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More Than Five Reasons Cinema Is Better Than TV

02/12/2013 15:51 GMT | Updated 01/02/2014 10:59 GMT

A few weeks back at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Steve Moffatt - the man behind two of Britain's biggest TV hits in Sherlock and Dr Who - told an audience why in his opinion television was better than the movies.Given his pedigree, you might think that unremarkable. And on both sides of the Atlantic, it's probably true to say that we are in something of a golden age for long-form TV series, with Moffat's own offspring standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

But Moffat went further than that - he said that television was better than cinema. And that's fighting talk. He then went on to give five reasons why this was the case. Well, as they say in the US, 'straight back at ya' - here are more than five reasons he's wrong:

Cinema is a thrill

Sitting in a darkened room, laughing, crying, jumping out of or sitting at the edge of your seat is hugely more fun if you're doing it with a couple hundred other people. It's why cinema has withstood the test of time and the advent of TV, VCRs, DVD, BluRay and the worst the economy can throw its way.

With film, size really does matter. Can you imagine watching Gravity on a 12 inch screen? It just couldn't ever be the same experience as IMAX 3D. No matter how big your TV screen or the room it's housed in, you will never be able to match the social experience of going to the cinema.

It's why a weekend or so ago hundreds of thousands of people decided to venture out of their homes to their local cinemas to see Dr Who: The Day of the Doctor.

Cinema is Awesome

It must be, it says so on Buzzfeed.

Cinema is where we see the arrival of new technology

Name pretty much any innovation in the home entertainment experience and it began life and earned its spurs in cinemas. Surround sound, Dolby sound, digital 3D and - coming fast down the tracks - Higher Frame Rates and so-called immersive sound. All enjoyed by cinema-goers first due to ongoing and massive investment by cinema operators across the country.

Cinema is where we see movies first

Despite all of the developments in home entertainment, the vast majority of films begin life in the cinema. That's because the studios know that a cinema release is the best way to drive word of mouth and the best 'shop window' for the film. After it's had its time in cinema, the film will move to home entertainment and only then will TV get a look in.

Cinema wins on glamour and buzz

Can you imagine staying up late for the Emmys? Is all of the talk the next day who did (or didn't win) best TV series? No, I thought not. Compare and contrast the Oscars (where more comment is spent on the performance of the compère than on the whole Emmys event), now a major event on the global TV calendar. That's right - TV just can't get enough of film glamour. Our own BAFTA Film Awards have in recent years become almost as important, taking up column inches and a primetime TV slot. The counterpart BAFTA TV Awards in contrast come and go with barely a ripple.

Cinema is the pinnacle of audio visual entertainment

It was Sid Ganis, former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the US, who said at the 2006 Oscars ceremony "I bet you that none of the artists nominated tonight have ever finished a shot in a movie, stood back and said 'that's going to look great on the small screen. Because there is nothing like the experience of watching a movie in a darkened theatre, looking at images on an eye enveloping screen, sound coming at you from all directions, and sharing the experience with total strangers who have been brought together by the story they are seeing."

That sums up the view that for many working in the audio visual sector, a job 'in the movies' is the ultimate aim. Many prominent current directors - including talents as diverse as Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen and Ridley Scott - began life in TV before graduating to the big screen. For them it was clearly a progression onto bigger and better things.

Presumably Steven Moffat sees things differently. And the strong whispers of a David Yates (Harry Potter) directed big screen version of Doctor Who coming soon must just be rumour.