Steven Moffat Promises ‘Doctor Who’ in 3D for 50th Anniversary

Published 2 years ago by

Doctor Who Dalek 3D Steven Moffat Promises Doctor Who in 3D for 50th Anniversary

Rumors surrounding Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary have been pretty common the last few months. After the conclusion of season seven, part one – which saw the exit of fan-favorite companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams – followed close-behind by the 2012 Christmas Special, fans of The Doctor have been eagerly anticipating any official information about the show’s return. Aside from a season seven, part two return date, March 30, 2013, showrunner Steven Moffat has been tight-lipped about upcoming episodes of the series.

While we’re still left to speculate about the possible return of David Tennant for this year’s 50th anniversary special, the BBC has made one official announcement – Doctor Who is about to enter the third dimension.

In an official press release, the BBC has confirmed that future episodes of Doctor Who could be shown in 3D – teasing that at least one 50th Anniversary-related installment will be stereoscopic. Note: this does not mean that 2D viewers will be forced to watch a blurry version of the show – as any 3D episode would, presumably, air in 2D as well.

According to BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson:

As part of the BBC’s blockbuster celebrations to mark the Doctor turning 50, fans will be able to see the Time Lord and his adventures like never before – in 3D!

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Doctor Who Amy Queen Nefertiti 570x320 Steven Moffat Promises Doctor Who in 3D for 50th Anniversary

Lead writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat adds:

It’s about time. Technology has finally caught up with Doctor Who and your television is now bigger on the inside. A whole new dimension of adventure for the Doctor to explore.

At this point, details are still relatively scarce and it’s unclear how many episodes they’ll shoot/screen in 3D, whether or not they’ll film using 3D cameras (or post-convert), as well as when we can expect to actually see a 3D Doctor Who episode. Additionally, it’ll be interesting to see how the effect is used – given that many viewers are tired of filmmakers drawing attention to 3D with gimmicky implementations (Resident Evil: Retribution) instead of relying on improved but subtle depth (Life of Pi). Keep in mind, especially cheesy 3D would be off-putting for anyone watching in 2D.

That said, Moffat’s tease of “a whole new dimension of adventure for the Doctor to explore” certainly indicates that while 3D might be limited to an anniversary episode for now, it’s possible that BBC and producers will choose to play with the format more down the line. After all, many Doctor Who episodes are already mindful to depth – given the numerous historic and alien locales (not to mention sizable zany creatures).

Current on-set 3D technology allows directors and cameramen to work in the same production timeline as 2D filmmakers – even on a (hectic) TV schedule. While many consumers may not have a 3D TV (or know their TV is 3D-capable), certain networks are already broadcasting 3D content. Among several 3D stations already in existence (with many more on the way), a few especially high-profile networks are already in the 3D game: ESPN broadcasts certain live events in 3D and Sky 3D in the UK airs 16 hours of 3D-only movies, sporting matches, and original programming every single day. Many readers will also remember that the 2012 Summer Olympics were, in many markets, available in 3D.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Doctor Who Pterodactyls 570x320 Steven Moffat Promises Doctor Who in 3D for 50th Anniversary

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the Doctor has traveled into the third dimension. Classic fans will remember that during the Doctor Who 30th anniversary in 1993, “Dimensions In Time” was shown in 3D – using anaglyph glasses.

It’s hard to imagine that Moffat and the BBC are talking about red and cyan eyewear this round. As a result, given the current hurdles to 3D viewing (hardware, network availability, etc), many Doctor Who fans will likely have to wait for a home Blu-ray release down the line to fully experience The Doctor in 3D. That said, since that those barriers to entry are becoming easier and cheaper (with upcoming 4K TV sets and other innovations), it’s likely that this won’t be the last time we see The Doctor enter the third dimension.

