David Yates to Direct DOCTOR WHO Movie

by     Posted 2 years, 161 days ago


David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, is set to helm a big-screen adaptation of the popular and long-running TV series Doctor Who.  For those unfamiliar with the series, it follows an alien known as The Doctor who goes around with a human companion on mostly episodic adventures across space and time.  The Doctor is a “Time Lord” who travels in the TARDIS (which looks like a 1960s-style London police box), and he can be incarnated in different forms (i.e. new actors) up to twelve times and TV show is currently on the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith).  However, Yates says his version will not follow the current TV series and will be a completely fresh approach.  It’s a smart move because you don’t risk angering fans of the TV series, or forcing newcomers to catch up with a show that’s been on and off and back on the air from 1963 to 1989 and rebooted in 2005.

Hit the jump for more details on the movie.

doctor-who-tardis-image-01Yates tells Variety,

“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right.  It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

This past weekend, Yates told Steve that he plans to work on a smaller movie before jumping back into blockbuster studio fare (Yates was previously attached to follow up Harry Potter with a blockbuster remake/re-adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand).  Presumably, Yates will do script-stage work on Doctor Who while he does his smaller movie.  Yates says,

“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” he said. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

Yates and producer Jane Tranter are currently looking at writers in the UK and the US even though Doctor Who has always been a British TV series.  However, the “British sensibility” won’t be lost, “but having said that,” notes Yates, “Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too.”

Yates found the material appealing because “the notion of the time-travelling Time Lord is such a strong one, because you can express story and drama in any dimension or time.”  I’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who, but Yates did an outstanding job on Harry Potter and I think Who fans should be excited to have such a talented director on the job.   But perhaps Who fans feel differently, so sound off in the comments section about Yates getting the job and what you want to see in a big-screen Doctor Who movie.


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  • Sam

    Bring back David Tennant for this!!

    • Jackie

      While I liked David Tennant, I don’t want him back!

      • MattCYND

        I’d love to see Benedict Cumberbatch as The Doctor :D

      • Anonymous

        as long as David Tennant is in it I’ll be happy.

  • AT

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. I guess it depends on what he does, who he casts, etc… I’m hoping he doesn’t revert to the idea of an asexual doctor.

    Of course I think David Tennant would be perfect to reprise the role under a completely different interpretation (even though I absolutely LOVED RTD’s show), but that may not be possible! I also would love to see more Billie Piper and David Tennant interaction because their chemistry = golden. It would be interesting to see a completely different story with a bigger budget, but with two of the same actors.

    BUT, I know that most likely won’t happen so I’m open to seeing who they cast and what story will be told. David Yates is a good choice to direct anyway.

    I guess this is a wait and see for me.

    • Chaster

      Hell no to Billie Piper! Rose was an awful companion.

      • AT

        I don’t think they’ll get her. That was more wishing, unrealistically mind you, for more Doctor and Rose with a different story. But calling her the worst companion ever in response to my own opinion is silly. Clearly Rose is a popular character amongst most fans. Besides, you have your opinion and I have mine.

    • Kym

      Why bring back Billie Piper? She is the most over rated compaion in Doctor Who history. If there going to bring back a companion from the tv series it should be ether Catherine Tate or Karen Gillan!

      • AT

        Catherine Tate would be awesome. They should bring in Rose and Donna! :) That said, for something to be overrated it means that it needs to be popular. So you might not like her, but many do.

      • Kym

        Seriously? The only good thing you can say about Rose is that she is popular? Just because she’s popular doesn’t mean she’s a good character. Hence the term overrated!

  • Tarek

    Muahahaha! best joke of the day. David Yates ? really ?

  • Elisha

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

    • Sara

      BLECHHHHHHHH Well, you’re clearly a thirteen-year-old girl. Zac Efron and Shia Labeouf? Really? that’s laughable. Go watch High School Musical.

  • Jason Lop

    They’ve done this. Twice before. Peter Kushing played Dr. Who (a character actually called Dr. Who, as opposed to The Doctor) in two non-canon films in the ’60s.

    I just don’t get why you’d want to mess with one of the few series with an extremely well-established decades-long continuity. If the 2005 “semi-reboot” can play off of everything else, so can a film.

