'Doctor Who' Movie Not Happening, Says Showrunner

Steven Moffat claims the BBC's public-funded status wouldn't allow for a spin-off film.
Steven Moffat claims the BBC's public-funded status wouldn't allow for a spin-off film.

Talk of a Downton Abbey film may have been rumbling for some time, most recently spurred to life with news that the show will be coming to an end and the producers admitting to being “interested” in the idea. But the man behind another major British TV export has poured cold water on thoughts of it going the same way.

In quotes published by the Daily Express, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat said that a movie version of the hit BBC series would not be possible, despite Peter Capaldi stirring up chatter by admitting it "would be fun" to U.K. film blog HeyUGuys.

"How do we do it without leaching from the television series, which we're not allowed to do because Doctor Who is public funded?" Moffat said.

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"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 TV and one in the cinema."

BBC television series have been made into feature films in the past. Most recently, the public broadcaster is adapting its cult comedy Dad's Army as a feature film starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bill Nighy.

Whovians may recall 1996’s TV film Doctor Who, a co-production between the BBC, Fox and Universal Pictures that was supposed to help kick-start a new series with Paul McGann as the eighth timelord.

Despite good ratings for the TV movie in the U.K. with 9.1 million viewers, the BBC did not reboot the series, and it was almost another decade before Russell T Davies successfully revived Doctor Who in 2005, bringing on board Christopher Eccleston as the new captain of the Tardis.

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