The Day of the Doctor was a hit at the cinema for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. And so it might seem like a natural progression for the feature length episode of Deep Breath to be shown on the big screen too. Our favourite show is no stranger to being shown in cinemas, with two Peter Cushing Dalek films released in the 60’s. However, how different would the Doctor Who universe be if it was all written for a cinema release instead?
Back when Doctor Who first started in 1963, stories were usually written in 4, 6 or 8 parts. The Dalek Invasion of Earth for example, a 6 part story, I could easily imagine being a film version. In fact I don’t have to; as the story was adapted for one of the Peter Cushing films in 1966. This adaption, as well as the adaption of the first Dalek story, helps us to imagine what film alternatives of these stories might be like.
Now although Doctor Who has been running for just over 50 years, it is hard to imagine that all 800 odd episodes would have been made as films. The closest parallel could be the James Bond saga, also running for over 50 years. However there have only been 23 films to date.
Films are usually blessed with a larger budget than a television serial, and so we can imagine that film versions of The Ark in Space, The Deadly Assassin and many possible others would look even more spectacular than they did when released for television. As we all know, when first Doctor, William Hartnell became unfit to play the role of the Doctor, he was replaced by Patrick Troughton, who was in turn replaced by Jon Pertwee and so on. If Doctor Who was a film saga, once the first Doctor Who actor William Hartnell had become too unwell for the part after let’s say 3 films, it might be seen as unlikely that the films would continue at all. If they did continue with different actors playing the Doctor, like many actors have played James Bond, then it makes me wonder just how many films we would have had.
If all of the Doctor’s adventures were in feature length films then we would need to ask ourselves a very important question. Would it still be Doctor Who? Would it still have the same ingredients as our show has today that we all love? Now a few years ago there was talk of David Yates making a Doctor Who film which would be outside the canon of the television series, with a new Doctor and story. This has since amounted to nothing, along with an apparent K-9 film due for release this year, but it hasn’t even commenced filming yet, and news on it has gone silent. Perhaps it is for the best and that apart from the occasional outing, Doctor Who should remain on our living room televisions.
Besides, you can’t very well hide behind your sofa in a cinema now can you?