  • Guest

    What’s the point of making a Doctor Who film if you’re not going to follow the tv-series’ continuity? The fact that it’s all one big piece of continuity, from the 1st doctor to the 11th, is part of the whole charm.

    And then the “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena” part. What are they going to do, redesign the Tardis and the Daleks?

    This all sounds like a classic case of just trying to cash in on something’s popularity without any respect for the source material if you ask me.

  • Sami

    The only way I’d want to see a Doctor Who movie is if it was David Tennant, and DID adhere to the story somewhat. We know we don’t see ALL of the Doctor’s adventures, or the series would be REALLY long(1000 years +), so it would be wise to just go back and see a new Tenth Doctor adventure, one we skipped over, but one that’s big enough for the big screen.

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  • Zane

    In my personal opinion, Yates has been awful at properly adapting the Harry Potter books and I want him to get away from the Doctor Who franchise AS FAR AS POSSIBLE.

  • Kitsune

    Bring Moffat aboard, he doesn’t have to write the whole thing alone, but he needs to be in the team at least. Moffat, Neil Gaiman and Russel T. Davies would be a great writing team. As for David Yates as the director: -.-

    • Kitsune

      …as for the idea in general:
      I’m all in as long as they succeed in making a quality product worthy the name of Doctor Who. It needs the same quality as the TV-series, the humor, action, drama, horror, absurdity and insanity.

      I kinda like the idea that it doesn’t have anything to do with the current storyline or any of the actors, but that makes it necessary to use quite a lot of time to introduce all characters, which might make this adaption end up like the last attempt. Let’s hope the writing team does a better job this time around. I’m a fan, so I’m going to watch this no matter how it turns out. It would’ve been safer to choose a place in Tennant’s timeline though, like before he parted with Rose or during the Specials Season or something. Would please the fangirls as well as making the transition into another format easier.

      As for the “WHO’S GONNA STAR” part: Brits, but not Hollywood Brits. There’s lots of young talent in Britain, so shouldn’t be too hard, although the Doctor is a really demanding character to play. Just hope they don’t make him female, the Whoniverse isn’t ready for that yet.


  • pills_26


    I know I should be forming a coherent opinion weighing out certain pros and cons about this news, but my brain still can’t handle the fact THERE WILL BE A DOCTOR WHO MOVIE!!!

  • becca


    or please please please have this movie be during the Time War and why/how it was locked!!!!!!!

  • Mark

    Without the continuity its just not Dr Who. Making an out-of-continuity film is completely pointless. It’s removing one of the major components that makes the show fun.

    • Marian Frae

      “A man is the sum of his memories, a Timelord even more so.” –The Doctor
      Take away the show’s continuity, you take away his memories. You take away his memories, you take away the man. You take away the man, you have a different character. You have John Smith LARPing his dreams.

      In other words: I agree.

  • Mark

    If they’re going to do a film, they should do one about the Eighth Doctor and the Time War and finish it with him regenerating into the Ninth Doctor. A movie to connect the original series to the new series would be something worth seeing, and with a cinematic film’s budget, it could really do justice to the Time War.

    • Jamie

      I was just thinking the exact same thing. McGann or Eccleston and the Time War or nothing. It just makes sense.

      But unfortunately the article implies a completely different (and unnecessary) direction.

  • Brian

    Oh please. Write something original, if you can manage it, and leave the Doctor alone!

  • Kathy

    My husband has been a fan since the beginning! He will be excited that there might be a movie, but…..if it has nothing to do with the Who universe, with continuity of storyline and even actors, then they seriously need to reconsider. The other two movies ignored some of the basic charm of the many series over the last 50 years! And neither was well received. The biggest audience would be current show fans. Why ignore them to make a “hollywood” rip-off? Be careful……

  • Mr.Rich316

    2-3 years???I think we’ve found Daniel Radcliff’s next franchise…Harry Potter as The Doctor. Seriously, must be written by Moffat or Davies. Might I suggest a little Martha Jones in the flick?

  • The Doctor

    Hmmm as a long term Dr Who fan I love the idea of a big screen adaptation of the series – however trying to appease American audiences or neglect 49 years of history will be its utter downfall.

