Doctor Who for Waikato?

DR WHO FOR WAIKATO? Matt Smith, the 11nth actor to play the time traveller in the hit BBC series said he would start a campaign to film an episode in New Zealand with Sir Peter Jackson directing.
DR WHO FOR WAIKATO? Matt Smith, the 11nth actor to play the time traveller in the hit BBC series said he would start a campaign to film an episode in New Zealand with Sir Peter Jackson directing.

Sir Peter Jackson is backing Doctor Who star Matt Smith’s campaign to film an episode of the hit BBC show in New Zealand.

Smith, the 11th actor to play the icon role created by William Hartnell in 1963, told the Waikato Times: ‘‘Hey, let’s get Peter Jackson to direct one and go and make it in New Zealand. I would love to, I will campaign endlessly to come over and film there.’’

Asked if he thought the Times should make contact with The Hobbit director  with the idea Smith said: ‘‘Do it mate, do it.  Come on.’’

Sir Peter, whose first Lord of the Rings prequel is to be released in December, told the Times: "I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, and I think Matt’s fantastic. Just name a time and place, and I’ll be there!"

The idea is not at all fanciful.

Sir Peter is a Doctor Who fan, hiring seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy for The Hobbit, having acquired McCoy’s costume from his time on the show. He met Smith at the Comic Con International convention.

‘‘(It) was very exciting to meet someone of his credence and calibre a wonderful film maker, and he mentioned that he enjoyed the show, so I was  absolutely thrilled to hear that,’’ Smith said.

Sir Peter also hired Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat to write the screenplay to Tintin.

While Doctor Who is mainly filmed in the UK the opening episodes of last season were filmed in the USA and the upcoming Season 7 episode The Angels Take Manhattan was filmed in New York.

‘‘I have never been to NZ sadly, or Australia, it’s on my list of to dos,’’ Smith said.

‘‘I‘m told it’s glorious. I’m told it’s quite similar to England.  I think it would be an absolutely wonderful place to film Doctor Who . . .there’s clearly a great film industry out there. It’s something I would be very interested in it’s just whether we can persuade the producers to fly us all over,’’ Smith said.

He denied rumours, in the British tabloids, that he would be stepping out of the TARDIS anytime soon.

‘‘Shock horror. Everyone leaves eventually people. No I’m not leaving any time soon.  You know I am coming back for the 50th anniversary. To suggest I am quitting now is wrong.’’

Smith was an hour late for his interview because he was discussing the show’s 50th anniversary special with Moffat.

‘‘He was pitching the 50th anniversary at the end of this series and what everything was going to be about and it was a very exciting meal. No doubt he’ll come up with something brilliant because that’s the sort of man he is . . .   I hope that we mark it in the best way possible and we honour the people that have been in the show before us and we make it as grand and brilliant and inventive and as much an occasion as possible. What that is, I may have an idea, but I can’t tell you I’m afraid.’’ Previous Doctor Who milestones have been marked with a special episodes with previous Doctors uniting in one episode. Asked if an Eleven Doctors special could be filmed Smith said: ‘Who knows? I think it’s an exciting idea. Whether it would be possible, or whether it could ever happen I just don’t know, but whatever we can do to mark that 50th anniversary will be spectacular, that much I do know.’’ Perhaps an episode with Sir Peter at the helm?

‘‘Nothing’s set in stone. I imagine there will be  a script knocking around about Christmas and there we will develop further and shoot it next spring.’’

Smith got the role when he auditioned for the part of Dr John Watson in Moffat’s re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

‘‘Steven said no, you’re not Dr Watson but you might make a good Doctor Who, do you want to come and audition for that?

‘‘Sherlock is a bit more of a sociopath than the Doctor and the Doctor is a bit more ridiculous than Sherlock. You know I think Sherlock would just find the Doctor a complete imbecile and the Doctor would just think ‘‘O, come on, just wear a silly hat.’’ ‘‘I think ultimately they are very different . . . There’s great wit in them both and that fervent intelligence that Steven has a person that come across in his writing.’’ This season marks the departure of actors Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill who play the Doctor’s travelling companions turned parents in law Amy and Rory Pond.

‘‘It’s always going to be a sad event, but the show is pretty much about change and regeneration and looking forward and that’s what we do,’’ Smith, fresh from filming the next Christmas special, said.

Smith thinks of the series, once campaigned against by British MP Mary Whitehouse for being too scary for children, as a show for all ages.

‘‘I met a four year old that watched it the other day and I asked what do you like about it and he said: ‘‘What I like about the Doctor is  everywhere he goes he makes friends,’’ and I though what a lovely thing to say about him and it’s true, sort of.’’ Asked who he’d like to take on a trip in the TARDIS Smith said: ‘‘Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. He married her (in A Christmas Carol).’’ It was a joke thrown in as an aside. "That’s clever old Steven, as always.’’

Who in New Zealand?

New Zealand has a lot to offer Doctor Who, according to  John Preddle, the Hamilton based author of the ultimate guide to the show Timelink.

The Waitomo caves, and its glow-worm grottos are the perfect location to film an awakening colony of reptilian Silurians.

Hobbiton with a little bit of redressing could become the habitat for diminutive aliens.

We also have our fair share of quarries, that look suitably like alien landscapes, probably moreso than your bog-standard slate quarry so often used in Wales.

We have near-active volcanoes . . .  in 2003 a one-off animated web-cast Doctor Who adventure was in part set on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu!

And even further afield, our southern glaciers would offer ideal conditions for lumbering Ice Warriors, and our whale-watching expeditions might attract the odd Sea Devils

Who’s Who?

Doctor Who is about a time traveller who calls himself The Doctor. His time machine, the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), can theoretically land anywhere and anywhen making the story telling options endless. It has a chameleon circuit, so that it will blend in with its surroundings when it lands, but it is broken and forever stuck as a 1960s police call box. The Doctor, who regenerates into a new body instead of dying, is accompanied on his travels by companions.