Sorry Sony, Steven Moffat doesn’t want a Doctor Who movie anytime soon

TARDISI haven’t made much of a secret of the fact that I’m a life-long fan of the BBC TV show “Doctor Who”.

I may not have seen “Sneakers” or “War Games”, but I have watched a lot of “Doctor Who”.

Basically, if I could be running a “Doctor Who” blog rather than a computer security one, I probably would. If I could weave in some Joni Mitchell and The Beatles as well, that would suit me just fine. Let me know if you’re interested in that, and maybe we can change things around here.

But hey, it’s Friday and there’s a way to sneak “Doctor Who” into the Sony Pictures hack story – so that’s a good enough excuse for me.

Thanks to the launch by mischief-makers at WikiLeaks of a searchable online archive of emails and documents hacked by Sony Pictures, it has been revealed that there definitely are plans for a “Doctor Who” movie. Albeit not anytime soon.

Steven MoffatAs The Telegraph reports, the BBC’s commercial wing (BBC Worldwide) is keen to make a movie, but the creative team who make the show in Cardiff (headed up by showrunner Steven Moffat, who is also responsible for “Sherlock”) is less than keen.

A leaked email exchange between Andrea Wong, president of International Production for Sony, and the company’s chief executive Michael Lynton describes a conversation Wong had with Director of BBC Television, Danny Cohen, in January 2014:

Just spoke to Danny Cohen re Dr Who. He said that while there has been tremendous interest (and pressure from BBCWW) to do a Dr Who film, the show runners feel very clear that they don’t want to do one at this moment. That said, over the course of the coming months, the show running team is coming up with an 8 year timeline for the brand – laying out all that will happen with it. He says that a film will certainly be a part of that timeline. So the answer is that a film won’t happen in the next year to 18 months, but it is expected that it will happen after that within the 8 year horizon. He expects the plan to be laid out by the end of the year…

Lynton offers to meet with the show runners, but is told err… no. That wouldn’t be a good idea:

Spoke to Danny and he doesn’t think it makes sense right now and actually might hurt our cause. He said that the creative team on the show have been having the movie conversation with BBC Worldwide in recent weeks and are very hot under the collar that their position on it is not being listened to or accepted….

Tom Baker and the Daleks promotional picture

Whether the-powers-that-be can change self-proclaimed grumpy Scot Steven Moffat’s opinion on whether a Hollywood Doctor Who movie would be a good idea or not, remains to be seen. Back in December 2011, he tweeted:

“To clarify: any Doctor Who movie would be made by the BBC team, star the current TV Doctor and certainly NOT be a Hollywood reboot.”

As recently as this month, faced with the question once again, Moffat was telling Entertainment Weekly that he doesn’t believe a movie is happening:

“How do we do this? How do we do it without leaching from the television series—which we’re not allowed to do, because ‘Doctor Who’ is public funded? If it’s going to be a different Doctor, are we going to try and sell two Doctors at the same time? I know there’s been loads of Doctors, but there’s only been one at a time. You don’t have a James Bond on television and one in the cinema. If he’s the same guy, then when are we going to make that?”

“We’re talking one of the biggest TV shows in the world. It can’t just be a medium-size movie—it’s got to be a colossal movie. I’ve sat with people, saying — and in the end it’s not my decision or my choice, I don’t own Doctor Who — ‘Okay, explain to me how it’s going to work.’ And nobody has an answer.”

Actually, does it even matter that much what Moffat thinks?

As he points out, he doesn’t own “Doctor Who”. The BBC does. And although they won’t want be keen to ruffle the feathers of the man making “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” he won’t be the showrunner forever.

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In 2013, Moffat said that he was “nearer the end than the beginning” of his reign as Doctor Who showrunner, which suggests that we may be close to the end, and the moment may have been prepared for.

Fans like me, meanwhile, will remember what happened in the 1960s when two “Dr Who” (sic) movies were made starring Peter Cushing in battles against steam-squirting Daleks.

Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. Cinema Trailer

They’re actually quite fun movies, but they’re not really “Doctor Who”.

If a movie is ever made, will it be a case of third time lucky?

Julian Assange, of course, would make a great Doctor Who monster. Personally I’d like to see him dressed up as the Taran Wood Beast.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

7 comments on “Sorry Sony, Steven Moffat doesn’t want a Doctor Who movie anytime soon”

  1. Anon

    A Doctor Who blog! Yes!

  2. Coyote

    "Basically, if I could be running a "Doctor Who" blog rather than a computer security one, I probably would. If I could weave in some Joni Mitchell and The Beatles as well, that would suit me just fine. Let me know if you're interested in that, and maybe we can change things around here."

    Why not? You could even have a parody version (or if you want you could change up the current theme, and making security relate to the new subjects) of this site, which involves The Beatles… and Doctor Who, as well as Joni Mitchell, whoever that is.

  3. Steve

    Definitely add some Doctor Who here- I'm sure you can make it fit with the topic of security.

  4. Alan

    Someone has got to bring us the hard hitting news in the world of Dalek defense. Surely some won't like it, but if it can save one network from the Osirans, then it's worth it.

  5. Simon King

    Dr who was initially educational …. teach us about time and (cyber)space security ….

  6. Marcus McCrory

    Attempt this and you will be exterminated!

  7. Anonymous

    If they do a Doctor Who movie I hope they'll get Russel T Davies to write it, the quality of the show has definitely gone down since Moffat took over. I suppose it's got big in America though, so I guess that's all that really matters.

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