Quick! Name the longest running TV show with original episodes! If you said anything other than Doctor Who or COPS, you were wrong. Starting with season one and counting this current season, Doctor Who has aired 759 episodes and been on TV since 1963 – and, with a 2010 season already slated, Doctor Who shows no signs of slowing down.
In a recent interview, BBC Film entertainment spokeswoman Lizo Mzimba confirmed that “a script is in development” for a Doctor Who movie, but if the project moved into full production, we likely wouldn’t see a release for several years.
(In that time we could have three or four more “Doctors” because, as sure as I am geeky, the show will still be on the air.)
What makes the Doctor Who show so extraordinary is the fact that the show remains highly popular even though the lead actor has changed not once, twice or even five times but an astonishing ELEVEN times! William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith have all sported the sonic screwdriver and been behind the “wheel” of the Tardis – the Doctor’s time machine shaped like a British police box.
Usually, when a TV show decides to change the actor playing the lead role, it is considered by many to be the “jump the shark” moment. When the person playing that character changes, it forces us to re-bond with them all over again, and many times we simply stop watching the show. Can you imagine someone other than Hugh Laurie playing Dr. House and millions of people still tuning in every week to watch?
The constant character change hasn’t seemed to adversely affect the Doctor Who series. I think it’s because the writers never pigeon hole themselves into one specific story line. Throughout the series they have run 124 different story arcs, each one different and interesting. For that reason, out of all the Sci-Fi shows in existence today, I think Doctor Who makes itself the most adaptable to big screen treatment.
All you need is a Doctor, a time machine shaped like a British police box (which looks to us Americans like some sort of phone booth), a cute girl to travel with and a bad guy to fight. And get this: all three can be different in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE! Heck they’ve been doing it for forty-five years on TV and it seems to work just fine, so why stop now? Fans of the show would be happy because they are used to constant changes and newcomers would be drawn to it as well because a well told sci-fi movie almost always does well at the box office.
There are obviously no rumors about the script at this point but here is my suggestion. Let’s see an origin story of Doctor Who and how he became alone in the universe. Writers have long been mentioning the Time Wars between the Time Lords and the Daleks (think R2D2 with a bad attitude and a toilet plunger for a hand). That would make an epic battle to watch on screen and set up the next series of shows or movies quite nicely.
What do you think about a Doctor Who movie and who would you like to see play him? I’d personally like to see Christopher Eccelston return to the post.
Dr. Who the movie is still in development and has no release date.