In the meantime, if you do happen to own a set of anaglyph glasses, you can get an idea of how The Doctor might look in 3D by checking out the crazy season five trailer below:

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Doctor Who as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Doctor Who will return (in 2D for now) on BBC and BBC America March 30, 2013.

Source: BBC (2010 3D Trailer via Doctor Who News)

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. I do not approve. 3-D should be a DVD extra, not the standard release format for an episode.

    • Why?

  2. I do by chance own a pair of red & green specs, and I can’t in all honesty say they added a great deal to that trailer. And did the Doctor just say “F*** me”??! Amy seemed fairly surprised as well…

  3. This is awesome–I would live for them to do this for all future episodes! I hope they don’t get gimmicky, but this is a “kid’s” show, so I suspect they will.

    This should be easy to air over cable, no special hardware required–cable already has 3D channels that use the side-by-side (xfinity 3D) and Top-and-Bottom (ESPN 3D) method, which just uses a normal picture–it’s up to the TV to split/display as 3D. Not like 3D BD that uses a full picture for each eye.

    I hope this leads to more serialized 3D shows. The 3D clip they had on the Spartacus Gods of the Arena BD looked awesome–I was hoping they were going to do future seasons in 3D, but alas.

  4. Are you kidding me? I only see movies in 3D that are like RE:Retribution. I don’t give a frak about the environment being enhanced like Avatar, Pi or Alice in Wonderland. That’s a waste of my money. I want to duck at something coming at me. And post 3D sucks.

  5. Can you smell a gimmick?

    Also I can guarantee that it will be post converted.

  6. Bullocks!!

    Dang so dr who on sat coming back then game of thrones coming back sun awesome!

  7. Why?

    3d sucks and most people think so.

    • Most people being yourself and your fraternity?

      • And Pirates. (Because of the eyepatch)

  8. Don’t tell me Moffat is already jumping the shark. I’d prefer they concentrate on story quality over cheap gimmicks. I already live in a 3D reality, I want my escapism in 2D! Unless it’s done really, really well and not post-converted, and I don’t think the BBC can pull that off with its budget. Remember when DW was all cheap sets and rubber suits? It didn’t matter because the character overrode all that. Oh, and 3D definitely is slower to film than 2D, despite the article above. Unless you’re being really shoddy with it, which helps no one.

    • ZPM –

      That’s plain not true. Modern 3D rigs have been used to film select shows in 3D and they did NOT slow down production. With certain equipment, maybe, but that’s not a blanket problem anymore. We know of several independent showrunners who have filmed episodes in 3D as a test: recent episodes of both Little Crackers and Happy Endings were filmed in 3D with zero affect on the production schedule and neither one was “shoddy” 3D. In fact, the Little Crackers episode that was filmed in 3D isn’t gimmicky at all and uses the effect in subtle but interesting ways (episode title: The Week Before Christmas).

      There are a lot of misconceptions about 3D – especially regarding the production end. If you don’t like 3D, that’s fine (and valid) but it’s an absolute fact that shows can be filmed for quality 3D without lengthening the production schedule.

  9. What kind of glasses? Will the old red and blue ones do? The black ones from the theater?

  10. Would have been very pleased if this 3D special had been sceduled in the movie theatres in the Netherlands as well.
    Almost everywhere on Earth people could have seen this special at the same time, but in the Netherlands? NOTHING AT ALL! No showings in cinema’s and not even in 2d on television! I probably woud have had more chance if living in Timbuktu!

    If only I could buy this episode on 3D bluray with Dutch subtitles, but no, even that seems to be too much trouble to issue!
    Can you imagine that of all David Attenborough 3D documentaries only the Penguin King has been issued with Dutch subtitles just a few months ago? Sure, I can understand English language, but a word can be missed and one can be distracted from the story by that. Also sometimes you want to show these 3D blurays to people who don’t understand the English language. I sure hope someone who wants to sell lots of these expensive, quality 3D blurays in the Netherlands wakes up by this comment.

    Sander Kiesel