‘Doctor Who’ to shoot in America?

Oh, baby. Reader Weimlady notes in comments that the British site Digital Spy had this to say today:

Two Doctor Who specials will reportedly be filmed in America in 2009.

The News of the World quotes a BBC insider as saying: “Doctor Who already has a huge following in the States. It’s on the Sci Fi Channel and is watched by millions of people there every week.

“But two specials in America, with a US setting and a US assistant, will take it to another level. David Tennant is already gaining a huge following and this will make him really hot property.”

(There’s a bit more.)

Okay, after you stopping swooning, start speculating, or at least daydreaming: Where in the U.S. should Doctor Who shoot, and which North American actor (male or female) should be the companion? And just for fun, name a North American actor (male or female) to be the villain.

I’m gonna say New York City (of course), with Zoey Deschanel as companion and Sam Waterston as the evil mayor of the city.

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Tue, Aug 26, 2008 6:01pm

Hmmm, shoot it in New England somewhere, (in the past or future) probably Boston…assistant would be Alexis Bledel, and the villain could be Kevin Sorbo. Cut, print!

Tue, Aug 26, 2008 6:30pm


The News of the World article that they reference also states that “The shows will be the 37-year-old star’s last, then the Doc will regenerate into another actor.”


Tue, Aug 26, 2008 6:55pm

Mount Gilead, Ohio, of course! :-) OK, now you know where I live. On with the response.

Renee Zellweger as the companion–as her Cold Mountain character, or someone very similar. Make it an historical, where the Doctor visits the U.S.A. (well… and the C.S.A.) in April, 1865. He meets John Wilkes Booth post-assassination & pre-Garrett’s barn. (Read this amazingly wonderful book before you say pshaw. Then read this distinctly less wonderful but still amazing book and think of the possibilities for a Doctor Who story!)

I think David Tennant would make a fantastic Booth. Can I have him playing dual roles? YES I CAN it’s all a fantasy! Woo-hoo!

Tue, Aug 26, 2008 6:56pm

Yeah, we’re ignoring that Rhett. And just for that, even though your name is Rhett, you can’t be in my Civil War fantasy episode. :-P

Tue, Aug 26, 2008 8:18pm

“The shows will be the 37-year-old star’s last, then the Doc will regenerate into another actor.”


Tue, Aug 26, 2008 8:22pm

Don’t belive it, MaryAnn! The BBC would have announced it if it were true!

Laurie Mann
Tue, Aug 26, 2008 9:42pm

Pennsylvania has a nice tax-abatement program for movies/TV shows shot in the state…

Pittsburgh has a forbidding old jail that is only partially in use these days (parts of Mrs. Soffel were filmed there back in the ’80s). So set it in Pittsburgh during the coal strikes and use the jail as a backdrop.

There would have to be a “future” bit at the beginning, since Alex Kingston (Dr. River Song) has to be a companion and she clearly isn’t from late 19th century Pittsburgh.

Tue, Aug 26, 2008 9:48pm

He should do a Cary Grant on the face of Mount Rushmore.

For an assistant (ho ho), the chick who played the good demon girl in season three of Supernatural.

That wonderful dude who played the cop in Invasion and the angry bank manager at the beginning of The Dark Knight? He’s the villain. He, or Lance Henriksen.

Tue, Aug 26, 2008 10:05pm

The News of the World article mentions a potential film… with Steven Spielberg at the helm. Noooo! He’ll ruin it!

Tue, Aug 26, 2008 10:10pm

There would have to be a “future” bit at the beginning, since Alex Kingston (Dr. River Song) has to be a companion and she clearly isn’t from late 19th century Pittsburgh.

Or the Doctor could pop over to the ER at Chicago General and meet Dr. Elizabeth Corday…

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 12:36am

Hm…well I think NYC and LA are a little played out as shooting locations…so I’d like to see some other US city.

Atlanta? Philadelphia? San Francisco? Miami? Austin?

Of course a lot of this depends on When the specials will be. They already did New York.

San Francisco in during the Summer of Love or during the days of the Barbary Coast?
A 1940s Noirish LA?
Chicago in the 20s?
Miami in the 80s?

Hm…I don’t know. As for companions…I think it is about time he had a male companion again. What about an new ethnicity for DW…someone hispanic? Actor….maybe the fellow who played Santos in Ugly Betty? Kevin Alejandro. Or we could just go for maximum fannishness and have Kristen Bell be the new companion. That would be awesome.

