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Harry Potter Director David Yates to Helm Doctor Who Movie

Harry Potter director David Yates is working with the BBC to bring Doctor Who to the big screen for the first time in more than four decades, Variety reports. The film is being targeted for release in 2013 or 2014.

“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” Yates, who helmed the last four Potter films, told the trade paper. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

The feature won’t follow the current incarnation of the series, which stars Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, and Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as his human companions.

“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,” Yates said.

The longest-running science fiction show in the world, the adventures of the benevolent, regenerating alien who travels through time and space in a blue police box aired from 1963 to 1989, then lay dormant until it was revived in in 2005 by Davies. Two feature films, both retellings of television stories, were released in 1965 and 1966. Subsequent attempts to develop a Doctor Who feature were unsuccessful, although a television movie aired in 1996.

Yates will develop the film with Jane Tranter, BBC Worldwide’s executive vice president of programming and production, with whom he’s worked on such series as State of Play and The Way We Live Now. Tranter also oversaw the 2005 revival of Doctor Who.


  • Jkeys7

    One of the great things about Doctor Who is it’s continuity. The show has been effectively “rebooted” multiple times through the Doctor’s regenreations, but has alway been the same Doctor, and able to draw on the vast and wonderful continuity of the series (1995 movie included). I love Doctor Who, and would love to see it on the big screen, but I’m not sure how I feel about having a completely seperate Doctor in the theaters, especially if the current Doctor (or a future incarnation of him) is still on TV at the time.

    I know they did this with Peter Cushing back in the day, and I suppose it worked, but now it would just feel wierd. It would be like having Abram’s “Star Trek” film come out while “The Next Generation” was still on the air. Picard and crew might refer back to Kirk’s Enterprise, but they’re talking about a different Kirk and a different Enterprise than what you just saw in the theater?! Huh?

    Maybe I’m just continuity snob, and this movie will be great. Nonetheless, Matt Smith is a great actor, and they’d be doing themselves a favor by just having him do it anyway. Oh well, I’ll probably go see the movie either way, so I guess they’ve still got my money. ;)

  • G123

    If it’s not connected to the tv show, why should I care?

  • Lauren

    Shia LaBeouf, Zac Efron, Anton Yelchin, Ed
    Westwick, Penn Badgley, Adam Brody, Chace Crawford or Emile Hirsch
    as the Doctor

  • Cory

    No one much cared about the Peter Cushing movie. TV-to-movie transitions very rarely work; and then to remove the film from its televised roots? I understand wanting to do a stand-alone treatment, but doing it with Dr Who is such a challenge I wonder if it’s worth trying.

  • Muddblud911

    As an American living in the Uk and as watched the new series from the start… This “movie” idea sounds INSANE!!! Matt’s a great doctor with 2 years of continuity. Don’t need magic blue box to see this outcome Epic Fail

  • Dave

    Terrible idea, and BBC milking the franchise unmercifully. Given that the series is still in its infancy (compared to the original run) on TV, all this will do is confuse the fanbase. Alot of Who viewers are the Saturday night casuals, not the sci fi hardcore and it’s doubtful they’ll follow this to the cinema, especially if their current doctor isn’t in it.

  • Dahauk

    I don’t like the sound of this, not one bit..

  • DrNick201

    Sigh! I was exited until I read it was going to be without Matt Smith and then even more dissapointed when it wouldn’t even be about the show. I fear an exit for Smith and co in about a year…

  • David Fullam

    If they don’t get this right, I will burn Hollywood down.

  • Jase

    Just seems like a terrible idea. I just don’t see how they’ll be able to capture the appeal of the TV series.

  • Mythos

    That’s one reboot I can, and want to, live without. And I’ve generally loved reboots – Casino Royale, Batman Begins… they’ve done wonders to their respective franchises.

    But Doctor Who? No. It thrives on its continuity.

  • Fey

    What is WRONG WITH YOU?! Those are HORRIBLE ideas

  • Unforgiven_mirror

    They’re idiots if they don’t let Moffat write the script. He’s the show runner of the show, Sherlock and he wrote a script for Steven bloody Spielberg. Why would you choose anyone else?

    They’re also idiots for not including Matt Smith.

  • Patrick Imbeau

    ““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,” Yates said.”

    Yeaaaah… the guy does NOT understand Doctor Who. It is about the continuity. It is about the mystique of the long history, about the expanse of the universe it enhabits. Not just about a mad man in a blue box. This sounds dreadful.