    The show already has a massive following, young, old and from many countries – tamper with it too much and you risk everything ha ha

    Let’s not do a Harry Potter on this zzzzz

  • ladycatherine

    I don’t know whether anyone is actually concerned with my opinion or not, BUT …

    Make it classic! I’m not saying it has to be Old Who, just Good Who. The Christopher Eccelston years were fantastic, and the David Tennant years were brilliant. Matt Smith is good, but his seasons have lacked something. (Maybe a really clever catchphrase?)

    I <3 <3 River Song. I think it would be wonderful to hear more about her. Ditto on the Doctor's Daughter, Jenny. And the incorrigible Lauren Cooper. ;)

    And please, not Daniel Radcliffe. Alan Rickman, maybe. Laurence Fox? Or Benedict Cumberbatch :D If you can tear him away from Baker Street long enough.

    OOOOOOH. OR even BETTER YET: let Sherlock and the Doctor meet. PLEASE. Get Tennant and Cumberbatch in together, to solve the world's problems with a sonic screwdriver and a skull. Yes? Moffat and Gatiss should have a lot of fun with that! And if you need help writing it, let me know. If inconvenient, I will come anyway.

    Can't wait! :D

  • Nolan

    As much as i respect Yates and what he did with Harry Potter. This makes me nervous. and the fact that he has never seen an episode of Doctor Who makes me even more nervous. I am a Director and an working on a Doctor Who Fan Series (3 episode story arch) which keep continuity but is an alernate 11th doctor. (Look us up on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Doctor-Who-Fan-Series/247123408640308 )

    We need someone who Knows and Loves Doctor who to direct. I wish i could. I am a Film Student, and have a HUGE love for Doctor Who. I know more about the Doctor Who universe than Star Wars, and i was a huge Star Wars fan growing up. I really dont know about a Doctor Who Movie. i dont want it to be like Superman returns… this news makes me nervous.

    • Helen

      It’s not Yates who’s never seen an episode, it’s the writer of the article. He finishes quoting Yates and then says that HE has never seen an episode but thinks Who fans should be excited about having a talented director on board.

  • Andrew Falconer

    Because Yates was the Harry Potter director, they will have Daniel Radcliffe doing his version of David Tennant as the Doctor.

    It would be great if somebody would make a Doctor Who movie series that would make sense of the 8th Doctor.

  • Thomas Nilsen

    Ok it’s time for Sean Pertwee to finally step into the ring and follow in his father’s footsteps as the Doctor!

  • Sarah

    It’s completely silly to attempt a movie that’s non-canon at this point. Who’s going to go see it?

  • Ashley

    No, this is absolutely ridiculous. You want to make a movie, fine, but don’t stray off from the show, that makes absolutely NO sense. The ONLY way this would work is if the bring back on of the previous Doctors, or the current Doctor, and have it be a story we never saw in the show.

    Using a different actor gives the Doctor an extra regeneration that breaks the time span of a Time Lords life.

    This whole movie is a shit idea.

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  • Sean

    I would love to see the story of how The Doctor started! Back when he stole the TARDIS, the Time War, more of his life on Gallifrey, etc. Or maybe redo the first series (from 1963) whose episodes were lost and will never be seen again!

    • Joy

      Oooo, I like the idea of using lost eps as fodder for the big-screen treatment! It’d be a way to honor the classic series, allow fans to see an iteration of those lost stories, and yet bring Doctor Who to a whole new audience.

      I mean, as much as people hate on the Will Smith “Wild Wild West,” if it weren’t for that movie, I would never have discovered the masterpiece that was the TV series. So if making a Doctor Who movie brings new fans in to the series, I am ALL for that!

    • dan

      Sean, I like your idea! I would love to see some of the old, missing stories. Knowing more about the time-war would be cool. And on a side note… during the time-war, was e-space locked away too? I’d like to see Romana come back…

      • Ethan

        Great idea. As for Romana, she’s no longer in e-space. She escaped some time ago and became President of the High Council of the Time Lords on Gallifrey.

      • Mikaal

        As far as canon is concerned, Romana is still exploring E-Space with a K-9 unit.

  • Joy

    I LOVED what David Yates did for the Harry Potter franchise, so he’s one of the very few directors I would trust to make a big-screen treatment of Doctor Who.

    I nominate Neil Gaiman as head writer (if they have more than one writer).