Villain? Diana Rigg! James Callis! Oh…American, right. Um…Ellen Paige?

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 3:11am

I’m not trusting anything the NotW says. It’s not a newspaper that’s worthy of trust. That’s also not a new rumour, it’s been circulating for a while just because they haven’t confirmed Tennant for series five. And consider this: would they bring in a new Doctor at the same time as a new showrunner? Is that too risky?

It’d be fun if they found a up-and-coming American actor who nobody’s really heard of for an American companion; in the Agyeman mould. Or a genre-jumper, like Piper and Tate (pop star and comedian now seen as serious actors thanks to DW).

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 7:04am

I was always a fan of Sapphire and Steele, M.R. James stories, Poe etc where things could remain unexplained(like the creature in ‘midnight’). So, how about a setting of the 19th century where people are experimenting with electricity, seances etc. A landscape out of Lovecraft ? Something nice and dark with things in the walls !

As for assistant, preferably not one of your cookie cutter type actresses that all look attractive and the same( having said that I’d settle for Penelope Cruz – hey, if you can drool over Mr Tennant MaryAnn… :-) ). For villain, they’d need to be European in an American set Dr Who ! So how about Alan Rickman, Patrick Stewart or Ben Kingsley. Here’s the exception to the rule, I think Sam Jackson would be a good villain but like the others probably too expensive.

On the subject of the film. There was a statement/interview from Steven Moffat at the Edinburgh TV festival – I havn’t read it – in which he says don’t rule out a film.

The angles in this room are all wrong

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 8:03am

P.S. – The small print

I don’t mean to imply that Penelope Cruz is not a good actress, she is. The ‘cookie cutter’ comment applies to both actors and actresses that are chosen for their looks rather than acting ability. I dislike bad acting/casting regardless.

Just being paranoid !

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 8:14am

And just for that, even though your name is Rhett, you can’t be in my Civil War fantasy episode. :-P

Frankly, my dear….

(and yes, yes, I’ll stop calling you “Frankly” :-P )

Online, it does appear to be just News of the World that’s insisting that Tennant’s out – of course, every other site is quoting NotW on the “filming in the US” news…

But then, how could you not trust a site with a friendly “Sell your story for CASH!” banner on every page?

Back on topic… The setting has to be something big – Constitution… Thanksgiving…. Last/Next Ice Age… Meteor Crater….
I’ll say Felicia Day as Companion, and I’d it’s not going to happen, but I’d love to see Christopher Walken (as villain, or whathaveyou)

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 8:33am

You’d think they would use distinctive American locales… Anything older than the 1920s and they’ll end up filming on backlot sets… which is why I don’t think they’ll do a San Francisco of 1869 story with Robert Duvall as the Emperor Norton (sigh) and Zhang Ziyi as a Chinese warrior from the 51st Century hunting down an escaped Sontaran who is looking to spark an earthquake that would generate enough energy to open a spatial rift to Sontar…

My guess is they’ll film at least one Old West story. They’ve done the OK Corral (The Gunfighters episode during the First Doctor), so my guess is they’ll film the Lincoln County War, the one with Billy the Kid.

Other option could involve a temporal rift event at a key historical moment that the Doctor will be forced to close… located in Dallas on Nov. 22 1963 (also the anniversary date of the show’s first broadcast)…

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 8:42am

Oooh! Felicia Day would be awesome, too!

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 10:43am

Rhett, m’dear, said:

Back on topic… The setting has to be something big – …. Last/Next Ice Age…

How about global warming? Al Gore as companion? {tee hee}

And you can call me Frankly any time, Rhett!

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 10:53am

Can’t…. speculate…. still…. swooning….

(This will be better than “Daleks in Manhattan,” though — right? right??)

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 11:06am

Funny, Alan Rickman also crossed my mind.

I’ll nominate home base here: Portland Oregon. They’ll feel right at home when it rains on them.

On the companion side of things, Katee Sackhoff need work!

C. David Dent
Wed, Aug 27, 2008 4:09pm

I’d like to see them in Washington, DC during the 60’s perhaps during a huge war protest.

As for companions, why does it have to be a girl?

Why not Haley Joel Osment? or better yet Wil Wheaton?

Wed, Aug 27, 2008 6:18pm

Don’t believe a word of it until the BBC announces. The News of the World has all the editorial vigour of the Weekly World News.

