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'Doctor Who' recruits Richard Curtis

'Notting Hill' helmer to pen episode for sci-fi drama

LONDON -- Rom-com director and screenwriter Richard Curtis is to pen a one-off episode of BBC sci-fi drama "Doctor Who," and is working on a "low-budget" movie about time travel, it was confirmed Tuesday.

The director of such boxoffice hits as "Notting Hill" and "Four Weddings and A Funeral" and longtime scribe of BBC comedy "The Vicar of Dibley," told the Sun newspaper that the project was inspired by a fascination with science.

"I am very interested in time travel for some reason or other. I am writing a film about it but on a low budget with no spectacular special effects," he told the paper, but declined to give any further details.

Curtis said he had been persuaded to sign up for one episode of "Doctor Who" because his children were fans of the show.

"These days the things you can watch together as a family are much fewer," he said in an interview with the Sun newspaper.

"So when you get something like "Doctor Who" or the "X Factor," it is such a pleasure to sit down as a family."

Reprised five years ago by the BBC's then drama supremo Jane Tranter -- who now heads up the BBC Worldwide's L.A.-based scripted division -- "Doctor Who" has proved one of the BBC's enduring family-focused programs. Last month viewers had a taste of the new series, starring newcomer Matt Smith as the eponymous Time Lord.