As the internet goes into meltdown, sfx.co.uk’s editor suggests something radical… maybe we should all just wait and see?
So. Doctor Who movie, eh? Maybe. Maybe not. There’s a long way to go before cameras could even start rolling, and a lot can happen to scupper plans before then (as anyone who remembers the Tom Baker Scratchman project, or Paul WS Anderson’s attempts at a Who movie, or – shudder – “The Dark Dimension” will recall).
But as the internet goes into a meltdown that makes the pre-release controversy over JJ Abrams’s Trek reboot look feeble in comparison, and sources at the BBC and Doctor Who magazine issue statements that we shouldn’t get too excited, let’s take a step back and look at what the story actually is. As of this moment. Going on all the evidence we have at our disposal. And assuming nobody issues any more statements before I’ve finished writing this (which is a possibility).
A major movie director, David ( Harry Potter ) Yates, has expressed an interest in developing a Doctor Who movie, which hasn’t been written yet (which hasn’t even had any writers assigned yet) and probably won’t tie in to TV continuity if it does happen.
Well, BBC Doctor Who brand licence controller Edward Russell tweeted, “Off Twitter for a few hours and the Doctor Who world explodes. There’s always talk of a movie. Perhaps? Maybe one day. But not right now!”
Which doesn’t exactly dispute anything Yates said in his statement to Variety, to be honest. Then Doctor Who Magazine tweeted:
“To those hearing Doctor Who movie rumours, it's just the same rumours which have been going round for years. Nothing’s currently happening!”
Well, sure, nothing is currently happening. But, DWM , no, it's not “the same rumours which have been going round for years”. This is a David Yates, the director of four of the biggest movies of all time, saying he’s interested in making a Doctor Who movie. That’s definitely not “the same”. Admittedly, it’s unclear whether he’s actually bought the rights, or is even in discussion about acquiring the rights, or has even phoned the BBC to say, “Let’s do lunch”, but the sheer fact that THE DIRECTOR OF FOUR HARRY POTTER MOVIES is talking about wanting to make a Doctor Who movie is significantly more than “the same rumours”. It’s news. Big news. Whether you like the idea or not.
Maybe to the BBC it is no big deal, because presumably over the last few years, since Doctor Who returned and became a bona fide cultural phenomenon, they’ve been dealing with a long list of potential directors (and we’d assume a lot of directors and production companies would have been expressing an interest). But it seems unlikely that a director of Yates’s calibre would announce something like this to the world’s leading entertainment industry magazine unless he had something more than a pipe dream to go on. Believe me, I’ve met the guy. He’s very unassuming, and not the kind of media player who would do something like this for tactical reasons. It’s more likely he’s just jumped the gun massively.
Yeah, I’m bordering on a no-smoke-without-fire argument, but I’m certainly not accusing the BBC of hiding anything – I don’t believe they are. Neither am I suggesting that Yates is any nearer making a Who movie than Tom Baker was, or Paul WS Anderson was. But it is a big story. Hell, we should be proud that a director of such clout as Yates would even think about making a Doctor Who movie, let alone announce his plans (pie-in-the-sky or otherwise). It shows how important the series has become.
At the moment, until further statements are issued, all we really know is that Yates would like to make it. We don’t even know if he’s currently allowed to. But with even the BBC news reporting the announcement, you can bet someone in BBC publicity is trying to work out what the next step should be. Because ignoring it and hoping it goes away may not work.
And David Yates? Boy, is he going to get fed up with answering questions about Doctor Who over the next few weeks. That, rather than internet petitions, is more likely to make him abandon the project…