Jonathan Melville: Doctor Who on the big screen?

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It’s a big week for Doctor Who fans, as the series celebrates its 50th anniversary on Saturday with cinema screenings of the 75-minute special, The Day of the Doctor.

Being a fan used to be socially unacceptable. That was back in the late 1980s, when Doctor Who was screened at 7.30 on a Wednesday night opposite Coronation Street.

The BBC hated it and tried for years to cancel it, finally letting the series fade away in 1989, abandoned by the corporation who built the TARDIS in 1963.

I remember covertly reading Doctor Who Magazine on the train and trying to explain to colleagues why this rickety old TV show was the greatest show in the galaxy.

It wasn’t cool to be a fan before 2005, when it exploded back onto our screens and gave ITV some decent competition.

Today the series makes millions of pounds a year for the BBC and is embraced around the globe - everyone seems to be a fan and it’s impossible to avoid the publicity.

Saturday’s episode will be shown on TV simultaneously in more than 75 countries, as current Doctor, Matt Smith, teams up with his predecessor, David Tennant, to save the Universe...and himself.

In a bold move, the BBC will also screen the adventure in cinemas around the UK as it airs on TV.

It seems that 3D plays a part in the plot, so you’ll have to wear the specs if you want to enjoy it properly.

Producer Steven Moffat has made it clear that the programme doesn’t need to be turned into a feature film.

If TV episodes can be made on a grand scale with a BBC budget, perhaps we’ll see more of these experiments in future . . .

It would certainly be a fine launch for 12th incarnation Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in 2014.

@jon_melville

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