  • Myxlplyx

    I’d love to see Craig Ferguson as the Doctor.  He could bring some Tom Baker style zaniness to the role.  I’ve personally thought he would be great as the Doctor for a while but was holding out for him as the Doctor in a rebooted TV continuity after the 13th Doctor.

  • Myxlplyx

    I’d also like to see Gaiman take a shot at a script maybe?  The Doctor’s Wife was imo by far the best episode of last season or likely the entirety of the 2005 series.

  • Xaos

    I had read that there was a fair bit of tension between the BBC and the Moffat-run production of Who (to the extent that they announced season 7 early to quell fears that the show would be canned). If correct, could this be an effort to see if they can have success with the franchise without Moffat?

  • Tsubasakissu

    As long as the Americans dont touch this film (like with the DW Fox movie and TORCHWOOD), this cant turn out horribly. Just… No America, please.

  • Tony Midyett

    Why does it have to be unconnected to the TV series, other than to alienate the faithful?  Hollywood (say it with me!) Just Doesn’t Get It!!!

  • UberWhovian


    He is utterly brilliant.  Anything else is just silly.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Myxlplyx

    As an American, I agree wholeheartedly with us keeping our nose out of it.  Doctor Who is a quinticentially British proposition and is best served by staying that way.

    I still say Craig Ferguson for the win though.

  • Man from OZ

    I would love to see a Doctor who movie but not a reboot….There is a big continuity gap they could fill by getting Eccleston back and doing a time war movie….not going to happen ut it is something better then they have planned.

  • joiseymike

    Have it be the 12th or 13th Doctor, fine, but scrapping all that canon and starting over? Insanity. Maybe business-wise this is part of a plan to introduce the Doctor to an unfamiliar audience, but my expectations are already in the gutter. They’ll probably give him a first name.

    “He’s the Doctor.”
    “But what’s his name?”

  • Doctor Who fan

    “The longest-running science fiction show in the world, the adventures of
    the benevolent, regenerating alien who travels through time and space
    in a blue police box aired from 1963 to 1989, then lay dormant until it
    was revived in in 2005 by Davies.”

    Poor reporting. I lived in London and my current Brit friends agree. It was not dormant. The BBC permantently cancelled it without admitting it due to it’s popularity, then changed their minds in 2005. Get your facts straight, Kevin.

  • Anonymous

    When I first heard this news, I was like “huh?” But on reflection, I think it may be a good thing for the long-term health of the series.
    I wrote a bit about it here:

  • Satheian

    He has a first name, but to my knowledge only one other character knows what it is.

  • TimB

    Get your grubby hands off Dr Who!
    Worst idea for a long time. If you get rid of the current Doctor and companions, you’ll be on the losing end.

  • thesnappysneezer

    I hope this fails and horrible rotten things befall everyone involved with this travesy.

  • Beast

    The Peter Cushing films were excellent. So I say bring them on. I’m a big fan of current Who, but I have no objection to a separate continuity film series. The Peter Cushing films also did a lot for making the Dalaaks interesting baddies. A lot of stuff which was even carried over into the TV series.

  • thesnappysneezer

    like lava lamps on their ships?

  • Anonymous

    I concur. She might as well have said Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner.

    Simon Pegg would be real hoot.

  • Jennie

    Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Doctor! *fingers crossed*

  • Poison Glass

    From this comment, I’m going to assume you hate Doctor Who and want each and every last fan to suffer unendingly.

  • Unforgiven_mirror

    Theres no need to introduce the Doctor to a new audience anyway. He’s the Doctor, he runs into the room with a monster chasing him, rambles on about something impomprehensible and then you follow him wherever he goes. He doesn’t explain who he is, he’s just the Doctor and thats all you need to know.

  • Zor-El of Argo

    I would like to see the movies do “untold stories” from the Christopher Eccelson run… with Billie Piper!

  • Mona Schamess

    That’s a TERRIBLE idea!! Half of those people aren’t even British! Zac Effron does NOT have what it takes to be the Doctor.

  • Zor-El of Argo

    Most of those names I don’t recognize. I do know the name Zac Effron and agree that he would be a lousy choice.

    However, the Doctor does not necessarily have to be played BY a Brit, just AS a Brit. If Henry Cavill can be Superman then an American actor can play Doctor Who.

    David Duchuvney comes to mind…

  • Lin

    uhhhh no never in a million years!!!! That’s just a disgrace to Doctor Who -_-