Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Doctor Who boss not worried by budget squeeze

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News

Doctor Who graphic
Matt Smith's new Doctor makes his debut on Easter Saturday

Doctor Who boss Steven Moffat has said that the current financial climate has forced the sci-fi show's production team to be creative.

"There will never be enough money to make Doctor Who," Moffat said.

"We could spend Avatar's budget and still ask for more, because it's a show that's set in every point in history and every place in the universe."

The series returns on 3 April with a new creative team led by Moffat, and a new Doctor, played by Matt Smith.

Moffat told the BBC he did not consider the budget when writing episodes.

"What we think is what we need to achieve, and how we're to achieve it, given whatever financial circumstance we're in," he said.

"A lot of the most iconic things about Doctor Who are a direct consequence of financial shortcomings."

He pointed out that the idea of the Tardis - the Doctor's time-space machine - was the result of the original production team in the 1960s making the best use of what was already available.

"They said 'we've got a police box from Dixon of Dock Green - let's make a box that's bigger on the inside', and thus was born the single best idea in all of fiction," said Moffat.

He added: "Budget cuts are tough: I don't like them, but they force you to be creative. You've seen that trailer. Does it look like we've had a budget cut?"

Larger Tardis

Matt Smith's debut adventure - The Eleventh Hour - and a new season trailer were screened to the press in Cardiff last week.

Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat (above) took over as show runner from Russell T Davies

The first story sees the newly-regenerated 11th Doctor crash the Tardis on Earth, where he meets a new companion Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan).

The episode will also reveal a redesigned Tardis interior. The new set is twice the size of that inhabited by David Tennant's 10th Doctor.

"So much was new," said Moffat, "it would have been cowardly not to have a new Tardis as well."

According to BBC Worldwide, Doctor Who has sold to over 50 territories worldwide and was a top five selling programme in 2009.

There have been 3.3 million DVD sales to date, and more than 7m action figures have been sold.

In 2009, BBC Children's Books sold over 300,000 Doctor Who books.

Filming on the new 13-part series was due to have ended on Saturday.

The new series launches in the US on BBC America on 17 April and ABC Australia on 18 April.

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