The latest Doctor Who Special Edition spends a proportion of its pagination slavishly reprinting the NotW’s unsubstantiated rumours up against the truth of what was really going on with the production and there are a fair few howlers, usually suggested by a ‘BBC insider’ who clearly lives in the head of which ever reporter is making this stuff up. It’s also a well worn route for said rubbish to be republished online by Digital Spy, who have a whiff of authority and turned into news before the day is out.

Proper Dave
Thu, Aug 28, 2008 7:58am

Ah, “churnalism”. In the dog-ear-dog world of underfinanced newsrooms and cobbled-together websites, reporters (usually wannabes in their early 20s working for little or nothing) don’t bother to check other news organisations’ stories any more (or, for that matter, corporate PR statements). The accountants have won out. It’s incredibly depressing.

Thu, Aug 28, 2008 9:47am

I doubt it’ll happen. Nice idea, great publicity and a definate WOW factor but why on Earth would BBC Wales take the specials budget, increased or not, and blow it all on transporting production to the US?

RTD has said The Fires of Pompeii would never have been filmed in Italy had it not been for the studio there taking a hugely reduced fee. They did this for the world wide publicity Who would bring to the studio. Something which I can’t imagine US studios needing.

But if did, I’d love to see Ben Browder as a bad guy and Anne Hache as a companion.

Fri, Aug 29, 2008 12:13pm

Nathan Fillion as the bad guy. I don’t care where it’s filmed or who plays the companion.

Pen Dragon
Pen Dragon
Fri, Aug 29, 2008 3:29pm

Not to rain on your parade, but I fully expect this, like so many other “American” projects, to be filmed in Vancouver, or Toronto, and star some British/Canadian/Australian actor that no one ever guessed wasn’t a purebred Yank. Bale, Jackman, the Sutherlands, I could go on and on.

Fri, Aug 29, 2008 5:14pm

Oh gracious. That would be fantastic! I would gladly volunteer to be companion… Nathan Fillion, I agree with Danielle, would be a fantastic villain. I think that would be pretty awesome.
As for location, Chicago, of course. ^_~

Sat, Aug 30, 2008 7:25pm

Sounds like a fun game – what in the USA could be used as the prompt for a DW episode? Some of my thoughts:
– Baltimore, and Edgar Allen Poe’s three day disappearance before his death (or is that too similar to the Unicorn and the Wasp)
– the Catskill Mountains and the possible back story to either The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Rip Van Winkle, both by Washington Irving
– Menlo Park and Thomas Alva Edison
– George Washington Carver, another great inventor and innovator
– Jakob Walz and the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, with the eerie-looking Superstition Mountains of Arizona (this could even be present-day)
– the Badlands of North and South Dakota, with maybe a pre-famous Teddy Roosevelt (and make him a real person, not the one-dimensional caricature he’s usually portrayed as)

and then I fell asleep…

Sun, Aug 31, 2008 10:43am

The thing we have to keep in mind is that if the show is going to go through the huge expense and hassle of shooting in the States, they’ve *got* to shoot somewhere that cannot even be approximated in the U.K. Baltimore or Menlo Park a century ago probably could be pulled off in Cardiff.

It’s either gotta be a city that is unfakeable — like New York or Miami or Los Angeles (*nowhere* in the U.K. looks like Southern California) — or a spectacular physical location that is unfakeable, like the Rocky Mountains (or the Superstitions? I’ve never seen them) or the volcanoes of Hawaii.

Maybe the Doctor could help find Bobby and Cindy lost in the Grand Canyon…

Sun, Aug 31, 2008 2:43pm

Well it looks like the rumors are becoming a little more feasible: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3i22e2d720f4d22efd1b50fd4702d77cfd

But if we’re going to indulge in pure fantasy, since the CBC is co-producing it in the first place, why not an episode set in Canada? The Halifax explosion might be a good topic if they want to do another disaster episode- it was the largest man-made explosion in history up to the nuke. Or since apparently the Loch Ness monster has already been done, there’s always Ogopogo.

I’d say Shawn Majumder and Nancy Robertson (from Corner Gas) as companions/sidekicks/tagalongs, and Nigel Bennett as the bad guy. It would be cool if Gordon Pinsent was in it too.

