Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 14:06 UK

Dr Who writer denies Tintin row

Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat said he was compelled to "come to the aid of the Tardis"

Scriptwriter Steven Moffat has denied he "quit" a deal to work on Steven Spielberg's forthcoming Tintin trilogy so he could oversee TV's Doctor Who.

A newspaper report that he had "turned down" a two-film deal with Spielberg was "a bit misleading", Moffat said.

He had planned to finish Tintin before starting Doctor Who but was delayed by the US writers' strike, he said.

In May it was announced he would replace Russell T Davies as lead writer and executive producer on Doctor Who.

Mr Moffat told the BBC that "nothing less than Doctor Who could have torn me away" from Tintin, which he described as a "stunning project" he was "proud" to be part of.

But it was "the proper duty of every British subject to come to the aid of the Tardis", he added.

'Very patient'

Clarifying the chronology of the deal, he said he had not accepted the offer to replace Russell T Davies on Doctor Who during the three-month strike, which ended in February.

"In fact it was already in the works," Moffat said.

"The strike just meant that I was unable to finish my work on the Tintin films given my new commitments."

He said Spielberg had been "very patient and understanding about the situation, despite the problems it created".

He also said that, contrary to the report, it was Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson who was a fan of Doctor Who, rather than Spielberg, who just "knows and admires the show".

And he added that "the figures quoted" in the paper about his salary "are also entirely speculative and wildly inaccurate".

Lead role cast

Spielberg and Jackson will each direct one film in the trilogy, which is based on Herge's famous comic book character.

It is expected they will work together on the third film.

The first movie is expected to be released at some point next year.

Mr Moffat had been adapting the tales of a young Belgian reporter and his faithful dog Snowy for the big screen.

The books, which have sold more than 200m copies around the world, are available in 50 languages.

Thomas Sangster, 18, will take the lead role. He is known for playing Liam Neeson's son in British comedy Love Actually.

And the voice of Gollum from Lord of the Rings, Andy Serkis, has signed up to play Captain Haddock.

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