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TV writer quells rumours of Doctor Who movie

Moffatt says no film yet ... but if there was one, it'd be British

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TV writer Steven Moffat has dismissed rumours of a Doctor Who movie coming soon, despite comments from director David Yates, supposedly in the driving seat for the adaptation.

MTV News quizzed Yates, director of four Harry Potter films, on the red carpet last night about Doctor Who's silver screen incarnation, which he had previously mentioned in an interview with Variety.

Yates had told Variety that he was developing the movie with Jane Tranter, head of BBC Worldwide Productions, and that they were currently looking for writers.

More controversially, he said the movie would not follow on from current TV series, starring Matt Smith, and posited the possibility of American or British writers on the project.

The news caused many diehard Doctor Who fans to fear a total Hollywood facelift for the good doctor, complete with bad English accents and American ideologies instead of quintessential Britishness of the TV version.

On the red carpet for last night’s BAFTA Los Angeles 2011 Britannia Awards, Yates said once again that the project was only now looking for writers and the movie was "a long way off".

However, Steven Moffat, current head writer of the TV show, said in an emailed statement to The Register that Yates "was talking off the cuff and a little prematurely".

"There simply are no developed plans for a Doctor Who movie at the moment," he started off – but he wasn't quite willing to let the idea die entirely.

"It's an incredibly exciting idea to get that magic blue box flying across our cinema screens, so stand by for further developments," he added.

However, he did fully pooh-pooh the idea that a Doctor Who movie would be a Hollywood reboot.

"If, and when, the movie happens it will need to star television's Doctor Who – and there's only ever one of those at a time," he said. "And it would need to come out of the same production operation that makes the series.

"Doctor Who is a vitally important BBC brand with a huge international audience and not even Hollywood can start this one from scratch. So sorry if there's been any confusion, but on the plus side it has reminded us all what an exciting prospect this could be.

"Whatever happens, the BBC and BBC Worldwide will work together to ensure that we don't just get a movie, we get the movie that everyone wants," he added.

Clearly these boys need to get together and sort out their stories – as much as a bad version of the movie would be terrible, so would no movie at all after getting the fans all psyched up for one.

On the other hand, Moffat's final comment would lead those of a suspicious bent of mind to conclude that he and Yates are very deftly stirring up interest in a movie early on in its genesis.

"Keep asking me about it – maybe I'll surprise you with an answer!" he signed off. ®

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