Sun, Aug 31, 2008 8:10pm

Mo–I’m OK with Canada, as I’m only three hours south of it. Lake Erie has a monster we can share–Bessie. And I’m all for Gordon Pinsent in anything. Discovered him in Away From Her. Great movie. Tried to buy a copy of The Rowdyman on Ebay and got ripped off, sadly. More sad about not getting to see it than about the $10 I lost.

Hmm, Canadian themes….how about setting it in the war for Quebecois freedom? (Or as it was known to the Quebekers, the war of Anglophone aggression). :-) That’s a future story, of course. Or maybe a parallel universe? Might be too cruel to put the Doc through another war, though. His PTSD is bad enough already.

I know–set it in Montreal and have him meet Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist, who is baffled when the most recent corpse presented to her for analysis is not entirely human!

Tue, Sep 02, 2008 8:07am

Great ideas about a Canadian location, and thanks for the perspective on why Menlo Park wouldn’t be worth crossing the pond for. I had not thought about that.

The Grand Canyon would be definitively non-British, but might be difficult to film in. I would suggest the Salt River Canyon, which is both gorgeous and accessible (you can drive through it).

Another great spot would be Canyon de Chelly, with the Native American cliff dwellings. Awesome sight, and inspiring when you think of what it took to live there. It could be a great tie-in to Navajo culture and maybe some of their myths.

This is fun – thanks for the opportunity.

Thu, Sep 04, 2008 9:25pm

Others are having fun speculating about possible US companions! (You have to scroll down just a bit after you click on the link.)

I like their ideas–Kristin Chenoweth & Neil Patrick Harris.

Mon, Sep 08, 2008 2:47pm

Woo-hoo! Best Monday morning news in ages. And this time, it’s not from the News of the World!

Happy happy!

Mon, Sep 08, 2008 3:11pm

i don’t know… i really hate the backwards looking agenda that seems to be happening in DW lately. i mean, i *loved* donna (and i don’t think she was “dippy” at all)… and john simm was the best master *ever*! but it’s like they’re running out of ideas or something… can’t think of a new enemy or plot!? ooh! let’s bring back the daleks (for the umpteenth time) and we’ll have donna run into the Doctor again… and oh, by the way, why does the master have to be dead? (well, to be fair there, even though they burnt his body, someone picked up that ring at the end!). but while it seemed as if the theme of DW was running along lines of “every action has consequences and sometimes high prices have to be paid and sacrifices made” really they’re just kind of swirling around all the time. couldn’t we have some new worlds, new plots, new enemies? we’ve had some great real s/f (“Blink” i.e.) but how about some light-hearted fun romps?

Mon, Sep 08, 2008 3:19pm

I think you’ll see more of a shift in focus when Steven Moffat takes change. Russell Davies is still the showrunner for the 4 specials.

That said:

* I would still like to see Donna back, because her exit was such a heartless thing.

* I’m not willing to take the Sun’s word for it yet.

Mon, Sep 08, 2008 5:19pm

Bronxbee said:

i really hate the backwards looking agenda that seems to be happening in DW lately

If I were tired of Donna and John Simm’s Master, I’d agree, Bronxbee. But I haven’t had nearly enough of either so I’ll be thrilled if the show continues their stories for me. I don’t consider that backwards looking at all.

Now the Daleks…that’s another issue. I was over them before the new series began. Whenever the Doctor moans, “Why do they always survive?” I say “Amen, brother!” I hope Steven Moffat exterminates the little bassamers and they finally stay exterminated.

Tue, Sep 09, 2008 11:26am

i agree — donna’s end was heartbreaking and misery-making and heartless… but life with the Doctor is like that sometimes and it just seems like a cop-out to me to go back and either restart or think of some lame “real” farewell (i’m still ticked off about rose and Doctor-Donna).

Tue, Sep 09, 2008 12:33pm

I don’t call a real farewell “lame.”

Rose’s first farewell was real. The second one, IMHO, was lame.

Tue, Sep 09, 2008 3:00pm

i’m sure you know i was being sarcastic by putting the “real” in quotes. rose’s first farewell had me sobbing and planning to take to my bed (slight exaggeration). the second one just had me going “Huh?” sarah jane got a real farewell in “School Reunion” and then that lame running off to take care of her “son.” i fear the same thing would happen with Donna if they bring her back. i was most reluctant about as a companion… and turned out i loved her. and i want to see right done by her character — not some sort of sentimental appeasement of the fans who can’t take a ending to a companion that isn’t happy.