    And Tom Hiddleston should play the Doctor. :-D

  • Dana


  • Guest

    NO! I’m so annoyed they’re doing this! I’m a die hard fan. Though a movie sounds appealing it will probably ruin the show even though “it wont follow the show”. I hope they don’t do it. Doctor who was made to be a show and it should stay that way.

  • Daisy Adair


    ><# Yates can take his stupid ideas and shove it.
    I for one am not interested in seeing some idiot who obviously
    doesn't give a damn about Doctor Who make a crappy movie
    and pretend it's Doctor Who.

  • Brandon

    I would love to see a Doctor Who movie and to be honest I don’t mind if the movie isn’t canon because the movie will bring new fans to the TV series.

  • Anthony Adams

    “It’s a smart move because you don’t risk angering fans of the TV series, or forcing newcomers to catch up with a show that’s been on and off and back on the air from 1963 to 1989 and rebooted in 2005.”

    That quote alone is enough to anger fans and not following the current continuity is just dumb. David Yates needs to realize that the only ones who will see a Doctor Who film are Doctor Who fans. This is just as ridiculous as doing a new Buffy movie without any of the television cast. And we all know what people thought of that idea.

    We as fans need to let the BBC know that we don’t want any feature-film version of Doctor Who that doesn’t follow continuity or doesn’t include a Doctor that fans know.

  • Sara

    There’s a 1% chance that this movie will be good. David Yates ripped Harry Potter to shreds and now he wants to do the same with The Doctor. The only way this could be good would be if he appealed to both the current fans and people who have never seen it before. The only way to do that would be to recreate the beginning of the Doctor. Still, the fact that there will be a Doctor Who movie makes me want to scream with anticipation. It has potential to be an amazing movie but will most likely disappoint. Either way, I will definitely be first in line at the box office. I’m just not patient enough to wait two years.

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  • Kas

    Why go with the series and keep going younger? Get a really good, experienced actor to get all the nuances of the Doctor right, because it really is going to be a tricky part.

  • storyidea

    A story idea, since the doctor is known to so many people, a group decides to steal his dna and merge it with their own.

    Each member gains the knowledge and power of the doctor, to a lesser degree, they then separate changing time and events in a non-sequential way heading towards a master plan.

  • Matt

    Its implied that yates thinks he can capture fans but true die hard fans are going to ignore any movie that doesnt maintain some sort of continuity of the show. We watch it for the story that has panned out for decades. Some half assed movie that looses the long running story elements and gives us, as fans no value to the story we follow, will turn us away. Either do the movie on a subject mentioned in the show, but never seen (ex: timewar) or dont do the movie at all. If theres no connection to the story I wont see the movie so as not to tarnish the conplicated sequence of events in the show i love so much. The only story id be interested in would be one that expounds on those events. Damn you Yates for trying to mess with perfection! .Terrible!

  • Lord Rassilon

    I don’t think Yates and Tranter realise what a sewage works worth of shinola they are going to unlease if they get this wrong. Hell hath no fury like a Whovian scorned, and there are a lot of Whovians out there across the whole world . The story HAS to fit into the established existing Who-niverse history so I do not like the sound of Yate’s quote “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena….” one little bit.
    One of the most impressive things I saw at the cinema was when they trailed David Tennants third season in cinemas just prior to it airing on BBC 1. To see the interior of the Tardis up on the big screen was “fantastic.”
    I personnaly I agree with a previous poster who suggested a film set around the events of the time war, there is loads of scope there for all the Doctors enemy’s to make an appearance, Hollywood style set piece space battles and an ending that finishes with a timelock so nobody remembers anything except the Doctor, who continues on his travels into the sunset. With maybe both Paul McGann and possibly even a brief cameo from Christopher Ecclestone (Both big screen actors) for the post-McGann regeneration scene just to add completeness to the existing Who-niverse timeline. And as RTD is now establishing himself out in LA maybe he could be approached to write the screenplay. Of course this is all a pipe dream, but a darn good one surely any Whovian must agree. “Allons-y”

  • Ariadne

    I think this is a bad idea. Unless they do it correctly. Call in Russel T Davies, Steven Moffat, Neil Gaiman, and other writers from the TV series so it doesn’t look like they decided to do a fanfiction. I hope Yates has seen Doctor Who and the writers he gets for the movie. Either way it’s going to be a huge flop, or not be bad.

