A timeline of Doctor Who movie rumours

Doctor Who on the big screen…

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1990s

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Rumours fly of a Hollywood film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring David Hasselhoff and featuring a talking Tardis. Yes, that’s right. A Talking Tardis. We’re not joking. It sounds horrific.

Fortunately that rumour never appeared to be true and a made-for-television movie debuted instead, starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, in 1996. Whovians then focused on the possible development of the television series, which brings us to…

2007

MediaGuardian claim that Jane Tranter, the BBC controller of fiction at the time, has “left the way open for a movie version of Doctor Who”. In an interview with the paper, Tranter revealed that the BBC films department’s move would allow them to work with other departments of the BBC, and did not rule out a film version of Doctor Who taking place in the near future.

2008

Steven Moffat, who at the time had just been announced as Russell T Davies’s replacement as lead writer of the show, revealed during the Edinburgh International TV Festival that a possible film would be “good to see in the cinema”. The Telegraph claimed that he had links to Steven Spielberg and would love him to be involved in the project.

Meanwhile, Jane Tranter continued to fuel rumours by not ruling out a film in the near future, leading to speculation that David Tennant, the current Doctor at the time, might be involved in the project.

2009

BBC Films has confirmed that a “script is in development”, according to BBC News. However, according to entertainment reporter Lizo Mzimba, a film debut may still be years away.

Later that year David Tennant denies any personal involvement, telling the Radio Times that he does not reckon a film will take place. He said: “I don’t think there is a Doctor Who movie… It’s not like I’m hellbent on breaking into movies but it’s a nice notion.”

2010

Probably one of the weirdest rumours that has darted around in recent years: a Doctor Who film is in the works, with Johnny Depp as the Doctor… apparently.

According to the news site Pub Articles, both Russell T Davies and Johnny Depp confirmed involvement in a future film. Davies claimed that “longtime fans will not be disappointed because, yes, the Daleks make an appearance” and, according to Johnny Depp, “The Doctor will absolutely have a serious romance.”

The likelihood that this story was actually true is dubious, however. The original article was deleted from the site for no reason, yet Twitter went mad with speculation.

2011

So here we are in 2011 and what’s changed? Well, David Yates, director of the last four Harry Potter films, told Variety magazine that he is developing a standalone Doctor Who film with Jane Tranter, head of the Los Angeles-based BBC Worldwide Productions.  This is the same Jane Tranter who has been linked to possible film rumours consistently over the last four years.

Doctor Who Magazine instantly deny that anything is taking place, claiming on Twitter that “it’s just the same rumours which have been going round for years.”  Edward Russell, senior brand executive for BBC Wales, which produces Doctor Who, also denies any developments, tweeting: “There’s always talk of a movie. Perhaps? Maybe one day.”

However, what is odd is word from BBC America, who tweeted yesterday: “A Doctor Who feature film remains in development w/ BBC Worldwide Productions in LA.”As well as this, a BBC spokesman also told MediaGuardian this morning that the project is ongoing but “…is unlikely to reach cinemas for several years and as yet there is no script, cast or production crew in place.”

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So how excited should you be about a new Doctor Who film? Well, don’t book time off work to camp outside your local Vue or Odeon just yet. All we can say is: watch this space.