Doctor Who edging closer

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 24/09/2012
Doctor Who
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COMING TO NZ? Matt Smith is the 11th actor to play Doctor Who.

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Doctor Who executives say they want to land the Tardis in New Zealand and it's beyond flattering that Sir Peter Jackson wants to direct an episode of the hit show.

The Doctor himself, Matt Smith, urged the Waikato Times to tell Sir Peter last Tuesday he would like him to take the directorial reins and said he would "campaign endlessly" to film here. Within hours The Hobbit director responded with: "I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, and I think Matt's fantastic. Just name a time and place, and I'll be there!"

Wellington-based scriptwriter Neil Cross, a friend of one of the show's executive producers, Caro Skinner, then said he'd love to write a story that could only be shot in New Zealand and urged Ms Skinner to speak to the Times.

"It is beyond wonderful that Peter is a fan of the show and it's beyond flattering that he'd even think about it," Ms Skinner said. "I'm absolutely sure that we couldn't afford him but, you know, we can always negotiate. His enthusiasm is just fantastic of course."

Ms Skinner said fellow executive producer Steven Moffat received a lot of emails and tweets in support following the Times story which had resulted in a burst of publicity around the world.

"I'm with Matt [Smith]," Ms Skinner said. "Of course at some point we'd love to bring Doctor Who Down Under . . . it won't be possible until at least a year after the 50th anniversary [on November 23, 2013].

"We are already two-thirds of the way through the shoots of Series 7 and although we filmed a couple of episodes abroad (Spain and the USA) I can confirm for the rest of Series 7 we will be shooting entirely in Cardiff Bay."

It's seven years since the show was rebooted by BBC Wales, with Smith taking the lead from David Tennant in 2010.

"The brilliant thing about Doctor Who is that it's a show that can take you absolutely anywhere in space and time and at some point I would really love for Doctor Who to take us to New Zealand."

Doctor Who, which is showing at 8.30pm on Prime on Thursdays, had received phenomenal viewing figures in New Zealand this year, Ms Skinner said.

"It's just wonderful that Doctor Who is just going down so fantastic where you guys are. I have had quite a lot of emails.

"I have had quite a lot of people suggesting it would be a good idea to me on Twitter and yes, the response has actually been phenomenal."

Mr Moffat, who is in Los Angeles this weekend for the Emmys where his show Sherlock was nominated for 14 awards, is also enthusiastic.

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He is expected to have an impromptu New Zealand story conference with Mr Cross, whose show Luther is up for four Emmys.

"Let's see what those two very brilliant writers come up with whilst they are in LA.

"It won't be for a while but rest assured that we are thinking about it.

"The landscapes and just the world of New Zealand is of course phenomenal and many movies are set in your beautiful country.

"It is also an extremely long way from Cardiff Bay so the logistics and the sheer scale of moving Doctor Who to New Zealand is something that would take an awful lot of planning and time.

"It's an enormous thing to move an entire production down there for an episode or two."

Ms Skinner and Mr Moffat, who worked for Sir Peter on the Tintin movie, are yet to approach the director and he is refusing to comment further.

Email your support for a New Zealand-based episodeto: thedoctor@bbc.co.nz or follow Ms Skinner on Twitter @CaroSkinner.

- Waikato Times

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