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Published on December 16th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Will Doctor Who Return To The Big Screen?

Could Doctor Who be heading back to cinema screens sometime soon?

At last week’s BFI celebration of the Eleventh Doctor era, showrunner, Steven Moffat said:

We’ve noticed [The Day of the Doctor] did well [in cinemas]. It’s great to see [Doctor Who] up on the big screen. Television just handed cinema its own arse.

So is this a hint that the TARDIS might be seen on the big screen again? There are certainly a few individuals (we call ‘em ‘fans’) who would want the show to be in Odeon and Vue complexes nationwide, and after the 50th anniversary special reportedly took over £1.7 million in more than 1,500 cinemas (not to mention further screenings throughout the world), BBC Worldwide should definitely be looking into expanding into that medium!

The Day of the Doctor starred Matt Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt as the Doctor (ish), Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, and Billie Piper as the Bad Wolf… Oh, and some Daleks, Zygons, Queen Elizabeth I, and the UNified Intelligence Taskforce. But you know all that already, right? The Huffington Post’s Jody Thompson said:

The ultimately genius thing about seeing it at the cinema though was that all this was a shared experience of the kind I’ve never had before in all my years of watching Doctor Who.

Everyone there understood and loved the show and felt privileged to be there (no mums tutting and rolling their eyes at your love of it), which you never really get when going to see just a film. The atmosphere in there was incredible and the assembled mass got every single script nuance with much oohs, ahhs, chuckles and spontaneous clapping.

In fact, the only thing missing was Tom Baker offering Matt Smith a jelly baby before he shuffled out of the gallery.

So, can you see Doctor Who returning to cinemas? The smart money must be on yes!

(Via CultBox)


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

23 Responses to Will Doctor Who Return To The Big Screen?

  1. avatar Michael says:

    A big budget film would bring an end to the tv series. I don’t want that to happen. A film every 3 years is not how I want Dr Who to go.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      Completely agree.

    • avatar David M. says:

      The article didn’t say “Make a big budget film”, the words were “Doctor Who on the Big Screen”. I think the suggestion was would you like to see more episodes shown at cinemas as “Day of the Doctor” was.
      The quotes even highlights that Day of the Doctor was such a success BECAUSE it WASN’T a big budget film, but was based entirely upon the loyalty of the television episode viewers (and that it was part of, not apart from, the TV series).

      Repeating the experiment, to my mind, would require it to remain part of the ongoing story produced by the BBC. Unless they do an “8th Doctor Adventures” cinema series of course ;) (perhaps filmed by Big Finish collaborating with BBC? THAT would be fantastic! ;) Audio drama company and TV broadcaster taking on the might of Hollywood blockbusters! (and winning of course)) :p

  2. avatar Christine says:

    I think that the point is exactly what was put forward. It was such a success precisely because it wasn’t a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I would love one of those. But it’ s not necessary to be considered a success. I would rather see successful stories and/or episodes than a film. I really would just see Doctor Who as a success, not any derived movie!

  3. avatar David M. says:

    I would love to see the occasional season finale, or significant special episodes at the Cinema filled with fans (especially if the BBC can pull off that beautiful 3D filming again, I’ve watched big budget films that don’t seem to have managed it quite so well. Plus it discourages over-reliance on superfluous CGI, helps keep it real). But I don’t think it should be a “given”, nor should it be a big-budget Hollywood production, keep it BBC TV production.

  4. avatar Nic Manuel says:

    I have noticed just by talking to casual fans here in the States that screening future episodes would sell tickets and is genuinely wanted. However, it would have to be for only certain episodes, such as Christmas specials. Even if I had already seen an episode, I would still attend screenings simply for the communal atmosphere of watching Doctor Who as a large group. It truly was something special and should happen again, but only if it is seldom enough to continue being special.

  5. avatar Grant says:

    I’d have no problem with them doing a simulcast/cinema screening in two years for the 10th anniversary of the new series.

  6. avatar BOJAY says:

    My only question still remains regarding the possibility of a Doctor Who movie. Why? Budget? Violence? Nudity? What can possibly be gained that we aren’t already seeing on an episode by episode basis? We have great stories. We are seeing better and better production values. So, why? I think TDOTD proved our show is already both cinematic and worthy of the cinema experience. I think this question is a lingering remnant of the Wilderness Years. We have the show back better than ever before, so why? The production team is getting to make the show they want to make. Do we want some outside financing to come in and give it the “American Hollywood” treatment and screw it all up?

  7. avatar lozzer says:

    As long as it’s still screened on TV as I really do not enjoy the cinema experience – People playing with smart phones, noisy popcorn – no thanks, I’d rather sit in my warm cosy home with my wife and a glass (bottle) of wine. Bah Humbug!