    • Aaron Walden

      Wow, Neil Gaiman, that is like a nerds wet dream come true… That man can write AND knows film work! They should just let him go wild on it, you can’t go wrong there!!

  • Matthew

    A movie isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it should tie into the show. This “start from scratch” stuff is BS. A comic on the subject: http://www.cinemabums.com/?p=174

  • Jeff

    Dear God no. The Americans will ruin it. Even American Dr Who fans want it “British”. I can just see it now some American Hunk from the Twikight films or worse they’ll go all PC and have an ethnic or female (or both) Doctor. (And that is no way meant to be racist or sexist – remember it was an American Film exec who said, when casting for the Thunderbirds movie, suggested that one of the Tracey brothers be black). And why not follow canon? It’s not like you are going to attract many non-Who fans so make it for the audience it already has in Britain, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (to name a few). This is a really, really bad idea.

  • Ari

    This is going to be like the time M. Night Shyamalan tried to make a movie based on Avatar: The Last Airbender, isn’t it?
    The Last Airbender was an insult to the fans of AtLA. I don’t want the same thing to happen to Doctor Who.

  • Montgomery

    Keep the Americans OUT. The American influence on the last Torchwood was a serious drawback.They will probably make a “reality” show where want to be actors tryout for the part of the companion, complete with phone in voting.

    • Candy

      They reality casting thing as actually a British thing; The Sound of Music, Oliver, Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat . . .

      The only show I can recall us Americans having like that was for Grease and it was overseen by the English producer.

      • Helen


  • Maz

    Having grown up with Doctor Who and now working in tv I really don’t see what all the fuss is about. Doctor Who was mildly entertaining when I was 8 and Tom Baker was the Doctor, but looking back it has always been a crappy, low budget, amateur dramatic type of show. I can’t believe people seriously want to see a film with David Tennant in it???? The last series of Doctor Who was low budget BBC crap.

  • s-y-f-l

    The thing is that i don’t want to see a remake, i would like to see a sequel or a prequel of the show.

  • Candy

    Okay, so Im an American and completely obsessed with Doctor Who. I don’t care where the actor they choose hails from just so long as they can do a perfect british accent and are plenty capable of being absolutely mad.

    As for as the story line not adhering strictly to the series(old and new alike) it may not be all that bad, fifty years of ‘lore is a lot to bring to an audience that has absolutely no familiarity with the Whoverse. And lets face it, if we have a prayer of ever seeing this movie made the people in charge are going to have to figure out how to get a bigger audience than just us few.

    Plot wise they could always pull a Star Trek and shift the beginning of the story; say, start in Gallafray and maybe the time war doesn’t get sealed. That way they get to have fresh material and we get new worlds to watch the Doctor explore.

  • Aaron Walden


    But I digress… I actually think Yates has the eye for good visuals but his story telling abilities leave a whole Hell of a lot to be desired! He destroyed the last 2 Potter films and made a mess of 5 & 6 by not being fully read up on the stories and not being able to make them flow one to the other. Writers are integral to the plot and dialogue yes, but the director needs to be able to hold it all together make sure he has a fluid/cohesive story that translates well to audiences In this area Yates is an idiot and I fear he will screw up one of the most thought provoking and cerebral tales ever conceived in the realm of entertainment. That being said I have always dreamed of a Doctor Who movie on the big screen in an epic form, so if it is done well enough I am for it. Yates better get his mess together quick!!

    • Candy

      I agree with you on the Yates thing, all the brilliance of Rowlings eye for detail was wasted.

      But, let me tell you that trying to find someone to talk to about Doctor Who in Texas, is damn near impossible.

      All a girl wants is someone to curl up with and watch yet another failed Dalek invasion.

  • Rocky

    So, this would be a sequel for the Peter Cushing Dr. Who movies, or do we pretend those never happened?

  • Edd Watling

    I think David Yates is a great director, and I am a colossal Doctor Who fan. A movie woud be fine, if it was still connected to the TV series, but completely rebooting it is a nonsense idea. Doctor Who has a big enough fanbase that a new movie isn’t going to alienate loads of viewers, so why does it need to be reinvented at all. Either continue the TV series on the big screen, or don’t bother at all

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