Doctor Who movie still not happening, despite Sony emails (Wired UK)


Doctor Who
Doctor Who

Nope, still no chance of a movie for this pair.

© BBC


Towards the end of 2014, Sony suffered devastating hack, which revealed some of its most closely guarded corporate secrets (and illuminated a fair few PR blunders). Now, the entertainment giant is facing another wave of revelations and embarrassments as Wikileaks has archived the entirety of those hacks and made them searchable online.

However, of particular interest to the UK is the discovery that, hidden in among the volumes of corporate intrigue, Sony had been strongly pursuing development of a Doctor Who movie with the BBC.

It’s not hard to see why the studio would be interested — the series has become a huge hit in the US since it returned to broadcast in 2005, and stands as one of the UK’s most successful cultural exports. We hate to break Whovians hearts — again — but while interest from a major studio might stoke fandom’s fires at the prospect of seeing the beloved Time Lord on cinema screens, there’s actually very little chance of it ever happening.

Shortlist reports that Sony CEO Michael Lynton was trying to arrange meetings with Doctor Who’s producers at least as far back as January 2014. Unfortunately, with the UK team busy putting together “an 8 year timeline for the brand” and preparing for Peter Capaldi’s debut as the Twelfth Doctor, they were unwilling to even broach the topic.

However, Sony’s plans may have been jumping the sonic screwdriver. Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has repeatedly shot down the likelihood of there ever being a movie version of the Time Lord, most recently telling Entertainment Weekly, “No one has ever squared the circle on that. How do we do this? How do we do it without leaching from the television series — which we’re not allowed to do, because Doctor Who is public funded?”

The nature of the BBC’s public funding model — the licence fee — limits its commercial activities, which a big screen outing for Doctor Who would most certainly be. Special cinema screenings of key episodes, such as the 50th anniversary special, are an exception as they aren’t sold and distributed as a major motion picture would be.

Moffat highlighted other problems with bringing the Doctor to the silver screen, adding “If it’s going to be a different Doctor, are we going to try and sell two Doctors at the same time? I know there’s been loads of Doctors, but there’s only been one at a time. You don’t have a James Bond on television and one in the cinema. If he’s the same guy, then when are we going to make that?”

Much of the Sony conversation seemed to involve BBC Worldwide, which operates as the BBC’s commercial arm. Officially a separate business to the publicly funded broadcaster, it has no actual control over production, though it can make requests and recommendations to the parent body. BBC Worldwide’s Danny Cohen had told Sony’s president of international production, Andrea Wong, that while Sony’s interest was appreciated and “the movie conversation” had been had with the show creators, Moffat and co. were getting “hot under the collar” that their position — that of being effectively forbidden to exploit the show in that manner in the first place — was being ignored.

So don’t get too excited. Legal obstacles and a creative reluctance to even make a Doctor Who movie in the first place means it’s incredibly unlikely anything will come from this particular round of correspondence.

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17 April 2015 | 2:01 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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