The news that behind the scenes divisions at the BBC are seemingly delaying the potential development of a Doctor Who feature film, revealed in a series of leaked emails, has got fans talking about a big-screen adaptation of their favourite show. Would it be a success? Would it detract from the series?
Would Roberta Tovey be in it?
The route from television show to cinema release is, of course, a tricky one to negotiate. Get it right and you’ve got a big hit on your hands, securing a string of sequels and generating renewed interest among the paying public (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible). Get it wrong and you’ll risk opprobrium from critics and fans alike (The Avengers, Lost In Space).
But one thing’s for sure; if and when a Doctor Who film does get the green light it’s going to need a script, and with over fifty years of history there’s a wealth of material to choose from. Join us as we present the (not entirely serious) Kasterborous guide to Doctor Who stories that could have been (or could still be) amazing movies!
Epic in scope and rich in cinematic potential, is there a better candidate from the black and white era than the story that saw out the 1960s, along with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor and his companions? All those different time periods clashing would be a production designer’s dream and would surely help secure all-important co-production funding from producers across the globe (American Civil War, Roman legions… you get the idea). The movies do love an origin story, and here we got a typically quirky Doctor Who take on it, coming at the very end of a ten part epic, six years in to the series . Peter Jackson has made no secret of his desire to direct Doctor Who and I reckon he’d be an ideal fit for this one – just don’t go upsetting us by squeezing out one too many movies from the material, eh Peter?
Okay, there’s something to be said for heading straight for the classics when looking for planning a Doctor Who movie, but why not try another approach? Pyramids, Androzani and Blink are just fine as they are, so how about opting for one of the, ahem, less universally lauded stories? This truly bonkers tale from the mid-Pertwee era boasts a wealth of cinematic imagery with its Atlantean setting, mythic creatures and bloke flapping his arms about pretending to be a bird. And there’s something about the Third Doctor and the Master facing off against each other that just demands to be seen on the big screen. Hell, they could even get dear old Dave Prowse back for one last hurrah, crashing around the set as the Minotaur… Come Kronos, come!!!
I’m contradicting my own argument here (these are my principles – if you don’t like them I do have others…) but there’s surely a reason why this early Tom Baker tale is the most-repeated Doctor Who story of all time, at least in the days before BBC3…. Because it’s so wonderful, that’s why. Davros provided arguably the most memorable Doctor Who villain of all (I’m thinking Kevin Spacey for the movie) and the central plot of a morally-conflicted Doctor having to go back in time to avert the creation of his most deadly foes is the kind of arresting, says-it-all-in-one-sentence plots that studio executives love. On top of all that you’ve got the Kaleds as thinly disguised Nazis, and Nazis on the big screen have been a winner far more often than they’ve been a flop.
The Five Doctors
Aside from the Daleks, the element you can guarantee that a key element studio bosses would want to see in a Doctor Who film is a multi-Doctor story. In this age of Avengers and Justice League-style team-ups it’s virtually a prerequisite, so let’s consider how to make it happen. It looks like a movie is still a few years away, so perhaps by the time it happens we’ll be on our fifth full-time Doctor since the series returned? Send for Terrance Dicks! Yes, his anniversary classic from 1983 is surely ripe for re-invention, especially with all those great action set-pieces: Cybermen being massacred, the Doctor risking life and limb to zip-wire across to the Tomb of Rassilon, Sarah-Jane plunging down that hazardous ravine… Add in that old movie stand-by of characters who don’t get on being forced to co-operate in the interests of the greater good and this one’s a sure fire hit.
We’ve all accepted by now that Russell T Davies, late of this parish, isn’t coming back to the TV series. He’s said it often enough so let’s allow him to move on. Except… the one thing that Russell has hinted might just lure him back is if he got the chance to oversee a big-screen version of Doctor Who… and personally I reckon he’d kill to be given a chance to have another crack at this early effort from the revived series, made as it was when everyone was finding their way. Just think what you could do, knowing what you know now Russell: make the Slitheen truly threatening and scary, sort out the dodgy costumes and CGI, tone down some of the more comedic performances, re-do that shot of Big Ben so it’s the right way around and you’ve got a perfectly good alien invasion plot with some good twists along the way. And it’s got a space pig in it!
That’s what we think, but what about you? Which stories would you want to see given the big-screen treatment? Tell us below!
(Inspired by 10 Doctor Who Episodes That Would’ve Made A Great Movie.)