant obscurity like the Modesty Blaise movie that was made back in 2003, or – as far as 99% of the world is concerned – the two recent St. Trinian’s movies. It is not, however, too early to make the powers that be aware that while we welcome the idea of a movie being made, it’s the idea of abandoning the 50 years of beloved characters and backstory that we’re opposed to. I want my big-screen Doctor to be the same man who travelled with Sarah Jane Smith, dammit!

  33. stlshawn says:

    Three words “Bean, the movie”

    Still makes me wretch when i think of what they did to the greatest comic of all time.

  34. Rory says:

    Can I make a request please for the ‘opening sequence’ of proposed film?
    I don’t care what the precise context is – but could we open with a mid-action ‘terminator-style’ showdown involving one stray cyberman and an army of ‘good guys’ having their asses relentlessly kicked?
    I would like the Cybermen to be given back their ‘steel balls’ to remind all that they are a foe to be reckoned with…and please don’t explode his head in the final seconds – let him win!!

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