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Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Doctor Who Hits Cinemas In 3D for 50th Birthday!

Twenty years after the 3D disaster of Dimensions in Time, the increasingly unfashionable stereoscopic video entertainment fad is once again staking a claim in Doctor Who, this time for the 50th anniversary!

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As revealed by the BBC this evening, the episode will also be available to view in cinemas! Controller of drama, Ben Stephenson, has included this bold new approach in his recent speech, tying Doctor Who into a desire to apply “the Danny Boyle vision to our work – a bold, adventurous, authorial approach that exports because of its Britishness not despite it.”

We’re not entirely sure that is anything different to what the BBC already does, but the 50th anniversary news is certainly fascinating, regardless of your thoughts about 3D. Getting back to the point, Stephenson added:

There will be lots of aliens and daleks and things like that – or maybe there won’t. There are many different things to take into account and we will also have a Christmas special after that and it all connects. Or maybe it doesn’t. There’s lots to work out.

It’s that thing of, how do you make individual programmes more than the sum of their parts? The Doctor Who 50th is a bit like when we did EastEnders’ 25th; it is more than just a programme, we have all had a relationship to it.

Ninety per cent of the British public know about Doctor Who and have a personal connection to it. Most people have their own Doctor Who. It’s drawing on that nostalgia to say something bigger about the BBC and its values.

“Nostalgia” is a very loaded word, isn’t it. I wonder what he means…?

Meanwhile, The Grand Moff seems very happy with the second coming of Doctor Who 3D.

It’s about time. Technology has finally caught up with Doctor Who and your television is now bigger on the inside. A whole new dimension of adventure for the Doctor to explore.”

It’s a nationwide celebration of both Doctor Who and the BBC because I think they are so synonymous. We will be doing a big Doctor Who special in 3D which is very exciting and feels very innovative.

We will be doing it on cinema screens as well. We are working out the logistics of that at the moment because we need to make sure the main BBC1 experience remains absolute value for money for the audience.

What do you think? Does 3D deserve another chance? Does the use of the word “nostalgia” awaken something inside?

Will you be watching Doctor Who in a cinema, in 3D, for the 50th anniversary?

And isn’t this a much better idea than a “live” episode?!



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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+.

14 Responses to Doctor Who Hits Cinemas In 3D for 50th Birthday!

  1. avatar David F says:

    I don’t want more spectacle. I want more stories. Feel a little disappointed Doctor Who is buying in to the cynical 3D gimmick that’s done so much to taint cinema over the last few years.

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Does 3D cost more than a normal episode? It’s just unwanted and it has to be an amazing story that suits the 3D gimmick otherwise it runs the risk of being a 3D episode of Doctor Who rather than the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who and still no one at the BBC will admit we have lost an entire series during 2012-2013 when the BBC is happy to keep churning out Merlin and now Atlantis. What on earth is going on?

    • avatar DavidF says:

      I’m sure the thinning out of Who production is just a practical necessity. Moffat and Smith are in demand, and giving them space to breathe and work on other projects keeps them healthy and reduces the risk they’ll quit.

      Russell T. Davies talked a lot about creative burnout. It was clear he had almost no time for his personal life, and Moffat has the additional consideration of his own children. And so instead of churning out series with deadening monotony, and then having a whole year off with a couple of specials, they’re spreading the seasons out more. I’m sure Moffat would also cite the issue of quality control.

      I doubt it’s anything more sinister than that. It seems unlikely the BBC is insisting on fewer episodes of its cash cow.

  3. avatar badblokebob says:

    “we need to make sure the main BBC1 experience remains absolute value for money for the audience”

    In that case, the 3D needs to be resolutely non-essential. No stuff poking out at the audience or what have you. Otherwise it’ll be painfully obvious to anyone watching in 2D (i.e. “the main BBC1 experience”) that the thing has been crafted with primarily 3D in mind.

    Besides which, the best 3D is about depth and shape rather than “hehe, a yoyo in your face!” anyway.

  4. I’m sure it’ll be great, and it’ll be done really well. But, as an epileptic, I’ll stay at home and watch it in a well lit room, on my 2D TV.

  5. avatar Alex says:

    I like this story better than some of the other coverage suggesting the whole season was going to air in 3-D. If it’s just a special cinema showing, that’s alright then.

  6. avatar FezMonster/Gruff says:

    Never mind the gimmicks here the Doctor can blow the b budget!

  7. avatar Bradondo says:

    I’ve been mostly underwhelmed by contemporary 3D and can pretty much take or leave it, although Dr. Who on the big screen is a nice thought. I agree with David–I’d rather have them take that money and give us more stories. It most definitely is signifigantly more expensive to shoot in or convert to 3D. I guess it’s alright for a one-off special, but frankly most 3D doesn’t really add much to the viewing experience anyway and tends to darken the image. But who knows? I’ll try to keep an open mind and hope that the use of the technique is more on the artistic, integrative end of the spectrum–more like “Hugo” and less like “Tron: Legacy!”

  8. avatar Gavin Noble says:

    I think 3D in cinema is a lot less enjoyable than at home. I only bought a 3D TV because at the time it was on offer and cheaper than a normal TV. I think it was a good buy in the end because I’ve seen stuff at home that I’ve enjoyed more than at the cinema in 3D. I think it could be because at home you can see the whole screen easier in terms of being able to focus on the entire image than at the cinema.

    There are some things that I have seen in 3D that have been rubbish when viewed in 2D. Films such as Avatar and Hugo have to be viewed in 3D to get the max out of them. I think some people still think 3D has to be objects flying out at you and they are disappointed when that doesn’t happen but really modern 3D is not about that.

    Having said that I’m not keen on seeing Who on the cinema screen in 3D – partly because I don’t want to have to part with money to watch something that I’ve already paid for via my TV licence fee. However, so long as they show it on TV in the same format then I’m more than happy to see the show in 3D. It can’t be any worse than Dimensions in Time!

  9. avatar John Shandler says:

    So, just one special then? Do we really want, or need, 3D? A proper episode count and multiple specials would be better. I’m non-plussed by this news.

  10. avatar Lozzer says:

    Just give us a 90 minute special that doesn’t suck!

  11. avatar Andrew says:

    I sincerely hope for Steven Moffat’s sake that it is worth it and the 50th anniversary is a glorious celebration as promised. For all that he’s done for Doctor Who over the last 8 years, it would be shame. How much is this costing? As much as a whole series I bet. Also paying to watch something my TV licence is supposed to fund is a bit wrong. I shall reserve judgment but so far 2013 isn’t filling me with joy right now.

  12. avatar Drew says:

    Take the 3-D money and use it instead to bring back as many people as possible from the classic series! (Although…Clara Oswin Oswald in 3-D…)

  13. avatar Shan says:

    What cinemas is it going to be shown in?

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