Doctor Who to Become Feature Franchise With Harry Potter Director David Yates


Internet, please react: A highbrow cult phenomenon is being ramped up for mainstream audiences. This is your time to shine! According to Variety, Harry Potter director David Yates is teaming with the BBC Worldwide to turn Doctor Who, the monumental British science-fiction series, into a big screen franchise. Said Yates of the new project, "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." Excited yet? Or nervous in that Absolutely Fabulous-never-ended-up-happening way?

In case you didn't gather it from that quote, Yates' version of Doctor Who will be something of a departure from the television series. He continued, "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... We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too."

I dig the Transatlantic hiring idea, and if I trust anyone to modify a smart sci-fi series into an object of mass consumption, it's the man who helmed the last four Harry Potter films. On the other hand, I'm not a Doctor Who devotee, and if one of my cherished cult hits -- say, Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- was rejiggered for less-than-obsessed viewers with Jeff Dunham and a couple of his dummies, maybe I wouldn't be so keen on it. Is Doctor Who ripe for democratization? Or is it best (and only functional) in its earlier forms?

Yates to direct bigscreen 'Doctor Who' [Variety]


  • I truly don't think Doctor Who is suited to the big screen. It's so TV. And it's veddy, veddy British, in a way I don't think even Harry Potter is. I mean, it's not impossible, but the chances of this being any good are about as good as a Dalek getting up a flight of stairs.
    Also, you're a MSTie, Louis? Oh, if only I lived in LA! We could cuddle on the couch and watch Manos and Mr. B Natural!

  • Usherette says:

    These freakin' nerds, one of which I am, are so frightened of change. They're STILL angry about the Doctor kissing girls. Get. A. Life. This will be cool. Like bowties.

  • Liza F says:

    Daleks can fly now.

  • Andrew says:

    I -am- a Doctor Who devotee. And this is a bad idea. Peter Cushing as a human time travelling doctor bad idea. Paul WS Anderson directing with Lawrence Fishburne as an American Doctor bad idea.
    Russell T Davies was smart enough to realize that trying to separate Who from the original series was a bad idea.
    And for all the talk of "rebooting" Moffat pays even more homage to Old Who than RTD did.
    But Louis, a sincere thank you for not writing "Dr. Who." Devin Faraci did that through his whole article (I think on purpose) and it just about gave me a nerd aneurysm.

  • Meh... says:


  • Bob says:

    Everyone has to change everything just for the sake of change. Why? Doctor Who worked for so many years on BBC, took a break for 20 years, then came back as a modern version of Doctor Who, not a brand new, completely re-done version. And everyone loves it. So why do you have to reimagine it for 'the big screen'? It either works as it is, and you'll make a great movie, or it doesn't and you decide not to make a movie. Anyone wonder why a show that started in 1963, as popular as it is in the UK, and somewhat lesser in the US, has never been brought to the 'big screen'? Exactly.

  • meme says:

    Wasn't the Paul Mcgann feature at the cinema then??
    I don't mind a big screen outing, but it can still stay in line with the TV cant it??

  • Isabella says:

    Look, I don't mind a Doctor Who movie. Everyone of the series episodes are just like a movie or at least it feels like it. For David Yates to take Doctor Who and turn it into a movie is just profitable. I bet it would be the same length as a christmas special except we have to pay $12 to watch it, instead of being able to enjoy from our televisions for free. David Yates, he is just such a bad director. He was mediocre at best with his Harry Potter films. And to compliment Steve Kloves, a person who practical ruin the canons in Harry Potter, saying that you want other just like him. Please, just don't. Don't make this into what you want, but what the fans and loyal Doctor Who devotees want.

  • The Cantankerist says:

    To hell with that. Where's the Inspector Spacetime movie?

  • The Cantankerist says:

    Doctor Who's got some great elements - the dimension-defying Tardis, the rogue agent in space, that theme music - but one of the best ideas is the regeneration one, and that's a TV idea.
    To explain: The Doctor is actually an alien, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. Time Lords have the ability to regenerate their bodies when the old one becomes too damaged. This nifty idea - one of the few times I can think of where a cast change is actually *written into the plot* - means that the show gets a fresh boost (and often something of a reimagining) every few years, as the lead character changes appearance and behaviour and everyone has to deal with that. If you were wondering how a live-action show has managed to run 50 years, there's your answer. For long-term fans of the show, the answer to the question "Who's the best Doctor?" reveals a great deal about your taste in entertainment generally. (It's been proposed that James Bond is a Time Lord - we just haven't seen him regenerating yet.) That's why there's extra buzz/gnashing about who plays him in the film.
    But regeneration would suck in a film. You don't get long enough with the old Doctor for the concept to work. So you kinda have to toss that bit overboard.