  8. avatar Geoff says:

    I agree with everything everyone has said! No one wants a blockbuster film every three years, loaded with compromise and dninishing returns each time, everyone wants to occasionally have a collective cinema Doctor Who experience but when it’s associated with something special. Like Lozzer I agree sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy it at home with some choice refreshments! I think Mr Moffat was suggesting more in the same model we’ve seen this year so everyone should be happy. He’s right about TV handing cinema it’s arse too. So much good drama is getting produced for TV these days instead of film because there’s more time to expand the characters and story over weeks and even years, plus film have to appeal to a broader audience to make money which ultimately means what you see has been guided by accountants and focus groups. I don’t want that, I want a persons vision. HBO (and of course our BBC) don’t even have to keep advertisers happy so they produce what the audience want. I’m happy to go out to the cinema to see Doctor Who but I want the model to remain the same.

  9. avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

    I think the shared experience angle is absolutely valid and something that’s been driving our screenings of Who, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad for years now at the Lass. Of course, as I’m leaving the Lass in January I’ll be needing to find new homes for these treats in Manchester but I will, because the demand is there!

  10. avatar Mark P says:

    Part of the success of the cinema showing of TDOTD was that it was a one-off opportunity to see it both on the big screen and in 3D for those without 3D at home.

    To get bums on seats for repeated cinema screenings when also ‘free’ on tv at the same time may not be so easy as tv, DVD/blu-ray, streaming and gaming at home have dominated cinema for a while with driving to the cinema, parking, ticket prices, snack/drink prices, distracting light from people using their phones etc…

    Now a cinema screening is often seen as a promotion for other later revenue streams post-cinema screening.

  11. avatar Chris says:

    David M. I think you have it spot on there. The 8th Doctor really seems to have alot more wiggle room with what he can and can’t do. He is stuck between the classic and new series really and you could have him do a lo more things than the others. If there was a big-screen that could be both somewhat separate and canon at the same time, the 8th would be perfect.

  12. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Moffat’s scripts are a bit wonky, perhaps a new writer for the Big Screen could write a proper one that makes sense all through and doesn’t have all that salacious innuendo and bonkers River Song rubbish.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      I’m no fan of River Song either Howard but to balance things I must point out that wonkiness and salacious innuendo are the foundations of British culture!

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Which would be fine,, if the production team were making seaside postcards or Carry On films…

    • Yeh, you’re right. The Day of the Doctor was awash with salacious innuendo and River Song, wasn’t it? You could hardly move for it! Drowning in salacious innuendo, I was.


      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        Sorry, what’re you saying about that infamous Time Lord, Salacious Innuendo?

  13. avatar TonyS says:

    Mr Moff’s precedents (chiefly Coupling) suggest a salaciousness that befits a teenage schoolboy. This has on occasion found it’s way into the programme (Vastra and Jenny in A Good Man Goes To War etc). Okay this approach was more muted (but nonetheless still present) in The Day of the Doctor. But it is not an unwarranted accusation to level at Mr Moff that he is salacious and overuses innuendo.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      The thing is, I’m not sure many people notice. I don’t really notice until I reevaluate eps. The casual viewers probably wouldn’t notice, and I’m pretty sure those who do don’t realise it’s intentional.

  14. avatar Geoff says:

    Its fine in the right measures. I think Doctor Who is funny in the right places and serious when it needs to be. It’s not serious sci fi (e.g almost all of the Star Trek franchise except the original run) thank God. It’s like when people complain about the “timely wimey” line as if a show about a 1000 year old man, sometimes with a robot dog travelling around time and space in a police box really should take itself more seriously! That Doctor Who doesn’t take itself too seriously is the joy that sets it apart. I love the silly bits, the quirkiness, give me Priate Planet over Resurrection of the Dakeks any day.
    Coupling however….urrrgh!

  15. avatar kurahikari says:

    I wouldn’t mind having Doctor Who movies, but only on special occasions. Maybe for times, like this coming Christmas special, when we transition from one Doctor to another. Let the Doctor go out with a bang and introduce his replacement. That would, with any luck, be only every few years. That’s enough for me.

  16. I loved The Day of the Doctor, and the shared experience was brilliant. BUT this was all about a special anniversary – I wouldn’t like it to become commonplace or (horror of horrors) to have the tv show replaced by a film once every few years – that would kill it, I think. Dr Who is about hiding behind sofas for the little ones – you just can’t do that in a cinema (not without annoying the people in the back row, anyway).

    It’s lovely for anniversaries, and if there was a way to have a TV series AND the odd film then I wouldn’t mind that, but TV is the true home of the Doctor as far as I’m concerned.

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